Expecting During an Unexpected Time

Expecting During an Unexpected Time

Expecting During an Unexpected Time

Pregnancy During a Pandemic

We couldn’t have anticipated what 2020 would bring, for many of us it’s been a time of massive change, forcing us to practice flexibility, coping, and adaptability (that’s a lot of new skills!). In my work with clients who are expecting, this has been especially challenging. Whether this is your first or fifth pregnancy, it’s everyone's’ first pregnancy during a pandemic. As an expecting mother myself, I can understand the unique stressors the current circumstances present to pregnant women. 

In supporting clients (and going through this myself), I wanted to share two areas of focus that can help you have a positive pregnancy experience amidst a global pandemic: How to Renegotiate Your Expectations and Skills You Can Apply to Better Navigate the Challenging Emotional Terrain that is Pregnancy during a pandemic.

Renegotiating Your Expectations

If you’re like me, you may have pictured being pregnant as a time to be shared with family and friends and a time to celebrate, maybe you pictured, traveling somewhere special with your partner during your last months as a family of two (or three, or four, or five…)! Then Covid happened and what you pictured needed to shift. The unfortunate truth is, the plan you may have hoped for likely won’t be as conducive to the new reality. Changing expectations can be challenging, but the good news is we know what can help with this!

1)    Grieving the ambiguous loss: You may be grieving (feeling anger, shock, sadness, etc) the pregnancy you’d imagined.

Although this doesn't feel pleasant, it’s okay to allow these feelings of loss to exist. If you feel a sense of sadness when planning your virtual baby shower (or perhaps are for-going a baby shower altogether), allow yourself space and time to experience your emotional reality.

This may involve talking with someone you trust about what you’re feeling, journaling, or just finding time to check in with yourself.

2)    Develop a new, more present-focused vision: Reflect on what are more reasonable expectations, for right now. What can you focus on today or even this week that feels grounded in your reality?

For example, your baby shower may not be how you’d originally envisioned, but what are other (more realistic options) for how you can create an experience you will cherish?

3)    Adjust unhelpful thoughts: It’s easy to get stuck in the negative (in fact, humans are prone to do this). If you find yourself dwelling on potential catastrophic outcomes, remember all outcomes exist on a spectrum.

What are more positive possible outcomes? Shift your focus- this doesn’t mean avoid your feelings and worries, it’s an exercise in looking at what else exists within your emotional experience that could be more helpful).

4)   Find Gratitude and Reframe: What about this experience is working for you? For example, maybe you and your partner are both working from home, allowing you to fully experience this pregnancy together (which you wouldn’t have been able to do previously).

Perhaps, it has allowed you to involve out-of-state family members in more meaningful and creative ways. Whatever the case may be, find what is true for you and focus energy toward this reframe.

Let's Talk. Schedule a Free Consultation Today.

Skills to Navigate Challenging Emotions

You’re likely experiencing a mixed bag of emotions (perhaps, exacerbated by the expected hormonal shifts). You may notice feeling happy and grateful, while also feeling sadness or anxiety, then maybe guilt (because you should be happy all the time right now, right?). Wrong! You can feel what you feel.

  1.     Control what you can control: Try to focus on what is within your control (we know, worrying about the other “stuff” doesn’t work as well). I know, easier said than done.

    Try setting daily intentions that allow you to feel safe, secure, and connected to your growing little one. For some this may mean taking ownership over their prenatal health routine (cooking and workouts), for others this might mean cleaning their home.

  2.     Seek support: This is an opportunity to find healthy ways to lean on your social support network. Attempting to overcome these challenges in isolation, can make the experience feel even more daunting! Identify loved ones you can reach out to.

    You might also consider trying to connect with an Online Mothers Group. Talking with others who have a similar shared experience can be a powerful emotional outlet. Of course, you could also consider seeking the support of a counselor too!

  3.     Focus on developing your coping skills (specifically related to stress management): Take inventory of your current toolbox: what currently helps you to manage stress effectively and are there other ways we can expand your skillset?

    Perhaps this includes deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, listening to music, cooking, or going on walks. There are a plethora of stress management tools at your fingertips. Your challenge is to figure out what works best for you!

  4.     Focus on your values: Sometimes, shifting focus and concentrating on coming back into contact with what feels truly meaningful and important to us can help us to better manage discomfort.

    For example, becoming focused on details that are less important in the grand scheme of things (and, maybe not even in our control anyway), can create emotional discomfort. Instead, try to zoom out and look at what feels most important. For example, perhaps you’re noticing an increase in stress when researching the gazillion car seat options available to you (between the aesthetics of it, installing it, weight limitations, cost, safety ratings, convertibility as your little one ages, it’s overwhelming).

    Zoom out and look at the big picture – your primary concern may be safety. Re-focus your efforts to emphasize the priorities vs. getting stuck in the details.

  5.     Hold space: What are your feelings telling you? Feelings are data points. They are giving us clues to better help us understand our internal experience.

    What are your clues telling you?

    Make room for your feelings to exist and approach them with compassion. Attempt to use these data points to inform your next steps.

    For example, if you notice sadness creeping in, explore and inspect this feeling. Once you identify where it’s coming from and why it’s showing up, you can focus on what’s within your control to foster relief.

A Final Note

For those of you struggling with pregnancy brain fog (like me), here’s the cliff notes version of how to manage the unique stressors accompanying your pandemic pregnancy:

  1.     Adjust your expectations and stay grounded in your reality, not just the hard moments, but also the good moments.

    This time has brought great change, some of which is undoubtedly good. Try to honor this by reframing, addressing unhelpful thoughts, and allowing room for your grief experience.

  2.     Productively Navigate Your Feelings by acknowledging them, seeking support, and further developing your personal coping skills/tools.

I know this is a challenging time, pregnancy is hard no matter which way you slice it. However, it is also magical, exciting, and a time of tremendous change and growth.

I’m hopeful these tips may assist you in having a beautiful, and dare I say, fun pregnancy experience! You got this mamma!

Xoxo,
Rachel

 

Rachel-Harder-M.A. marriage counselor couples therapist denver broomfield colorado online marriage counseling

Rachel Hill, M.A., LPC, LMFT helps you find passion and joy in yourself and your relationships. She supports you in creating meaning and happiness, and not only facing your challenges — but triumphantly overcoming them.

 

 

Real Help, To Move You Forward

 

Everyone experiences challenges, but only some people recognize these moments as opportunities for growth and positive change.

 

 

Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.

 

 

Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

Related Post

Boundaries in Relationships

Boundaries in Relationships

Happy, healthy relationships are built on healthy boundaries. If you struggle to establish boundaries, understand your boundaries, or even define your boundaries to others, this episode is for you!

I am talking with Denver Therapist, and Boundary Expert, Kathleen Stutts and we are going to cover the basics of boundaries and then dive into the nitty-gritty of establishing your boundaries in relationships so that you too can feel empowered in your most important relationships!

Meditation for Anger

Meditation for Anger

If your relationship with anger could use some improvement, Maryland Therapist and Online Life Coach, Natalie Krenz, M.A., LCMFT has one incredible skill that you can start practicing today!

How to Relax (When You're a Type-A Stress-Case)

How to Relax (When You're a Type-A Stress-Case)

Hard-working, conscientious, high-achievers are often extremely successful in all areas of life… but they have a hard time relaxing. True for you too, you superstar? Learn how to relax, renew, and restore from the inside out, on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.

Love is Respect

Love is Respect

Ft. Collins, Colorado Therapist and Marriage Counselor, Hunter Tolman, M.S., MFTC is discussing the fundamental support for every relationship – respect. A healthy relationship requires respect in order to thrive. Learn more about how you can begin implementing greater respect into your relationship here!

Build Confidence and Charisma

Build Confidence and Charisma

Did the pandemic make your social skills a little rusty? In this podcast: Stand-up comedian, comedy writer and “conversation coach” Kristen Carney is here with a refresher on how to build confidence and charisma, and be interesting and fun to talk to. Join us!

Trust Yourself

Trust Yourself

It can be hard to trust yourself, particularly if you're struggling to tell the difference between your intuition and anxiety. Your confidence will grow when you learn the difference between worry and inner wisdom. Learn how, on this episode of the podcast.

google-site-verification: googlef190332c376b65f6.html

Gentle Parenting

Gentle Parenting

Gentle Parenting

What is the Gentle Parenting Approach?

Gentle parenting is an approach that is centered on mutual empathy and understanding. While some parenting techniques follow certain guidelines and rules, gentle parenting is more of a “way of being” that promotes feelings of security and inspires positive growth for both the child and the parent!

Gentle Parenting: Where to Start

In order to use gentle parenting effectively, it is important that parents first explore their own anxieties and insecurities. There is no such thing as a perfect parent. We all bring with us experiences that could get in the way of us gently approaching our kiddos. 

Maybe you had a parent who yelled at you when you were young, so when your child yells at you, it creates feelings of anxiety? Or maybe you had an absent parent, and your fear of not being enough for your child is crippling because you know how hard that can be? 

The truth is since no parent is perfect we all bring baggage to the table, BUT the more aware of this baggage we are, the better able we are to deal with it and be fully present with our children!

Why Does Gentle Parenting Work? 

Gentle parenting is thought to be successful, because it “meets children where they’re at” developmentally versus expecting them to master skills that even some adults can’t get right! When we can meet a child where they’re at, we acknowledge that their behaviors are what is expected based on their brain development, which means that we need to address those behaviors in a way that makes the most sense to the child. 

Rather than pathologizing “bad behavior,” it acknowledges that children behave in ways that just make sense given their needs in that moment. Parents ask themselves, “what is my child trying to communicate to me in this moment?” For example, a child who is screaming in a busy grocery store may be feeling overwhelmed by the chaotic environment, is hungry or tired, or might be needing reassurance from his/her parent that they are safe. 

Although some would look at this behavior as simply unacceptable, gentle parenting suggests that there is always a logical reason why children act the way they do and when we can find out “why” we can support them better through that unwanted behavior, which ultimately builds mutual trust and respect! 

Let's Talk. Schedule a Free Consultation Today.

Gentle Parenting Challenges

Although gentle parenting is helpful for many families, parents may encounter some challenges with this approach: First, some parents might be so focused on meeting their child where they’re at that it can be tempting to become overly permissive and allow all behaviors to play out without setting appropriate boundaries. 

Second, gentle parenting requires significant self-control as a parent, which could be too difficult for some parents with unresolved experiences or past trauma, or those who have a hard time regulating their own stress. 

In this case, it may be helpful to speak with someone, like an online therapist or coach, who can help you through those barriers so that you can be more present and attentive to your child. As a parenting coach and family therapist, I have found it helpful to work with many parents on their own reactions to their children and where that reaction comes from while implementing gentle parenting. 

Gentle Parenting and Discipline

Some people believe gentle parenting to be too “soft” and absent of discipline. However this is not the case! In fact, gentle parenting views discipline as a necessary tool to teach children not only how to behave but how to have good relationships with others. After all, the word “discipline” means “to teach.”

Discipline in gentle parenting first involves reassuring the child that you love them by meeting the child’s needs and then offering clear and consistent boundaries in order to promote safety and security. There is no traditional positive or negative reinforcement in gentle parenting, but rather the focus is on connecting because the more connected we feel to our parent, the more we trust that their boundaries are good for us. 

I once heard someone say, “the most important thing for your child to hear after ‘I love you’ is ‘I won’t let you’.” Gentle Parenting is just that: a balance of firmness and kindness. 

To tackle a tantrum, gentle parenting suggests:

  1. Getting down to their level (literally) and reassure them that they are allowed to feel emotions! 
  2. Provide empathy by actively listening to what is making them feel so upset (even if it seems ridiculous to you), and then…
  3. Naming how they are feeling so that they can better communicate that feeling in the future. The goal is not to prevent or redirect all negative emotions. The goal is to help teach your child how to communicate and deal with negative emotions when they happen. 

 

Gentle Parenting a Strong-Willed Child

How do you practice gentle parenting with a strong-willed child? Patience and empathy! Think about it this way, if someone is repeating the same darn thing to you they must REALLY need you to understand what they’re saying. The same is true for children who are strong-willed. They may think they know what is best so they fight you to convince you that their way is better. 

Ultimately, they need to understand that as the adult and parent, you actually know better! AND that you’re willing to hear them and respect them, that their feelings matter, and you’re there to support them. But supporting them doesn’t have to mean you’ll do everything they ask… I think we can all agree most of the time candy for dinner isn’t actually the best idea!

Just remember, consistency is key! Keep redirecting towards boundaries AND reassuring them that they can trust you as their parent because you care about them. The next time your child doesn’t want to go to bed, try saying “I love you so much and I see that you are having fun and want to stay up, but I won’t let you stay up past your bedtime because your body needs sleep”. 

What to Do When Your Family and Friends Disagree with Your Gentle Parenting Style

In my work with parents, I am asked questions like “what if my parents or friends disagree with my parenting style – what if they don’t believe gentle parenting works?” And, “how can I build necessary boundaries without hurting my relationships?”

No matter what parenting style you choose there’s likely to be people who disagree with you. This doesn’t mean you have to conform to their parenting style or cut them out of your life. True to gentle parenting, kindness and firmness can be helpful tools in navigating these conversations. 

Just like children, grown-ups are more likely to respect your point of view when they feel their opinions are heard. So, try starting with asking them why they choose to parent differently. Be curious and kind just as you would with your own child, and then offer your own perspective. It may also be helpful to point to some resources, scientific studies, or specific examples of how gentle parenting has helped your family. 

If you are still met with opposition, that’s okay! Disagreeing on parenting styles is not worth losing people you care about. The important thing is that you’ve found a way of parenting that works for you. At this point, find your inner “gentle parent” and communicate “I love you, and I won’t let you”– tell that person how much you care about them and their relationship, but you won’t let them treat you poorly or let a disagreement affect your relationship with them. 

Many families have found gentle parenting to be solace in a world of parenting do’s and don'ts. The families I’ve worked with have discovered that this style of parenting not only helped their children learn new positive behaviors, but they’ve also found their parent-child relationship is stronger! My hope for you is that you might find gentle parenting to be just as meaningful. 

With kindness, 
Georgi Chizk

 

Bentonville Arkansas Marriage Counselor Bentonville Therapist Bentonville Premarital Counseling Bentonville Family Therapy Online Therapy Arkansas

Georgi Chizk, M.S., LAMFT is a warm, compassionate marriage counselor, individual therapist and family therapist who creates a safe and supportive space for you to find meaning in your struggles, realize your self-worth, and cultivate healthy connections with the most important people in your life.

If you are interested in learning more about the gentle parenting approach or would like support in your parenting journey, Georgi is an excellent parenting coach and family therapist. 

 

 

Real Help, To Move You Forward

 

Everyone experiences challenges, but only some people recognize these moments as opportunities for growth and positive change.

 

 

Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.

 

 

Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

Related Post

Gentle Parenting

Gentle Parenting

What is the gentle parenting approach? What are the pros and cons of using this approach in your parenting journey? Arkansas family therapist and online parenting coach, Georgi Chizk, M.S., LAMFT discusses how to get started and the benefits of using this approach in your parenting journey.

Six Strategies To A Thriving Relationship During Chaos

Six Strategies To A Thriving Relationship During Chaos

If you are struggling in your partnership – you're not alone. There is support for you here. Today on the Love, Happiness and Success Blog, Online marriage counselor and relationship expert Seth Bender, M.A., MFTC is sharing with you his 6 strategies to a thriving relationship during chaos. Read now…

Tips to Survive Quarantine with Kids

Tips to Survive Quarantine with Kids

Looking for survival tips while in quarantine with kids? We get it! Jessica Small, M.A., LMFT is a Denver-based Marriage Therapist and Parenting Coach. Today she's bringing you the Survival Manual (7 Tips for surviving this quarantine with kids) when you might just need it the most! Read now…

Coparenting Together

Coparenting Together

Parenting with a partner can be difficult. It's not unusual to have different ideas of how to raise your children, but working together and building strategies for success can help ease some of those uncomfortable conversations. Couples therapist and parenting coach Jessica Small, M.A., LMFT shares 5 Coparenting Strategies for a successful partnership on this week's The Love, Happiness and Success blog post!

Love Without Borders: Cross Cultural Relationships

Love Without Borders: Cross Cultural Relationships

Love Without Borders: Cross Cultural Relationships

Is There a Culture-Clash in Your Relationship?

[social_warfare]

How to Deal With Cultural Differences in a Relationship

As a marriage counselor and couples therapist l know that all relationships bring a variety of challenges and opportunities for growth. At the same time, some couples  — particularly those in cross-cultural relationships — feel that they have further to go in bridging the gap. Cross-cultural couples can have vastly different relationship expectations regarding gender roles in the home, the role of extended family, how to communicate, and so much more. While, ultimately, the diversity of their union can lead to an enormously strong and healthy relationship, couples from very different cultural or racial backgrounds sometimes need to work harder to create understanding and compromise.

Cross-Cultural Relationships

For the record, it is important to note that everyone comes into a relationship from a different family of origin that had its own values, belief system, internal culture and way of doing things. Even individuals who may, on a surface level, appear to be of similar backgrounds may have had entirely different “family cultures” that are influencing their expectations in their relationship with their partner. (This is the underlying reason why financial therapy for couples is so necessary!)

One big strength for interracial couples and international couples is an overt awareness that they need to openly discuss and respect these differences in order to achieve congruence. In contrast, couples who make the mistake of assuming that their partner’s life experiences were similar to their own run the risk of having unspoken assumptions and expectations lead to conflict and hurt feelings. Knowing from the outset that you both have perspectives, values and expectations that are simultaneously both different and equally valuable is a huge asset.

Navigating Cultural Differences in a Relationship

It’s very easy for couples to get entrenched in conflict rooted in a core belief of “right and wrong” when it comes to how to approach various aspects of their shared life. This can be especially true around hot-button issues such as:

These are points of conflict for many couples. However, if a couple in a bicultural marriage or with a multicultural family background has very different life experiences that they each wish to replicate in their marriage with each other… the battles can get fierce and even nasty. In contrast, cross-cultural couples who approach each other from a place of sensitivity and openness to understanding have the opportunity to learn and grow, celebrate their differences, and take the highest and best from both of their backgrounds in order to create a unique, beautiful blended culture in their new family, together.

Relationship Advice From Cross Cultural Marriage Counselors

To tackle these questions, and provide some direction for how to begin bridging the gap and building bridges to the center, I’ve asked some multicultural relationship experts to join me for this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. Relationship coach Dr. Georgiana Spradling, MFT, Tania Chikhani, M.A, and Teresa Thomas, M.A., are marriage counselors who often work with cross-cultural couples and interracial couples, and have great relationship advice for how to create peace and harmony in your gloriously diverse family.

Specifically, we’ll discuss:

  • Why cross-cultural couples often get into power struggles about various aspects of their shared life.
  • The shift in perspective that can help you restore the empathy in your relationship and understand each other more deeply.
  • How to find ways of creating agreement, while simultaneously honoring and appreciating your differences.
  • How couples with different expectations of extended family roles can find balance between boundaries and togetherness.
  • How interracial couples can become a united front in understanding and confronting racial injustice, together.

Whether you're in an interracial relationship, blending a multicultural family, or simply coming to terms that you and your seemingly-similar partner are actually coming into your relationship with very different perspectives, the perspective of marriage counseling experts Dr. Georgiana, Teresa and Tania can help. I hope you join us — click the player below to listen to the conversation!

All the best,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

[social_warfare]

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

Love Without Borders: Cross-Cultural Relationships

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Spread the Love Happiness & Success

Please Rate, Review & Share the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

iTunes

Stitcher

Google Play

online life coach arabic speaking therapist online life coach arabic speaking life coach career coach dating coach relationship coach

Tania Chikhani is a Relationship and Career Specialist with an M.A. in Clinical Psychology, and an MBA in Global Business and Marketing. She has specific training in marriage and family therapy and relationship coaching, as well as mindfulness coaching, career coaching, executive coaching, and life coaching.

Her specialty is helping you create happiness and success in all areas of your life. Her work is focused on enabling you to create and maintain passionate and fulfilling relationships while continuing to thrive in your career. She is known for seeing the love and joy that’s possible for you, and for your relationships, even through your darkest days. Read Tania’s full bio…

Let's  Talk

Real Help For Your Relationship

Lots of couples go through challenging times, but the ones who turn "rough-patches" into "growth moments" can come out the other side stronger and happier than ever before.

 

Working with an expert couples counselor can help you create understanding, empathy and open communication that felt impossible before.

 

Start your journey of growth together by scheduling a free consultation.

Related Post

Boundaries in Relationships

Boundaries in Relationships

Happy, healthy relationships are built on healthy boundaries. If you struggle to establish boundaries, understand your boundaries, or even define your boundaries to others, this episode is for you!

I am talking with Denver Therapist, and Boundary Expert, Kathleen Stutts and we are going to cover the basics of boundaries and then dive into the nitty-gritty of establishing your boundaries in relationships so that you too can feel empowered in your most important relationships!

How to Relax (When You're a Type-A Stress-Case)

How to Relax (When You're a Type-A Stress-Case)

Hard-working, conscientious, high-achievers are often extremely successful in all areas of life… but they have a hard time relaxing. True for you too, you superstar? Learn how to relax, renew, and restore from the inside out, on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.

Love is Respect

Love is Respect

Ft. Collins, Colorado Therapist and Marriage Counselor, Hunter Tolman, M.S., MFTC is discussing the fundamental support for every relationship – respect. A healthy relationship requires respect in order to thrive. Learn more about how you can begin implementing greater respect into your relationship here!

Build Confidence and Charisma

Build Confidence and Charisma

Did the pandemic make your social skills a little rusty? In this podcast: Stand-up comedian, comedy writer and “conversation coach” Kristen Carney is here with a refresher on how to build confidence and charisma, and be interesting and fun to talk to. Join us!

Trust Yourself

Trust Yourself

It can be hard to trust yourself, particularly if you're struggling to tell the difference between your intuition and anxiety. Your confidence will grow when you learn the difference between worry and inner wisdom. Learn how, on this episode of the podcast.

Six Strategies To A Thriving Relationship During Chaos

Six Strategies To A Thriving Relationship During Chaos

Six Strategies To A Thriving Relationship During Chaos

Creating a Thriving Relationship

[social_warfare]

We are no strangers to change here at Growing Self. In fact, personal growth is our specialty, and with personal growth comes A LOT of change from time to time. However, these past couple of months have introduced a completely new level of change. This change has been rapid, unwarranted, and left many heartbroken, confused, and scared. 

With the ever-changing climate of our economy, health, and lifestyles this “new normal” settling in has many of my couples clients facing new and uncharted stress and anxiety around work, household obligations, family responsibilities, and the health of their relationship. 

As an online marriage counselor, couples therapist, husband, and father – I’ve witnessed this stress firsthand. In the midst of this uncertainty, however, we still are all responsible for making our relationships work the best they can, despite the stress and upheaval we are all enduring.  

To help make your situation feel a bit more manageable, I wanted to share with you the same advice I share with my couples clients in sessions. Here are my top six strategies to a thriving relationship during chaos that will help your relationship stay strong, healthy, and thrive during this challenging time.

You Can Have A Thriving Relationship Through Challenging Change

Before I jump right into my six strategies to a thriving relationship during chaos, I want to first encourage you to take a couple of minutes to quiet your thoughts, to focus on your breathing, and to center yourself. I’m not saying that you need to go into full meditation mode, but take a couple of minutes to just slow down. Slow down your thoughts, center your feelings, and find gratitude in where you are at. 

When we start to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and uneasy in our current situation we can start to scramble and lose sight of what is truly important. I want to encourage you in where you are at and I want you to know that there is support for you here.

If you are facing challenges in your relationship that feel too big, unfamiliar, or distressing – you’re not alone in this. Many couples right now are struggling to balance this “new normal” with their household, children, work, finances, and each other. 

My hope for you is that these strategies can help implement new routines and support systems between you and your partner. Now, let’s get started!

Strategy No. 1 | For the Couple Working From Home with Children: Plan and Communicate

Like many couples out there with children, my wife and I are dealing with conflicting schedules and raising a 22-month old daughter who is suddenly home all the time! One way we and other couples can pull together through this is to plan our work schedules around each other, as someone must watch the baby at all times. 

As partners, you are both there to help and protect one another. That doesn’t mean that you walk all over each other or take advantage of the “more-chill” or “more-giving” partner. But that you work together to be successful as a unit. 

Successfully navigating through working from home with children requires proactive planning and communication. The two of you will need to plan around each other’s schedules and check on them daily together to avoid any misunderstandings and added stress. 

It is imperative that couples work together to make this transition as smooth as possible or to salvage what feels like an overwhelming pattern already taking place. The challenge here is that you are both dealing with the same discomfort and stress around balancing work responsibilities, home, and family care. 

Schedules can change very quickly – couples who successfully work together, accept the fluidity of the situation, and work on keeping grounded and as calm as possible will come out the other side stronger. 

Until this crisis ends, your day-to-day balance between work and home life will constantly change – you and your partner will need to work together to help one another succeed, and this will require good communication and strategic planning if you want a thriving relationship.

If you are like many of my couples clients though, you and your partner may struggle to effectively communicate. If you are looking for tips on building healthy communication between you and your partner, check out this podcast: Couples Communication Strategies for Stressful Times and this article: How to Improve Communication – Fast for tips you can start implementing today. 

Strategy No. 2 | For the Couple with One Partner Out-of-Work with Children at Home

If you or your partner are temporarily out-of-work or have been laid-off, it’s likely that partner will be with their child(ren) constantly, a role many of us are not used to.

The sole childcare provider will need a break and time to decompress when their working partner comes home or ends their workday. Likewise, the working partner will need time to rest and decompress too.

How do you both respect each other’s needs while also taking care of your own?

Circling back around to the importance of healthy and effective communication, couples in a thriving relationship will need to communicate their needs clearly. With a good understanding of what you need and what your partner needs, you can strategically plan your after work hours. 

This lifestyle change will require adaptability and empathy. We are all expending more energy than we are used to spending, and we will all need breaks from time-to-time.

Keep in mind that your partner (whether taking care of the children or working their regular job) is just as tired, stressed, and in desperate need of self-care as you are. If you can look out for one another, you’ll both get your needs met. 

Strategy No. 3 | For the Partners in Desperate Need of Self-Care and Individual Time Alone

Self-care is crucial to a thriving relationship, and that does not change now. Many self-care options, especially those including gyms and socializing, are not permitted right now. 

For those in need of some gym time, be open to socially distanced walking, jogging, or hiking outside. You don’t need to purchase a full in-house gym system – unless you really want to.

Instead, you can either subscribe to free workout videos on YouTube or purchase a subscription to a fitness app or virtual wellness program. 

For those in need of some social time (apart from your partner), engage in calls and video chats with friends and family. You can virtually go on walks together, attend virtual in-house happy hours, just catch up, or even make a meal together (in your own kitchens of course).

It’s important to maintain friendships even when you’re required to be apart. 

For those feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and emotionally drained: meditate, eat better, get some rest, and do what you can to keep yourself grounded.

This may mean spending time alone, reading your favorite book, getting some sunshine by yourself, listening to music, or simply drinking more water. 

For those in need of a distraction, this may be a perfect time to start a new hobby to keep your mind occupied and not overburdened with stress.

Taking care of yourself will allow you to show up for your partner and your family when they need you most. 

Helpful Tip: Don’t assume your way of self-care is right for your partner! 

Do you have a great workout regiment that you can do from home? Great! That being said, your self-care options are right for YOU, and not necessarily anyone else. Allow your partner to practice their own self-care, as they know better than anyone what makes them feel better.  

Work on accepting your partner’s way of self-care and try to calm any thoughts of your partner’s self-care being wrong (as long as those methods are not harmful). Remember, if you let them take care of themselves, they can show up better for you when you need them most.

Strategy No. 4 | For the “Informed” Couple Needing to Focus On Each Other

It is crucial that we remain as informed as possible during these difficult times but it can be so easy to go down the proverbial wormhole of different news articles, especially on the internet, which can lead to feelings of anxiety and panic.

Stay informed, but limit your own exposure to articles that can dysregulate your emotions and stress. It may be best to stick to official sources like the World Health Organization and your own state’s official guidelines and act through them rather than reading numerous other articles that might inflame your fear and lead to disconnection from loved ones.

Instead of consuming hours of news, schedule a time during the day that you briefly “catch up” on what is new in your state or area of residence. Be strict and put your phone away, close your computer, and turn off the TV when your “news time” is up. Then mindfully use the rest of your day to fully show up for your partner, your family, your friends, and your job.

If you and your partner are both working from home, you may be spending quite a bit more time around one another. Remember, this does not mean that you are spending time “together” – you will still need to find time throughout your week to focus on each other. 

We can get in the habit of forgetting to ask our partner “How are you doing today?” when we see them constantly. Our partner is working through difficult emotions and feelings just as we are – it’s good to recognize that for each other and if needed, schedule time together away from the hectic headlines. 

I encourage you to use the uncomfortableness you may be experiencing in your relationship to highlight areas of growth for you and your partner. Instead of spending extra time in front of the TV or on your phones, engage in conversation. Use this time to rebuild “weak” areas or vulnerabilities that could ultimately breakdown your partnership. 

If you find you are struggling to get the conversation started, check out this article: How to Fall Back in Love with Your Spouse for conversation starters when things start to feel a little stagnant.  

Strategy No. 5 | For the Couple Looking to Regulate Emotions and Get Back on Track Together

Yes, these are historically difficult times – that cannot be denied. However, you can take steps to feel calmer emotionally about the situation so you can be a better partner and parent.

One of the best ways to get out of the funk of flooding emotions and disconnection from your partner is to practice gratitude. Actively practicing gratitude will look different for everyone, but finding the silver lining through this situation will strengthen your relationship and make you and your partnership more resilient to change.

Many couples with children I know are having amazing experiences with their kids right now that they were not having prior. They are now able to spend quality time with their families instead of being caught up in the hustle of shuttling from event to event, being busied by daily obligations that are currently on hold or greatly reduced, and having to stick to a strict schedule that inhibits learning together, game nights, picnics in the yard, or leaving living room forts up for days instead of just hours. 

Similarly, many couples are finding that they are actually finding rest and relief in this season. Where they were previously overworked and stuck in a cycle that they didn’t even recognize as draining, they are now building better self-care and relationship-care habits that in return are making them better people, partners, and parents. Ultimately creating a thriving relationship that they didn't realize they were previously missing.

I even have some couples clients that are working as a team for the first time in their relationships – never having known previously the impact that this type of support can have on your relationship and household productivity. 

And yet others are rethinking their priorities during this time of pause. Finding out what truly matters to them individually and as a couple. Dreaming, creating, and planning for a better future that they had not had time to envision previously. 

So much of what is happening right now is frightening, and it is absolutely so, but we can keep ourselves calm in the moment by accessing the positives and good that are sometimes hard to notice amidst all the change and chaos. 

Daily gratitude not only calms your emotions down in the moment, but it also helps buffer against the difficult times. By practicing daily gratitude, you and your relationship can begin to thrive during difficult times. 

Strategy No. 6 | For the Overwhelmed Partners Looking for Answers

The stress and anxiety that you may feel right now are completely understandable. These changes and uncertainties can become too much for any of us at any moment and that’s normal and okay. 

The truth is, no relationship is perfect. We all handle stress differently, individually and as couples. Sometimes it can be hard to navigate these changes or challenges on our own – especially if you and your partner react to stress in drastically different ways. 

It’s not abnormal that one of you may be in fix-it mode while the other is looking for a place to retreat to…alone. It’s not uncommon that you may find that your communication skills aren’t as strong as you once thought they were. It’s not out of the ordinary that you may be questioning your foundation or wondering what’s next for your relationship. 

These are all valid responses and normal, especially in stressful situations.

The good news is that many couples therapists and marriage counselors, including us at Growing Self, are increasingly offering flexible online options to adapt to COVID-19. This means you can find help from the comfort of your own home.

There is never any shame for reaching out for professional help if it is needed – if you’re feeling overwhelmed and it seems like there’s no way out, please reach out and call a professional.

This situation is extremely stressful, and the timeframe for an end to this crisis is unfortunately indefinite. That being said, we are still in relationships and marriages, and those still need to be nurtured. You have the power to manage this stress and to be the most understanding partner you can be during this difficult time.

Wishing you the best,
Seth Bender, M.A., MFTC

[social_warfare]
Seth Bender, M.A., LMFT - denver marriage counseling, online marriage counseling, relationship coach, breakup recovery

Seth Bender, M.A., MFTC is a marriage counselor, therapist, and life coach who helps people create deeper relationships, heal from difficult life experiences and increase their confidence. His warm, non-judgmental approach makes it safe to discover new things about yourself, and take positive action to change your life.

Let's  Talk

Real Help For Your Relationship

Lots of couples go through challenging times, but the ones who turn "rough-patches" into "growth moments" can come out the other side stronger and happier than ever before.

 

Working with an expert couples counselor can help you create understanding, empathy and open communication that felt impossible before.

 

Start your journey of growth together by scheduling a free consultation.

Related Post

Boundaries in Relationships

Boundaries in Relationships

Happy, healthy relationships are built on healthy boundaries. If you struggle to establish boundaries, understand your boundaries, or even define your boundaries to others, this episode is for you!

I am talking with Denver Therapist, and Boundary Expert, Kathleen Stutts and we are going to cover the basics of boundaries and then dive into the nitty-gritty of establishing your boundaries in relationships so that you too can feel empowered in your most important relationships!

Love is Respect

Love is Respect

Ft. Collins, Colorado Therapist and Marriage Counselor, Hunter Tolman, M.S., MFTC is discussing the fundamental support for every relationship – respect. A healthy relationship requires respect in order to thrive. Learn more about how you can begin implementing greater respect into your relationship here!

Trust Yourself

Trust Yourself

It can be hard to trust yourself, particularly if you're struggling to tell the difference between your intuition and anxiety. Your confidence will grow when you learn the difference between worry and inner wisdom. Learn how, on this episode of the podcast.

How to Improve Emotional Intelligence

How to Improve Emotional Intelligence

When you improve emotional intelligence, everything in your life feels easier: Your relationships, career, emotional wellbeing, and more. Learn strategies to increase your emotional intelligence, in this episode of the podcast.

Gay and Lesbian Relationship Advice

Gay and Lesbian Relationship Advice

Love is love, and transcends identity. At the same time, gay and lesbian relationships face unique challenges and stressors. On this episode of the podcast, LGBTQ+ affirming couples therapist Kensington Osmond shares compassionate strategies that promote growth and healing for gay and lesbian individuals and couples.

Healing Your Relationship After An Emotional Affair

Healing Your Relationship After An Emotional Affair

Utah Couples Counselor and Online Relationship Coach, Kensington Osmond, M.S., LAMFT, MFTC discusses Emotional Affairs. What are they? How can you spot them? When should you shut down “friendships” that have the potential of hurting your relationship? And, how to heal from an emotional affair and revive your relationship.

Grow Together, Or Grow Apart

Grow Together, Or Grow Apart

Couples under stress will either grow together, or grow apart. Dr. Lisa shares the small “make or break moments” that will strengthen your relationship… or damage it. Learn what you can do — today — to cultivate the healthy, happy, connected relationship you want and deserve.

Parenting in a Pandemic: How To Talk About Coronavirus As A Family

Parenting in a Pandemic: How To Talk About Coronavirus As A Family

Parenting in a Pandemic: How To Talk About Coronavirus As A Family

Parenting in a Pandemic

[social_warfare]

As communities continue to adjust to the effects of Coronavirus, it’s easy to get caught up in the fear and confusion. Your children might be looking to you for answers and reassurance, yet you may need answers and reassurance yourself! So what do you do? 

Over the last few weeks as an online marriage and family therapist, I’ve been asked many questions from my clients with the hope that my answers can bring about peace of mind for families wrestling with uncertainty, and I believe there are some conversations and strategies that could help you find what you’re looking for…

Focus On What’s Underneath All Those Questions

Most of the time when we seek to understand it’s because we need reassurance, we need to feel more in control. I believe that fear and anxiety prompts these needs in us. As humans, feeling out of control is vulnerable and scary, so we react out of survival and we seek to understand. [More on letting go of control: How to Release Control and Let Things Go.]

In times like these when everything seems uncertain and scary, fear can become an unwelcome companion. Both adults and children listen to fear and let it sweep them up into waves of anxiety. Unfortunately, the more questions we ask, the more we realize how much we don’t know, and the more anxious we feel, especially in relation to something as unfamiliar as COVID-19

I’ve realized in my work with families that speaking to childrens’ fear can be more helpful than simply answering their questions. As the adult, we can acknowledge that their fear makes sense, and maybe even share with them that we also feel afraid when we don’t have all the answers. Fear is a normal human experience and it’s okay to talk about it. 

Remember That You Are A Team

One of the most empowering things you can do as a family is talk about teamwork! Even though you may be confined to your home and your social circle has shrunk, you still have each other! Don’t let fear or anxiety distract you from that. 

Use this time to reinforce your teamwork– play family games, watch movies together, have meaningful conversations at the dinner table. Your children could find so much peace in knowing that the unity of your family is one thing they can be certain of. 

It’s Okay If We Don’t Have All The Answers Right Now

Unfortunately, we don’t have all the facts about COVID-19 and with the ever changing statistics and research we are learning new facts daily. It’s impossible to keep up! So rather than stressing out about “knowing everything” focus on a few key things we do know: 

(1) This is not forever

(2) There are specific things we can do to make this better

(3) The rest is out of our hands

Teach your children that it’s okay to not know everything. Better yet, teach them that they can find hope and peace despite not knowing! 

The truth is, it is impossible to always be in control, so if we teach our children that the only way to feel at peace is when we’re in control, then they will feel distressed most of the time. 

In my work with clients, I’ve found the better antidote to anxiety is realizing that even in the face of not knowing, there is still hope. 

Change Your Perspective

It is okay to acknowledge the fear that your family is experiencing. This is normal and healthy. But rather than dwelling in that fear, try to practice being present as a family. 

Rather than looking months ahead and wishing away these moments, do something meaningful with the time you have today. Even though social distancing can feel distressing, I’m personally trying to look at it as an opportunity. An opportunity to spend more time with my family, an opportunity to re-evaluate what I’m grateful for, and an opportunity to choose hope over fear. 

My hope for you and your family is that you’ll feel empowered to have meaningful conversations during this time of uncertainty. Because even when we are afraid and don’t have all the answers, coming together as a family can make a difference. 

With Kindness,
Georgi Chizk, M.S., LAMFT

[social_warfare]

Georgi Chizk, M.S., LAMFT is a warm, compassionate marriage counselor, individual therapist and family therapist who creates a safe and supportive space for you to find meaning in your struggles, realize your self-worth, and cultivate healthy connections with the most important people in your life.

Let's  Talk

Real Help For Your Relationship

Lots of couples go through challenging times, but the ones who turn "rough-patches" into "growth moments" can come out the other side stronger and happier than ever before.

 

Working with an expert couples counselor can help you create understanding, empathy and open communication that felt impossible before.

 

Start your journey of growth together by scheduling a free consultation.

Related Post

Gentle Parenting

Gentle Parenting

What is the gentle parenting approach? What are the pros and cons of using this approach in your parenting journey? Arkansas family therapist and online parenting coach, Georgi Chizk, M.S., LAMFT discusses how to get started and the benefits of using this approach in your parenting journey.

Six Strategies To A Thriving Relationship During Chaos

Six Strategies To A Thriving Relationship During Chaos

If you are struggling in your partnership – you're not alone. There is support for you here. Today on the Love, Happiness and Success Blog, Online marriage counselor and relationship expert Seth Bender, M.A., MFTC is sharing with you his 6 strategies to a thriving relationship during chaos. Read now…

Tips to Survive Quarantine with Kids

Tips to Survive Quarantine with Kids

Looking for survival tips while in quarantine with kids? We get it! Jessica Small, M.A., LMFT is a Denver-based Marriage Therapist and Parenting Coach. Today she's bringing you the Survival Manual (7 Tips for surviving this quarantine with kids) when you might just need it the most! Read now…

Coparenting Together

Coparenting Together

Parenting with a partner can be difficult. It's not unusual to have different ideas of how to raise your children, but working together and building strategies for success can help ease some of those uncomfortable conversations. Couples therapist and parenting coach Jessica Small, M.A., LMFT shares 5 Coparenting Strategies for a successful partnership on this week's The Love, Happiness and Success blog post!

Tips to Survive Quarantine with Kids

Tips to Survive Quarantine with Kids

Tips to Survive Quarantine with Kids

Survival Tips for Stay At Home

[social_warfare]

As COVID-19 has swept through the United States it has brought fear, uncertainty, and anxiety as well as unprecedented self-quarantine. The schools have closed for what feels like an unknown amount of time and while we all try to grasp the magnitude of this situation many parents are also left wondering how to survive this quarantine with kids. 

As a marriage therapist and parenting coach, a lot of my clients have been reaching out with questions and concerns surrounding this whole COVID-19 quarantine. I want to share my favorite helpful tips to survive quarantine with kids (especially school age!). 

Wake Up Before the Kids

Although sacrificing sleep is always a challenge and very much a sacrifice, it will feel worth it. Waking up before the kids 20-30 minutes allows you to take care of yourself first, have a moment of peace, and do something to set yourself up for success for the rest of the day (whether you are organizing your work from home space, prepping your mind with positive thoughts for the day, or searching for cardboard boxes to built the best forts with your kiddos).

Practice Mindfulness

Use mindfulness as a way to bring yourself back into the present moment when you’re starting to feel your blood boil or you’re having a moment of intense panic. Tune into what you can see, hear, smell, taste and feel. Or walk yourself through a deep breathing exercise (breathe in 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, out for 4 counts, repeat 4 times). 

Set Up a Schedule for Both Yourself and the Kids

Creating a sense of routine and structure often is helpful for everyone involved. Setting up a schedule for both yourself and the kids will help you to monitor your family activities. Kids do best when they know what to expect, so laying out the plan for the day will keep things flowing a little more smoothly and hopefully stop everyone from asking for snacks every 5 minutes.

Enforce Quiet Time

Being home all day long together can feel overly stimulating. Building an hour of quiet time into the day can give everyone a break and a moment to recharge. During this time kids are expected to be in their rooms napping or engaged in a quiet independent activity. I tell my parenting coaching clients that this is an excellent time to practice self-awareness, meditation, and resetting before continuing through the rest of the day (and a little social distancing from the newness of being around eah other 24/7 for an hour never hurts…).

Use Dinner Time to Practice Gratitude as a Family

Cultivating gratitude is consistently shown to positively impact overall happiness so, using dinner time to practice gratitude as a family is an excellent time for cultivating gratitude with your children. Go around the table and say one thing you feel grateful for during dinner. Doing this regularly helps everyone start to tune in to what they feel grateful for throughout the day, it also reminds us that even on our hardest days there is something to be thankful for.

Have a Clean Up Dance Party at the End of the Day

Ending the day with a clean(ish) house may help everyone feel a bit more settled, so take 10 minutes before bedtime to blast the tunes and straighten up the days' mess. The music makes it feel fun and special and may even end up in an all out dance party which is great for boosting mood and getting some extra exercise. Having a clean home at the end of the day will help set you up for success the following morning.  

Above All Else, Practice Self-Compassion and Patience!

It is A LOT to be managing work, kids, your relationship, pets, anxiety etc. Sometimes you will feel like all you’re doing is surviving and that is absolutely ok. 

This is temporary, every day is a new day and a new opportunity to try again. Sometimes you’ll be able to keep the days routine and other days you might need your kids to have a little extra screen time. Be kind to yourself and know that good enough is truly enough.

We can do hard things and we will get through this. Remember to stay connected to your friends and family and if you need some extra support, online therapy and coaching are good options to increase general self care.

Stay strong, you’ve got this.
Jessica Small, M.A., LMFT

 

P.S. If you are looking for an online support group, Growing Self is now accepting new members to our Coronavirus Support Group. Read More Here → Coping with Anxiety, Stress, and Lonliness in the Era of Coronavirus

 

[social_warfare]

Jessica Small, M.A., LMFT is a Denver-based couples counselor, premarital counselor, therapist, and life coach who is passionate about helping individuals, families & couples create more fulfilling lives and relationships, and to function at an optimum level of health and happiness.

Jessica meets with clients both in-person at our Denver office and by online video.

Let's  Talk

Your Online Coaching Experts

Online Life Coaching • Online Relationship Coaching • Online Executive Coaching • Online Career Coaching • Online Dating Coaching

We have specialized education and training, and years of experience in helping people achieve their personal and professional goals. We use only evidence based strategies that have been proven by research to help you get clarity and direction, have better relationships, feel happier, and design your ideal life.

Markie D, M.A., LPCC, CSPC

Markie D, M.A., LPCC, CSPC

Life Coach, Career Coach, Dating Coach, Therapist

Markie Keelan is a dynamic Therapist, Life Coach and Career Coach with years of experience in helping people all over the world achieve at their highest potential. She is a Certified Sports Psychology Coach who can help you perform at the top of your game and attain your personal and professional goals. If you're looking for increased life satisfaction or would like to advance professionally, she's ready to help you find your passion and start living your dream.

 

Dr. Georgiana S, MFT

Dr. Georgiana S, MFT

Relationship Coach, Life Coach, Therapist

Dr. Georgiana is a multilingual Marriage and Family Therapist, Emotional Intelligence Coach and Life Coach. Whether your preferred language is English, Spanish or French, her strategic, results-oriented approach to relationship coaching, dating coaching, life coaching and therapy will move you forward.

 

Related Post

Gentle Parenting

Gentle Parenting

What is the gentle parenting approach? What are the pros and cons of using this approach in your parenting journey? Arkansas family therapist and online parenting coach, Georgi Chizk, M.S., LAMFT discusses how to get started and the benefits of using this approach in your parenting journey.

Six Strategies To A Thriving Relationship During Chaos

Six Strategies To A Thriving Relationship During Chaos

If you are struggling in your partnership – you're not alone. There is support for you here. Today on the Love, Happiness and Success Blog, Online marriage counselor and relationship expert Seth Bender, M.A., MFTC is sharing with you his 6 strategies to a thriving relationship during chaos. Read now…

Tips to Survive Quarantine with Kids

Tips to Survive Quarantine with Kids

Looking for survival tips while in quarantine with kids? We get it! Jessica Small, M.A., LMFT is a Denver-based Marriage Therapist and Parenting Coach. Today she's bringing you the Survival Manual (7 Tips for surviving this quarantine with kids) when you might just need it the most! Read now…

Coparenting Together

Coparenting Together

Parenting with a partner can be difficult. It's not unusual to have different ideas of how to raise your children, but working together and building strategies for success can help ease some of those uncomfortable conversations. Couples therapist and parenting coach Jessica Small, M.A., LMFT shares 5 Coparenting Strategies for a successful partnership on this week's The Love, Happiness and Success blog post!

Feeling Judged?

Feeling Judged?

Do you feel apprehensive about spending the holidays with family or in-laws who judge and criticize you? On the latest podcast we're talking about how to deal when you're feeling judged, but also how to use this as an opportunity for YOUR growth and personal evolution.

5 Powerful Parenting Tips

5 Powerful Parenting Tips

Welcoming a new baby comes with many joys and challenges. Parenting and Family Coach Hunter Tolman shares five tips to help you start feeling more confident throughout your parenting journey.

Loading...