Getting through this chaos as a parent
If you told me six months ago that I’d live through a time where I’d have to be quarantined with my husband and two small children for over two weeks, I would have called you crazy.
Yet, here we are, all of us going a little mad over these next few weeks. However, we can make this a little more bearable.
There are no rules in quarantine except to stay home.
Lots of my parenting techniques have been thrown out the window. And no, not because they’re not working, but because these are special times. We are in a historic situation that our grandparents or great-grandparents lived similarly through. We are at risk every time we come into contact with a person, go into a public place, or go to work and serve through while everyone else gets to stay home. It is mentally draining to think about our current situation at hand, let alone live through it. Staying home, staying healthy is the first and only rule of quarantine.
This means you can be a lot more relaxed on a lot of rules in your house. If you haven’t already, give yourself a break. There is no parenting guide on what to do during an outbreak like this.
If you do screen time, let them watch a little longer. If you do laundry every single day, push it to every other day. Dishes in the sink? Who is coming over anyways you need to impress? While I don’t think you should let your house get out of control, because a cluttered house is not what you need to stress about on top of everything else, you deserve a break. Stay in bed an extra hour. Commit to a self-care routine in these trying times. Need to have a drink at 9 A.M. on a Tuesday? There are no rules!
Indulge in your favorite snacks and watch that show on Netflix you’ve been meaning to watch since your children were born. Take on new hobbies. Order a craft online to learn and enjoy. Break out a puzzle that you can leave on your kitchen table pending to finishing it. Do some baking, and don’t worry about those calories for a day.
Families during these times deserve a break: no judgement, no crude comments about your parenting, no mom guilt.
Give your little ones a break, too.
Now that school is over for some kids, or there’s another two weeks until school resumes again, lots of families are commencing in their own homeschooling. I commend every parent who is trying hard to be the parent and teacher all in one right now. Education and learning is so important, so vital to their little brains. During this point in time, your little one could also use a break. They have lost the tiny freedom they had. They got to go and socialize 5 days a week, run around and play in parks, and went on amazing adventures to museums. Now, they have to stay home, and make do with what they have.
Don’t beat yourself up if your kiddo isn’t interested in home school. They lost an environment where the normal is now considered dangerous. Instead of strict schedules, do more hands on learning. Be silly. Don’t be afraid to make messes. Let them be as messy as they like. Continue to learn, but in a new way. A way you both can make up together. Let their minds be eager to learn, go outside into your backyard and observe nature. Create lessons within your household experiences. Things like baking bread could be a science experiment: a lesson on how bread rises, an explanation on what yeast is. You are in control of what you teach your kids during these times, and you know your child best; what could you do to give them a break of their own?
Enjoy this time to the best of your ability.
No, we did not expect this. No one can give you a guide on how to heal, how to live through, and how to adjust to quarantined life. Life throws you curve balls in every direction, and you’re left wondering how to catch them. Be creative. Think of yourself during these times. Let yourself finish that chapter of your book before you put away the dishes. Don’t just have a moment to yourself, have multiple moments. Let your kids play and make a mess while you enjoy some TV or a craft. Follow the newborn guidelines for any age child and nap when they nap. Life is still right now, so enjoy that cup of coffee while it is hot, eat breakfast for once, let yourself be in the moment. During this unpredictable time, allow yourself some control in your life by being present. The silver lining of this period of isolation is that you get to do what you want with your time for once.
And of course, in any article I write, this might only pertain to a certain type of parent. Maybe you have sick kids at home. Maybe you are sick. You might be working from home, or working through this chaotic time. I want to thank anyone, parent or not, who is vital to our society still thriving, risking themselves every day and going to work. That is including nurses, doctors, hospital staff, grocery store staff, truckers, mailmen, first-responders, farmers, utility workers, pharmacy workers, military personnel and everyone who is working through these unimaginable times. I hope you all find a little peace within your home and find your own silver lining through all of this.
We will get through this.
Dedicated to my sister-in-law, Allison, who is a nurse and taking care of patients with COVID-19 and my mother-in-law, Sylvia, who has worked for 2 straight weeks (as of writing this article) at our local grocery store. They are both strong, brave mothers who are vital to taking care of our society. Thank you both.
Stay safe and stay healthy. We will all get through this.