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Challenge: Reflecting on a Year of Pandemic Parenting

The 20 important life lessons we can take from 2020

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As this roller coaster of a year ends, I couldn’t help but reflect on what these past several months have meant to me and my family.

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Navigating this changing world has been a day to day challenge, and I question all the time if my choices are the right ones. Yet, even though there have been struggles, I also know we have learned so many lessons that we will take with us for rest of our lives.

So I decided to make a list of the 20 lessons I learned in 2020. I want for both myself and my children to be able to look back on this difficult year, and know that something good actually did come out of all of this.

Always be appreciative of your parents - Most felt this way before the pandemic, but the loss of so much of the older population has opened our eyes to what a blessing it is when you still have living parents.

Grieving together is just as important as celebrating together - We all missed celebrating, but the loss of collective grieving was something that will live with many of us forever, and will never be taken for granted again.

Sometimes we have to do uncomfortable things for the greater good - Quarantining, mask wearing, canceled celebrations and trips, and the painful reality of being separated from those we love most (whether sick or healthy) - all of these things were extremely hard for many, but done to protect ourselves and others from this deadly virus.

Medical Professionals deserve our unwavering respect - We have all witnessed the doctors, nurses, EMTs and other medical professionals who are sacrificing their own health to save others. It is unbelievably admirable and impossible to forget.

Essential workers will always have our appreciation - Along with the medical community, we now have an appreciation for people like grocery store employees, garbage handlers and delivery drivers. Their sacrifices will also never be forgotten.

Mental health must be a priority - More and more people are accessing help for their mental health through avenues like therapy, meditation, medication and exercise. Its so good to see and so important to continue.

Teachers are essential to our lives, and deserve every accolade out there - Losing school for many parents was one of the hardest parts of this pandemic. We got a first hand view of what it’s like to teach our children, and because of this, we will forever be grateful.

Equality is something you should never stop fighting for - You would think that in 2020, we would not need to make this statement. However, this year opened so many of our eyes that continuing the fight for equality is not only what’s right but it is what is absolutely needed.

Choosing a life-partner has taken on a new meaning - Marriage vows have always incorporated sickness, health and even death - however, did they ever consider months of quarantine?

Shopping local is now a community duty - Where you spend your money has always been important, but this pandemic has highlighted the importance of supporting the small businesses that service our communities.

Neighbors became significant parts of our life again - Being shut in our homes reignited the concept that your neighbor truly can be your ally and friend.

We can’t live all year for a one week vacation - When vacations were canceled, some upgraded their homes with pools while others found ways to take their vacation with day trips to local attractions. Without guaranteed vacations, we realized we need to find ways to make daily life more enjoyable.

Family traditions became important again - So many people started eating dinner at the table and having Friday movie nights. Traditions were reignited when we were forced to slow down...and that is when we began to remember what actually mattered.

The 40 hour work week desk job is outdated - Simply put, many of us can do our jobs from anywhere on flexible work hours and remain just as productive.

EVERYONE should ALWAYS stay home when they are sick - We all know of someone who came to work sick or brought a sick kid to a party. After this year, that will not longer be accepted or tolerated.

Slowing down was forced on us, but it was also very much needed - Practices, parties, meetings, business trips, classes, endless commitments and responsibilities...this is what life looked like before the pandemic. So slowing down wasn’t only forced, but needed.

We now have new ways to connect - We are seeing meetings, weddings, birthday parties and reunions all done over applications like Zoom. It shouldn’t be the only way to connect, but so many of us are thankful to have the option.

Our planet desperately needed a breather (and will continue to) - The global lockdown reduced pollution all over the world, and demonstrated how effective collective action can be to help our planet.

Hard times will always show you who is worth keeping in your life - Leave it to a pandemic to help us figure out how to weed out the bad in our lives.

A reminder that change is inevitable - As cliche as it sounds, this pandemic has shown us that change (whether wanted or needed) will always happen.

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