You’ve Been a Parent in a Global Pandemic for Eight Months (Why That Matters)
Hello friends! It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
Today I wanted to talk to all the moms and dads who are holding on and may often be really hard on themselves during this global pandemic. (so basically, all parents?… unless you got all your shit together, then this post isn’t for you).
If you’re reading this, I want to start by saying CONGRATULATIONS! You have survived EIGHT MONTHS of a global pandemic! You may not think this is true, but YOU are a rock star…
Many of you, if not all of you, have either lost someone you loved, or, know someone who has lost someone. COVID19 has touched the ENTIRE world, (even though there are people out there who still think it isn’t real) and so, it’s OK to have all the feelings, and to think we haven’t gotten anything right in these 8 months.
But, I want to tell you, that you’re NOT alone. All of us are struggling, even if our Instagram feeds only show you the perfect project we worked on with our toddler… we probably didn’t show you the 25 outtakes to get that ONE smile for that ONE picture. I’m guilty of it too, of mostly sharing the good times.
So, I’m here to share, to document, the ups and downs of COVID life. First, like I said before, let’s all agree, you’re a freakin’ hero. You have been able to get up day after day, in a global pandemic, and 1. KEEP YOUR KIDS ALIVE, Keep them healthy, feed them (yes, even bowls of cereal for dinner count), and 2. KEEP THEM ENTERTAINED in NYC living quarters… which are quite small, and if you’re lucky enough to live in a big house, you’ve managed to keep them alive there too… 3. You’ve managed to stay (mostly) sane following the DOE schedule changes and opening and closures. You, my friend, are a Shero (or hero if you’re a dude who is reading this blog).
You’re a kickass parent because in between trying to keep the kids alive, and trying to make sure they are fed, and that they learn something (anything… and dealing with emotions and frustrations of having to wait for you to finish your zoom call counts too, just ask my friend @parentingexpert), you have also taken care of your friends who have lost loved ones, you have cooked meals for them, made signs and gifts for your kid’s friends who are having a birthday during a global pandemic, baked treats for school staff, or for your local firehouse, fundraised to support your local hospital staff during the height of the pandemic, signed up to deliver food to food-insecure families, volunteered to sew masks for your neighbors, made time to build puzzles with your kiddos, rediscover gardening, and even clean out your closet (I’m not gonna lie, I’m having a hard time with that last one).
In addition, chances are you’ve been trying to do YOUR job in addition to your unpaid home job, in addition to the other jobs that you may have that are unpaid, like tech support for your elderly parents, or meal train organizer or PTA president or podcast host.
Whether you realize it or not, you ARE ENOUGH and you are DOING A GOOD JOB, even though the little voice in your head (who my friend Luly B. calls “the shitty itty bitty committee) says you’re not doing enough. I’m here to tell you (and me) that you are DOING ENOUGH.
But I’m also here to tell you, that It’s ok to fall apart at times. It’s OK to cry in the shower. It’s OK to cry on a run. It’s OK to scream while you’re running (all things which I have done, if I’m being honest).
And, can we talk about the shitty things that have happened while in this pandemic? I, for one, have a bald spot on my head (which I will not share the location of). I am losing my hair at the same rate I was losing my hair after I had my babies— that is to say, a whole freakin’ lot.
I am also two steps away from being unable to fit into my clothes… and I simply refuse to buy a whole new wardrobe. It’s like my brain says “don’t eat that (enter fatty/greasy/yummy food here)” but my brain doesn’t say it fast enough for my mouth to hear it.
But, let’s get back to talk about all the accomplishments you’ve achieved… YOU AMAZING MOM/DAD/GUARDIAN YOU.
You’ve managed to keep the kiddos fed, safe, and clean. You might have even discovered JOY in these last few months… come on, think about it… at some point, during this pandemic, you were a little grateful you were able to snuggle with your kids, and that you didn’t have to rush out the door in the AM… or, was that just me?
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Throughout this time, I’ve been trying to keep JOY in my mind, even though sometimes it’s not possible. What can joy possibly look like during a pandemic?
Well, joy is your kid saying “Today was the best birthday ever!” when that birthday was during the height of the pandemic and he was just happy with his homemade sign, and his homemade chocolate chocolate cake with chocolate icing that YOU, yes you, (yes, me) made from scratch.
Joy is your daughter wanting to kiss your tummy because she loves your tummy even though you think your tummy is too jiggly for your liking.
Joy is exploring a nature trail with your family, in a place that has always been close to home but that you’ve never bothered to visit.
Joy is walking on the beach during a spring day, just because you needed to get out of the house.
Joy is…. Enter WHAT YOUR JOY IS HERE.
This post isn’t meant to give you any answers, it’s just meant to say, parenting in a global pandemic is HARD. So, It’s OK to not be OK.
It’s OK to cry every other day, or to have two good days followed by three crappy days.
It’s OK to be MAD at the world and the people who DON’T WEAR EFFIN MASKS, or PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING.
It’s OK to be UPSET that your teacher is asking you to complete assignments by X time, when really, doesn’t s/he realize that you’re keeping it together by a freakin’ little thread?
It’s ok to think, “I HATE THIS SO MUCH.”
Because, GLOBAL PANDEMIC
If find it’s necessary to keep repeating this to ourselves! Because we forget, sometimes. It’s like we are trying to stick a square peg into a round hole. So, I want to say, you have permission to use the phrase “Because, global pandemic.” to justify anything and everything (not that you NEED to justify yourself, but just in case):
“OMG why are you feeding the kids cereal for dinner?” “Because, global pandemic.”
“OMG why haven’t you covered your roots?” “Because, global pandemic.” (Also, stop forcing beauty standards on women).
“OMG why are your kids wearing mismatched socks?”
“Because, global pandemic.” at least they have socks.
“OMG why did you put up your Christmas tree before Thanksgiving?”
“Because, global pandemic.” — and we need a little extra joy.
“OMG are your kids eating from the drive thru?” “Because, global pandemic.”
“OMG why is your sink full of dishes?”
“Because, global pandemic.” (Also, because I was dumb and didn’t get a dishwasher- speaking only for myself).
See where I’m going with this?
Right now there is an appropriate answer for anything… “Because, global pandemic.”
Don’t want to say YES to attend X (socially distanced) event? “Sorry I can’t because we’re in a global pandemic.”
When you’re having a hard day, take a step back, and think “I am a parent during a global pandemic.” Honestly, this is a super-freakin-hero kind of feat. So, if we need a little bit of extra joy, if we need to binge of trash TV, or re-watch our favorite show on Netflix, or eat all the cookies we baked in one sitting, or let the kids have popcorn for dinner and call it a night… that is A-OK by me, and I’m here to tell you IT IS A-OK FOR YOU TOO!
If you need to do the things that bring a bit of normalcy to your life, GO RIGHT AHEAD! Y our on’t need anyone else’s permission! You do YOU BOO!
You need to have a glass of wine, go for it!
You need to put makeup on because that’s what you used to do every day? Go for it! (Personally I love a bit of under eye concealer and a bit of eyebrow stuff).
You used to love getting your nails done, and your eyebrows waxed before COVID19? MAKE THAT APPOINTMENT and GET ON WITH YOUR FABULOUS SELF. (just make sure your salon follows safety protocols, and wear a mask FFS).
IF you love the new yoga pants and messy bun life, GOOD FOR YOU! (I’m not gonna lie, why would I want to wear anything else? Gimme yoga pants for every day of the week!)
Let’s not judge other parents, and let’s celebrate each other’s wins. Let’s take this time to build community, and renew this earth who is literally showing us that we are nothing if we don’t act in community.
Let’s give to others even during this crazy time, because chances are, there are those in your community who really need the help, even the most basic help, like food! Winter clothing! Basic necessities!
Remember, when you are thinking “I didn’t do enough today” remember: You’ve parented during a global pandemic for eight months!
That deserves a standing ovation, because GLOBAL PANDEMIC YO.
Sending you love and strength — you got this mama bear, papa bear!
And, remember, it’s OK to say, I don’t got this, and ask for help. (Even professional help! Nothing wrong with that!)
Also, don’t forget to thank your little village who has helped you get through this pandemic with most of your sanity. (If you don’t have a village, commune, or hive, get yourself one ASAP!)
So, to recap, here are some things to remember as you’re parenting in a global pandemic:
- It’s OK to say no (I just gave you the perfect reason… GLOBAL PANDEMIC).
- It’s OK to ask for help– even professional help if you need it!
- Self-care looks different for everyone.
- It’s OK to want some normalcy.
- Lock the door when you’re peeing (it may be the only time you have to yourself).
- Choose JOY when you can (screw the assignment that is due).
- Stop and look at the world through your kids’ eyes.
- It’s OK to eat too much takeout, and rely on cereal and popcorn for dinner.
- It’s ok to miss OLD life. I miss hugs, and impromptu play dates. I miss dressing up too.
- When you think you haven’t done much, remember, you’ve been a parent for 8 months during a global pandemic. You’re a s.hero.
As my running coach says (and by this I mean, the Nike Running App coach not MY personal running coach) “It’s never a sign of weakness to ask for help. It’s a sign of strength.”
Much love to you all!
PS. Share your moments of joy with me by tagging me on IG @ladydeelg or leaving a comment below!