Being a parent during a pandemic is super hard. There are lessons to be learned and value to be found amid all of this, but it doesn’t erase the extreme pressure we’re all feeling. Once I allowed myself to feel these emotions and let go of overly positive thinking, I was able to surrender and accept what is.
Hearing how other families are cobbling together some semblance of a normal existence is of great interest to me because I’ll take all the tips I can get. We need to support each other, you know! Here’s what my experience has been (minus the foul language at particular times and tears here and there ha!) and I’d love to hear yours, too!
An optimistic beginning
As COVID-19 first made its way into our collective awareness, I had a strange sensation of calm. It was like I imagined myself creating a forcefield around my family to protect us from everything. I was energized by coming up with fun and creative things to do with my 3-year-old that she would’ve otherwise done at her MDO, which has been closed since March. I eagerly planned crafts, activities, etc. As the world was swirling around us, we happily stayed together in our family cacoon.
A realistic outlook
As March rolled into April we started settling into this new normal. My husband started working from home. I’ve been working remotely for about 10 years so that part wasn’t an adjustment. Having the whole family in the house all and trying to work while taking care of a 3-year-old was an adjustment. We moved my home office set up into our room so we could take turns working while hiding from the 3- year-old. It became increasingly clear that we wouldn’t be returning to ‘normal’ any time soon. The pressure really started to build.
Parenting in a pandemic is hard. No childcare while working is hard. Doing both at the same time is hard. Making decisions about daycare and/or school, if they’re open, is hard. Every. Thing. Is. Just. So. Hard. We are all having a really hard time! And it seems like it’ll be like this for a while. So while that initial optimistic, calm sensation I had at the onset of this pandemic is gone, I will replace it will resolve and just take one day at a time.
This is what I’m doing to relieve the pressure of this pandemic and maintain some kind of balance. My mental health necessitates this.
6 things I’m doing to battle coronacrazies
1. Hobbies help
I’m doing projects that bring me joy, like sewing, house improvements, or gardening. But only when I want to for as long as I want. I don’t want to feel obligated to do something fun, that takes away the joy.
2. Nature therapy
Finding time to be still in nature helps me stay centered and connected.
3. Playtime playdates
Having regular outdoor playdates with trusted families so my 3-year-old can have interactions with other kids since she’s not attending MDO.
4. Mind, body connection
Waking up early so I have time for a short meditation and workout before a day of working/childcare begins.
Giving myself permission to feel what I feel without judgment or comparison.
6. Structure to the chaos
Creating a schedule to balance work, childcare, household duties, and family activities so I can stay present at the moment and not feel pulled in all directions.
- Whichever parent is with the 3-year-old takes her to a park, splash pad, or someplace outdoors during the morning hours. The afternoons, after her nap, are usually spent at home doing crafts, science experiments, or playing in the blow-up pools.
This isn’t perfect by any means and it’s still really, really hard. But having this structure helps me stay sane. What are you doing to combat the coronacrazies right now?