Crisis and Outbreaks? Can Parents Shut Down?
“Mom, my birthday is soon…” came the voice of my youngest daughter.
This was after she handed me her newly lost tooth.
Quickly I tried to focus and mentally drown out the latest news articles.
I didn’t want to tell her there were four new cases in our home state of the dreaded virus.
Or that an online acquaintance had posted her mother had just died of the virus.
Instead, we talked about her lost tooth and how she was going to be “toothless” and rich if she didn’t slow her tooth-losing pace down!
But my mind was still wanting to read one more virus update…
“Alison, your daughter needs you to just be a mom right now,” I tried to remind myself.
And when I thought of my little girl needing her mom, I thought of all the other kids needing their parents during this crucial time.
And what every parent must be going through.
And what’s going around all around us.
Long-standing establishments (you know the ones that seem almost everlasting) are shutting down.
Private and public schools…they’re shutting down too.
Sporting Events, and almost the entire entertainment industry is shutting down during this worldwide outbreak.
We cannot shut down.
We have to go home and explain real-life to our kids.
We have to somehow be honest with their kids, without divulging too much of our own personal fears.
The “what ifs” and unknowns stay tucked inside our hearts as we try to brave a “you’re an awesome kid” smile in our children’s direction.
Some of my parent friends have never studied how to teach a child their sight words, but they’re scrambling to find online resources to help their child learn.
Anything to keep a learning routine going at home.
But many feel completely ill-prepared.
And that’s just the beginning…
Homes are filled with kids who are melting down over canceled recitals, pageants, plays, and even spring break vacations while some of us have the futures of our jobs and businesses in the back of our minds.
But as parents, we bravely try to smile, comfort our kids and create a sense of calm and happiness in the home.
Because we can’t shut down.
Our children still wake up hungry and need someone to make them Mickey-shaped waffles.
They still someone to cuddle and watch Disney Plus with..
And they still need someone to put clean sheets on their bed…
And they still need someone to ask..”Did you wash your hands…with soap?”
Some of our kids may only understand that an intruder named Corona has kept them from wearing their new Pinterest-inspired hairstyle to “crazy hair” day at school.
That same, heartless Corona is making them wait weeks or even months to see their favorite Sunday school teacher. She’s the one who always gives them coloring sheets and a sweet treat to take home.
But inside some of our minds is the fear of running out of certain supplies, favorite foods, losing the ability to travel, and trying to function with a slashed income.
Parents have been launched into the sea of quarantines and shutdowns…and no one prepared us for this.
Not to mention the feeling that the common support systems (or almost daily parenting crutches) have almost been ripped away with little warning.
(Disclosure: we know it is needed and support the decision and our leaders…but it doesn’t make the situation for many parents any easier.)
And we’re not blaming anyone…except the Intruder.
So, yes, parents are cautiously treading upon new parenting territory.
Oh yes…there’s 245 books, 23 apps and 89 courses that thoroughly cover that topic.
Generations of parents have given their advice as well as parenting writers and psychologists.
But how to keep your kids happy during a quarantine?
How to not cry seven times in a day because you feel completely inadequate and unprepared to teach your child at home?
No, parents don’t get to shut down for safety.
Parents don’t get to shut down until the worse is over and the environment is safer.
Parents have to function, guide and make difficult decisions in the thick of distressing times.
Parents in 2020, may you get all the love, support, and prayers from the community it can possibly give.
May our community come together and provide you as much hope and help as possible.
Simple resources like:
Freezer Friendly Meals...to help you relax a litle more in the mornings…
Online Facebook groups so can connect with other parents
And so much more.
Because we all know that right now, you are giving everything you can possibly muster to your children.
And because of that…
You. Are. A. Hero.