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Relieving 'Mom Guilt' during the pandemic

From trying to balance working from home and homeschooling, to financial challenges changing things, there are plenty of pain points for parents right now

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Lots of moms are racked with guilt over getting pulled in lots of different directions while working from home--they may not be able to give their kids or their work the attention they’d like to during this time.

Here's what Dr. Nicole Beurkens has to say about "Mom Guilt" during the pandemic.

"It’s important for moms to know that they don’t have to be engaged with their children all the time, and they don’t have to be doing things the child enjoys constantly either. Research shows that even in very healthy parent-child relationships we are only in sync with our children about 30% of the time! A focus on quality of interactions over quantity is helpful," said Dr. Beurkens.

"We all let our kids down at times, It’s normal and important for their growth and development. It’s also perfectly healthy and good for children to be bored sometimes, experience disappointments, and have opportunities to figure things out on their own. Aim for good-enough parenting and not unattainable perfection!

Sometimes guilt is a helpful emotion, as it can alert us to something that we know should change. Examples include things like being overly harsh with our child or not doing something we know we should have done. In these cases, we can show our children that we are human by apologizing and letting them know we will try to do better next time. Other times guilt is unhelpful, and stems from our desire or expectation to handle things perfectly. That is an unreasonably high bar to set, and the guilt that stems from not reaching it isn’t helpful to us or our children.

Be careful to avoid the comparison trap that can lead to unhelpful guilt. This happens more than ever before on social media, where moms compare themselves to what they see and hear other parents doing. Stay focused on what feels right and works for you and your family, and take a break from social media as often as needed."

Many families are facing tough times financially-and quite suddenly. They may not be able to provide the same level of experiences that they could before COVID 19.

"When a family is facing a sudden finance challenges, it can be an opportunity for growth and learning for children. While kids will likely feel disappointed about not being able to have things they are used to, or take the trip they were planning on, they can learn valuable lessons about focusing on prioritizing what’s most important, budgeting, and saving. They can also develop the resilience that comes from experiencing disappointments and hardship, and making it through to the other side. Children who learn how to navigate uncomfortable feelings go on to be adults who are able to persevere and handle life challenges more successfully," explained Dr. Beurkens.

This can also be an opportunity to help kids develop cognitive flexibility, as they learn to adapt to changing circumstances and things not going according to plan. As a family you can work together to come up with creative ideas for a stay-cation, fun outings that fit the current budget, and activities that provide learning and fun at no cost. It won’t be the same, but it will teach flexible thinking and problem-solving skills that last a lifetime."

For more insights like these from Dr. Beurkens, visit her website

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