Three weeks ago, my partner and I started to prep for this pandemic. He has prepped for “it” for years because that’s how he rolls, but I mean we went and got toilet paper, over-the-counter medicines, some extra food, and replenished our (very important) coffee supply. We had split up that day because he’d gone to Costco where things like toilet paper were already flying off the shelf, and several things on our list weren’t there. I ran to the local drugstore to get what he couldn’t.
On my way home, my daughter texted that she was on her way over, and I told her I was out getting coronavirus supplies. Her response was, “Seriously?”
When I got home, she was there, watching me unpack supplies, and she asked, “Do I need to start freaking out?”
Now, I realized I had a choice in that moment. She is an empath and could tell by my demeanor that I was worried. I could either spread my worry to her or take a deep breath and say, “You don’t need to start freaking out, but you do need to be prepared.”
Thankfully, with my own belly full of anxiety, I took that deep breath and chose the latter.
It has been hard to do. Trying to tell young people to stay put and cancel spring break plans and be sure to have a working thermometer and food in their fridge isn’t easy. I have been thought to be over-reacting. I have felt like a lone voice of reason at times.
Panic does no one any good, but calm preparation and heeding scientific and medical recommendations do. I have tried to model that for my kids in this situation.
And weirdly and fortunately, I’m drawing on how I kept it together during my divorce now. I took a lot of deep breaths then. Life was upside-down and uncertain for a long time. Every experience – fabulous or horrific – brings us skills we can use later. My kids need to see their mother staying calm and hopeful and preparing for upheaval. I know how to do that.
All this is to say, let your kids see you making calm, kind choices. Let them see you prepared but not panicked.
Keep breathing. This, too, shall eventually pass.