Finding Balance in our 'New Normal'
There’s no book on how to live and parent through a pandemic. As an individual, it’s challenging. As a parent, it can be even harder. Dr. Samantha Yamada, a mother and CDI psychologist, shares her tips to find a new sense of balance in our ‘new normal’.
- Letting go of the old norms. I am realizing that as much as I want to be an amazing parent and an amazing leader/employee – I need to be realistic about what I can actually accomplish right now while also engaging in self-care. Self-compassion is key as we all navigate the reality of this new way of being and working.
- Getting into a rhythm. Trying to increase structure and predictability by implementing a general daily schedule is going to be key for both myself and my child. In the schedule I have two columns: one for what my child will be doing and another for the specific times during which I can engage in work.
- I can only do one thing at a time. Trying to work while attending to my child was not working and was leading to a lot of dysregulation for us both. I was doing half of each and both work and my child were suffering. I now have created dedicated times in the day when I can do work (or non-child focussed activities): a period in the morning when she gets screen time, during her nap, another period in the afternoon when she gets screen time, and after she goes to bed. During all of the other times, I am focused on attending and responding to her through various activities (e.g., creative play, outdoor time, active play such as dance parties, learning to do chores together, child-led play).
- Prioritization of personal and professional to-dos. Given that I have approximately 6 hours I can spend on non-child focussed things, I need to prioritize ALL of my to-dos to take place during those hours. If a personal to do is higher priority (e.g., ordering groceries vs. responding to an email) that is what I must spend my time on first.
- Managing my own emotions. Self-regulation for children, particularly in this stressful time, is of course reliant on co-regulation. That means the foundation of all of this is going to be dependent on my own self-care. I am making efforts to create space daily for self-care in the mornings (e.g., meditation, a coffee alone, a bit of outside time) as well as making a pointed effort to connect with friends and family via video-conferencing.