PSP Update: We made it through April! Let’s keep going!

Hey All,

We made it through April (and its showers), and May (and tomorrow) looks to be beautiful! Everything we’re hearing from the experts is that we’re doing the right thing by sheltering in place. With that, we’re seeing more talk of “What’s next” and “When can we….” The answer is this: for our community’s health and our family’s well-being we must stay on course and continue to pause even though we may want to get back to “normal.” Cuomo talks about having 14 consecutive days of decline in new cases before we start thinking about opening things up, and that sounds like a good plan to us.

That said, we’re ready to start having more conversations about planning for re-entry and navigating the new normal. That means conversations about daycare, summer camps, preschools, and nannies. We’ll be reminding you to vaccinate your kids, get your mammograms, and get your checkups. Stay tuned for more on that!

There are a few updates and things that have been swirling around my brain. There’s lots to tell you about, so grab a cup of tea, spa water, or fun drink and simmer on these thoughts.

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Let’s start with some good news….

Great news for expectant parents! Birth partners and doulas can join throughout the birth and recovery. After some hospitals put a ban on birth partners, then made partners leave after birth, ALL New York hospitals must now allow partners to stay with birthing parents as they recover from giving birth. Further support can be found in virtual lactation consultants, virtual new baby classes, and virtual postpartum doulas available to support you and be part of your growing village—plus, of course, our PSP baby group.

*NEW GROUP* Mindfulness and Meaning in the Madness, or "PSPMmm." We've heard folks say that despite how destabilizing COVID-19 has been to their lives and their world, they’ve also learned new things, found new ways to be grateful, and decided to make changes in their lives as a result of this mayhem. We're starting a new group to help us find these glimmers of meaning, and we want to invite you to join. Some days are definitely harder than others, and I’m finding that checking in with people far and wide is making things more bearable and, dare I say, sometimes very meaningful and wonderful. This group will be a safe space to share those stories and learnings, talk about how we are working through the struggles, and grow from each other’s experiences. We're hoping to have some virtual meetings that could include group writing prompts and sharing, poetry readings, article discussions, and whatever else the group comes up with. If you would like to join this group, shoot me an email at and I’ll get you signed up.

Mother’s Day is coming! This year, you can still have breakfast in bed and lots of family togetherness. It’s a great time to buy a gift certificate to a local business (e.g., massage, hair salon, nail salon) to help them stay afloat and also look forward to the time when we can enjoy those things again! Many of our local gift shops now have online stores, so check to see if you can continue to SHOP LOCAL! Be creative—maybe you can have a Saturday Night Pre-Mother’s Day Zoom with your baby group, have a movie night and show your kids your favorite movie from childhood, have a picnic on the living room floor, set up a home spa day, or do a virtual yoga class to help celebrate. I’ll continue my tradition of dragging my family to Green-Wood to see the azaleas in bloom, taking lots of photos, and sending them to my flower-loving mother to help her celebrate.

We’re celebrating moms and first responders in a GREAT Concert on May 9th from 11 am–2 pm (EST). Suzi Shelton (Go Fire Truck Go, Tomboy in a Princess Dress) and Park Slope Parents have teamed up to create a “Celebrate Moms” virtual concert with a dozen children’s musicians and puppeteers as a fundraiser for First Responders Children’s Foundation. It has some current favorites (e.g., Vered, Mils Trils, Little Miss Ann) as well as longtime Park Slope Parents favorites Randy Kaplan (Shampoo Me) and Grammy Award-winner Jon Samson (Predicament). Here’s a Spotify playlist of the musicians who are performing to get you dancing and ready to party! (Please help us promote this concert by posting it to your block associations, Facebook pages, and more!)

CelebrateMoms

 

Updates from PSP HQ

The Park Slope Parents Classifieds. I’ve started getting emails about reopening the Classifieds for contactless exchanges. The Advisory Board, along with the Park Slope Parents Medical Liaison, is discussing a reopening plan, so stay tuned. We understand that there are expectant parents who don’t have essential supplies for their new baby and that items are on backorder. We hear that people need to sell things for extra money. We’re listening, we really are, and we are coming up with a plan to allow limited ISO posts for things of an essential nature.

Supporting our domestic workers (nannies and house cleaners). We get how hard it is not having childcare. It’s hard to be a full time parent and a full time worker. There are so many of you trying to do the right thing (yay!) by your nannies, and we’d love to help you continue to make that happen. There are others who are struggling financially and need strategies to protect themselves and their nannies. We are planning a new “What Next?” webinar Wednesday, May 6th, @ 8pm with the folks at HomeWork Solutions to talk through the details of paid sick leave, FFRCA, unemployment, and beyond. You can retroactively pay your nanny and get tax credits for what you’ve paid during the pause as well as help get your nanny unemployment benefits. There are good options!

Summer camps are still a big question mark. We’ve been meeting with summer camp directors and talking through different possibilities related to in-person camps, virtual camps (half-day/full-day?), late starts, and social distancing rules. So many questions and not many answers yet, but we’ll keep you informed! Expect a survey soon to help summer camps give you what you want! In Cuomo’s daily update on May 1, he said at the very end that summer camp decisions will be based on regional rollout.

We are thinking through safety and re-entry processes when it’s time for your nanny or house cleaner to come back to work. I’ve heard that some of you are scared to continue the lock down and also fearful of lifting it. Since we are sheltering in place until May 15th, plans to have nannies return before then seems like jumping the gun. We want to keep everyone safe, and especially since many of our domestic workers are from vulnerable neighborhoods, it’s especially important to act in ways that protect our employees, their families, our families, and our neighbors.

Park Slope Parents is holding mental health check-ins and coping webinars. We had a great session with an adolescent psychiatrist to help parents of teens cope during COVID, and we are working on more virtual events to support you on topics such as stress-eating, and fair division of labor in families, ergonomics while working at home, postpartum support; and help for expectant parents, parents with their own aging parents, non-screen ways of engaging your toddler, special education navigation, and more.

We’re helping you with job searching and business support during COVID. We already organized two job search webinars with executive coaches for those folks who find themselves needing a job. Come to our virtual TGIF Networking Lunch May 8th to meet other folks. We’re also working with the 5th Ave BID to help spread information about small business grants and loans, unemployment benefits, and more. If you’re not on our Park Slope Parents Career Networking Group, shoot an email and ask to be added. More initiatives and directives to come! Stay tuned for more. Please remember to skip seamless if you are ordering to support our local restaurants.

We’re keeping you connected. We’ve had important conversations with new and expectant parents about their birth experiences and compiled tips for those birthing during COVID, and we’re having baby proms, hosting bubble parties, and helping to sponsor music shows. The Tweens/Teens group is talking about how to handle after-hours texting parties, Parents of Elementary School Kids are discussing strategies to keep kids occupied, and the Kindergarten group is starting to talk about placements and waitlists. Poker Papas are playing twice a week and donating money from the proceeds to local charities, the crafting group meets once a week to share tales and talents, and online chess is in check (mate).

PSP is keeping you strong. PSP has been organizing exercise classes, including pilates, yoga, HIIT, prenatal yoga, postpartum yoga, and more. Most are at 10 am, but we’ve also got an early-morning workout, a prenatal weekend class, and a late-night workout. If there’s not something that works for you, we have a big list of adult and kid classes by local businesses that you can help support while staying active. If you have a favorite class, give them a shout out and let us join you! Personally I find that I’m much more likely to work out if I’m doing it at a scheduled time with other people. I also find that putting on a few of my favorite college dance songs and jumping around like a crazy person can help me move some of the negativity out of my body and be an easier person to live with.

**NEW**We’re planning on a Loving Kindness Meditation for Monday at 8 pm (link shortly), and we have a belly dancing class in the works!

We’ve got lots of great things coming up. Bookmark the PSP Calendar to find all the great things we’ve got going on. Dad 411? Happening. Intro to Middle School? We’ve got it. Toddler feeding? Sleeping? Diapering? We’re on it. Is there something you’d love to have us help make happen? Email Carla and Dorothy, our AMAZING Events Team, at ."> . Three cheers for how they've risen to the challenge in helping us stay connected even while we are apart!

Spread your love of Park Slope Parents. If you’re still loving what Park Slope Parents has to offer, please renew and also tell your friends (old PSP members and new) about it! You can send them this link. We have a fabulous staff of eight, and your membership helps support their families. PSP has always tried to keep our membership fees low, but for those who can’t afford the extras right now, we can help (email ). Also, if you’re financially afloat right now, you can give a little more when you renew to help out a fellow member.

 

A FEW PSAs:

Continue to social distance. It’s because we are social distancing that we have the good news we do. It’s what is bringing the numbers down. Do you part and continue to be smart about social distancing and WEAR YOUR MASKS. There are lots of places where you can find your own space rather than having to be anxious about close contact with people. Prospect Park can be crowded; consider walking in Red Hook or Gowanus where people seem to be less concentrated.

Control what you can and let go of the rest. It’s supposed to be BEAUTIFUL tomorrow, and that’s going to bring lots of people outside. This inevitably brings out people who are not practicing appropriate social distancing, which can lead to angst, worry, and frustration for some of you. Remember: you can only control what YOU do. You can say to people, “Please put on a mask,” “Please stand back,” or worse, but you can’t control other people’s behavior or response. As my Uncle Bill used to say, “Don’t let other people determine how you are going to feel.” That said, rest assured that we feel your frustration, and we all share in it.

Be respectful of other people and outside spaces. Green-Wood Cemetery has become a destination and respite for many people at this time. REMINDER: Burials-- more than normal-- are happening every day of the week right now, so being respectful and teaching your kids to stand quietly as a procession drives by is warranted. Talk to kids about the purpose of a cemetery; why we honor people and why cemeteries are important. Remember that people are there to visit and grieve loved ones, and that it is the primary purpose of a cemetery. Tranquility Pond (where the koi fish live) is a place for quiet contemplation; not a place for loud phone calls and running around. As you may have seen, Green-Wood sent a STERN warning reminding people that it is NOT a public park but a place to for remembering, memorializing, and reflection. As such, dogs, jogging, picnicking, climbing trees, and biking are not allowed. They are looking for volunteer ambassadors to help make sure cemetery rules are honored. If someone wants to do a shift with me let me know! Help us keep it a magical, wonderful place for everyone. Side note: The PSP Poker Papas which plays twice a week are donating portions of their games to support family and educational programming at Green-wood.

CemeteryLake

 

FINALLY...

Remember, what we are going through is teaching your kids resilience. If you really think about it, this is a tiny blip in our children’s life overall; a short few months of instability and uncertainty that is likely to be having less of an impact on them as it is for grownups. What they are learning, though, is how to make the best of things, creative ways to connect and entertain themselves, how to remain calm because we are calm (since we scream our anxieties out during the 7 pm clap!), and how to cope. The valuable lessons we teach them about empathy and resilience right now will help carry them through the rest of their lives.

One of my favorite sayings is, “Don’t do it ’til you’re tired of it, do it ’til it’s done.” It’s about grunting through when things are really hard and we want to throw up are hands and stop. That’s how I feel sometimes, thinking, "the statistics are looking better, so can’t we start getting back to normal already?! Things ARE better, but we need to continue to be careful. I attended yesterday’s Memorializing Loved Ones During COVID-19 with Green-Wood Cemetery, and the stories of people losing loved ones strengthened my resolve to keep everyone safe. We must hold tight to our course of protecting ourselves and our communities.

I’ve missed seeing you all in person but we'll see you soon! I have loved seeing you, your kids, and your cats and dogs, online. We’ll need to distance from each other for a bit longer but we’ll get through this, we’ll be stronger, and we’ll blow giant bubbles in Prospect Park again! (If you've made it through this WHOLE thing and are still reading, and like bubbles, shoot me an email and I'll send you a packet of the magic powder (just add water and Dawn) that makes these huge bubbles. I'd love to share my love of bubbles with you.)

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Whatever the new normal looks like, we'll be here for you. We'll do our best to help provide a supportive community, to allow folks to ask and answer hard questions, keep a step ahead on thinking through things to lighten your load, and hopefully make parenting a little better for you (and your kids). Shoot us an email if you need us!

Social distancing doesn't mean emotional distancing. We'll see you online and continue to grow with each other! And as the Nitehawk Theatre marquee says, "Be excellent to each other!"

beexcellent

Susan Fox
Founder, Park Slope Parents