Thursday, August 27, 2020

Parenting During a Pandemic as a Perfectionist


"Do we have to wear masks in the classroom?" "Will we have cross country races?" "Will there be running club?"  "How will Halloween work this year?" "When will we have sports?" "Can I hug my friends at school?" Those are just a few of the sample questions that I get asked daily that I do not have answers to. I recently read this article "Your 'Surge Capacity' is Depleted–It's Why You Feel Awful" and it touched on so much of how I am feeling. 

"It’s harder for high achievers,” she says. “The more accustomed you are to solving problems, to getting things done, to having a routine, the harder it will be on you because none of that is possible right now. You get feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, and those aren’t good.” 


I am a Type 1 on the Enneagram which is known as The Reformer or The Perfectionist. I like to know the rules, expectations and plan. During COVID-19, this feels like a near impossible task. I can deal with the unknown for a few weeks but five months?! This is a lot, especially when those in our lovely little family are demanding answers. 

Three kids in a hammock

We are heading back to work in less than a week. I do have a basic understanding of what it will look like at the high school level (quarter system meaning I am teaching two longer classes) but beyond that, I do not know what it looks like. I know answers will come. However based on my experience over the past 5 months, THE PLAN KEEPS CHANGING

What are the other aspects that are hard for me?

1. Gary does not worry. When asked about COVID and how he feels, he said "I wish we had one more week of summer to rest before the unknown starts". This is great for him and I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, I just feel more alone in the burden I feel.

2. Finding the balance of letting my kids be kids and trying to keep them safe. I am quite confident the boys would be okay if they got it but Nya has asthma. She has done so much better over the past few years, but still, she is susceptible to bronchitis and has had pneumonia and a 9-1-1 call resulting in an ambulance ride to the E.R. 

3. Feeling alone. I do not mean that I feel physically alone because I AM NEVER ALONE. I mean that no one truly understands how I feel because no one is in the exact same boat. Normally this is not as noticeable but when people take stances on masks and ideas of bubbles and safe socialization, you recognize more differences. The needs of our kids are obviously different than others and it often appears to be magnified when you are together 24/7 and your younger two are approaching puberty too.

4. Not trusting my body. When you have a disease that you have no control over, and it attacks your own body (autoimmune), it is hard to trust it. When your mom gets cancer and dies at 53 even though she lived a very healthy lifestyle, it makes you feel like you are never safe. 

What do I know?

1. I can control what goes on in our home. Mostly, I do have a teenager. I can ensure my kids continue to eat healthy, stay on a proper sleep schedule, get their exercise and feel a sense of purpose and routine to their day. I can prevent anyone from coming into our home and say where we do or do not go.

family bike ride

2. I'm not in control of others. I do have a faith-based foundation so trust that I am in God's hands throughout this. The administration in our schools and government have more experience than I do in their areas of expertise so I do need to trust them. Do I trust the 130+ families that will be in our bubbles in two weeks? Not sure, to be honest.

3. I am allowed to feel what I like. When someone says "Don't worry" or "Calm down" it is aggravating. I am entitled to all my feelings. I can feel worry and peace at the same time; one feeling does not take up 100% of my feeling bank.

4. One day at a time has worked so far. I never imagined teaching online and we did it. I never imagined wearing a mask into each store and it is no problem. I never imagined spending the majority of our summer at home but we did. I never imagined getting a kitten...

Girl with her kitten

So, to those that are feeling overwhelmed, depleted, alone...I am there too. I do feel hopeful that we will get through this one day and a time and may find unexpected gifts through it all. Much love to you all as September, and school, approaches.



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