Making time for yourself under COVID pressure
“Matthew and Son, the work’s never done
There’s always something new
The files in your head, you take them to bed
You’re never ever through
And they’ve been working all day, all day, all day.”
– Matthew and Son, Cat Stevens
One of the frequent complaints that parents, particularly mothers, have been expressing since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic is the extra stress they now face in juggling work while seeing to the welfare of their children who are at now at home doing their schooling online.
For the single mother, it is even worse, but, overall, having children at home while taking care of the home has always been a challenge, and it is now compounded by the virtual schooling that is taking place there.
“Overwhelmed!” is one of the more frequent responses parents give when asked how they are coping. So for tips on how to balance this new normal without getting lost in the shuffle, Family and Religion reached out to Paul Blake, minister of religion and motivational speaker, for an insight on how to cope.
Blake said that, by nature, mothers always seem to be on the move, doing something or the other, or going some place, and still having a million things to do.
“The funny thing about having a million things to do is that, if we are not careful, we get very little done, or nothing at all. Some of us fool ourselves into thinking that, if we have a million things to do, it makes us appear more valuable or important. Some people who have a million things to do run themselves to a wreck trying to get them done,” he said, pointing out that there needs to be some perspective placed on them.
Life, he stressed, is best lived when balance can be found in how you go about living it. Pointing out that too many people who are living with the thought that they have a million things to do, eventually die without getting most of them done. Blake said some things can be made a priority while the others should be placed in a ‘not urgent’ category.
“To be honest, of the million things that we think need to get done, only a handful of them may be worth the stress we put ourselves through. Some of us are willing to sacrifice friends, family and good relationships on the altar of the million things that need to get done,” he said.
“Mothers sometimes snap at their children unnecessarily as the work pressure builds, or they do something in their frustration that can hurt or cause damage to the relationship they have with their offspring,” Blake added.
The mental health issues that are associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have also been responsible for another layer of stress being experienced by several persons, and Blake warned that they should pay attention to their health and peace of mind.
The solution, according to him, is for parents not to place priority on the many things that are around the house that need to be done, but instead focus on the things that are absolutely necessary for that point in time.
“The children need to be fed to perform well in class. No learning on an empty stomach, so the sweeping can wait. If you are at home, then you might have to assist with the Google Classroom work, ensuring they are paying attention and getting the classwork done. Some things can be put off for another day, and, if the kids are old enough, on weekends you should involve them in the house chores,” he shared.
Blake also stressed the importance of getting some ‘me time’. He advised parents to take some time to just relax and breathe. That way, he said, they will be more calm and relaxed when dealing with the needs of their children and while going about their chores.
The minister of religion said, at the end of the day, parents should always try to maintain a balance, even when the unpleasant circumstances of life leave you feeling overwhelmed.
“The important thing to do is to keep focus, ensure the well-being of your children and do not allow chores to take centrestage in your family life,” he said.