“Even when hard becomes ‘normal,’ it’s still hard! Don’t forget we’re in a pandemic.”

– Sarah Rosensweet

Talking to parents lately, I’ve noticed we’re not talking about the C-word (COVID!) and the challenges it has brought as much as we did in the earlier days.

When parents share the struggles they are having, whether it’s with their children or with their own big feelings, I keep having to say, “Remember that we are going through a pandemic. Be gentle with yourself and your child.” 

I need to remind them because parenting and living through a pandemic has become “normal.” But guess what? It’s NOT normal! 

Even if we can count ourselves among the fortunate who have not lost loved ones, or the privileged who have not lost our jobs or homes, we can’t lose sight of how difficult things have been. 

We’ve lost our social support and networks. We’ve been unable to see our extended families. We are social creatures suffering from isolation. We’ve been on top of each other working from home. We’ve been struggling with virtual school, on-again-off-again school or worrying it’s unsafe if our kids are in in-person school. Many of us have lost our childcare. We’re worried about our health and safety and our loved ones’ health and safety. We’re worried about our children losing social skills and falling behind in school. 

Our children are missing friends, activities, and milestone events. School is different and challenging. (The words ‘virtual’ and ‘kindergarten’ should never be uttered together.) They’re spending too much time on screens and not enough time running around at the park. They miss their cousins and grandparents!

We are tired, stressed and burnt out. Us AND our kids. 

(Think it’s whiny to ‘complain’ if you are living in relative comfort with a full fridge and Netflix? Empathy and compassion are not finite. In fact, if we can’t give ourselves empathy and compassion- even if others have it worse!- we can’t truly feel empathy and compassion for anyone.) 

Don’t forget how hard this is and how strong you’ve been. Really. Give yourself some love today. You deserve it. This is hard, y’all. Don’t forget- we’re living through a pandemic. It’s not normal. Be gentle with yourself and with your child.

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