Let’s face it, times are tough. I can’t speak for all of you mamas out there but for the past two weeks I don’t think I have ever felt so lost or completely thrown off. I thrive on routine and structure and I know that Wyatt does too. We have been fortunate with our situation that for a while we were able to keep Wyatt in daycare for longer than most but now there are days he is home with me trying to be a toddler while mommy and daddy have to work. I don’t know what else to say here other than things have been hard mentally and emotionally in every way possible and I know I can’t be the only one.
I have been putting SO much pressure on myself to provide Wyatt with that stability he felt every day during the week before Ms. Coronavirus came to town. During the day, while mommy and daddy are at work, he played with his friends, ran around outside, learned new shapes, words and colors. He read books, went to dance class at the YMCA, sang songs and went on little adventures during the day. Now, he is home with me in front of the T.V. and desperate to go outside and play. But he can’t because mommy has to work. And daddy has to work. Most days I don’t have a moment to go to the bathroom let alone take Wyatt outside to run around and play.
Every day as I try to juggle zoom meetings, conference calls, deliverable deadlines and my day-to-day workload it’s in the back of my head that I also need to ensure that my son is being productive, that he is learning and thriving.
I keep saying to myself, “I need to make this time as normal as possible for him.”
But hey, let’s face it. Nothing about the time we’re living in is normal. In fact it is far from it. Whether you work in an office, or stay at home and hold down the household, your life as you once knew it is far from normal.
You normally take your little ones to the YMCA to run and play with friends. You normally aren’t a school teacher (unless you actually are, haha). On top of teaching your children how to be good, decent human beings, you normally don’t have to also teach them basic algebra. Most people don’t normally work two full-time jobs but hey, if you are working from home with your kids, regardless of their age…now you do. You guys, none of this is normal. No single part of this is normal for anyone.
No one gave us a set of guidelines. No one set out a list of rules of what was acceptable and what was not during a national crisis. During my pregnancy I never picked up a copy of the “How to Help Your Children Thrive During a Pandemic” book. There is no section on the baby forums that speaks to how much screen time is too much screen time when you’re trying to work from home with a toddler.
So, I guess what I am trying to say is this. To all you parents out there who once dropped your little one off at daycare and headed off to your structured office job…no one is handing out gold stars for how many books you can read to your kids during the day. There is no trophy for who keeps the TV off the longest. You don’t get a sticker for the number of “productive” activities you can accomplish with your kiddos before nap time. I don’t hear a round of applause for not busting out the iPad and letting your kids play on it, something you would normally NEVER do. Right now, we’re all just doing the best we can and no one is handling the coronavirus better than anyone else.
I have decided that for my mental state it is more important than ever that I do what WORKS for me and my family. If that means that the T.V. is on all day so I can work, than so be it. If that means that I push Wyatt around in his little car INSIDE the house while also muted on a conference call, then hey that’s what we’re doing. If you need to throw together a not-so-typical dinner for your family because it’s quick and you need to get back to school work with your teens…then it looks like it’s hamburger helper for dinner.
Coronavirus is not a parenting contest. You’re not doing it any better than anyone else because in YOUR personal circumstance you are kicking ass. All that matters right now is that your family is healthy, happy and together.