Covid Parenting: Lockdowns and Meltdowns.
In news that will surprise absolutely no one: parenting during a global pandemic is hard.
The past year-and-a-half has been challenging for everyone, no matter who you are, but I think most parents would admit that when plunged into yet another lockdown, we harbour a little bit of envy for those who are doing it sans-children. We imagine Netflix instead of ABC Kids, peace and quiet instead of shrieking, using all those long hours to prepare a gourmet meal instead of desperately googling takeaway nearby. During the first lockdown, a childless friend of mine casually mentioned how bored she was and it took all my self-control not to scream down the phone, or at least drop my children off at her immaculate home for the day to give her something to do. I’m a good friend like that.
In many ways, we are entitled to feel jealous. Not only are we tasked with navigating this, at times scary, new world ourselves, but also trying to figure out how on earth to guide our children through it. Uncertainty seems to be the new normal, and parents have a lot of questions:
- Are my children coping ok?
- Am I doing a good enough job home-schooling them?
- Am I keeping them stimulated?
- Am I over-stimulating them or expecting too much?
- Will a lack of socialisation affect my baby’s development?
- How am I meant to do this with no friends or family for support?
- Am I enough?
The list goes on. Whether you are a new parent or the parent of school-aged children we have all been robbed of what we hoped would be a special time and gifted what seems like nothing but a whole lot of extra worry. And time trapped in the house with our precious offspring.
Having said that, the longer this pandemic drags on for, I’m starting to wonder if maybe us frazzled, strung-out parents are the lucky ones. Trust me, as a pessimist through and through, I’m quite shocked at this one-eighty, but hear me out. Life seems to have come to a literal stand-still in so many ways. People have had to put so much on hold; travel, weddings and career aspirations just to name a few.
But our kids are not on hold.
We still get to watch them grow and change every day. Maybe your little one took their first steps during a lockdown, and you actually got to see it because you were home from work. Maybe your pre-schooler amazed you when they spelled out their name with the letter magnets on the fridge. Maybe your school-aged child who has been way too cool for cuddles lately let you slip an arm around their shoulder while you watched a movie.
Big or small, my point is that lately, life might have felt stagnant, but only one thing about raising children stays the same; you are all they need.
Of course, as wonderful as these moments are, I stand by my first statement. It’s hard. Especially when you feel cut off from the rest of the world.
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