By Jessica Tyler of I Dream of Naptime
Wake up. Check email. Walk dog. Break up fight between kids. Prepare son’s school work folder because I was too damn tired last night. Make coffee (AMEN). Make breakfast. Make another breakfast. Change diaper. Log on to computer. Get kids dressed. Conference call. Start online school. Argue with husband. Did I brush my teeth? (Hard no.) Pull on my last pair of clean yoga pants. Rinse & repeat.
And these are the days of our lives…
I saw a video today on a parenting site featuring a parenting expert. She was highlighting strategies to thrive with parenting during challenging times. Block schedules, body movement, resting your body time. I listened for a couple minutes, debated whether to pour a drink or to have a good cry, and moved on. Why?
Thriving right now is bullsh&$.
Ok, that’s a little harsh, I know. But all due respect—for the masses it is. There are the few parents who are shining their bright light and knowing they were made for this moment. I salute them. But for the vast majority, we are trying to keep our heads above water. We’re taxed and maxed.
What we are going through right now is not normal. Every parent who thinks they need to aspire to thrive is setting themselves up for heartache and quite possibly, failure. The coronavirus crisis may be our normal for now, but we weren’t meant to do this.
It’s not possible for human beings to operate to our fullest in long-term crisis mode, and that is where we are. In our house, we’ve been sheltered in place for almost four weeks. That’s four weeks since we’ve been to a playground or the gym. Four weeks since I went to the grocery store without looking at the other shoppers cross-eyed, wondering if they would infect me.
We’re quarantined, working full time, being parents, partnering with teachers and just trying to survive. Failure isn’t an option because we have to plow through. Everyone is depending on us. Our kids, our employers, our pets. And everyone’s stressed. Even our dog had to go to the vet for a stressed-out stomach.
So, let’s focus on surviving—don’t pressure yourself to thrive.
It’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to feel like you’re on a cycle of ups and downs every day. You’re allowed to stay in your pj’s all day and let your kids do the same. My son’s school is having a virtual spirit week and today is pj day. I gave my son’s teacher a virtual high-five and deemed her a genius.
Or, to look at it with a glass half full mentality—it’s okay to just be okay. We’re all going a million miles an hour while sheltered in place. We’re trying to work jobs we’re scared of losing. There are days when fitting it all in isn’t possible. And that’s ok. There will be times to thrive, and there will be times where it’s enough to survive.
So stop beating yourselves up. Quarantine time isn’t a time to compare yourself to the Pinterest moms. It’s not a time to berate yourself if your kid didn’t finish all their work today. (Spoiler alert: shelter in place isn’t ending tomorrow!) Give yourself grace and hand your kid a snack and the remote. Take a second, lock yourself in your secret hiding place and catch your breath. Shut the door on perfection. What if we throw those expectations out the window and give ourselves three cheers for keeping everyone alive today? I know you can do it, mama. Pull up your big girl yoga pants and give it a go.
About the Author
Jessica Tyler is wife to Jeff and mom to two boys, Will and Ben. She is a non-profit professional by day and an expert in cleaning marker off upholstery by night. She lives in Colorado with her boys and her cat Gracie, who adds another female to the mix. You can find her at I Dream of Naptime and on Instagram at jlintyler.