If you’re a parent, you may feel more guilty than normal. If so, you are not alone. Right now you are responsible for carrying on with your work and managing your child’s full time care and education. You are trying to do it all by yourself, and you may not even have anyone to help you out. Now that school is out and you can cross teacher off your list for the next few months you're probably ecstatic for at least a little bit of relief.
Most parents have been struggling with guilt even before the virus set in. You don't have the time to make it to every award ceremony or recital, you might not have as much time to play with your kids or help them with their homework as you’d like. Those feelings of guilt may now be compounded by all the additional responsibilities you’ve had to take on in a short space of time.
If you're anything like me, before the virus, you barely saw your children. You got home in time to eat dinner with them, put them to bed, and do it all over the next day. Now that everyone is home all day every day, you see them more than you ever have before, but its hard to enjoy as you're so busy trying to wear so many hats.
Take a deep breath, and let yourself off the hook for a minute. I have no doubt you're doing the best you can. You may not see it, but your kids see it, and they know it too, even when they are being ungrateful pains in the rear.
I’ve got a few ideas about how to shift the guilt. They're a little unconventional, and only the first one actually has anything to do with estate planning, but give them a try and let me know how they went.
Name Legal Guardians
Let’s start with one thing that's fully within your control, can help to alleviate feelings that you are not doing enough, and that you can get handle for free from the comfort of your own living room. If you haven’t already, you need to name legal guardians for your kids. This way the people you want will care for your children if anything happens to you.
If you have not already legally documented who you would want to raise your children, if anything happened to you, start here right now and name legal guardians using the free website I have for you to get it done. Its free, its easy, and it will guide you through who to choose while creating a legal document for you.
Legally documenting your choices for who you would want to take care of your kids if you couldn't is a great first step to getting legal planning in place for the people you love. You should name one primary person and at least two alternates. After all, if you don't name someone yourself, Georgia courts will make the decision for you. Making this decision can provide you with a lot of relief!
After you are done, contact us for a no-charge review of the documents, and we’ll guide you to the next step in ensuring the well-being and care of your kids (and your assets), if something happens to you.
So that’s one way we can support you to remove some of that mom or pop guilt you may have. And, here’s another...
Quality Time Doing...Nothing
While you’re probably already spending a significant amount of time with your kids, it may not be very high quality. You may be too tired or overwhelmed to plan big activities, or for that matter, the things you used to do for “quality time” may not be available.
So, what can you do? Nothing. That's right, nothing.
If you can take 15 minutes out of your day and do nothing with your kids, it can end up being the best 15 minutes of your day. Maybe you’ll even be able to stretch it to 3 minutes, 45 minutes or even an hour of doing nothing. It can truly be one of the best gifts you can give your kids, and the best part is you don’t have to do anything at all.
Hopefully this provides some you with some relief. You don’t actually have to DO as much as you think. Your kids really just want to know you are there, and will give them your full attention, even if they aren’t paying attention to you.
Talk About It
If you’re on an emotional roller-coaster right now, your kids are probably having some similar struggles. This is an opportunity to connect with them, and a good time to show them a little vulnerability of your own. Remember how important sharing words of love and comfort can be, both to them and to you.
A friend of mine has three kids ranging from eight to fourteen, and she recently told me a story about a conversation she had with one of her children.
After spending a few weeks juggling school, work responsibilities, and a million other household duties, she was feeling worn out and discouraged.
She took a quiet moment to just sit and talk with her tween daughter and share some of what was going on for her, that it was hard, and how she was making it through. Out of the blue, her daughter gave her a big hug and said, “You do so much to take care of us all the time. That must be so hard. Thank you.”
This special moment filled her heart, and it has gotten her through some tough days. It never would have happened if she hadn’t taken a little time out to just talk with her daughter, without a particular agenda.
Reach out for Support
If you have been feeling really alone and need support, reach out for help. Sometimes venting to your friends is enough, and chances are they’ll be able to relate! But if you are not getting the support you need, there are professionals who will communicate via phone and even text message. You can find local therapists and phone, video, and online therapists through Psychology Today’s directory.