pandemic parenting 101: Be there
Currently as it stands we are anxiously awaiting for the announcement of one of the biggest elections in our nations history and I meeeean on edge! Covid numbers goin up higher than a giraffe's azz at a Snoop Dogg concert and although we've gained an hour with daylight savings time, I still need a nap. My body is randomly tied, my appetite fluctuates to full meal or popcorn for dinner. I am balancing working full-time, juggling being a full-time student and oh...I'm a mom! Emotionally and psychologically its a lot for me as an adult to process the state of the world and my household as I teeter between great...ok and diving into a bubble bath with clouds of sage and palo hovering over me. As we promote checking on our strong friends...let's also include these kids.
Although I am Team No Coddle with my kids, I also maintain an open communication line with Mason because the younger the kids, the more attention they receive. The older kids get the less we tend to pay attention to them. I have a more liberal style of parenting meaning I allow him more freedoms than other parenting styles and allowing him to make his own decisions-because I know my child. I've been sowing seeds in him since he was little, so I know the responsibilities he's capable of and I teach him there are consequences to choices he makes because I want him to learn, IN LIFE-u can't rely on ur looks n u can't tug on my umbilical cord at ur convenience. With all the stresses I am having, I want to acknowledge his. I talk to Mason to ask him how he's feeling about what's going and his thoughts becuz I am not discounting his emotions during these times becuz of his age.
Here are 3 Steps on how i tend to #PandemicParent during these rough times:
Step 1: Be There. He is in his room (known as Apt B lol) all the time. I barely see him so i peek into his room throuhghout the day to check on him. Sometimes i'll risk my life n stay in there longer than 5 min (wearing hazmat couture) to initiate conversations that let him express his feelings beyond "how are you" with "what do u think about..." becuz if i ask how he's doin he'll always answer "good". Letting him feel comfy to talk to me about anything makes me feel like I'm doin something right becuz I never talked to my parents so freely as a teen. LET'S BE CLEAR THO...I am not his friend n he's aware of this when I swap to my discipline hat. He even takes accountability to acknowledge when n where he phkd up which I admire n we move forward. He knows I am here for him. Even if I am just lounging in his room watching him play his game, he knows I'm present. I don't take these moments for granted with how fast time moving!
Step 2: Showing kindness. The male species grow up in a society where masculinity is celebrated n the gender roles of what they do n provide become thankless jobs. Females grow up with getting spoiled and showered with gifts by default. I am changing the narrative with my boys becuz everyone loves a random gift just becuz and we not waiting on holidays to get em. To perk him up, I surprise him w/a gift card or make his favorite meal. Mason doesn't require much. If i make a #starbucks run I include him n annoy him with kisses n hugs. The little random acts of kindness makes a world of a difference in his mood.
Step 3: Give Grace. Look-Mason has not physically been to school since March. His social life (outside them dmn games) took a nosedive. I feel sad for these kids becuz we as humans NEED energies of other humans-it's natural n the virtual shyt ain't the same. It's been groundhogs day everyday n the weeks roll into together to where u don't even realize when a holiday is coming up n there's no need to look forward to the weekends because it's all the same. I stay on top of him when it comes to school so I said given the situation, there's no way to not take advantage of the situation n ace these classes. When I kept getting notifications on missing assignments and low test scores, I needed to get to the bottom of it becuz iiiii ain't understand HOW. It wasn't til after I chatted with him about it I realized, kids have different stressors on different levels than adults have. I know we dismiss them becuz we compare them n hold them lower due to our own experiences **cue kids these days scenarios** but we need to be mindful all age groups are affected by current times. I give him space when I notice mood changes, we go for family walks for fresh air, we plan for TV time (Black-ish n Fear Factor binges are faves) n becuz I understand it may seem "easy" in theory working n goin to school from home, it can be a challenge to stay focused. When them grades dip, I don't scold him but redirect the tone (and take away Xbox n phone) so he can regroup n get back on track. The teachers giving em more than enough leeway with allowing them to makeup work so failure isn't an option!
These steps have helped me enhance my parenting with a teen not just for his well-being but my sanity. I pride myself on positive energy and love flowing throughout my home. I am out of the mindset of how I grew up n going with the flow of having my own structure as we go. I am a daily parrot and I've been reciting "wash ur face, brush ur teeth" EVERY MORNING since he was a younger lad. As much as I'd LOVE to see his room clean when I peek in, it's a losing battle but I will take the victory of 3 out of 7 days it IS clean. I thank God for showing me patience to complete these 3 steps above becuz compassion n empathy isn't something parents of an older generation gave us. Hug ur kids, let em know u love em n acknowledge their presence throughout the ordeal we going through too.