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You Don't Have to Be the 'Perfect Pandemic Parent'

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We are all living in an unprecedented time. Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) — the new viral strain in the coronavirus family that affects the lungs and respiratory system — our lives seemingly got turned upside down in a matter of days. Schools closed, businesses closed and telecommuting became the norm. Now families are spending 24/7 together and trying to figure out how to balance all responsibilities. Many parents are now forced to do their own jobs from home while homeschooling their children. In response to this crisis, a slew of resources have popped up across the internet and social media to help parents keep their kids both entertained and educated while they are out of school.

While these resources are great, they can be very overwhelming. Let’s be real — we are all in survival mode and we need to do the best we can right now. This is not a situation we ever imagined being in; no parenting book prepped us for this one! It’s important to remember what works for one family doesn’t work for the next and that’s OK. Maybe the color-coded schedule on the fridge is an amazing tool that keeps one family organized, but it might stress another family out. Those science experiments are really cool, but maybe the best you can do today is get the kids fed and clothed.

I think right now, instead of adding even more pressure and guilt to our plates, we should focus on one win each day. Don’t worry about trying to master all subjects so you can be the best substitute teacher possible. Don’t try to fill each minute of the day with a creative activity. Don’t tell yourself that you have to Marie Kondo your house because you have extra time. Be realistic and celebrate the small things. Give yourself credit for trying a new recipe, folding the laundry or staying calm when you wanted to scream instead.

We need to be kind to ourselves and allow ourselves to be human; feel our feelings, acknowledge our fears and find ways to cope. Adding a crazy amount of pressure to be the perfect pandemic parent shouldn’t be on the list. Don’t compare yourself to your friends on social media. Just because other families made slime, went on a scavenger hunt and practiced writing — all before you showered — doesn’t mean you are a failure. You just aren’t seeing the pictures of your friends’ kids watching their fifth consecutive episode of “Paw Patrol.”

Take care of yourself and do what you need to do to keep your sanity. Our kids need to feel safe and secure right now more than anything. They won’t fail in life because of this blip in their academic career, so give yourself a break.

Header image via ma_rish

Originally published: March 29, 2020
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