DEAR MOMS AND DADS, ICE CREAM AT BREAKFAST AND COOKIES AT LUNCH DOES NOT EQUAL YOU BEING A BAD PARENT

Here we are at week 8 (but what feels like week 68) of staying in our homes. What has been frequently surfacing in sessions is ……parent guilt. Guilt is saying it gently. It is being expressed through painful tears. Parents feel ashamed. Who is doing the shaming you may wonder? It is the person I am talking with!

I would love to put a note on every parents door or shout out with a mega-phone to let them know that ice-cream at breakfast and cookies at lunch is not be a reason to start self- judging, verbally crushing, or bullying yourself. Please remember parents, we are in a pandemic. Every aspect of your life has been changed. These changes may include you no longer going to your work office and your children are now doing school from home. Grocery shopping is no longer relaxing but is instead now filled with your neighbors wearing masks and aisles with directional arrows on the floor. Your head is spinning as you try to take in your new reality. Did you ever say to yourself, “children do not come with an instruction manual?” Even if they did, and you memorized it, it may not help you now as we are in a pandemic. Feel free to picture me with that megaphone right about now!

I would imagine, for many of us, life does not look or feel as it did before Covid-19 entered it. Yet some parts of our life we are excelling right now (pat yourself on the back if you are adding new things such as more family time, cooking and eating together, overall feeling less rushed and hurried). If you need support on some areas, consider my reading past posts. I have tips and tools to help you!

Prior to our life being disrupted and shaken, cookies and ice cream may have been more of a “treat.” If you have a sweet tooth, you know that these things can make your day. On week four of this new life, my husband and kids dove to DQ on a Saturday evening. I received a text from them saying there were about 15 cars in the drive-thru and people eating in their cars all around. I referred to this as car ice-cream picnics when my kids were young. While I was not with them on that trip, it was my hope that those cars, filled in the parking lot had couples and families experiencing smiles and minutes of calm and joy in the life also filled with stress and uncertainty.

WHAT ABOUT WITH BREAKFAST AND LUNCH?

Over the last few weeks, parents have shared overall they are cooking more and eating healthier. Looking at their faces and hearing their tone you can see how proud they are. Like most of us, life may happen, and our intentions may get shifted. So where does the parent shaming come in you ask? It may show up after an exhausting morning of a parent pleading with their children to get their work done. And yes, they may have said, “if you choose to complete it without fuss you may have ice-cream…….at 9:00am.” Many children are struggling too. They miss their classrooms, peers, teachers. They miss a part of their parents too. Moms and dads are now partnering with teachers in hopes to get schoolwork completed. Many children do not want their parents in this school role. Shaming may also show up when a parent is simply exhausted and gives in to a child begging and negotiating relentlessly for extra cookies at lunch. When they tell the story, their eyes fill with their tears looking away as it is too painful or embarrassing to say.

I sat and listened to their stories. What was my response? I asked, “were they allowed to have extra sprinkles on their ice cream?”. The parent looked at me partly shocked but also with a smile. I went further, “I mean, was it a full-on ice-cream sundae making experience?”. There was a bigger smile and eyes wide open. The shame, self-shock, self-judgement freed. Please do not misunderstand, I am all about healthy, balanced eating. I also celebrate moments of spontaneous fun and silliness. We all need some of this now. I assured them that the pediatrician would not scold them, and the dentist would not parent shame them. This would not be a daily experience. However, what hopefully did happen, is that out of a moment of weary and frustration this family changed the energy and together created fun, chocolate syrup filled faces, ice-cream dripped down cones smiles on a school morning at 9:00am. This memory we want to be remembered.

I encouraged this experience be written down in the books! Since this began, I have been encouraging all to find a notebook and write out your profound moments. Some of these may be hard and challenging moments, with written out helpful coping strategies used. Other moments may be fun memories shared with the family such as a movie or game night. Another may be a person growth “aha” moment. Consider starting one for yourself.

Now is a time to practice being gentle with yourself as a parent. Doing so, during this unpresented time, will not stray you from your parenting values. Rather, it may help you exhale more so you can show up as the parent you so desperately want to be. To all the moms and dads questioning if having ice-cream at breakfast and cookies at lunch makes you a bad parent, the fact that you questioned the decision showed you are a parent who cares deeply.

Reach out to me at 239-84-2022 or schedule at www.heleneshute.com if you need support with parenting or believing in yourself during these unique times.

 

 

 

 

 

 



helene@heleneshute.com
239-848-2022

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