Expert Pitch

Dear Parents: You Aren’t Perfect & That’s Just Fine

11-May-2020 9:00 AM EDT, by McLean Hospital contact patient services

Dear parents, you probably won’t have time to read this, thanks to COVID-19.

Maybe that’s because you just got home from an essential job like delivering groceries after a long, underpaid shift. Or maybe you are working from home while also trying to homeschool your three young children. Or you could be caring for an elderly, vulnerable parent. It might be that you have a child who is stubborn, or hyperactive, or anxious, and who has sapped your very last bit of energy or resolve. Or perhaps you are a frontline health care worker, desperate to sleep, trying to get the images of what you have seen out of your mind, out of your dreams.

You’ve probably seen a ton of online posts with “to-do lists” for parents: how-to lists for how to parent during a pandemic. They are popping up like mushrooms! You are supposed to manage your children, provide structure, give them an enriching education, limit screen time, entertain them when they are bored, and ensure that your teens don’t sneak out to parties with their potentially infected buddies … and also work, manage the house, and stay sane at the same time.

Many of these are excellent ideas, and yet … I am struggling with them. I bet you are struggling with them too. My guess is that you are also overwhelmed, and thinking things like “I can’t do it, it’s impossible,” or “I’m just not enough,” and that your mind has concluded that “you are not a good parent. Good parents could do this. I am a hot mess, and my children will be ruined.”

Parents, I call bulls&!t. And it is 100% OK for you to call bulls&!t, too.

First things first. Pause for a second. Take a long, deep, slow breath. And another. Let yourself look away from the screen, let your eyes rest on something pleasant — the sky outside your window, a photo on your bedside table, the houseplant in the corner, your cat purring softly next to you. There. Keep breathing.

You, parents, are not superhuman. You cannot do all the things, nor should you. It is ok to let go of being the perfect parent, of giving 110% all the time, of pushing yourself beyond your physical and mental capabilities. It is OK to give yourself a break; to be gentle with yourself. You do not have to beat yourself up — the world is doing enough of that for us.

Mom works while kids look on
Dr. Lisa Coyne reminds parents: You don’t have to be superhuman; it’s OK to give yourself a break

It’s OK to forgive yourself for that moment when you lost your temper; for when you said, “Not now, honey, Mommy’s tired”; for letting your kids have Oreos for breakfast; for leaving the piles of toys where they lay. You are not alone. This is happening in households all over the world. Just because the world has shifted on its axis around you, it is not on you to set it right.

Parents, whatever your situation, it’s OK to meet yourself where you are.

First, take care of yourself. There’s no parenting without you. Have you slept? Eaten? Talked to another adult? Take a few moments to do one kind thing for yourself, even if it’s being still for a few minutes, closing your eyes, and noticing the sun on your face as you sip your coffee. What might it be like if you could, even for a few moments, give yourself some solace?

COVID-19 has upended the world for all of us. Things feel enormous, overwhelming. So maybe now’s the time to think about those things that are most essential, and to think small. Sometimes the magic lies in the tiny, quiet moments that make up the fabric of our days.

Give some thought to the most important things: Have you done something today to help your children feel loved? Think about the smallest actions you could take toward this goal: gently cover your sleeping child with a blanket; leave the cereal out on the counter where they might reach it; pause a moment to smile at them, ruffle their hair, let the warmth of your hand rest on their shoulder, give a gentle squeeze that says, “I am here. You are precious to me.”

And remember to pause, breathe, and let yourself notice giving a tiny, exquisite gift in this moment. Imagine that these small acts, strung together, will become a strand of memories from these pandemic days. Being present for your children in tiny, messy, imperfect moments will nurture and sustain them, as the world pauses and takes a deep breath.

Lisa W. Coyne, PhDis an assistant professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, part-time, at Harvard Medical School, and is a senior clinical consultant at the Child and Adolescent OCD Institute (OCDI Jr.) at McLean Hospital. Dr. Coyne has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and chapters on anxiety, OCD, and parenting. She is the author of “The Joy of Parenting: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to Effective Parenting in the Early Years,” a book for parents of young children.




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 2527
Released: 10-Jul-2020 12:50 PM EDT
Genetic ‘fingerprints’ of first COVID-19 cases help manage pandemic
University of Sydney

A new study published in the world-leading journal Nature Medicine, reveals how genomic sequencing and mathematical modelling gave important insights into the ‘parentage’ of cases and likely spread of the disease in New South Wales.

Released: 10-Jul-2020 12:35 PM EDT
Our itch to share helps spread COVID-19 misinformation
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

To stay current about the Covid-19 pandemic, people need to process health information when they read the news. Inevitably, that means people will be exposed to health misinformation, too, in the form of false content, often found online, about the illness.

Newswise: Pandemic Inspires Framework for Enhanced Care in Nursing Homes
Released: 10-Jul-2020 12:25 PM EDT
Pandemic Inspires Framework for Enhanced Care in Nursing Homes
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

As of May 2020, nursing home residents account for a staggering one-third of the more than 80,000 deaths due to COVID-19 in the U.S. This pandemic has resulted in unprecedented threats—like reduced access to resources needed to contain and eliminate the spread of the virus—to achieving and sustaining care quality even in the best nursing homes. Active engagement of nursing home leaders in developing solutions responsive to the unprecedented threats to quality standards of care delivery is required.

Newswise: General Electric Healthcare Chooses UH to Clinically 
Evaluate First-of-its-kind Imaging System
Released: 10-Jul-2020 12:15 PM EDT
General Electric Healthcare Chooses UH to Clinically Evaluate First-of-its-kind Imaging System
University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center

University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center physicians completed evaluation for the GE Healthcare Critical Care Suite, and the technology is now in daily clinical practice – flagging between seven to 15 collapsed lungs per day within the hospital. No one on the team could have predicted the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this technology and future research with GEHC may enhance the capability to improve care for COVID-19 patients in the ICU. Critical Care Suite is now assisting in COVID and non-COVID patient care as the AMX 240 travels to intensive care units within the hospital.

Released: 10-Jul-2020 11:50 AM EDT
COVID-19 Can Be Transmitted in the Womb, Reports Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins

A baby girl in Texas – born prematurely to a mother with COVID-19 – is the strongest evidence to date that intrauterine (in the womb) transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can occur, reports The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, the official journal of The European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

Released: 10-Jul-2020 9:45 AM EDT
How COVID-19 Shifted Inpatient Imaging Utilization
Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute

As medical resources shifted away from elective and non-urgent procedures toward emergent and critical care of COVID-19 patients, departments were forced to reconfigure their personnel and resources. In particular, many Radiology practices rescheduled non-urgent and routine imaging according to recommendations from the American College of Radiology (ACR). This new Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute study, published online in the Journal of American College of Radiology (JACR), evaluates the change in the inpatient imaging volumes and composition mix during the COVID-19 pandemic within a large healthcare system.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 12-Jul-2020 7:00 PM EDT Released to reporters: 10-Jul-2020 9:00 AM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 12-Jul-2020 7:00 PM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Released: 10-Jul-2020 9:00 AM EDT
Team is first in Texas to investigate convalescent plasma for prevention of COVID-19 onset and progression
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

A research team is the first in Texas to investigate whether plasma from COVID-19 survivors can be used in outpatient settings to prevent the onset and progression of the virus in two new clinical trials at UTHealth.


Showing results

110 of 2527

close
3.1702