Anyone who works with children, parents or families will be acutely aware of how huge the need for parent support is. That has never been more true than it is now, in the midst of this global crisis.
That you’re reading this suggests that you recognise this yourself, though figuring out how to get that support can be tricky.
Pandemic aside, families in general are terribly unsupported in modern society.
We all know the phrase ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ but so few of us have anything that even vaguely resembles a ‘village’. We are, even in normal times, isolated from each other and often time and/or money poor.
While some of us have been fortunate in having been able to find or create good practical or emotional support systems for ourselves, so many of us have neither.
And, if we had them before, they’ve crumbled over the past year.
We struggle to keep up, constantly feeling like everyone else has got it together, is better at this parenting thing than we are.
Often we’re afraid to share how hard parenting is for fear of reprisal, ridicule, or criticism.
In an insta-perfect world where a tap on a phone shows us hundreds of picture perfect families, it’s hard to know what ‘real’ even looks like any more, let alone keep any level of perspective around what is a ‘normal’ level of struggle in parenting.
To the Parent Struggling to Handle Everything Right Now
So for those of you who don't feel like they have it all ‘together' (Is there a single person who does?) parenting is HARD. Parenting under the shadow of Covid-19 can be apocalyptically hard. The kind of relentless, confusing, ‘What the heck do I do now, why didn’t I get a manual, and when will I get a day off’ kind of hard that we don’t realise even exists until we’re in it.
That village sure would be handy…
Imagine having support there as and when you need it.
- People who know your story and how hard you’re working.
- People who think well of your kids even when their behaviour is less than precious.
- People who can lend emotional support as well as be there for the practical stuff that we all need.
At Hand in Hand, we can’t be there physically to cuddle your baby while you take a shower in peace or send our kids out to play with yours while we work or do chores together.
But we can be there for you emotionally and with good information.
We create spaces where we listen deeply to you, through your struggles and celebrations, remembering all the time that you are a hard working, loving parent with children who are fabulous in their own unique ways.
We can offer simple, effective tools to help you support your children through their own struggles.
If you’ve never experienced what it’s like to have really good emotional support then it’s impossible to imagine how good it feels.
Imagine how it would feel to have somewhere to take all the challenges—from the tiny irritations to the enormous disasters of life—and KNOW that someone would be there to support you, non-judgmentally, and help you figure out how you want to move forward in a way that works best for your family.
It might seem inconceivable that this could even exist, let alone think about the impact it would have when you can rely on it as an ongoing support in your life.
Yet, huge numbers of parents around the world have discovered exactly that.
In the Space of Five Minutes Everything Shifted
I’ll never forget the day a few years ago when, in the middle of trying to get my children ready to leave the house for a sports class while simultaneously attempting to book a medical appointment that was becoming frustratingly difficult, I suddenly thought to reach out.
I’d been getting more and more worked up, worried by the medical stuff, annoyed by the endless rounds of “Where are your shoes?”
“Have you been to the bathroom?”
I was about to lose it.
I texted a WhatsApp group of other parents to ask for some ‘emergency’ Listening Time. Someone answered immediately. Like me, she was stuck inside a situation she found challenging and felt grateful for some mutual support.
We were on opposite sides of the world. She, at bedtime, stepped out to her car for a brief respite. I hid in my bedroom while the kids got a bonus 10 minutes of TV.
In the space of five minutes of being listened to, everything shifted. I poured out my worries and frustrations and the clouds lifted. Listening to her in turn I was reminded that we all struggle, and we’re all able to navigate the twists and turns of our own lives—if we have the support to help us through.
With huge gratitude, I said goodbye and headed back to my children, ready to face the day.
We happily left the house. The kids had a great sports class and we hung out with friends after, enjoying ourselves for hours.
The medical stuff got resolved more easily once I could handle it with a clearer head. All of a sudden, I was able to figure out how to navigate the situation.
That five minutes totally turned my day around.
Are You Struggling To Parent How You Really Want To?
I’ve had experiences like this so many times. So often all it takes is that moment of empathy from someone to shift all the things that feel impossible.
If signing up for a parenting call or class, or reaching out for a Listening Partnership, feels like just another thing to stick on the “Maybe I’ll do it one day when things are easier” list, I get it.
It IS hard to commit precious time and energy to getting support for yourself and your parenting. It can be hard to see the value, especially if you’re coping ok, or even almost ok.
Starting something new when you are already very stretched can be overwhelming, but the positive effect of giving it a go can be enormous.
As a participant myself and as an instructor in classes and support groups I see again and again the same amazing responses:
“I didn’t know how much I needed this.”
“It keeps me going for the week.”
“I need to make sure I can keep doing this, it makes such a difference.”
For my part I certainly had no idea what ‘good emotional support’ meant until I fell into it, slightly by accident, in the midst of a really hard patch.
I sure as heck know how good it feels now.
When I am well supported even the really challenging bits of life are do-able. I can face the tough times and know that I’ll make it through. And when things are going well I can celebrate with people who get it, and have heard my story, my struggle, to get here.
I’m not sure how I would have navigated the past year without this support from my Listening Partners. By being real with each other we create something beautiful and uplifting, even in the depths of hugely difficult times.
The first step on a new path is always a hard one to take but if you’d like to find ‘your village’ then this is a wonderful way to do it.
If you have felt alone in your parenting.
If you get one step too close to losing it too often.
If this year’s relentlessness has left you frazzled and exhausted.
If you just want to feel more like you. More decisive. Happier. Clear-headed. Joyful!
I want you to know there are people out there who get it. Who will hear you. Who will support you, no matter what. Who want all that good stuff for you.
Whether you are looking for a Listening Partnership or sessions run by a Hand in Hand instructor, that support is out there.
Come and join us.
It could (literally) change your life, and the lives of your children in ways that you can’t even imagine right now.
Reach out. You deserve it.
Lara Zane runs classes, workshops and is available for 1:1 consultations online. You can find out more about her and get in touch here.
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