As we all work together to curb the spread of COVID-19 and protect our wider community, there are many people that need our collective support.
As a mother of two young children (almost 3 and 1), in a family where we are both working parents, it is not lost on me the difficulties families across the world are facing at home as they struggle to adjust to working from home, caring for their children and spending an extraordinary amount of time together under one roof.
Whilst for many this may be a rare (and welcomed) opportunity to spend time with one another and to cherish time with their children, it will not come without its challenges. Couples and parents everywhere will (I hope) be creating a plan to divide up household chores and the caring of their children (including – who will come up with the next activity to keep them entertained!). This is a time where the need for equality in the home has never been more palpable.
We must also be conscious, as individuals, partners, spouses, parents, friends, children, siblings and employers, that much like the longer holiday periods, when couples spend more time together, it is then that the cracks in relationships widen and often become irreparable. There are very few people that often spend as much isolated time together as we are now and few times when financial pressures and health and wellbeing fears have felt so real. Many people will be struggling and will need more support during this time to guide them, both from their loved ones and from professionals. Many therapists, consultants and coaches operate flexible practices and people should be encouraged to reach out for help during this unique and difficult period.
But whilst this will be a challenging time for all, we must not lose sight of the fact that for some, home is a far more dangerous place, and not, devastatingly, the safe haven that it should be. As Rebecca Hitchen, campaign manager at the End Violence Against Women Coalition told HuffPost UK, “With women and couples self-isolating, there is certainly a higher risk of domestic abuse occurring…[and] the many ramifications of the outbreak may also mean that women and their children could find it even harder to access safety and specialist support”. We must all do our best to support those that we know need it and to keep open lines of communication whilst we cannot spend time together in person. Many support resources are available to people remotely, either online or by phone, and people must be empowered to make use of these. Also to never ever fail to call 911 if in need of help.
As a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend, I am thinking of those I know who may be finding this time more challenging and making sure to find time in my (now much busier and chaotic day) for those I love that may need more support. Let us all try to do the same to try to work together to hold each other up during this extraordinary time.
Some resources that immediately come to mind (and I hope people will add to these in the comments section): –
For those suffering from domestic violence: –
For relationship support or help during separation or divorce: