Beth Oliver Parenthood

Parenting in a Pandemic

Hey, who read the chapter of the parenting books about raising kids during a pandemic? Anyone? Bueller?? Oh, there was no chapter on this subject? Gotcha.

I will say, this was not something I planned on when Oliver was born 6 1/2 years ago. I never imagined he’d be going to school from home. I didn’t picture spending days on end stuck in the house instead of out making memories. I didn’t plan on teaching him how to wear a mask before teaching him how to tie his shoes. As they keep saying on the news “we’re living in unprecedented times”. I saw a meme the other day that said “I long for precedented times.” Truer words never spoken.

Our pandemic days haven’t been terrible. We are definitely lucky in that we have managed to stay safe and healthy. We’ve got a little bubble right now that consists of us and our parents and I know we’re lucky we are able to still see them and be able to have their support and assistance. Honestly life hasn’t been all that different for Ollie, he still goes to my parents house every day while we work. He was starting to hate going on errands with us before the pandemic so he has no problem staying at home if one us runs to the store. He’s been able to go outside and ride his bike or go disc golfing with us. He watches his favorite shows and he spends a lot of time – admittedly too much time – on his Nintendo Switch. He’s doing just fine, but I still worry what his memories of this time will be.

I had a chance to participate in a panel about screen time with the lovely team from Twin Cities Moms Collective the other day and we had a fantastic conversation and one huge takeaway was that we need to give ourselves grace right now. This is an extremely stressful situation. As parents, if we need a break and the best way we can do that is by letting our child spend extra time on a screen, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it.

And I think this applies to more than just screens. However we are getting through this time with our kids, we should not beat ourselves up about it. As I said at the beginning of this post, there is NO chapter in any parenting book about how to raise kids in a global pandemic. We can’t even call up our own parents and ask “how did you manage to do this in quarantine?”

The only thing I think is important, more important than ever, is that we support each other without judgement. Your friend is keeping their kids home for school this year? Great, good for them. Your other friend is sending their kids back? That’s awesome. You’re taking your family on a vacation? Ok have fun. You’re choosing to stay home from any and all activities and watch the entire Despicable Me movie series? Well hey, gotta love those Minions. There is just too much other negative crap in the air right now, so for the love of God, just support your fellow parents no matter what. Our kids are watching us, just remember that. We’re literally writing the chapter on parenting in a pandemic, so let’s make this lesson the most important thing.

Other than that, like I said, don’t beat yourself up over how you’re managing right now. Kids playing video games? Well maybe they’re learning some problem solving. Disney Plus acting as your babysitter? Hey, they’re getting a lot of music lessons. You broke down and cried in front of your children? They’ll learn that their parents are human. It’s OK. We’re all going to be OK.

4 thoughts on “Parenting in a Pandemic

  1. You’re such an amazing writer. Seriously. I’m not a parent, but I have nieces and a nephew and most of my friends have kids at this point. I don’t know why people feel the need to shame or judge other people. I mean, I get it – you don’t agree with decisions certain people make. But keep it to yourself and focus on your own family! We’re all going through a lot, and it can’t be easy to have kids during this time and trying to figure out what’s best for them AND your family. We’ll get it through eventually.

    -Lauren

  2. This is so well written!! Truer words never spoken. There is simply too much negativity in the world – parents don’t need to be judged on what they are doing during the pandemic. I don’t have kids, but I’m on the sidelines cheering on all the mom and dads and their decisions they are making for their family.

  3. You are an amazing writer. I think the message here is for all of us – I am not a parent but these are words all of us should read. Give others grace. You never know what they are dealing with, or why they make the choices they do. I’m so glad you’re back in this space, by the way. I missed your voice.

  4. I can not imagine parenting a child through this pandemic, but kudos to all the parents out there and I think you have a very healthy attitude towards the whole thing. Live and let live!

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