Bryanne Figlia is a woman I've known for over a decade now, and she's pretty special. She's a Mom. She's the wife of a police officer. She's empathetic, smart, and one hell of an advocate for all things good. She wrote this post on her social media account this morning, and it's with her permission I'm republishing it here on Girl Gone Smart. It seems many people are turning to drinking more often, but Bryanne addresses the most important aspect of this 'COVID drinking culture' - when there are children involved.
"Hey guys, not everyone is going to like what I’m about to say, (I know guys, shocking) but I’m going to die feeling guilty and cowardly if I don’t say it.
It’s not okay for you to openly resent your children during this time. It’s not.
I have a six and eleven year old, developmentally they are basically programmed to be annoying at times - I get it. I do. My son spends about one hour per day just repeating the same word over and over again. (Apparently that’s high level first grade humor.) I do not love this. I get it. As adults, we are coping with a high level of stress as my husband doesn’t have the option to safely stay home with us. My small business is completely on hold and it feels like everything I’ve worked toward over the last year just evaporated. We’re losing income. Every day is frightening. No one also wants a kid to be chanting the word “lunch” over and over again between 4-5pm. I get it!
If you feel indicted by this, it was meant for you.
But it isn’t okay for you to resent your kids, or to openly loathe being with them, or to literally spend your day drinking to cope with them - and I can tell from the amount of “joking” posts about it that some of us are doing just that. I can see it being broadly normalized and it is creating a rising anguish in me as a child who grew up resented and loathed.
Don’t kid yourself. This is not okay, and you are going to hurt your children if you continue thinking it’s just fine because your friends laughed along and commiserated. Your children aren’t in on the joke.
I’m sure we are all seeing excessive goofiness, whining, yelling, distraction and non-compliance from our kids these days - these are the ways they signal that they need your attention and care. Their worlds are upside down, too. All behavior is meant to meet a need. If their behavior is undesirable, go take a few minutes to deal with your own feelings about that in a healthy way and then ask yourself - what might this kid need right now? I promise you will see a change as you connect to your children’s emotional needs. And it will make life easier.
I’m not lying on here. I’m not struggling to be with my kids - and yes, I do experience frustration and feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy as we wrestle with this massive shift to the rhythm of our lives. None of these feelings mean that being with my children is the issue. It isn’t! My children are not the issue. They are wonderful little human beings who are doing their best to cope with their lives changing, and they need me to be patient and available to them.
They need us to see them with the warmth and joy and acceptance they’re missing from their peers who get why this whole repeating-the-word-“lunch” thing is so funny, because they’re missing that right now. Stop blaming your kids for your current stress. It isn’t their fault, but they won’t know that. They will only know you think it is.
I don’t give a shit if you think I’m being judgmental or if reading this makes you nervous about what you’re posting. If you feel indicted by this, it was meant for you.
If that means you don’t like me, don’t like me! You know how to click unfriend. I don’t really care. I hope people who need to read this will find it gnawing at them, and that they will make sure they’re doing right by their kids. I know we all love them, you guys, but love for a child is much more than how you feel inside. It’s how you treat them and regard them.
They didn’t ask to be here, and no one promised you that you would only have to parent under ideal conditions. Put them first. If you can’t, I don’t really want to know you anyway."
Thank you Bryanne, for allowing me to share this. I think it ties especially into GGS Blogger Lydia's post: Girl Gone Smart: Not this time, as she struggles not to break her sobriety during this time. If you're interested in following Bryanne, she keeps several posts 'public' when she has something to share, and I highly recommend following her. I'm hoping I can wear her down and get her to blog for GGS someday.