This is day 63 of the quarantine in my area as I write this, and my girls just went from playing nicely together to fighting. My 11 year old is telling me that she is done playing with my 7 year old and that she would like some time alone. My 7 year old just stomped away upset. Good times in the Greene home. I’m yelling after my 7 year old that I’ll play with her but she hasn’t come back yet. There’s never a dull moment in my house. I’m thankful that my kids have each other and I’m actually impressed with how well they are playing together. I don’t get surprised if a fight begins. They are together all day, every day. What do I expect? I give them a pass. They are allowed to get into squabbles.
Max and Ella have been sleeping well in their beds since they were very little. We switched them from their crib to a bed at a very young age and it was smooth sailing from there with them sleeping through the night. They hated their cribs, but they loved their beds. Then there is our youngest child Lillie. Lillie still wakes during the night and comes to find me. She was doing great before the quarantine and now she is waking up again. She will come tell me in the middle of the night that she had a nightmare. She came to me at 6 am this morning and told me that she had a nightmare. How could I get upset? Her world has turned upside down. It makes total sense that she has sleep disturbance and nightmares. I try to talk to her about great things before bed and put her in a good state before she falls asleep. I pretend I’m taking out all her bad dreams and throwing them away and then I collect good dreams and pretend to put them in her head. I’m giving her a giant pass for the nights she wakes me up. I truly understand that her stress is coming out in her dreams.
I put Ella to bed the other night and I saw the tears. “When am I going to get to do 42nd street?” She asks me. This is the musical that she was supposed to be in before everything got closed. I calmly told her that I had no idea. I told her I didn’t know when everything would open again but that one day, she would get to go to her theater again. She looked so sad and I tried to talk to her about things that would make her happy. I asked her if there was something she wanted to do together tomorrow or someone she wanted to call. She was going to have sad moments. I told her that we could figure out a socially distant way to have a “play date.” I was just going to continue to do my best to help her with sad feelings and to give her as many positive moments as I could.
Seth signed her up for Boom master class to take classes from Broadway actors. Every time she has a class, he gets her all excited for the date and that it is coming soon. He realizes she needs dates on the calendar, and he is trying his hardest to give her some happiness. There will be some happy times and some sad times. There will be some smiles and there will be some tears. I just had to be patient and give Ella a pass. There is no getting upset with her for being sad. How could I possibly get upset with her or lose tolerance for her? All three of her musicals got cancelled. She is allowed to have sad moments. This is a child who is used to always having a musical to get ready for. I knew she loved it, but I never realized how much she loved it! I never realized how good it was for her. We need to give our kids a pass and just know that they are going to have things like sleep disturbance, nightmares, sad moments and tears.
My husband scolded my son today. He told him his sleep schedule was totally messed up. Max went to bed at 1 AM last night and we dragged him out of bed at noon to go on a family walk. If I leave Max alone, he will go to bed around 1 and roll downstairs around 3 pm after he has laid in bed awake watching Netflix for a while. He is living the teenage dream right now. He has about two hours of school during the week and he is snacking and gaming and a very happy camper. He told us he is loving the quarantine. Seth told him soccer is supposed to start the end of June and that in June we need to get him on a better sleep schedule. Sometimes he will have early morning games. I completely and totally understand where Seth is coming from. He wants his kids on a good schedule. Seth likes routine and structure and likes to know exactly what to expect. I guess I am giving Max a giant pass right now. My expectation is that he does all his schoolwork and gets good grades. My expectation is that he jogs and practices soccer and attempts to stay in shape. I don’t have a ton of expectations for Max right now. I am so happy that he is happy. I know he is gaming too much. I know it isn’t good for him. I also know that I am giving him a big pass. My expectations for my children are not as high as they normally are. It’s definitely a time for lowering expectations and for giving people a pass.
I’m hearing a lot of criticizing among friends. I have friends who have been staying at home during all of this. They are getting groceries delivered and are doing their best to stay out of stores. I have friends who are in stores frequently. I have friends who still go to work. I have friends who are keeping their children home and aren’t letting them have any play dates. I have friends who are letting their kids have play dates. I have friends who haven’t had people over and I have friends who are having social gatherings at their house. I have seen and heard it all. I have heard people say that they aren’t wearing a mask. I have heard people say that of course they are wearing a mask and that they couldn’t believe people aren’t wearing masks. I listen to everyone and I find myself not judging.
Everyone has to do what is best for their family. You do what works for you and your family. I understand both sides as I usually do. I understand that one side feels mental health is important and that they don’t like their families not being exposed to others. They are questioning what their immune systems will be like if they don’t see any people. The other side is complaining that asymptomatic people are continuing to spread the virus and are feeling angered by people who they feel aren’t taking it seriously. I think that everyone is dealing with this as best as they can. I think it’s not a time to get angry and judge other people. It’s a time where we need to give people a pass. I also can only control what myself and my family are doing. It’s not my job to control anyone else.
Let’s move on to our politicians. I’ve heard so much criticism of our President and our Governor. Do you want to know what I have to say about that? I am so glad that I don’t have that job. I am so glad that I am not in charge and responsible for making all the decisions that they are making. I believe that they are doing their best. I am trying my best to trust them. I hope that they are working for the people. I hope that they have our best interests at heart. If I am being told to stay home, I will do my best to do that. If I am being told to wear a mask, then I will wear one when I am close to a lot of people. I never considered myself a big rule follower. I wasn’t raised with a lot of rules. I have heard that we are all being brain washed. I have had multiple friends tell me that. What exactly does that mean? We are being brain washed to wear a mask in an attempt to keep us safe. Not only am I giving my children a pass, I am also giving our politicians a pass. They are doing the best that they can. I believe that. If you don’t like the job that they are doing than I encourage you to get into politics and go do it yourself. Easier to criticize than to do the job.
I am that person who wants everyone to get along. I am that person who hates to hear criticisms of others. I love when people attempt to be positive. I love when people attempt to solve problems. I love when people try to look at the good in people. I am that person who hates hearing Democrats and Republicans fight against each other. Can we just be people on the same side right now? Can we just be on the side of getting rid of the virus. Is that possible? Let’s give people a pass and realize that everyone is doing the best that they can right now.
Give people a pass:
- Your children may be experiencing sleep disturbances and nightmares. They may have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep.
- Your children may be having sad moments.
- Your children may complain that they are bored. That’s to be expected.
- Your children may be gaming and on screens more than normal. Do your best to give them other options to do i.e. bracelet making with my daughters today. Give yourself and your child a pass for extra screen time. Also know that too much screen time and too close to bedtime may cause sleep issues.
- Your children may be extra moody.
- Your spouse may also be experiencing mood swings and have sad moments.
- Your children, your spouse, your family and your friends may act out of the ordinary.
- Know that your friends are doing the best that they can.
- Your politicians are doing their best. Try to put yourself in their shoes and in other people’s shoes too.
- Look for the good in people.
- Do your best to spread joy, encouragement and tolerance.
We will all get through this together. Your kids need you. Your spouse needs you and your friends need you. Go be understanding and give someone a pass.
Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R