Life as a parent is challenging in the normal sense of learning how to care for your children, keep them healthy, safe, fed, and happy. Navigating parenthood has definitely changed since the pandemic hit. Life before the pandemic for me as a parent, was rushing around, taxiing the kids, and always on the go. After the pandemic, I definitely have changed how I parent the kids and what we fill our time with.
Navigating Parenthood before the pandemic…
Pre-pandemic parenthood was busy. With three children in tow, we were always on the go. From various sports to extra curricular activities, it was a socially fun and enhancing time for my kids. There weren’t threats of our safety and we took the small things for granted, I will admit. Life was exhausting but in a “we played hard” kind of way.
I only had the normal challenges of parenthood before the pandemic. Time management and did the kids have everything they need for school or did the baby need new baby clothes, were on my mind. Simpler parenting to do lists. It was more like we were just their personal assistants back then.
Navigating Parenthood during the pandemic…
When the pandemic hit, like the rest of the world it was shocking. It was scary. Then as parents, we had to learn how to parent a new way. We had to retrain our own brains as much as our children’s brains. No longer could we be out and about with friends. We couldn’t play sports or even go to school. We had to “parent our own way” because everything else was unknown.
Parenthood quickly became really hard. It wasn’t just about being a parent anymore. We had to become instant teachers. We had to become instant P.E. coaches and full time entertainers. It was a lot of instant pressures piling on top of most of us that had jobs to juggle too. It was totally mentally and physically exhausting.
For us, I was mindful that I need to teach my kids what matters most, first. We focused on our health and our happiness. I openly gave them enough information about covid so they understood the measures of social distancing and why we had to stay in our homes, but not enough to scare them into not wanting to go outside.
Secondly, as a parent I tried to always keep the dialog open. Planning video calls with their friends, to keep their social skills up and possible loneliness at bay. I did this for myself so I didn’t feel isolate to, being very aware how warn out I was getting and how easy it was to just quickly fall into a hermit pattern. I knew if I didn’t’ keep up my own spirits than I wasn’t going to be a good example for my kids during this unknown period. This was a real adjustment for me.
Then as we adjusted our ways of parenting and ensuring mentally and physically our children were taken care of. I tried showing them how the little things we take for granted should be more appreciated. It made us be more in the present moment.
Navigating Parenthood after the pandemic…
It wasn’t all-negative that came from us being at home fulltime with our children during the pandemic. There were some positives that now are our new norm and I don’t think we will go back.
Bedtime stories with my older kids and their baby brother have become a longer or more bonding experience because we aren’t rushing out anywhere. Family time is super important more than ever now.
Reading is a whole family affair that calms us and we share the stories we are reading with each other more. We gather in the baby nursery because it’s the coziest place in the house and take turns picking out stories to share.
Exercising as a family became a daily occurrence just to grab some fresh air and shake the cobwebs out from being in the house all day. The thousands of walks, bike rides, and jogging days we did together was endless. It was something we did occasionally before but not always the five of us, together. Thank goodness for Baby pushchairs because it quickly became a family thing on who gets to push the baby on our daily walks. This gave the kids a sense of responsibility they hadn’t had before too.
Now, we prefer working out with our kids. We love teaching them why we need to workout, why we keep moving and eating healthy to live longer, healthier lives. Taking the extra time together at home to learn and do just that. In the end, we will be healthier and happier for it.
It was interesting to see how the pandemic affected so much of what we did and thought as parents. I know I have changed so much as a mother. It’s humbling and I appreciate the small blessings in life more navigating parenthood than I ever did before. Now, I stop and soak in the moments more. I listen to my kids more and on a deeper level. I am more in tuned with their needs and wants more than ever before.
Not that I didn’t do all this before but now it’s just on a more detailed and focused level. I am not worrying about which car to put the baby car seat in next when we are rushing off to the hundredth sports activity of the week. We have slowed our life down drastically. The kids each get one extra curricular activities. It’s better for our family to just be together than running around with our heads cut off, trying to do everything. It exhausts the kids and me too. We gain more from doing less and being together.
Looking back, even though I found it extremely hard to parent, homeschool and work full-time – at the same time, I would be so bold to say it’s made me a better parent. I don’t ever wish to go back to full lockdown and isolation because it’s the loneliest time I have ever felt in my life and I know my kids felt the same but it taught us so much about each other and ourselves. Life is too short to rush through it.
Moving forward, it’s about adjusting as best we can, in all our different scenarios of life, to the new norms that come our way, as parents. Everyone has a different story to tell and a different experience from the pandemic. However, as a whole, parents around the world, far and wide, all experienced a challenging change in how we parent our children, in some shape or form. We are all in this together.
*This post is in conjunction with Boots UK but all thoughts are my own.