Three Unique Ways to Handle the Guilt Inherent in Being a Parent

If you’re a parent, you may feel even more guilt than usual. If so, you are definitely not alone. Currently, the burden is on you to both carry on with your work and manage your child’s full-time care and education. Two full-time jobs that you’re trying to do by yourself, likely without teachers or care providers to help you.

If you are like most parents, you were probably struggling with guilt even before the virus. You simply can’t make it to every award ceremony or recital, and you might not have as much time to play with your kids or help them with their homework as you’d like. Those feelings of guilt may now be compounded by all the additional responsibilities you’ve had to take on in a short space of time.

Take a deep breath, and let me let you off the hook here for a minute. I have no doubt you are doing the best you can, and your kids see it, and know it too, even when they are being ungrateful pains in the rear.

I’ve got a few ideas about how to shift the guilt. They’re a little unconventional, but I invite you to give them a try and then message me to let me know how they went. We love hearing from you.

Let’s start with one thing that is fully within your control, can help to alleviate feelings that you are not doing enough, and that you can get handled easily, for free, right now – name legal guardians for your kids, so the people you want will take care of them, if anything happens to you.

Quality Time By Doing Nothing

While you’re probably already spending a significant amount of time with your kids, it may not be very high quality. But you may be too tired or overwhelmed to plan big activities, or the things you used to do for “quality time” may not be available.

So, what’s a parent to do?

Nothing.

Yes, you read that right, nothing. If you can take 15 minutes or so out of your day and do nothing with your child, it could be the best 15 minutes you spend with them, and with yourself, all day. Maybe you’ll even be able to stretch it to 30, 45 or 60 minutes of nothing. It’s truly one of the best gifts you can give to your kids, and the best part is you don’t have to do anything.

We hope this idea provides some relief from the guilt. You don’t have to do as much as you think. Mostly, your kids really just want to know you are there, and will give them your full attention, without screens, even if they aren’t paying attention to you.

Name Legal Guardians

If you have not already legally documented who you would want to raise your children, do it now. Legally documenting your choices for who you want to take care of your kids is a great first step to getting legal planning in place for the people you love. (Yes, I said “choices” because you want to name at least one person with two alternates.) And, doing so can provide you with a lot of relief, if you have not taken care of this yet for your kids.

So that’s one way to remove some of that mom or pop guilt you may have. And, here’s another…

Talk About It

If you’re on an emotional roller-coaster right now, your kids are probably having some similar struggles. This is an opportunity to connect with them, and a good time to show them a little vulnerability of your own. Remember how important sharing words of love and comfort can be, both to them and to you.

A friend of mine has three kids ranging from eight to fourteen, and she recently told me a story about a very special conversation with one of her children. After my friend had spent a few weeks juggling school, work responsibilities, and a million other household duties, she was feeling worn out and discouraged.

Then she took a quiet moment to just sit around and talk with her tween daughter and share some of what was going on for her, that it was hard, and how she was making it through. Out of the blue, to my friend’s surprise and gratitude, her child gave her a big hug and said, “You do so much to take care of us all the time. That must be so hard. Thank you.”

This special moment filled my friend’s heart, and it has gotten her through some tough days. And it never would have happened if she hadn’t taken a little time out to just talk with her kid, without a particular agenda.

Reach out for Support

If you have been feeling really alone and need support, reach out for help. Sometimes venting to your friends is enough, and chances are they’ll be able to relate! But if you are not getting the support you need, there are professionals who will communicate via phone and even text message. You can find local therapists and phone, video, and online therapists through Psychology Today’s directory.

Or, if family dynamics are rearing their head during these stressful times, and you want to keep your family out of court and conflict, your estate plan would go a long way towards relieving those stressors. Give us a call to see how we can help.

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This article is a service of Cris Carter Law. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session,™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $500 session at no charge.

The 5 Most Loving Things You Can Do For the People You Love In the New Year

It’s a new year, which means a new chance to do what you’ve been putting off until the time is right. That time is now.  Here are 5 of the most loving things you can do for the people you love in the New Year because at some point you will become sick or die.  And while we don’t like to think about it, the best way not to is to plan well and then put it out of your mind and live your life as if every day is your last.

1.  Make a plan.  A will, trust, power of attorney, health care directive and, if you have kids, a Kids Protection Plan® so you don’t leave your family to deal with an expensive court proceeding overseen by a judge who doesn’t know (or really care) about you or your family or unnecessary estate taxes.

2.  Write a letter or record a CD.  Pass on what really matters to your family — your values, insights, stories and experience — in written or recorded form so they can return to you long after you are gone.

3.  Pay for and plan your funeral.  Cremated or buried?  Ashes or body where? Yes or no to a viewing?  Make these decisions now and let your loved ones know, in writing, so they don’t have to wonder.  And consider pre-paying for your funeral expenses, so they don’t have to scramble in a time of grief.

4.  Plan to pay no taxes.  Will there be taxes on your estate and how will your heirs pay them, if so?  Meet with a Personal Family Lawyer® to be sure because you’d be surprised how small an estate can be to be at risk for estate taxes or other costs, especially if there’s insurance involved.  You don’t have to be rich to think about this.

5.  Get organized.  Let loved ones know where they can find your legal documents and other important paperwork, the key to your safe deposit box and be sure to include all of the password information to access online accounts, including email, Facebook, and other regularly accessed programs.

This month, in honor of the New Year, we have a “get organized” for your loved ones special going on here at Personal Family Lawyer® headquarters.  Be one of the first 5 families to get on our calendar this month and we’ll get you organized in our Family Wealth Planning Session, waive our normal $500 fee and send you home with all of your most important papers organized in a Family Financial Notebook that will make it simple as can be for your family if anything happens to you.