The hygienist was a sweet and empathetic lady who caught me in a tough parenting moment, feeling the long, drawn out weight of a pandemic that has kept my oldest daughter in online schooling for a year, a year that is getting old and depressing.
As a freshman in high school, she has not had a chance to make new friends, get lost on a high school campus, eat bad cafeteria food, struggle opening her locker, join a club or do her sports, or experience all the things a freshman should. My sweet girl has struggled keeping the light in her eyes and the fire of motivation and inspiration burning in her heart. And that morning when I walked into the dentist, apparently all I needed was the hygenist to ask how I was doing and how my girls were handling the pandemic. My eyes welled up and she attempted to empathize with me, single mom to single mom. She wanted to share something with me that she found solace in when her kids were younger too, something a prominent family therapist and religious leader had shared with her when she was struggling as a parent. It was something along the lines of…
Just focus on getting through it.
And then you’ll be done and they will be gone, living their own lives.
Just focus on getting through it? What kind of scarcity, victimhood, passive bullshit parenting is that?
First of all, I cannot imagine ANYONE giving that kind of advice. And if that is legit the advice she got, then my heart goes out to all of the children who were parented under that guidance. Just get through it? Really?
And then I started thinking about how many times we have said and continue to use phrases like:
I just need to make it to ____.
If I can just get through ____, then I can/will ____.
I just need to get to the end of ______.
As educators and parents, we fill in the blanks with things like:
I just need to make it through the month.
If I can just get through the week, then I can catch up with sleep over the weekend.
I just need to get to the end of this school year.
In believing and buying into the energy of “getting through it”, we then disregard self-care, self-love and mindful self-compassion. We dismiss our role in co-creating the abundance we seek in our lives - the abundance of joy, money, love, adventure, and of all the things we truly desire in our hearts. We disregard our role as important humans in the lives of our children and the youth we serve, co-creating their early life experiences and modeling for them how to live purpose-driven, meaningful lives full of love and possibility.
Here’s the other thing that happens when we focus on just getting through it - we miss everything. We miss everything that happens from point A to point B because we are just focused on point B. We miss the journey, we miss the details, we miss the experiences - all the joys, the good, the growth. We miss our kids growing up, we miss all the little celebrations, we miss LIFE. Yup, you heard me.
And that means we place ourselves in the position of martyr and victim, surviving our way through life - therefore constantly affirming and reaffirming our lack, our undeservingness, our unworthiness, our not-enoughness.
I will add here, before I go any further, by saying that I am guilty of saying all of the above and I spent most of my life bought into the fixed mindset underneath it all. The mindset that kept me stuck and feeling like I could never reach my goals or be my best or earn the income I dream about earning. I honestly think I lived every month “just trying to get through the month” in the hopes that next month my finances would look different. And guess what? They didn’t - no matter how much money I made, no matter what my job title was or where I was employed, no matter what expenses I had; every month was about just getting through it. It was a perpetual cycle with no new outcomes, even through a pandemic! I think that - living through this global crisis - is where I started to really think about what it means to “just make it through.”
When the world first shut down, about one year ago, most of us believed it would be temporary, a 3 week shut down and things would go back to normal. Then we started having conversations about a new normal because clearly things were NOT going to go back to “normal” - however we used to define it. As the weight of recovery from a global crisis sits on our shoulders and occupies space in our hearts, many of us are living in the “just get through it” - praying and hoping it's different on the other side.
And here is where I really want us to play. Here is where we really get to create a new timeline, a new possibility and move into the co-creative experience that it is meant to be.
Like I told my sweet girl the other morning - it's been a year. Who knows what’s coming so let’s stop waiting for it to be something other than it is.
If you are struggling with getting out of bed in the morning, what will motivate you? What kind of accountability will support you in feeling better, in feeling the way you want to feel? (How do you want to feel anyway? Decide that and then move from there!)
If you are struggling with finding the energy or motivation to take care of your basic fundamental needs, like brushing your teeth, putting on clean clothes and getting out of those jammies, eating yummy food, or calling a loved one that you miss, then I lovingly remind you that you are important and taking care of yourself is important because you are loved and you are meant to love yourself fully, wholly and completely. So what will it take for you to START again? What will it take for you to start bringing in routines that support you in taking care of your basic needs? Start there and work your way up each rung until YOU feel normal again, despite the new normal of our circumstance and environments. Once you get there, then we can start to get you out of the “just get through it” mindset and into a co-creative life experience.
As always, if you really need help with this, then I am your girl. Take advantage of a free 30-minute session and let’s talk. If I am not the best fit to help you, then I most definitely will connect you with resources or people that are. Because I love you and I see your importance and I want to support you in seeing that for yourself, too.