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3 Unrealistic Expectations to Let Go of When Parenting During Quarantine

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Quarantine Mama,

I see you. I hear you, I understand how you feel. I probably am you. I want to tell you that everything you are not being today, is OK. You don’t have to worry and feel guilty about not being enough. This has tested you, and pushed you to your limits. This has changed everything, and all you have known is different. But it’s OK to take time to adapt to the new normal.

I frequently see posts about people’s new hobbies, newly cleaned and reorganized closets or rooms in their homes. That is fantastic, if that’s how you cope and what you enjoy, but not everyone is feeling up to things like that. If today all you did was let your kids watch TV and play video games, you are still a good mom. You still love your children. If your children annoy you to pieces at times, and you hide in the bathroom to get a minute to yourself, it doesn’t mean you are a bad mama.

It might mean you aren’t perfect. But you were never meant to be; that’s an impossible standard. So we can let go of some unrealistic expectations.

1. Everyone else’s needs will come before your own.

This is like the “put your oxygen mask on before helping someone else.” You can’t keep up with everyone else’s needs if you aren’t taking care of yourself. This will eventually lead to being overwhelmed or so stressed that you make yourself sick. Please do something for your own emotional and physical needs for a few minutes each day.

2. Everything will fall apart if you don’t handle it.

Not true! The dishes will get done another day. The toys will get put away when you get around to it. If you miss an appointment accidentally, show yourself some grace. You can’t remember it all, every single time.

3. You will be a super involved, loving mother to your children all the time.

Try as you may to be part of every waking minute of your children’s lives and entertainment, there will come a point in time where you need some time to yourself. You need to have your own thoughts, adult conversation and a friend who can listen to the hard parts of your day. Reach out to someone who is safe, who loves you. Trust me, they won’t mind hearing you vent, if they care, and if they have ever gone through anything similar.

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So if today all you have done is order pizza (and an Amazon package), there is a mess in at least two rooms in your home, and your kids don’t have you as a constant playmate, or you don’t play that board game for the 10th time in a row — it’s OK. Days like that will happen, and you will be better for them for showing yourself grace and considering yourself important.

You are not a bad mom. You are a human being, who needs permission to take a break. So here it is. Here is your permission, to breathe and cut yourself some slack. Your kids know you love them. And tomorrow can be a better day. And if it’s not, nothing says you can’t have two meh days in a row and still see better days ahead.

For more on parenting during the time of COVID-19, check out the following stories from our community:

Getty image by monkeybusinessimages

Originally published: June 30, 2020
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