Parenting in the Time of a Pandemic
While parenting during the age of the coronavirus, it's important to celebrate the good and try to forget about the bad, says Grant Minkhorst.
After a year at home caring for our little (big) baby, I had returned to the office for a mere two weeks before the world came to an abrupt halt. Next thing I knew, I was breaking out the sweat pants and trying to settle into life working from home. I'll admit, I had mixed feelings about this sudden return to my former habitat. On the one hand, I would be able to spend more time with my family. On the other hand, I would have to spend more time with my family. I was enjoying the quiet rides into work (alone) and savouring my piping hot morning coffee. The novelty of going to the bathroom without disruption had not yet worn off. On the bright(er) side, I've been able to continue watching our child grow up without missing a beat. The positives outweigh the negatives by a hair. During my moments of energetic positivity, I'm grateful for the opportunity to create new memories and traditions. But, during my moments of utter despair, I only see a clock moving at a glacial pace towards bedtime.
Our 15-month-old doesn't stop moving. Never. He has taken over all 1100 square-feet of our home with supreme dominance. I have taken refuge in our bedroom during weekdays in order to meet the demands of my job, but I have to shut the door tight for fear that he will sniff me out. My husband is doing his best to keep him entertained, but there are only so many activities that involve one child and one adult. In the past week, we've purchased at least 20 new books, a water table and a tunnel. Tomorrow, I may end up buying a miniature pony. We are figuring it out and doing our best to stay sane.
We are currently in a state of crisis parenting. We are all looking for ways to cope with this perpetual state of uncertainty. It's been heartwarming to see social media posts of families finding some joy during this time. Parents making signs to get drivers to honk their horns for their kid's birthday; families going on the balcony to bang pots and pans for healthcare workers; a mom and dad recreating a restaurant experience for their two kids. It's incredible to see what some parents can do during this time. But let's make one thing clear: those families that look like they have this pandemic parenting thing all figured out are struggling just like the rest of us.
This isn't the time to showcase our best parenting skills; it's the time to just make it to tomorrow. There will be good days and bad days. Let's celebrate the good and try to forget about the bad. The reality for most of our kids is that they won't remember much about this very weird time in their lives. But, in 20 years, we will be able to tell them about that time that we watched two entire seasons of Drag Race in one day. Or that time that we pretended that spaghetti was our real hair. Or the time when we stayed in bed all day and watched movies. Or the time(s) when Daddy and Papa screamed into their pillows out of sheer exhaustion.
We're spending too much time thinking about what we should be doing. Let's focus on what we are doing. We are keeping our kids safe, healthy and fed. We are doing our best to pay bills, clean the house and buy groceries. We are trying to maintain a sense of normalcy during the abnormal. If you're lucky enough to come out the other side of this stronger, that's great. If you come out of this feeling depleted and anxious, you'll work to get back to where you once were. Be kind to yourself. Be gentle with your partner. Be patient with your children. We'll be okay.
Follow our family adventures on Instagram @daddypapaandjasper