Our imaginary co-worker was named “Rob”. And that joke worked for – maybe – 2 days. And then it wasn’t so funny any more.
Parenting in a pandemic is no joke. There’s a lot of humor to be found, but the laughter usually comes at the end of our ropes.
The “good” social distancing we used to have – at work, school, on the weekends, running errands, and playing sports – is gone, for at least another month.
How do we – not just survive – but thrive in this weird, new world, where we are together all… the… time?
Here are three things that have helped us. We are far from perfect at doing them consistently, but we’re human. Oh, we are sooo human….:
- Mini-Sabbath for Your Spouse (and You!): Early on, after the “Go Home, Stay Home” orders came, my wife and I knew we were not gonna make it, if we didn’t have about an hour a day, not working, and not fielding the demands, questions, and needs of our children. We decided to do this: 1 hour at the end of the day, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Tara would have a mini-Sabbath (no work, no interruptions, peace and quiet), and I’d get the same on Tuesday and Thursday. Then, next week, it flips. I love that hour. You will, too.
- Fight the Binge: Studies show that we’re watching as many as 8 hours of online content a day. Consider “appointment streaming”. Remember “Appointment Television”? You had a show you looked forward to, every week, and then you had to wait another week to watch it again. Disney and Amazon have started doing this, again, and – honestly – it feels a lot healthier than 6 hours of Tiger King (No, I haven’t watched it, but I did read about it, and that was enough).
- Block Out the Heavy Sighs and Sideways Glances, and Start to Pray Again: If this time apart isn’t a call to prayer, I don’t know what is. The thing is: If you start to do it, again, in your family, you’re gonna get some sighs and glances: “Oh, we’re gonna start that up?” Doesn’t have to be long, fancy, or more than your comfortable with: Just do it at the dinner table. Keep at it, and a week from now, they may not say it, but your family is going to ease in and love their time, together in prayer. How do you get started? Here’s a short (9 minute) video on prayer to get you rolling (it’s way easier than you think!)
This is what’s been working for us, but we would love to hear what’s working for you. Please tell us, in the comments section, below, and – parent – keep on keepin’ on, and know that we are in prayer for you!
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7 thoughts on “Parenting in a Pandemic, Part 1”
I’m abandoning all hope of “thriving” in this situation. My goal is to “survive” and on a good day “make the best of it.” This is a very stressful time as we are living in our small home, renovating another home 1.5 miles away that we bought 2 months ago. Jason is doing most of the work himself, so there is never a minute to waste, or rest, it seems. I realize these are “first world” problems, and we are lucky to have our health and our jobs in tact, and for goodness sakes, two houses! I know this. Working for an organization in Haiti, I see that my struggles Do. Not. Compare. And yet… And yet, I’m still struggling to do all the things that need doing, most of which have nothing to show at the end of the day. It’s exhausting to spend all day meeting the different social-emotional needs of our four children, one of whom is off the rails right now. And try to work, and try to help Jason on construction, and try to keep the family functioning, and try to homeschool (ha!) There’s no help. No grandparents, no babysitters, and with Jason working 45+ hours for work and doing home renovations–very little husband bandwidth to carry the load. And there’s no end in sight. So this is hard. It’s a hard time right now. We just have to keep grinding it out. I appreciate your wisdom, and your online videos with prayer and encouragement, James. It makes a difference.
“There’s no end in sight.” Ugh… I know those feelings. That may be the hardest part in all of this: We just don’t know the end date, so all the days are blending together, and it’s becoming a slog. On top of that, the commitments we made before all of this started (e.g. purchase and renovate a home) haven’t gone away – we can’t just say: “Oh well, never mind about that….”. Great to connect on FB and here – thank you! And praying for you!