A few weeks ago, I shared an open letter to my children, apologizing for everything we are going through during this time. The post got shared by many of you (thank you!) and opened up some really great conversation among parents. A lot of people could really relate to it (one of my favorite parts of blogging!), but there were others that pointed out some flaws in the way I was thinking about things.
One of the comments that I got on this post was there were a lot of “I’m sorrys.” Some people felt that it was not helpful to only focus on the negative.
And as a therapist, I could not agree more. With my clients, I always try to help them see the positive, even in the most difficult situations.
But at the same time, I acknowledge that there is a benefit in sharing the struggle, and even in just venting at times.
As a therapist, I have multiple sessions with my clients to talk through what is going on and what needs to be improved on, as well as discuss the positives in the same situation.
But as a writer, I get typically 600-900 words to make a point and share my feelings. As such, each article may have a different feel. Some will focus on the negative, and some will focus on the positive.
So today, I want to share the flip side of that letter from the other week. I want to share all the things I am grateful for during this pandemic (yes, you can be grateful about things that are the outcome of a pandemic), for as I know both professionally and personally, a positive outlook can make all the difference in how you get through a situation.
I am grateful for getting to have family dinners every night. This is something I have wanted since having kids, but life always seems to get in the way. We used to have late nights at work, evening commitments, and other social interactions that tend to take place as dinner time. While all of those things are on hold, we get to have family dinners every single night. And as much as I may miss those other interactions, I appreciate the ability to have this time.
I am grateful for all the time I get to spend with my kids. Prior to social distancing restrictions, I used to feel guilty taking time away from them. Logically, I knew that this was good for both me and them, but I still felt pressure to spend what time I could with them.
Now we have lot of that time, and while it is not always easy, I am so grateful for the moments that we get to spend together.
I am beyond grateful for the childcare that we have in place. While the kids are out of school (which I will admit sucks), we are able to use this resource to give our kids what they need, while having the space to do what we need.
And along the same lines, I am super grateful for the job that I still have which requires me to have this childcare, and be able to afford it. I know there are so many people who are struggling to work while also watching their kids. I also know there are many who no longer have the income they used to. Every time that I catch myself in a “Woe is me” moment, I try to remember how lucky we really are here.
And speaking of work, I have come to really be grateful for the blessings that come from working from home right now. Without a commute to work, I get to sleep later (if the kids let me), and spend more time at home before and after my workday. I don’t need to plan time to be in the office, so scheduling has been easier, and if I have a break in my day if gives me a chance to get something done around the house or spend time with the family.
And best of all, since all of my sessions are being done virtually, I get to work in leggings!
So while I do have some things I feel bad about during this time, as we all do, there are so many things that I can also look at as positive and feel good about. I encourage all of you reading to take a moment and think about what you are grateful for during this time.
Jmore parenting columnist Talya Knable is a psychotherapist who lives in Lutherville with her husband, Stephen, and their two children, Jack and Leigh. Her website is tkpsych.com/. She is also the assistant clinical director of Shalom Tikvah (shalomtikvah.org/), a local non-profit organization that supports Jewish families facing mental illness and other challenging life circumstances.
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