Parenting Through the COVID-19 Crisis
Don’t worry, we’re not about to pour onto your plate more schedules, weblinks, and patronising expertise on how to be the perfect parent, hold a job down, keep your marriage together and maintain that picture perfect smile through the storm that is COVID-19 crisis. We feel the pain of parents across the nation, and simply want to help ease that burden.
It’s impossibly hard for parents right now
Perhaps you’ve spent the week trying to hold it together on a conference all – ignoring the mayhem that’s unfolding in your front room.
Maybe you’re facing redundancy, crushed by a numb feeling that there’s absolutely nothing you can do, while putting on a brave face as you tuck your kids into bed.
If you’re a key worker, you could be heaped with guilt that you’re out of the door before your kids get up and back after they’ve gone to bed.
The reality is, we’re all just muddling through.
While we can all think of those who seem to have got parenting, home-schooling, marriage, work and lock down sorted. Believe us when we say – they haven’t. None of us are perfect. So we all need to cut ourselves some slack.
To help you along the way, we’ve come up with four things we think every parents needs to know as they manage to hold it together through the crisis.
1. Don’t put your kids first
Yep. You read that right, sort of. But let us explain. If you’ve ever been on an airplane, you will have sat through the safety announcement and, hopefully, taken on board the fact that you have to put your own breathing apparatus on before assisting a child with theirs.
Well, we think it’s good practice to do the same in the midst of the current crisis. You can’t help your kids to deal with their anxieties, if you don’t deal with yours.
You’ve got to put on your armour of God, before you go into battle. As it says in Ephesians 6:10-20, put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
That’s not to say you have all the answers – you absolutely don’t. Kids model the behaviours they see in their parents. It’s good for kids to see you reaching out for help, praying through you worries and being honest about how you’re feeling.
2. Who’s There for You?
Your Whatsapp feed and inbox are probably flooded with links to home schooling resources, tips and advice. You’ve got Joe Wicks to get you through PE, David Walliams to help with the English and Carole Vorderman on tap for Maths. The scouting association have released a load of great stuff and Scripture Union’s Guardians of Ancora game is a big hit.
This is all great. But who’s there to help you? It’s vital you have a couple of close friends on speed dial who you can just off load on – people who you can be honest and vulnerable with in the knowledge that there is no judgement, only love.
Remember, God made us to be in community with one another. It’s totally OK to offload your stresses to someone outside your immediate bubble. We love this verse from Galatians 6:2,“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Our friend Ruth Rice from Renew Wellbeing joined us for our Cinnamon Connect Webinar recently to chat about how we can all take better care of our emotional wellbeing. She’s got some great tips on developing new habits to get us through.
3. Let It Go!
Now, you might not think of turning to Lamentations for a ‘pick me up’, but there are wise words here.
“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24.
You might not have time for morning devotions, if you’re now getting up at 5am to sneak downstairs and get a few hours under your belt before the rest of your tribe piles down for breakfast. But print this verse, stick it by your bed and let it soak in.
There are plenty of “You’ve got this” memes doing the rounds on the internet, but we rather prefer the “God’s got this” version.
And when the day’s done, leave those stresses with God. Don’t beat yourself up about losing your temper, burning the tea or crying to your boss down the phone.
It’s gone. So, in the words of Elsa, Queen of Arundel, ‘Let it go!’
4. It’s All About Love
We’re all clinging to God right now and putting our hope in Him like never before. We know that God is the ultimate healer, protector and creator – but it’s worth stressing that, first and foremost, He is our father. And the purpose of a father is to LOVE.
God simply wants to love us. There is nothing more important than that: period. So, when you’re juggling all the additional responsibilities and stresses that come with being in lockdown with your family, remember that love is the most important thing on your to do list.
If you’re struggling to explain long multiplication, the theory of relativity, or why the Romans invaded Britain, remember: in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you love your kids.
If you’re serving up pasta with green lentils and cocktail sausages, because that’s all the corner shop had when you finally got there after your 12-hour shift, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you love your kids.
If you stick your eight-year-old in front of another episode of Doctor Who, because you just need 20 minutes to sit and drink a hot cup of tea, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you love your kids.
The Bible is full of uncompromising, unwavering, all-encompassing, radical, limitless, audacious love. Our biggest prayer is that you, your family and your children get opportunities to share that in the weeks and months to come.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8