It goes without saying that 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year.
Parents, in particular, were pushed beyond their limits, as they continued their professional responsibilities, while taking on full time positions as homeschoolers, short order cooks, cleaners, entertainers and more. All this, while navigating new boundaries and relationships with extended family and friends in a world filled with anxiety, and without certainty.
Today is probably not the fresh start most new years bring us. 2021 will bring it’s challenges as well, but if there is one thing 2020 has taught is, it’s that we have to take what we’re given and make the most of it.
As a parent, my goal for 2021 is to continue to grow and work on being more intentional in my parenting. This has proven to be especially challenging, and ever important in 2020, and I hope this summary will give you pause and help focus your growth in this new year.
- Parent with Purpose: It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day exhaustion of parenting, especially in a world where it is entirely unclear when the next real ‘break’ will come. Parenting with purpose means focusing on how you want to parent your child, not on how you feel in the moment. Regulating our own emotions allows us to be more intentional in the decisions we make with our children. Outline the boundaries you’d like to hold, and the relationship you want to develop, and focus on these as you interact with your child on a daily basis.
- Be Present: Parenting in a pandemic is more of a 24/7 job than it ever has been before — with little to no support from our individual villages of support. Sometimes it feels easier to bury our heads in our phones, or in household tasks to make it through the day. However, the key to supporting your child’s attachment, and to developing your relationship with your child, is to stay connected. A connected child is more likely to cooperate, and more likely to feel valued and important.
- Define your Priorities: One clear positive that emerged from 2020 is a better sense of work-life balance. I endeavour to continue being a mother first, a wife second, and everything else third in 2021. Give some thought to your priorities, too.
- Focus on Partnership: Modelling a healthy relationship with your partner sets an example for your children of the conditions necessary for partnership. Remember that despite the stress you and your partner may be under, you are each other’s support system in getting through the crazy journey of parenting, and the unheard of journey of parenting in a pandemic. Take time to reconnect with each other. And, for single parents — lean into your village of support and find ways to connect with other adults so that you have the break you need from parenting solo.
- Take Pause for Yourself: Most important of all, is to recognize when your tank is empty and take the steps needed to fill it back up. You are only as good to your children as you are to yourself, and focusing on what you need as a person (not just as a parent) means that your children will get the best version of you possible.
And remember, I am always here to help.
I wish you all a very happy, healthy and peaceful 2021.