Over the weekend I caught up on some podcast episodes I missed last week. Most notably, I listened to Friday’s episode of The Daily, entitled “The Agony of Pandemic Parenting.”
It starts out pretty funny, actually. The New York Times set up a phone line for parents to call in and leave messages with how parenting through the pandemic has been going. Many of them literally are just yelling into the phone – just letting it out. Several say they are hiding in the bathroom just to get away from their kids. It’s really quite comical… for a moment.
A year ago, as everyone was figuring out what it meant to work from home, I shared this blogpost with some of my top tips as someone who has worked from home for many years. I was lucky. I have two independent teenagers so the whole idea of making lunch for them while they were doing school from home wasn’t going to happen. As long as I knew they got up on time, the rest of the at-home school day was theirs to manage while I functioned as usual from my office off the kitchen.
But this episode of The Daily reminded me this wasn’t the case for everyone.
The episode mostly follows one single mom and her son, Max, and what life has looked like for them (and others). And honestly, it gave me pause.
Many of the women in the episode are single mothers, and if I’m remembering correctly most of the children were young children – those who needed their parents’ help to log on to the computer, or depended on parents to actually teach them. It’s moments like these when I stop and say thank you for all I have.
I’m fortunate to have two independent teenagers who have managed through this mess with grace. Though disappointments have been many, we’ve been fortunate to muddle through together. I have thought of people with younger children all year.
I remember when my daughter (my oldest) was born. I cried the entire day before, knowing she was coming and my life was no longer to be mine. I couldn’t run errands easily anymore, I’d be tied to a nap schedule, my priorities would soon be about potty training, Elmo, signing up for toddler classes and basically keeping another human happy and healthy. Let’s just say I became a better mother to my children as soon as they started to be self-sufficient. I remember when she first took that sippy cup to hold it in her own hands, and I got my hands back. That memory is vivid for me. It was like getting my life back.
So I think about these parents out there – moms and dads alike – who have been taken back to that time where they have to be 100% “on” for their kids, even while working their own job, and having to teach – TEACH – these children at home. I know my skills, I’m not a teacher. My kids would have suffered greatly had we been in that situation.
Look, it certainly hasn’t been an easy year but we’ve made it. It’s not over, but it feels close. And while I’ve been lamenting that I really hope some virtual life says in place (I haven’t been this productive ever) I just want those mothers out there to know I’m thinking of you, I hope you’re ok, and to hang in there, we’ve got to be almost at the end of this thing.by