Struggle, Adjust, Balance: Parenting in the Pandemic
-by Trina Pruitt, Parent and Go Public Contributor
We are all in this together.
These words ring true, and they will be remembered as our Covid-19-era mantra. Thankfully we are able to share our daily struggles on social media and see that just like ourselves, everyone else is figuring this out as they go. Everyone is adjusting to kids being home all day, every day. We are all balancing our time trying to manage a household and work remotely while also keeping up with our children’s online classes, distance-learning schedules, turning in their schoolwork on time, joining class Zoom meetings, scheduling virtual playdates, planning outdoor physical activities, and constantly cleaning up after them. It is nonstop, from morning to night. And I didn’t even mention the snacks. SO. MANY. SNACKS.
My friends and fellow parents seem to have faced similar hurdles while transitioning into this new at-home life. We thought at first it might be a nice change, and we welcomed the extra time to spend with our children. Then the distance learning started, and we not only had our own jobs and deadlines to manage but we also had our children’s online classes to supervise. I was not the only one who thought I had a solid plan. We had daily schedules and organized workspaces set up for us and our kids. We stocked up on school supplies, crafting materials, and healthy, convenient foods. In our minds, it was all going to run so smoothly.
Here is how its REALLY going. Some days we sleep until 9:30 am. Some days we wear PJs until noon. Sometimes we follow the teacher’s lesson plans; sometimes we don’t. Sometimes my 7-year-old interrupts meetings, and sometimes it is embarrassing. At times we sit in my bed, side-by-side on laptops, learning and working and clicking away in silence. There are days I cannot find the energy to be creative or inspiring. There are days we are guilty of too much screen time. There are SpaghettiOs days.
And that is ok. We aren’t doing things according to our plan. But what we are doing is working for us, at least for now. We are turning schoolwork in and learning together. We are playing outside and enjoying blowup pools, sprinklers, gardening, and fireflies. We finally had time to teach my little one to ride her bike. We made a cooking video, and she learned to make chicken soup. We drew colorful chalk art with happy messages at the end of every driveway on our street. We sent homemade cards to grandparents and friends.