An Update from PSP Headquarters

Hey All,

I wanted to send an update and see how folks are doing. We need to pat ourselves on the back and realize that we’re in extremely uncharted waters around this pandemic and we’re making the best of it. At this point the shock and newness has worn off for most of us and we must more actively motivate ourselves to practice self-care and fight the urge to become sedentary and apathetic. Control aversion and Zoom fatigue are real but we must and will persevere. Here are some self-care ideas we are working on.

daisy-712892 1280

  • We’ve had some great Mental Health Check-ins and we are planning more. There’s a Mental Health Check in for Expectant Parents tomorrow, Thursday, May 21st.  Sign up here.  We’re also planning a mental check-in for folks who’ve recently given birth, parents of elementary aged kids, people who are dealing with aging parents, motherless mothers, and more meditations. If you are an expectant or new parent feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and with no end to the darkness, contact Seleni, The Motherhood Center, or Boober for mental health help.
  • We’re continuing Park Slope Parents workout sessions. Yes you could probably workout to any YouTube video, but there’s something bonding about working out in real time with other folks.  Check the Park Slope Parents Calendar for dates and times. We are seeing a small drop in attendance so maybe folks are getting outside, but please try to get some fresh air, move your body, and take breaks meditating, watching something funny, and connecting with other folks.
  • Focus on Some Good News, on good journalism, and continue to take breaks from the media. There are lots of folks from the media in this community and they’re right; there are un-biased, positive places where you can get your news.  Thanks to those people who are fighting the good fight and helping keep us informed (and in some cases, alive!) while not playing on our emotions!

 

tim-mossholder-bo3SHP58C3g-unsplash

 

For many of us “pause” is waning on us; we are looking to get out of the house, get more work done, and get our kids interacting. This angst is compacted by the beautiful weather and the falling statistics; it makes us feel better about thinking through summer plans, hiring nannies back, or hiring new caregivers for the summer months since we may have fears of large groups and little information for the opening of summer camps. Planning is good, and we absolutely need to make the right choices for our families. However, also look at the consequences of your actions in terms of the larger community.  COVID cases have dropped because what we are doing is working—not because the virus has given up and gone elsewhere. Let’s continue to protect those most at risk, keep being smart, social distance, and take precautions when we do interact with others.  To that end:

  • We are having an Ask the Pediatrician webinar with Dr. Philippa Gordon TODAY, Wednesday, at 8pm. Register for that webinar HERE.
  • We are working on top tips in having your nanny come back to work—stay tuned for that. There is also a Hand-in-Hand webinar about rehiring/hiring a nanny and best practices. Sign up here. We’ll be on the webinar and will report back, and hopefully have an updated "summer work agreement" as well.
  • We are also working on tips for “having your house cleaner return safely.”

 

I met with daycares and preschools directors yesterday (I meet with summer camp directors later this week). I’ll post an update about the conundrums and challenges that they are facing trying to stay afloat, pay their teachers and keep up with their overhead.  It’s too complex to include here.  I can tell you is that what I saw on that meeting was compassion for families, a desire to stay in business, and willingness to talk to parents who have questions. If you have concerns, please reach out to the directors. Warmth and understanding can be lost in an email; the people I spoke to care deeply about your children.  They were also very thankful for the support they have been given by the overwhelming majority of parents. It’s important that both businesses and parents are transparent and communicative about what’s happening in their respective worlds and work together rather than taking a “grab a torch and pitchfork” mentality. We want great businesses to be there for us in the future and also know parents have valid needs as well. Park Slope Parents is working to create a bridge and support both sides. Stay tuned.

sole-d-alessandro-g-kwSLS0GHN5c-unsplash

Park Slope Parents is an online COMMUNITY and we must work together throughout these difficult months to stay strong. We have a resume building workshop on Thursday and are planning LinkedIn workshops as well. We continue to work with Brad Lander’s office and discuss with the folks at Prospect Park about different issues related to daycares, summer and park use. We are organizing resources for rent issues (both for small businesses as well as families) and continuing to work with the 5th Avenue Business Improvement District.  We will continue to think through how we can help support each other in our many predicaments and keep the community strong.

As we go into the next few weeks, I’d love people to think about COMMUNITY and what you can do to help keep it strong (even if you’re reading this from outside Brooklyn!). Here are some ideas:

Donate your stuff. Use the Classifieds to give away (or sell) things you don’t need. St. Mary’s is also doing contactless pickups of clothing, bedding, shoes, purses, and towels. Spring clean and do good at the same time.

Operation Feel Good: The CHiPS Edition. CHiPS still needs donations for their 11am – 1pm pop up. My daughter and I took sandwiches there last week and the line was wrapped all the way down the block. If it’s easier to donate specific items, here’s their wishlist.

Support teachers and sports leaders. If a teacher has done a great job at helping your child, send them a thanks. If your child has a favorite preschool teacher or daycare staff (many are doing one on one Zoom sessions), take some extra time to give them (and the directors) a shout out and gratitude. Check in with sports coaches, music teachers, and other folks who used to have contact with your kids. I’m sure that they would rather be interacting with your kids rather than being cooped up. Have your kids write letters, draw pictures, and send TikToks showing their appreciation.

jamez-picard-hgFddoULkHs-unsplash

Order from a local restaurant: If you can, call or use the restaurant website rather than using a 3rd party app. That way more stays in the community and the much needed pockets of the local businesses.

Check in with your nannies and house cleaners. The vast majority of these people are super hard workers. They would rather be working than sheltering in place. Many are missing their nanny friends as well as your children. Many folks in the nanny and housecleaning community have experienced heavy losses of their friends, family, churches and neighborhoods. Please reach out to them, ask how they are doing, and give them support during these hard times.

Donate your time and energy to keep senior citizens connected. You can call on senior citizens through Heights and Hills so that these folks have a connection to the outside world.

Keep clapping at 7pm. It continues to raise our spirits. Even if you’re outside the city, join us in clapping, banging pots, and cheering. We hope the worst is over, but there are still essential workers who are putting their lives on the line.

snappy-shutters-Jzq9u0L7wuo-unsplash

Give the gift of a Park Slope Parents membership. There are folks who are hurting financially. We’re giving reduced rate memberships, but if you want to pay it forward, everyone wins. Tell your friends who may not be members about us; we are stronger together. Contact to make that happen.

Put a smile on your mask. It’s an easy thing to do but can brighten the day of someone who walks by you. Let your kids help decorate their mask, they might be more likely to keep it on! If you’ve got a mask with a pattern, cut out a smile with an extra piece of material and safety pin it on. (We’ve also got an article on how to get your toddler to wear a mask.)

maskswithsmiles

We are a community—let’s continue to band together as a collection of families, nannies, small businesses (e.g., summer camps, preschools, daycares), restaurants and delivery folks. Together we can get through this. In the words of George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life, “We’ve got to stick together. We have to faith in each other.” Park Slope Parents will work to continue to build resilience and inspire fortitude (Brave Irene is another great inspiration).

This is hard stuff folks, but we WILL persevere. I leave you with the Speech from Lord of the Rings that Sam gives to Frodo, when all seems dire:

Sam's Speech - Worth Fighting For

Frodo : I can't do this, Sam.

Sam : I know.

It's all wrong

By rights we shouldn't even be here.

But we are.

It's like in the great stories Mr. Frodo.

The ones that really mattered.

Full of darkness and danger they were,

and sometimes you didn't want to know the end.

Because how could the end be happy.

How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened.

But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow.

Even darkness must pass.

A new day will come.

And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.

Those were the stories that stayed with you.

That meant something.

Even if you were too small to understand why.

But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand.

I know now.

Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t.

Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo : What are we holding on to, Sam?

Sam : That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.

Thank you for being part of this community during this crazy ride and for the messages you’ve sent us about how our work is helping. Stay strong, stay safe, and hold those kids close to your heart.

 

Susan Fox

Founder, Park Slope Parents