A Therapist’s One Piece of Sanity-Saving Advice for Staying Home With Kids

When school closures went into effect and my husband and I were staring down endless days of working and schooling from home, my brain jumped instantly into management mode.

Rising to the challenge ahead of us, I thought I’d whip my family into shape—keeping a schedule, setting expectations, and generally enjoying a sense of normalcy as a result. I set a morning alarm (no sleeping in on my watch), held firm to meal and sleep times, and drafted a visual schedule for my 5-year-old to follow.

Sure, I would allow for flexibility, I told myself, but I had one major non-negotiable to keep us from backsliding into a sad sort of chaos: every person under our roof must be out of their pajamas right after breakfast.

 

Sure, I would allow for flexibility, I told myself, but I had one major non-negotiable to keep us from backsliding into a sad sort of chaos: every person under our roof must be out of their pajamas right after breakfast.

 

I shared this rule proudly with a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Sofia Mendoza, while picking her brain for a story. Her response to my new house rule was not at all what I expected: “Family routines are important to maintain as much as possible. At the same time, I also want to invite people to really attune to themselves and their children during this time. If rules for dress and activity get in the way of the overall peace of the individual or the home, then relaxing expectations can be what you decide on for certain situations.” 

 

Source: @katherine.nicole.hamilton via #sharetheeverymom

 

Translated into a scenario all moms of young children can understand, this means I could either… 

A.) Pat myself on the back for enforcing a trivial rule about getting dressed, even while my child threw a tantrum and set a stormy mood for the entire day or…

B.) Weigh my options and decide if a major scream-fest was worth seeing my child in structured pants

 

Beware the power struggle, readers. After all, no one can stick to their guns like a young child. As a parent, there is no winning, only retreating in frustration and overwhelm. So, take Sofia’s expert advice and learn to ask this simple question of yourself until our world heals and we’re able to go outside: Is it worth it? (Probably not.) 

 

Read More: Forget Productivity—It’s OK to Lower Your Standards Right Now

 

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