It is hard to ignore what this pandemic means to me and my family. Certainly, it has changed how we shop for groceries (delivery or curb pick up), how we attend school (Nana as on-line co-teacher but offering no recess with classmates), and how we celebrate (socially distanced small gatherings in the front yard). However, most importantly, it has changed how we all feel every day. I am very aware that I avoid the news. I vacillate in how much I want to know about the world beyond my family but if I go too long I think I get too comfortable, too complacent and need a wake up call about the pandemic that has yet to touch my family or circle of friends directly (lucky me) but still demands vigilance. I can handle small doses but have to be careful about prolonged exposure to the media, whether a progressive or conservative slant.
It is hard to comprehend the effects of these changes to the rhythms of our lives together. I am aware that my mood is more irritable than usual and that the children are also much more irritable. At the holidays, I joke about too much time together as I quietly retreat. But these days, too much time together is the norm. It seems harder to not fall prey to some sort of mutual emotional dysregulation when we spend so much time together.
This stress, even without the burden of active Covid-19 illness, is exhausting. Sometimes, when I have become determined to get something done (like go out for drive thru hot dogs for lunch) and the kids are too dysregulated to enjoy the outing as my image of the outing was designed, my irritability further contaminates the emotional landscape. Now I’m just another irrational kid who isn’t getting her way. Calm aren’t us.
I find that I have had to lower my housekeeping standards, the laundry gets washed but not put away and the floors…sheesh. I am constantly re-establishing priorities and often this means that I simply sit and read or escape for walk in the woods so that I can return refreshed, calm and reasonable. By this, I don’t mean, cold, controlled and tense. The children around me need to know that I am an emotional resource for them and a source of understanding and comfort rather than someone to simply avoid, at best, or someone to fear, at worst.
Now, maybe this is just me. Maybe your family is passing through this global experience unscathed, but I seriously doubt it. I hope you are being gentle with yourself and those around you. Lighten your workload, expect a little less of yourself and others. Respect your limits and recognize the toll this moment is taking on those you encounter throughout your day. By doing this you will be more able to give yourself and others forgiveness when the exhaustion sets in and the irritability dominates the scene.
- Our friend, Nancy Williams, has retired from 30 years of service in public education (special ed) and has accepted the position of Executive Director of AZAFAP! This is a brand-new position for the organization. Nancy will assume responsibility to support, empower and educate the states’ foster, adoptive and kinship families to improve the lives of the children in their care as the voice of the organization, connection to the broader community and chief fund-raiser. I encourage you to reach out to welcome her at email@example.com.
- Watch for an email about our Needs Survey. This is a chance for you to let us know how we can best serve you in the coming year.
- Friday night Happy Hour continues (check your email for the link) and we have added a monthly training session to satisfy your licensure requirements, curiosity or life-long learning goals. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in membership or either offering.
- Certificates of attendance are issued for the training hour (held at 9 pm on the last Tuesday of the month). September 29th will explore ADHD and Sensory Needs. Watch your email for the registration opportunity.
- This shut down continues for those of us who understand what is at stake. Others seem to struggle to grasp that. Still others, like the teens in your home, have begun to climb the walls. You are in my thoughts. Reach out if you need an ear: email@example.com.
- I encourage you to check out what Dr. Bruce Perry has to offer. Find his thoughts at https://www.neurosequential.com/covid-19-resources.
Thanks for listening. Take care of yourself so you can take care of others.