A Moms’ Guide for Back-to-School: When Stress Impacts Your Relationship


A Moms’ Guide for Back-to-School: When Stress Impacts Your Relationship


It’s no secret that this is a different back-to-school experience for everyone. Regardless of whether the kids are going back to their schools or learning remotely at home, this has been a challenging September for all parents, everywhere.

“Am I making the right decision?”

“Will they be safe?”

“How is their mental well being?”

“Will they miss their friends?”

“Can they still see their grandparents?”

These are just a handful of the many questions parents across the city have been asking themselves as the kids head back this month.

It’s yet another complex layer in the shifting COVID-19 landscape that parents have been working through since March. And it’s been difficult—especially for moms. The stats on women leaving the work force to care for children, new moms and pregnant women suffering from significant spikes in anxiety and depression; it’s obvious that moms have been hit hard.

We spoke with three local experts—one in maternal mental health, one in fitness and nutrition, and another in relationship coaching—to gather a few tips for moms on how we can help reduce stress and manage back-to-school anxiety.

First up, Samantha Reynolds of Modern Child Parenting offers some insights into how stress can impact your relationship with your partner.

“Whether you have decided to enroll your child in remote learning this fall or send them back to school physically, this is a stressful time for all parents. Unfortunately, this stress can creep into your relationship with your partner and can result in more conflict and unhappiness.

Here are four tips for parents to help you keep your relationship strong despite all of these stressors:

1)  Turn Up The Positivity and Appreciation

When life gets crazy and overwhelming, many couples decide to put their relationship on the back burner and this is a big mistake. Even loving couples can drift apart without even realizing it. It doesn’t take a lot but keeping a positive perspective in your relationship will make all the difference.

Positivity is not only romance and passion, it also happens during every day mundane moments. When your partner notices that you are working extra late and decides to make the dinner; when you appreciate all the hard work your partner is doing to keep the kids engaged at hom; when you thank your partner for doing the laundry or your partner puts the phone/computer away when you are speaking with them. These all go toward filling your “emotional bank account.”

So, during this time of back to school find your partner doing something “right” and say something. Do not let appreciations go unnoticed.

2) Do Not Avoid Conflict

Stressful times can lead to more conflict and a tendency to avoid it as something you don’t want to deal with, but avoiding conflict is dangerous as it can lead to simmering resentment and even deeper anger.

Make a point to check in with each other every night and address issues before they become explosive. You may feel like this is another “to do” on your ever-growing list, however, over time, this 10-minute check in will sustain your connection with each other and make you feel like you have each other’s backs.

3)  Master the Art of Apologizing

No matter how hard you are trying to stay connected there are times when you will mess up. Stress hijacks the brain and doesn’t allow us to hear our partner effectively. We can become more defensive and say things we may regret. Though it may hurt your pride and ego, the sooner you can admit your fault for part of the problem the better it is for your relationship. Apologizing is a true power move in your relationship and will re-enforce your trust and loving bond.

4)  State of the Union

Once a week for an hour, sit down together and discuss areas of concern in your relationship. What is working. What needs to be looked at. This is a safe and supportive way to feel heard and understood and gives couples the freedom to express and not feel neglected.”

Samantha Reynolds is the founder of Modern Child Parenting, a certified “Bringing Baby Home,” RIE (Resources for Infant Educators) and MACAR (Montessori Applied To Children At Risk) educator and Casa Montessori teacher. She is the creator of “Happy Parents, Happy Children: How To Keep Your Relationship Strong While Raising A Young Family”.

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