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You are doing great mama and papa- Parenting in times of corona!!

Day 15 of lockdown…

Life has halted it seems.

I had a lot of time to write or doodle but somehow I did not. I don’t feel like.

Initial few days of lockdown were difficult. Suddenly everybody’s routine had changed. I’am not going to pretend like this is an easy time to be a parent, because it is not. This is something new and uncomfortable for all of us and we all are struggling. Entire sense of normalcy has turned upside down.

The maximum stress falls on the mommies of the house (children and daddies too are also stressed…but in a different way). Multitasking whole day which includes satisfying your kid’s needs for hunger, play, entertainment, sleep and the list goes on and on. The kids are scared and upset and emotionally drained out with this sudden change. The onus is on the moms majority of times and they are bound to get stressed at some point of time. I am sure daddies are also helping out in whatever way they can (This is a new area for most dads though not for all dads).

Same happened with me. The daily routine got disturbed. Although when I used to go for  work prior to lockdown, I was seriously striving a holiday to chill out at home. Thinking that I would give anything to be at home for sometime. And unfortunately this came true in form of the pandemic and prolonged quarantine. Being in a private practice, I had to shut down my clinic. Suddenly I had a whole day at hand. Most mornings were spent in household works as no helpers at home. But the bigger task in hand was to engage my 9 year old son. I started getting angry and stressed out. I forgot that he too was stressed and maybe even more than me. He was missing going out and playing with his friends, missing on going to school.

We all were missing normalcy.

I keep on reading on various social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp groups about perfect moms and perfect families and a perfect day even in these harrowing times. It seems everybody is giving creative ideas for educating and caring for your kids like worksheets, games, creative projects and experiments, virtual classes (be it instrument learning, cooking, baking etc.), virtual libraries, virtual zoo visits and the list is endless. Moms are doing everything an ideal mom should do and kids are apparently doing what an ideal kid should do. The day is all set and is passing good for them.  I don’t follow all this. I don’t have a structured day planned for my kid.

Reading all this made me feel I am no where near an ideal mother and my kid is nowhere an ideal kid.

By day 4 to 5 of lockdown, my kid started acting out, abandoning the routine he already had, sleeping less, doing less—except for pushing our limits and not allowing us to do anything, which started happening much more as days passed by. I started letting him watch far greater amounts of screen time than I ever thought I’d tolerate. Forget homeschooling success (which I was contemplating once upon a time)— my husband and I were struggling to get him to do even the basics that would have accounted for a normal day routine before this pandemic. Work expectations, homeschooling, picky eating, lack of freedom, arguments, messy home and above all constant barging of negative news was stressing all of us. The emotions amongst all of us ranged from anger, resentment, anxiety, irritability, loneliness, tiredness and unhappiness.

So we decided to change our approach. Since we couldn’t do much about the lockdown so we decided to accept the day as it was coming. We started appreciating things which we earlier took for granted. With regards to my son, we decided to let him plan his day structure as to how he wants to spend the day with some inputs from us of course. We din’t let him completely loose though; that would have been a sure shot recipe for disaster :). Now we play, we study, we cook and we read and draw together but at a pace which he enjoys (We even organized a picnic in our small balcony asking him to arrange the things and results were awesome). There is no structure to our day (some might oppose this approach of mine but I was happy with the results).

We do all the things but without designating a specific time period for it. He does all his schoolwork (which is usually always with cribbing) and even helps in some household work.

Let me share something with you all. Sometimes I don’t enjoy these activities. This all feels forced to me and I feel guilty for this feeling. Many a times if he asks me to play with him, I find out ways to postpone the play. And by the time the day is over, he is in bed, I feel I have let him down. I do play with him but sometimes I feel bored with his games.  At times I feel so overwhelmed with all this and I want some me time.  So I let him watch a show or movie of his choice. He even plays games on mobile phone/laptop.

Everybody needs some stability in their life especially children and with sudden disruptions in their routine, they are bound to get stressed. Same applies to you as parents. We are so much used to be in our comfort zones, that this change is now making us uncomfortable. It’s okay to say you’re not okay today.

Despite this feeling of anxiety and guilt, I have learned a lot. I have learned to be patient, to be thankful that my family is healthy and safe and is together. I have learned to enjoy lighter moments of life because all said and done, these good moments are still happening inside our homes. I started noticing the good in the midst of not so good. I distanced myself from social media and started connecting more with my close friends (infact, I came to know who my true friends were and to whom I was a true friend) and family.

Gradually as days pass by, I must say I’m enjoying this forced time with my kid. Not every minute of it but most days, I am really finding time to enjoy it. And if it weren’t forced upon me, I don’t know when or if I would have ever slowed down.

This lockdown will end eventually. We don’t know when exactly. What I can say with certainty is that once the lockdown is lifted, we would have learned many life lessons during this time and whatever we are learning now will stay with us forever. We will realize the importance of a family and loved ones. We will stay home more. We will be present.  We will step outside our comfort zones with ease. We will love. We will help and we will respect.

You don’t have to be a ” perfect parent”, “the Insta-parent”, “love every moment parent”, or “your neighbor” or ” your kid’s friends parents”. Just be you !!

To conclude, pause and take a deep breath. You as parents are all good. instead of feeling down by our perceived shortcomings, try to embrace whatever curveball life is throwing at you. Embrace imperfections. Lower your standards. Be confident that whatever you are doing is right.

My child is going to have his own unique experiences and yours will have theirs. And imagine if they can grow up with mothers who are confident in their abilities and love themselves.

“There is no such thing as perfect parent. So just be a real one”- Sue Atkins

Stay safe! Stay at home!!

Enjoy the time you are getting with your kids…Count it as blessing!!

Healthy kids…Happy kids !!

Dr Garima| themoppetsclinic  🙂


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