Navigating parenting during unprecedented times
In honor of the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday, I thought I’d write a list of what I’ve learned (and am still learning) about parenting during the pandemic for the three little men that made me Mommy. I know the last 12 months have been extra challenging for all of us—and they’ve learned some colorful words that weren’t part of Mommy’s vocabulary pre-pandemic—but I know that we’re all in this crazy world together. For each other.
1. Unless forced to, I would rather get another colonoscopy than homeschool my children. Teachers aren’t given enough respect, nor salary.
2. I both hate and love Xbox and YouTube. While they keep all three boys content (don’t judge) on varied games and topics, I’ve also learned that the most popular and well-paid YouTubers are under 18. And that is depressing.
3. Depression and anxiety are rampant in all ages, from kids to parents, because of all the abrupt changes to our normal lives. Pay attention to your gut instinct, don’t be afraid to talk to your kids, check on them, oh, and hug them often. And cut yourself some slack as a parent during these uncertain times.
4. Although it breaks my heart that organized sports have taken a big loss (I can’t even watch my eldest’s swim meets from inside the venue), which is a big part of my boys’ lives, I did love how they and the neighborhood boys teamed up to play basketball on a rotation of driveways on our street every single day. Sometimes, disorganized sports, like
street ball without a ref and his whistle, trains tougher players.
5. Just like a limited, live school schedule, birthday and holiday celebrations had to be downsized. Some of the happiest days of the year now have to be muted, but my boys have taken it like champs. Our simpler, one-friend, family-only parties have allowed us to all enjoy more one-on-one attention with our guests, without the over-the-top (and over-the-budget) parties we used to host outside the house.
6. Travel restrictions come with the addition of the brain-scrambling Covid tests prior to arriving in your destination, which made us appreciate our recent family trip to Puerto Rico even more. We even got more creative to consider travel safety over the summer, staying in a yurt on a campground in North Carolina. The downside is that the boys haven’t seen their paternal grandparents in Tennessee since last January, outside of FaceTime.
7. We’ve all stepped up our cooking game, following my husband/pro chef’s lead. (Thank the Lord, with three growing boys, he also works for a food company.) Now that we’re eating more at-home meals, we’re planning meals ahead, planning grocery pickups, and the boys are even learning a thing or two behind the stove. Which requires me to pair said meal with a glass of wine.
8. We’ve also stepped up our DIY ambitions around the house, painting bedrooms, converting spaces into home offices and building outdoor and indoor furniture. The boys have also joined in, using money earned from mowing lawns for neighbors over the summer to “enhance” their bedrooms with better desks, LED strip lighting and gaming chairs. Which requires me to pair those projects with a glass of wine.
Overall, being a mother during a pandemic throws the good, bad and ugly of parenting in your face … all at once, like getting pounded in the head in dodgeball. When your family is around each other more than ever, it requires the unconditional love only a mother has (regardless of a pandemic), patience (which comes and goes), a consistent, monitored schedule bonded by discipline, and a glass of wine.