Strong Families, Happy Kids: Parenting Tips from Prevent Child Abuse Arizona
At the beginning of the pandemic, when everyone was trying to get their bearings with lockdowns, work and life disruptions, and constantly changing information, a post circulated around social media that went something like this:
A choir is able to sustain a very long note not because everyone holds the note at the same time, but because singers take breaths when they need to, and then join back in.
Our work as parents (and as employees!) is like that too. In the effort not just to keep your family unit running, but also to strengthen it, you may feel like things will fall apart if you take a break or time away. It may even feel irresponsible to take a break when there’s so much at stake.
But it won’t. And it isn’t. You may feel like everything depends on you – that you’re singing a solo. But we’re in this together. We’re a choir.
That means you need to take a breath sometimes. You need to take a break. You need to take your time.
If you’re anything like me, you often fool yourself by thinking: “If I just get through this week, then things will be calmer and I will take a break. I won’t work in the evenings or on weekends. It’ll be less busy.”
Parenting, however, has a way of filling all the space and time! New things always come up, demanding attention. We tell ourselves we don’t have time to pause. That we’ll let people down if we do. That tasks and challenges will insurmountably pile up if we take our time.
And maybe that’s true. But it turns out what you are doing – running your family so its members have what they need and are safe and nurtured – is long-haul work.
That’s what makes it so important. That’s what makes it so worth it. Us parents and community members are part of something so much bigger than any one of us. We’re part of a big choir sustaining a really long and important note.
So you need to take a breath when you can. According to a survey from Ipsos and Oxford Economics, 55% of Americans don’t use up the vacation days they earn. We’re not even taking the time that is literally owed us.
The work will be there when you get back. The work will always be there. So take a break. Take a breath. Take the time you need, because it’s actually better for you and your family. They need you for the long haul.
Editor’s Note: look for the Strong Families, Happy Kids column in every issue of Prescott Woman Magazine. It’s designed to support parents with actionable tips and strategies they can use to create optimal environments for their children to thrive. To learn more about Prevent Child Abuse Arizona’s mission and resources visit www.pcaaz.org