Life is hard. It has been even harder during the past eighteen months as we battle through a pandemic and try to make sense of a new world. Old habits are stopped. New habits are formed. We do things differently these days. And yet, not much has changed.
I have been struggling with personal relationships for many years. Mental illness has driven a wedge between me and my husband. Accidents and incidents have thrown us into a tailspin. We have battled illnesses, career challenges, running a home and getting our children to school. Some days I can barely function above the day-to-day tasks. Other days I feel energised and ready to fight my battles. How do my children respond to these mood swings?
I believe that our children are fine. They need to learn the realities of life from the safety of a comfort zone. We as parents need to be honest with our children. My parents would not share anything about adult life when I was young, and sometimes I wish that they had. Then it might not have been so traumatic when they got divorced. I might have learned better how to prepare myself for the world of work and juggling finances. I might have made different choices.
My children are intelligent and aware of the world. They learn things from YouTube videos and online gaming. They ask questions when something doesn’t make sense. They watch me and learn from me. My husband and I are being honest about our marital struggle, and the children know that we are working to try and resolve our problems so that we can be a proper family again. They have seen us argue and fight. It is a natural, human response to difficult situations. The children need to know that life can be tricky, otherwise they will not be able to cope with it when they grow up.
On my less productive days I will be honest with the children. I tell them when I need a break, when I need them to do something to help. I ask for help from other adults, so the children know that they never need to struggle alone. I accept my limitations and try to work around them. We find a way through the fog of living in a pandemic. We find joy in simple tasks, and we learn together as we grow. We can inspire our children from our daily behaviour and how we respond to challenges in life. We don’t have to be brave, or strong, or special. We just need to be present in their lives and aware of our personal importance.
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