The day you become a parent, your life changes instantly.
As a parent, you are now responsible for every basic need of a precious human who can’t tell you what you should do next to help them. So, using parental intuition, advice from those around you and your best friend Sir Google – you figure it out. Before you know it, not only are you giving your child everything they need to survive, but you’re also helping them to thrive. Winning!
Suddenly, the unexpected happens. An accident, a personal loss, a serious illness of a loved one. Life is full of curve balls which have the potential to seriously impair the good work you are doing as a parent but, no matter how old your child is, they still need you.
So, how do you balance your emotions and still meet the needs of your dependants when the routine is thrown out of the window and life is in turmoil?
Communicate: Depending on the age and maturity of your offspring explain to them what’s happening. Perhaps they don’t need to know all the intricate details, and that is up to your parental discretion, but explaining why mummy and daddy are sad or aren’t around as much just at the moment goes a long way to taking the fear away from your little ones. They’re intuitive creatures, and they pick up on your energy; without offering them any explanation their little imaginations will run riot leading to potential problems down the line.
Make plans: Give your children something to look forward to. While you’re at hospital visits, organising a funeral or physically unable to be present, it is important for your children to know that they’re still your priority. Set a date which is just for you and them. It might be a week away but it will give them something to look forward to, and they’ll know they’re still in your minds even if you can’t be around as much at the moment.
Be kind to yourself: The guilt at not being there for your children as much as you’d like can be insurmountable. But guilt is a wasted emotion, and it can impact your children negatively too. They will pick up on your unease and try to make you feel better, and when you don’t start to feel better, that’s a lot of pressure for their little mind and bodies to cope with.
You’re a great parent, and you’re doing the best for your kids in the current situation, don’t forget it!
Make time to grieve: Don’t cover up what you’re feeling from yourself as this will delay the healing process. Allow yourself guilt-free-time each day to feel all the emotions that are bubbling under the surface and make sense of what’s happening. That might take a week; it might take a year but feeling the feelings will allow you to be strong when the youngsters start asking their questions. Which they will!
Stay positive: It is next to impossible to stay positive when you can’t see a way out of what you’re feeling and experiencing but remember that it will get better. Even if you don’t believe it just yet, write yourself a little note and read it daily. This situation will not last forever.
Heartfelt Homes was born out of personal crisis where we learnt first-hand how important it is that a family stays together during times of unplanned tragedy. When a loved one is sick or injured, you can count on us to do everything possible to put the needs of your family first. Read our story here: Our Story