Your circle is stronger when there are people in it: Meet Lisa McGinnett

April 12, 2021

Lisa McGinnett and her family are one of four Colorado families who shared their story of parental resilience and parenting during the pandemic at the virtual launch of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Lisa and her husband are busy parents with three teenagers, a two-year-old and an infant in foster care. After managing a work-from-home schedule, never-ending laundry and dishes for a family of eight while supporting her children in remote learning, Lisa understands the importance of asking for help.

Lisa has always helped others and says that asking for help over the past year has been humbling, but necessary. Lisa’s co-workers, church community and even her best friend in Hawaii have been there with an encouraging word, meal or a laugh. Lisa admits that vulnerability can be tough, but having an emotionally supportive social network makes everything easier for her family.

Self-care while parenting in the pandemic

The McGinnett family has made it a priority to keep life as normal as possible during the pandemic. Lisa says the family’s unanimous agreement to lower expectations of housekeeping and lounging around are two of the ways that helped the family to minimize stress.

“I snuck in as many naps as possible,” said Lisa. “This allowed me to remain fresh and escape the stress of trying to maintain normalcy.” Continuing to shower, dress for work and wear her favorite perfume around the house was also key to survival for Linda as a parent over the past year.

Asking for help

Linda admits that she is more comfortable with giving than receiving and she has to make an effort to humble herself and allow friends to meet her where she was at emotionally. “Several times, people recognized that I was having a tough day and had dinner delivered for us,” said Lisa. “That is when I realized how important it was to have support from friends and family who truly cared about us.”

Lisa recalls one of her most meaningful experiences over the past year when a friend offered to have pizza delivered to her home for her family. Initially, Lisa rejected the offer, but as the day went on, Lisa called her friend back to find out if she could still take her up on the offer.

Lisa is thankful for the many acts of kindness that others have shown her family over the past year and explained that she now finds it easier to accept help. Lisa acknowledges that being more receptive to others' willingness to help her family has played an instrumental role in her personal growth and has allowed others to experience the joy of giving.

The importance of building and maintaining social connections

Social connections is one of five protective factors that allow parents to parent effectively, even under stress. Parents with a social network of emotionally supportive friends, family and neighbors often find that it is easier to care for their children and themselves. Parents need people they can call on once in a while when they need a sympathetic listener, advice or support.

“Acknowledging that we don't have to have all the answers or figure things out alone is quite freeing,” said Lisa. “Asking for help can be perceived as a sign of weakness; however, with the unknowns that came along with COVID-19, it just didn't matter anymore and asking for help became easier when we finally realized that we're all in this together.”

The McGinnett family is hopeful that they will come out on the other side of the pandemic with more compassion, understanding and willingness to extend more grace during life’s hardships. Their family motto has always been that “there is always room for one more,” and they have found joy in having a household with a welcoming atmosphere for anyone who needs to be there. Now having felt that same generous and welcoming feeling from others who have been willing to help over the past year, the McGinnett family is more confident than ever that having social connections is essential for strengthening families. 

The Colorado Department of Human Services CO4Kids campaign encourages all Coloradans to strengthen families and communities. If you know of an organization or individual working to strengthen Colorado families and communities that would like to be highlighted, please reach out to Dianna Robinson.

To learn about the signs of child abuse and neglect and for information about how to become a foster or adoptive parent, visit Call 844-CO-4-Kids to report concerns about child abuse and neglect. If a child or teen is in immediate danger, dial 9-1-1.

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