The Shocking Thing I Discovered While Parenting During Covid.
Updated: Nov 24, 2021
Parenting During a Pandemic, Support Group Me Please!
Hi, I’m Tara, and I am parenting during COVID. I feel like that statement alone warrants a Nobel Peace Prize being delivered to my door. Seriously. I don’t know about you, but I am assuming that if you are reading this blog, that parenting during a pandemic for you has also not been a “crystal stair” (shout-out to Langston Hughes). If your experience has been anything like mine, you’ve: experienced what feels like every emotion within a span of 24 hours, had to navigate your feelings while supporting your child’s, rethought your relationship with technology (amazing how pre-COVID technology rules are distant memories), and had to remember mathematical rules that you haven’t used in over 5,10, 15, or 20 years...and develop household COVID protocols! Insert a long sigh. On top of that, I saw pictures and heard messaging over and over again about “getting back to normal” and I couldn’t help to think, while looking at my children, one who cried almost daily about missing her friends, and another who attended virtual school every day where the only face shown were the teachers and his classmates were a collection of black boxes across the screen, that my family could not tolerate the “new normal” much longer.
As a parent and caregiver, one of the things I pride myself on is wisdom. While I understand and respect that my children’s life journey will be individually their own, I love connecting with them on the road I’ve traveled and sharing emotions based on similar experiences. But, COVID changed that in an instant. Instead of holding space for them as they figured out what COVID navigation looked like, I had to acknowledge that I had no idea how to navigate COVID for myself. This was a loss and a change that I was unprepared for, and I had to acknowledge that in order to show up as the best person for myself and the best parent for them. This acknowledgement created another layer of grief that I wasn't really ready for--I had to grieve the story I created about me being the "wise and all knowing parent" (it's hilarious to even type this), and acknowledge that I was a person first, and parent second...and as a person, I was scared!
In order to do this, I had to lay my ego and it's ego-ing self down! I'll admit, it was hard--I was expert holding space for other parents during the pandemic, but I realized that I hadn't created space for myself. I was too busy meeting professional obligations (an old coping skill) to acknowledge my personal needs. But, deep down I knew that my children needed an authentic mom more than a professional one. When I gave myself permission to be a learning parent, I opened myself up to resources and support. I was able to show up as Tara, not Dr. Tara, and not Mom, giving myself the chance to own my fears of what navigating COVID as a parent looked like. I became vocal about my strengths and moments where I needed strength. I got honest about areas of my life impacted by COVID (sleep was TOUGH), and I had the chance to be a learner and implementer of others who were also navigating this new space.
By laying down the pressure of perfection, I allowed myself to experience the fullness of my humanity, and in doing so, gave my children the space to feel safe to experience theirs.
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As always, Let's Heal Together.
© 2021. It's Dr. Tara