Recently an anonymous mother wrote a touching letter to all parents out there:
Dear parent (mom and dad),
I have been wanting to write you this letter for a long time.
We always hear that no baby comes into this world with a manual. Maybe this was true years ago, but not today. Today we have many aids and sources of information available. Some are in book form; others are just a click away – information to give you as parent help or advice on how to raise your child.
In these times, both parents work because it is inevitable or necessary. Some parents work long hours, others shorter, but when they return home in the evening there are so many other responsibilities. Our children’s days are just as full and busy with all their school and after school activities.
We feel that days are getting shorter because we have just so much to do!
Then, as the day draws to a close, we all start with our separate demanding responsibilities and tasks. Children are tired because it was a long day for them as well. And the parents are tired. But it is during these times that your duty as parents become reality. To spend time with your child and to see what they have learned at school must be your priority. Because your child is only a child ONCE – you cannot give them attention tomorrow for what happened today. It will be yesterday, and we know that yesterday is in the past!
Look beyond your own tiredness, each day of learning is important in your child’s life and they need the assurance that their education also matters to you. Do not use the “I am too tired” excuse. Your child needs you every day. Before you know it, their 12 years at school is done and then it is too late.
We can never turn back to the clock.
Praise your children, encourage them, urge them on, reward them when they have done their best. Remember: your best and their best could be different things!
Your child needs to hear the words “I am proud of you” and “I love you” daily. They do grow up and they will spread their wings someday.
This touching letter appeared in an Afrikaans newspaper recently and we cannot agree more with the sentiments expressed by this lady. And, whilst we are all confined to our homes during this time of lockdown, let us all review our relationships with our children. We are so quick to say “keep quiet” or “go play in your room” – we forget that this is even more confusing for children and more difficult to understand. So even if you are working from home during this time, book time in your day to spend with your child. Change your daily routine for this time to include these important people in your life: they will appreciate this, and you will feel good!
If possible, involve your child in your day – maybe they can sort something for you, maybe they can help you with filing. Maybe they are old enough to do some research for you. But, maybe you should just let them play near you – sometimes the smell and the sound of a parent is providing more comfort than we know!
I know of grown-ups who visit their aging parents and then go lie on the bed to feel the comfort of that familiar smell. A smell that represents safety and the assurance that everything will be alright. I know of women going to perfume counters in stores to smell their mom’s perfume, even if she's no longer around. Because, no matter how old we get, we all need to know that we are/were loved!
Perhaps we should look at this time of lockdown differently: maybe we were blessed with “extra time” to restore our relationships with our children. Children do not ask to come into this world and considering the joy they bring; we owe them our best. We owe it to them to give them our time – not when we are irritated, stressed-out and tired, but when we are relaxed, in a good space, and tolerant!
Let us all try during this time to become better parents!