What do you need right now?

What do you need right now…in the midst of school and COVID 19…

I am anxiously awaiting our first day of school which may or may not come due to COVID-19.  As I have watched numerous surrounding schools, and schools all over the state either push back their start dates or go directly to e-learning, I, as a parent, am nervous.

COVID-19 has stressed our medical systems, mental health systems, school systems, governmental budgets, economic systems, etc.  For those who work the front lines each day, such as medical professionals, changes happen every day.  New polices, new rules, new procedures, etc.  With schools, there seems to be the same pattern of change every day.

As a parent, who works a full-time and has to figure out how get 8 hours (or more) of work in a day, supervise e-learning for 2 kids, and figure out what to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner while staring at dirty bathrooms that need clean, clothes that need folded and floors that need mopped, I get the stress.  I get lost in my own stress, my challenges, my own piles of work, dirty clothes and e-learning quizzes.

When talking to other parents, teachers, friends, family, etc. who are all feeling the same pressures and uncertainty, a few thoughts come to mind:

  • My stress is like everyone else’s; mine is no bigger, heavier or harder. We are all in the same boat together.  I think that sometimes we forgot this.  That “our” problems are bigger than “your” problems which is hurtful, not fair, and not true.  Show kindness, understanding and empathy for all who are stressed, taxed and working hard to navigate during this time.
  • What do you need? I hate to ask for help.  I do like helping others.  In the midst of COVID-19, ask yourself “what do I need to feel better about this situation?” and be honest!  Do you need break each day? Do you need to tell your family that lunches each day are sandwiches or self-serve? Or do you need to go for a walk, run, workout, a break?  Figure out what you need to help with stress and make time for it.  No one is going give you time, you have to make it and take it for yourself.
  • What do other’s need right now? Those who are extremely stressed by COVID-19; those who have lost their jobs, their homes, can’t feed their families, etc. Children are one of our most vulnerable populations and 1 in 4 children in Indiana go hungry every day. Helping others, helps our souls, helps us put in perspective our own stress, needs, etc.  One of the programs I coordinate, we decided after talking to high school teachers, that students will need water bottles, hand sanitizer and face mask.  So, we purchased and packaged them for students in our programs who need them. It is small but helps save families time and money while keeping their child safe and others at school safe.

I would encourage you, each week to ask yourself “what do I need” and then write down 5 tasks for the week that are for you!  Then ask yourself “what do other’s need” and you might think about this as a family.   Will the schools need more mask, donations for supplies, can you donate to a food pantry, can you help box up care packages, etc.?   Make a monthly goal or quarterly goal to help and/or give to others during this time.

What do I need right now?  I need a routine.  That may or may not happen or it might look different but it is how I accept where we are as a family, community, society and working with that, to the best of my ability is truly where I will adapt, grow and learn.  The need to embrace were we are at and keep moving forward is key.

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