Parenting during Covid19 Pandemic

A message from Joanne White

M&FL Co-ordinator & Family Life Worker

UNPRECEDENTED, I’m not sure that I’ve ever used this word much at all in my day to day conversations or at all, yet it’s the word I hear myself repeating almost hourly right now. The impact of the Covid19 pandemic is sending shockwaves through the world, our lives, our families, our routines….. through everything.

Whatever their circumstances parents are very much adjusting to changes and are most likely feeling somewhat overwhelmed by their work, or lack of it, situations (not everyone can easily adjust to working from home overnight), home schooling, reassuring scared children (& adult family members), keeping in touch with isolated relatives, looking out for neighbours and the strategic exercises of keeping the food cupboards stocked; I don’t mind admitting that I’ve had a few bad days myself and I’m sure there may be many more come.

Remember IT IS OK TO NOT BE OK under such uncertain and unprecedented times and it is still early days.

When schools closed, I was listening to advice for parents on home schooling from an ‘expert’ (I can’t remember whether it was on the radio or TV or who she was but I became an instant fan), she said the first step was to give everyone a week off! This was (she said) important to help everyone adjust before tackling the major undertaking of adjusting to learning from home alongside everyone else.

Catholic parents were faced with the added expectation of being their child’s catechist too; sure we know we have always been their primary teachers and this is part of our wonderful and sacred vocation of parenthood, but in reality most of us rely heavily on our Catholic schools and parish catechists/liturgists. Not being able to attend public Mass and the removal of our holy obligations for Sundays and Holy Days was something no one has ever experienced either – that’s how serious this situation is – UNPRECEDENTED just doesn’t cover it!

Thankfully technology is providing us with a wonderful opportunity to stay in touch with family and friends, and also live streamed Mass and other liturgies are invalid in filling the spiritual gaps in our lives. Initially I embraced the live streaming and Mass hoped around our deanery on a daily basis. However, after just a week, I became overwhelmed by the expectation that I had to ‘attend’ Mass, stations and rosary on a daily basis whilst also keeping up with everything else; TOO much pressure, TOO high expectations, TOO overwhelming!

If you do find things getting too much, remember to talk to family and friends and share your feelings; if this isn’t possible or appropriate remember there are organisation that can offer support or just a listening ear:

family lives – offer information and support on many aspects of family life and parenting and have a helpline.

Samaritans – call anytime

If you have domestic abuse concerns, Refuge have a 24 hour helpline

As a wise colleague put it ‘families, (including ours!) are just trying to stay sane and adjust.  ‘Domestic church’ is keeping on trying to love each other as best we can… fall down get up fall down etc!  As a priest colleague says, go back to early church practice, and simply pray the Our Father  perhaps morning and evening in solidarity with all through OUR Father….. that works!’

Resources for Home Catechises and Liturgies

In sharing these, it is done by way of supporting you and in no way meant to add to the pressures already faced in your current parenting roles.

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