The load parents carry with school, work or a combination of both has always been heavy. Add a global pandemic and you have a recipe that serves up a nice big pot of stress boiling over with anxiety to garnish.
Dallas College North Lake Campus Counseling Services hosted a virtual event Nov. 10 focused on parenting during the pandemic.
“Parenting during COVID-19 was a topic that students said they would really benefit from,” Tasha D. Moore, a North Lake counselor, said.
The virtual event gave participants a platform to discuss the struggles they are facing.
The discussions gave insight into the mounting stress points that are straining parents. Parents are dealing with worlds colliding as they balance home duties with work, educating their children and their own schooling simultaneously.
Lizeth Fuentes Guerrero, a Dallas College El Centro Campus student, spends her days managing a busy dental office.
When it comes time for her lunch hour, Guerrero said she finds herself tense behind the wheel, trying to beat the clock. She must pick up her two children from school, prepare a snack for them and rush back to the office to work into the evening. Her children accompany her to work until they can be picked up by her husband.
Guerrero’s 9- and 6-year-old have grown accustomed to this new normal. They situate themselves in the conference room to avoid interaction with others while Guerrero works.
“It has taken a toll mentally and emotionally on me,” Guerrero said. “On my drive home right now gives me 15 or 20 minutes to wind down, but as soon as I get home it is ‘Did you eat?’ ‘Did you shower?’”
Guerrero said she missed the relationship she had with her children prior to the pandemic.
“I miss them,” Guerrero said as she continued to reflect on the mounting responsibilities that consume her time. “There are days I carry my stress from work to home and this has only been happening since COVID.”
“I feel like it is a bother,” Guerrero said when she recounts contemplating asking for help. “I am afraid of rejection.”
Counseling services stressed the importance of reaching out to employers, family members and school resource outlets to aid in alleviating mounting stress and anxieties.
Moore encouraged watchers to not internalize their feelings. “Communicate if you feel overwhelmed and let others know what is going on to see if they can help you,” Moore said during the virtual event.
Elgie Hurd III, a Brookhaven psychology professor, encouraged working parents to reach out to their employers and ask what resources are available.
“It takes a great deal of courage to ask for help and that is what it takes to get by in some cases,” he said. “I think it is important for people to realize that they are not alone.”
Resources through Dallas College are available for students who are struggling. Counseling resources can be accessed on the Dallas College website. Students can request a virtual counseling session, get informed about upcoming counseling workshops and events and access TAO Connect.
“Students can get virtual counseling sessions free of charge with no hassle,” Moore said.
In addition, counselors can connect students with other resources such as financial or childcare resources upon request.
“We are taking clients,” Moore said. “We are more than willing to help, and the process is seamless.”