Do you ever get overwhelmed by all the things you ‘should’ be doing as a parent? That feeling of guilt that you’re doing things slightly differently than ‘the norm’ can be all too familiar.
Parent guilt starts even before the birth of your first baby. As soon as you start to consider the trolley-loads of stuff you need to buy, you start questioning yourself. Argos, Mamas and Papas… JoJo Maman Bébé? Which pram, which cot, which mattress? Then we move onto how you feed your child, which school you send them to, logoed or supermarket-bought uniform, screen time limits… the list is never-ending. And it continues until… well it probably never stops. But, one way or another, we manage to control it and find OUR way. Until something sparks a whole new round.
For many, parent guilt has risen its ugly head again during the coronavirus pandemic as we try to navigate a situation that we’ve never experienced before.
What’s the best approach to Covid with kids?
The bottom line is, there isn’t one. Each and every family has such a unique situation that it’s simply not possible to give a best approach. It depends on what works for you.
During lockdown, we suddenly had to become teachers as well as parents. On one end of the scale, you had the parents that were leading full school days, ensuring they included all parts of the national curriculum. On the other end, you had families that embraced a freer way of life, deciding it was time for other experiences. More usually, in between these two came a lot of parents feeling guilty because they were having to look after their kids while working at home.
At the same time, many had to decide whether to take up precious key worker places at school, which were often in short supply. Again, guilt – do I deserve one more than the next person? Then came the decision of whether to send children in certain years back to school. What if you had another child that would still be at home? How would that work? Would you be putting elderly or sick members of your family at risk by giving your child some form of reality? Or maybe you were point blank against it but your little one’s friends were all going back and you felt guilty for saying no. Guilt, guilt and more guilt, whichever way you went.
As restrictions have eased, we’ve had decisions to make about letting our kids back to playgrounds, restarting extra-curricular activities, and deciding to go into someone’s house rather than stay in the garden.
One thing is for sure, though – it’s exhausting having to analyse every decision you make. There’s often guilt that comes with the choice you make, because maybe it’s not what your kids wanted, or maybe your friend is disappointed you won’t join them on a trip out. Along with the parent guilt, you can also feel peer pressure start to creep back in… maybe a feeling you haven’t felt so strongly since your school days. Head over to our blog if this is the case: Are You Feeling Peer Pressure?.
Is parent guilt something you’ve struggled with over the past months? Have you found a way of managing it? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below.