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Challenge: Pandemic Parenting

Pandemic parenting and the roller coaster ride we never signed up for

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I had no idea I could get so frustrated.

Frustrated at my kids, frustrated at my husband but even more so, frustrated at myself.

I often caught myself thinking…”Am I being the mom that I want to be? The mom I usually am? The one I want them to see and learn from?”

This year, on some days… absolutely not.

But this year, on most days… absolutely.

I’m not so sure we could have been able to prepare ourselves for the changes COVID-19 would bring, even if we tried.

We began to worry in a whole new way – a bigger picture worry that many of us haven’t had to experience. Some might say the science charts we’ve been reading all year also accurately chart our rising levels of concern and stress.

We all became assistant teachers, doing our best to learn school systems and apps as we helped our children and amazing teachers navigate through their virtual classrooms. We asked our little (and maybe even big) ones to pay attention to the screen, get their feet off the table, stop drawing on the table and please stop playing with that toy. We fielded their hundreds of questions, fed them snack after snack and for some of us, all of this while simultaneously working from home.

We stepped up our caregiving role as we worked to figure out the safest steps forward for not only our young children but also our aging parents. Family gatherings were altered or cancelled. Wedding and funerals were put on hold. Expectant parents even faced a laundry list of new challenges.

Many jobs were lost and all were changed. We lost most of our ‘me’ time. We ate and drank too much and exercised too little. Grocery shopping was no longer easy. Getting a haircut even became more difficult or simply didn't happen. We turned to our phones and social media way more than we thought possible just to pass the time or step outside the box that is home, if even for a minute.

As we wrap up 2020, we look back and realize that no matter how hard we had it, many more had it harder and that through the trials and tribulations, a lot of it mattered.

We discovered a lot of new writers, new shows, new musicians and other talented individuals to follow on social media – people with time on their hands too – and as they shared, they inspired us to think new things, try new things, new recipes, new projects, perhaps a new sport.

I hold on to the moments cooking in the kitchen with my daughter, reading on the couch with my sons and having my husband home for dinner and the kiddos' bedtime many more nights than usual.

I hold onto time spent on the road rather than in the air to get to our summer destination – the simplicity of stops and family time in the car traveling the ‘old-fashioned’ way.

I hold on to the days where time stood still. The lazy mornings. The long evenings. The hours and hours spent outside climbing trees and playing in the sand rather than running and gunning from appointment to practice then to the store.

I hold on to the lessons I learned along the way and that hopefully, my kids did too – that life is hard but can always be harder, expect the unexpected, never stop leaning on your friends, get creative, get outside, and most of all, count our blessings.

In 2020, we earned more grey hairs and shed many more tears than we should have but hopefully a few of those tears were due to a laugh or two.

We all struggled but at least we all struggled together, while apart... and in our comfy pants.


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