What about the caregivers?
My word of the month is compassion! As an autism mom managing this pandemic - it takes a lot of compassion to get through the day and not let other people's opinion matter.
My home province of Ontario, Canada, is in its third lockdown and stay-at-home order - which means that all outdoor recreation is closed.
The amount of stress and overwhelm that we caregivers were managing pre-Covid was enough and now this.
We need to gentle with ourselves as we remember that March 2020 introduced us to our first lockdown - and then the entire world got a glance of how caregivers live - uncertainty, no control over anything, family members reacting differently and mostly mothers having to take charge and ensure that everyone is alright.
Meanwhile, life is still happening - work still needs to get done, people still get sick, loved ones pass away and our hopes and desires still burn passionately.
I have hard from caregivers of how challenging it is. Some children don’t understand at all that there’s a pandemic - they simply know that their schedule has changed - and they express their frustration (which is so normal).
Overall, I thought I was doing well. I had made it through the winter lockdown (lockdown #2) which started on Boxing Day…but the recent announcement for lockdown #3 and all of its restrictions is just too much!
What about the mental health of our kids?
What about the mental health of us caregivers? We caregivers are also people, employees, entrepreneurs, social beings.
When people get tired and frustrated, compassion is usually one of the first things to go out the window. When actually, that’s when we need it most. Both compassion for ourselves and compassion for others.
For example, even though schools are closed, the provincial government decided to keep special education classes open so parents have the choice to send their kids to school for in-class learning.
I am so grateful for that because my daughter Summer loves school as that is her means of social interaction. Her one friend is her classmate.
I choose to send Summer to school. It’s not right or wrong, it’s simply my choice. I know parents who are keeping their kids home and trying online learning for the special education classes. They’re not right or wrong, it’s simply their choice.
When we can have compassion for ourselves and compassion for others, it reminds us that we’re all experiencing the same global pandemic, the same lockdown and that we’re all doing the very best that we can.
And I’m the first to admit that somedays are better than others.
But at least I know that I’m trying my best. I hope that you can also remind yourself that you’re doing the best that you can.
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I am grateful that I get to spend this time with her and her brother. I will honour this time of a more relaxed schedule.
Whichever route a family chooses, what matters is knowing when to ask for help and how to get the right help to care for any family member that needs an additional helping hand.