Hey 2021! So good to see you! If any of you are like me, we spent a good part of 2020 adjusting to new routines and lots more family and home time. 2020 was tumultuous but also a time of learning important lessons and growing for many.
As a mom, some lessons I learned are the importance of giving grace, lowering my expectations, and mostly being full of gratitude.
Last year and into this year, we also had the largest movement of racial and social justice, differing opinions and views on how to handle Covid-19, and an election season that brought out clear division on top of already high and intense emotions.
Oh, and did I mention many of us were doing some sort of virtual learning with our kids while trying to work and pay bills, too! I feel overwhelmed just thinking of all we as moms handled in 2020. And while not a lot has changed going into 2021, I still am full of hope and can say confidently that we (as moms) are stronger and better because of the challenges we faced.
Lessons from 2020
As a mom and therapist, I know Covid, racial injustices, and the election have brought up disagreements, heated discussions, and an evaluation of beliefs and values. It has touched all of us. I have questioned my own beliefs and values, examined them, and tried to navigate relationships where these beliefs may be at odds with each other.
At the end of every discussion, reflection, and interaction, it comes down to a few simple points for me. The first is no matter what you believe, I have to believe we all are doing our best. In the wise words of Brene Brown, I have to assume that not for you but for me to feel and be better. Having this belief as a touchpoint has proven helpful during tense interactions.
Learn to Listen Well
Despite being a therapist and making a living out of being empathetic and offering a judgment-free zone, this is harder in real life than in a professional office setting. I’ve had humble realizations that what I do in the office has to extend to my real life. Even with those I disagree.
A lesson I keep coming back to is this. I want to listen to really listen rather than listening to respond. I seek to understand where one may be coming from and meet people where they are and provide empathy. This was put to the test in 2020 and with recent events at the Capitol, it looks like these skills are going to continue to be important for me as I navigate interactions in 2021 too.
Prioritize Self Care
Taking time for mental health and self-care is incredibly important every day but especially right now. Even if you never struggled with mental health before, we are going through some rough times. And even if it might feel like you have it handled, we all have to continually be aware of how we’re doing emotionally.
Have a plan to manage your mental health. Moms have continued to show up during the pandemic and other events of 2020. Please, make a plan for how you’re going to show up for YOURSELF in 2021. You matter and are worthy of it.
We’re More Alike than Different
The final thing I’m trying to keep in focus is something I learned in sociology class my freshman year in college. We, as humans are more alike than different. No matter where your beliefs fall, we still are more alike than it may feel at times. Along with that, there’s a spectrum of beliefs, which most of us fall along the middle, not on polar opposite sides as it may also feel at times.
So, mamas, who is ready to join hands, push their sleeves up, and take on 2021 with me?! I’ll be there rooting for you! After all, we’re all in this together.