3 Unique Ways to Handle the Guilt Inherent to Being a Parent
If you’re a parent, you may feel even more guilty than usual. If so, you are definitely not alone. Currently, the burden is on you to both carry on with your work and manage your child’s full-time care and education. Two full-time jobs that you’re trying to do by yourself, likely without teachers or care providers to help you.
If you are like most parents, you were probably struggling with guilt even before the virus. You simply can’t make it to every award ceremony or recital, and you might not have as much time to play with your kids or help them with their homework as you’d like. Those feelings of guilt may now be compounded by all the additional responsibilities you’ve had to take on in a short space of time.
Take a deep breath and let me let you off the hook here for a minute. I have no doubt you are doing the best you can, and your kids see it, and know it too, even when they are being ungrateful pains in the rear.
I’ve got a few ideas about how to shift the guilt. They’re a little unconventional, but I invite you to give them a try and then message me to let me know how they went. We love hearing from you.
Let’s start with one thing that is fully within your control, can help to alleviate feelings that you are not doing enough, and that you can get handled easily, for free, right now— name legal guardians for your kids, so the people you want will take care of them if anything happens to you.
Name Legal Guardians
If you have not already legally documented who you would want to raise your children, if you could not finish doing it yourself for any reason, start here right now and name legal guardians using the free website I have for you to get it done: Kids Protection Plan. It’s free. It’s easy. And the site guides you through who to choose and creates a legal document for you.
Legally documenting your choices for who you want to take care of your kids if you can’t is a great first step to getting legal planning in place for the people you love. (Yes, I said “choices” because you want to name at least one person with two alternates.) And, doing so can provide you with a lot of relief, if you have not taken care of this yet for your kids.
After you are done, contact us for a no-charge review of the documents, and we’ll guide you to the next step in ensuring the well-being and care of your kids (and your assets) if something happens to you.
If the parents get sick with COVID-19, this is one of the most important things you can do for your kids right now, and we’re making it as easy as possible for you to get started with it.
So that’s one way we can support you to remove some of that mom or pop guilt you may have. And, here’s another…
Quality Time Doing…Nothing
While you’re probably already spending a significant amount of time with your kids, it may not be very high quality.
But you may be too tired or overwhelmed to plan big activities or the things you used to do for “quality time” may not be available.
So, what’s a parent to do?
Yes, you read that right, nothing.
If you can take 15 minutes or so out of your day and do nothing with your child, it could be the best 15 minutes you spend with them, and with yourself, all day. Maybe you’ll even be able to stretch it to 30, 45, or 60 minutes of nothing.
It’s truly one of the best gifts you can give to your kids, and the best part is you don’t have to do anything.
We hope this idea provides some relief from the guilt. You don’t have to DO as much as you think. Mostly, your kids really just want to know you are there, and will give them your full attention, without screens, even if they aren’t paying attention to you.
Talk About It
If you’re on an emotional roller-coaster right now, your kids are probably having some similar struggles. This is an opportunity to connect with them, and a good time to show them a little vulnerability of your own. Remember how important sharing words of love and comfort can be, both to them and to you.
A friend of mine has three kids ranging from eight to fourteen, and she recently told me a story about a very special conversation with one of her children.
After my friend had spent a few weeks juggling school, work responsibilities, and a million other household duties, she was feeling worn out and discouraged.
Then she took a quiet moment to just sit around and talk with her tween daughter and share some of what was going on for her, that it was hard, and how she was making it through. Out of the blue, to my friend’s surprise and gratitude, her child gave her a big hug and said, “You do so much to take care of us all the time. That must be so hard. Thank you.”
This special moment filled my friend’s heart, and it has gotten her through some tough days. And it never would have happened if she hadn’t taken a little time out to just talk with her kid, without a particular agenda.
Reach out for Support
If you have been feeling really alone and need support, reach out for help. Sometimes venting to your friends is enough, and chances are they’ll be able to relate! But if you are not getting the support you need, there are professionals who will communicate via phone and even text message. You can find local therapists and phone, video, and online therapists through Psychology Today’s directory.
Or, if family dynamics are rearing their head during these stressful times, and you want to keep your family out of court and conflict, give us a call to see how we can help.
Matthew T. Wasinger
Attorney and Counselor at Law
This article is a service of Matthew T. Wasinger, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session,™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.