It has been humbling to watch healthcare and other designated essential services professionals living through the most challenging health crisis in our lifetime. Many of you are exhausted, frustrated and overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of caring for the sick and dying as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. And when you get home you must also confront the challenge of trying to support your own families through these most trying times when your energy tanks are hanging around empty.
To all those parents and spouses who feel at the end of your ropes or feel guilt because you are giving your all at work in life and death situations, I would like to share this thought for you to consider.
You don’t have to be a super man or woman to be present for your family.
In fact, this is the best of times to teach your loved ones what it means to love and support you so that you can give them all of the love and support they need from you every day.
When you open the door to your home, imagine your family members being there to greet you with a hug or similar acknowledgement of love when they see you. Consider the significance and opportunity for you being able to step through that door one more time. It may be necessary to teach the importance of just being present for one more day to put things into proper perspective. The way you perceive a situation has a lot to do with how you handle yourself through it. Help family members understand that you need their understanding and support in order to do your job and still have enough left for them. Kids especially may not understand what your job takes out of you and still expect you to be able to give them 100% of your time, energy and attention. They are children after all and not yet able to filter and process adult responsibilities and commitments without patient and steady teaching.
I am not talking about setting up a power point for a long and boring presentation. What I am suggesting are means of having productive conversations with your family members to help acquaint them with what you face in your daily work and how it impacts your ability to be there for them.
- Create time and space to have clear, calm and honest conversations to help you and your family share, process and negotiate the experience of going through this pandemic and how it is affecting all of your lives. Shared meal time can work well for this.
- Share stories with each other about different people and situations you encounter so that you can help your family understand the importance of your work and allow your family to tell you about the importance of their interactions. It will help for you all to share your tales of triumphs and challenges as you deem appropriate.
- Describe ways that you and your coworkers are learning new and creative ways to provide care and services. Include examples of ways you are making supplies go further and the ways you find to show appreciation to colleagues and patients/customers during this high stress time. Highlight the value of teamwork.
- Finally, give yourself and your family a chance to record some things you can and will commit to do for each other to get through this crisis.
Remember that it doesn’t take a whole lot to convey the message to your family that you love them and appreciate all they mean to you as family. The key is to develop meaningful and consistent ways of conveying these messages, particularly in challenging circumstances.
Try some if not all of these suggestions and see if you are able to connect more meaningfully and in ways that encourage, strengthen and energize you. The hope is that the care and concern will be two-way, from you to your family and from your family to you. That way no one is left out or left feeling as though the burden is all on them. Learning to have each other’s backs is one of the best lessons you can help your family learn. There has never been a better time than now. Take the first steps and see what blessings unfold.
Every Monday you can meet me right here and on TheWRITEaddiction where I contribute various tips and tricks for helping all you parents and early childhood educators succeed in preparing children to excel in lifelong learning. You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel for plenty of free resources.