Dad, smart working, lunch and dinner to prepare. When you are a single parent, there is no one who can take over the responsibilities of every day. How to avoid falling into Covid Stress if you are a single mom or dad or a small family? Carla di Quinzio of Smallfamilies, association for social promotion and observatory on the rights of families with variable geometry, answers.
Coping with covid stress if you are a single parent or small family
From the phenomenon of parental burnout – that condition of exasperation and fatigue resulting from the prolongation of a nerve-wracking situation due to the condition of parent – we have recently arrived at the declination caused by the Coronavirus pandemic and “Covid stress” is a term that has entered the common use of our daily interaction.
According to the most recent Istat data, one in ten families in Italy is made up of a single parent group, mainly characterized by single mothers (8.2 per cent). How has been experienced, therefore, in the last year by the many fathers and many single mothers who without the possibility of sharing the weight of the daily efforts with their partner have had to deal with the management of children in DaD, the acrobatic reconciliation between family and work and possibly the care and care of elderly parents?
We talked about it with Carla di Quinzio, philosophically oriented biographical analyst, member of the social promotion association Smallfamilies, the observatory and compass for single parents and variable geometry families and member of the Philo association which offers listening desk services for single parents.
In this article
What are small families
“The Small families they can be of different types – explains Di Quinzio -: families formed by mother and child because she chose to live motherhood alone or because during the pregnancy she was left by her partner; parents who separate, widowed parents or single people who in various ways are carers of minors. Each of these situations foreshadows experiences in itself and different ways of experiencing parenthood: even when we are faced with joint custody, we must always remember that the parent is alone in his role “.
“I saw what happened from the first lockdown and some aspects are changing – comments the expert -. There is great suffering and at the moment we are no longer facing an emergency because it is a”pathology“: on a psychic level our mind cannot withstand an emergency condition for over a year. The mechanisms we adopt in the face of immediate danger do not work in the long term and naming the period we are still living as an” emergency “harms because we do not know how to be in a state of alert for such a long time. The temptation to give in in the face of restrictions increases and the strength to remain firm on rules and safety that we took for granted, from the use of the mask to the respect of physical distance, yes reduces “.
Single parents: symptoms of Covid stress
“They certainly stand out sleep disorders, in absence and in excess, which lead to manifestations of strong fatigue – replies Di Quinzio -. In the depressive cases the 8 hours of bad sleep lead to the need for more sleep. Mood can also be altered. The people who come to our listening desks have expressly declared of no longer wanting to try to feel pleasure: this is emblematic because we find ourselves in a historical moment in which we have to work hard to try to feel good. Some people claim to not wanting to want anymore and it is a disturbing symptom of the exhaustion of strength.
In traditional families it is not said that it is easier to endure this fatigue. Sometimes the partner becomes an additional burden because the moment something collapses – nests are closed, schools are in dad – suddenly we take a step back on everything we had given up: social changes are faster than psychic changes and for when we understood that both parents work in the family, that responsibilities and burdens are divided, when a difficulty arises it falls back into old patterns: the mother takes care of everything, in particular the house and the children and old dynamics re-emerge “.
In single-parent households, custody passes most often to the mother. Making it more difficult is that the single parent knows it’s all on their shoulders. He does not have an adult interlocutor at home to deal with and it is there that he feels the stress from Covid, the aftermath of suffering. If to this tiring management of everyday life we add the fact that we can get sick or there is a positive person in the family, then the situation is further complicated and a source of concern.
Covid Stress: The Single Parent Survival Kit
“The adult must first of all feel good in order to pass serenity to the children – explains the member of the Smallfamilies association -. We learn to forgive ourselves if something does not go as we would like”.
To feel good it is important that
“Let’s keep one posture of tolerance towards ourselves. Let’s clarify it with our superiors at work or towards the interlocutors with whom we work every day: if we are convinced that something needs to be changed in this period to meet the many requests, we must make it known in the company or with the boss “.
“We find some spaces of pleasure, moments to do something we like: it can be reading, meditation or other activity that makes us feel good. Even drinking our favorite herbal tea is a moment of pampering; an adult who is not well will find it harder to bear the suffering of their children “.
“Let’s not be obsessed with the latest news: for proper sleep hygiene, in particular, we avoid watching the news or reading the “breaking news” before falling asleep “.
“Let’s take it too microscopic spaces of transgression, moments to do what we normally would have thought we could not afford or that we would have postponed because it does not take priority over the moment we are living. It will do us good to escape a little with the mind “.
Covid stress, tips to help children
“Even the little ones have been affected by this pandemic year – concludes the analyst -: those born in 2020 have skipped the phases of socialization. These children have a completely different story: the Crisis of the stranger which occurs in the eighth month of life is skipped, many of these children have lost the relationship with their grandparents. It will take a lot of attention in welcoming these little ones to the nest …