Parenting in a Pandemic

Posted by Chelsea VonSchneden on

Well, Mamas, we’re in this. Parenting in a pandemic. Something I think most of us thought was never a possibility. But we’re here and it’s once again time to pivot. Let’s just be better at it than Ross, Rachel, & Chandler were with that couch.

It’s hard to believe we’ve spent most of the calendar year basically holding a makeshift umbrella over our heads during a downpour that definitely wasn’t on the forecast. However, there’s an odd comfort to the certainty that this is a longer season than we may have all anticipated back in March. I see this long haul as an allowance for us to still settle although most of our surrounding reality is unsettling. During the time spent in quarantine and now in this adjusted way of living, I’m finding myself learning a few key things and I hope you can take something from it.

As humans (especially parenting humans), it’s hard to accept that we cannot pour from our empty cups. We are constantly draining ourselves in nearly every aspect. We’re using food every day from our inventory that we will eventually have to restock. We’re driving our cars to just get out of the house only to have to stop and fill up on gas. We’re chugging our coffee, lowering our hydration only to have to chug water to get to some type of properly caffeinated balance.

In all the things we’re doing, I hope we consider our intentions and pause to be present. Our care for ourselves doesn’t have to be a whole event, because - let’s be real - that’s a fantasy world for most of us. Small pauses of recognition even for something as simple as drinking water or coffee, let’s focus on those moments where we’re caring for ourselves so that we can care for those whom we love most. Encouraging autonomy is something I think we could all use, and I think we’ll see even more benefits by instilling it in our children from a young age.

Maybe you’re like me and thrive in organized chaos. I like to know where everything is and when everything is happening with a bit of spontaneity sprinkled in. It makes my anxiety lessen and brings me back to center. I’ve found a semblance of sanity in seeing a couple things here and there on the calendar. Whether or not you’re working, homeschooling or not - events to look forward to brings a bit of ease to the scramble that we’re running in. Some people prefer paper over digital, but it’s proven time and time again that we are visual beings. I asked a friend of mine for one thing she’s learned about parenting during a pandemic and she said that kids feel safest when they have a routine. I certainly agree with that statement, because I know that I feel safest with one also. To keep everyone in the house informed, I use a big paper calendar on the wall. Having things like the weekly menu and my people’s celebrations gives a sense of comfort within the mess. For the little ones, consider bright colors or animal themed visuals to draw them in and make the mundane fun!

Community is a hard one right now, since the ways in which we communicate and fellowship has had to be altered so much. However you’ve altered your friend time for kids and yourself, lean into the community that you’ve created. I know that I have found great joy from spending more time with people whom my husband and I trust. It’s odd to have to create a more rigorous criteria for who we see and how often, especially for children who are so used to being able to have playdates constantly. I think watching kids react to the past six months has been one of the most surprising things I’ve learned during this season. They question everything and are always up to challenge the boundaries. It’s humorous how little that aspect of us as humans actually changes as we get older. I think we’re all still just kids at heart, trying to figure all this out together.

The number one mindset that’s helped me during this confusing time with so few certain answers is gratitude. I like to encourage this especially in the morning during breakfast that I woke up another day. Then, again, right before we eat dinner together we list everything that we’re most grateful for that particular day. It’s a sure fire way to come back to center and remind ourselves what really matters. By focusing on the abundance instead of the lack, a bit of the weight of the world starts to lift. It’s so simple it just may work.

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