Well, it’s been a year since the pandemic hit. A year ago, both my husband and I were working from home. Both our boys were home with us too. So working and taking care of the kids was a huge challenge. I found that I was working and putting my kids in front of the TV too much. I felt guilty for a little bit but then realized that we were doing the best we could. I was also trying to teach my oldest, he was in kindergarten. And sometimes I was working after the kids were in bed – which wasn’t good for me as I was already mentally drained. And it was challenging to motivate my son to work with me on what he needed to do. My youngest did a lot of independent play, or played with his older brother when he wasn’t doing school work.
After a couple of months working from home, I was placed on furlough. While that was difficult for the family, it was also a relief. I didn’t have to struggle with having my attention in multiple places. I could make some time for the kids and be there for them. I could play with them and provide more attention to them for what they needed. And honestly, it was really nice. Much of this fell during the start of the summer months. So we spent most days outside, as much as possible. They ran around the yard, played in the kiddie pool, rode their bikes and much more. Luckily, we live in a pretty great neighborhood and we went on walks quite a bit. We really had some fun times even with not traveling places. After a few weeks, I received a call that I was being called back into work. My husband and I had extensive conversations throughout this time about what would be best for our family. There was still so much uncertainty with the pandemic. There wasn’t any word about what school would like look for my oldest when it was time to return. Were we comfortable with our youngest returning to a daycare setting? Ultimately, we decided that I would stay home with the kids. While it really was a difficult decision, it was the best one for our family.
So now, I’m a stay-at-home mom. During a pandemic. This is not what I thought being a stay-at-home mom would be like. This was an extremely uncertain time in the world. There were so many more restrictions of being home, because we couldn’t travel anywhere. I couldn’t take the kids out on excursions other than the neighborhood – which actually were pretty good. Our neighborhood is pretty nice and has paths through woods. Being a stay-at-home mom would have looked different about 7 years ago compared to now. Heck, it would have been different 2 years ago.
All of this time with the kids and being stuck around the house, with no places to actually go – It has been one of the most challenging jobs in the world. So challenging, but yet so rewarding. I’m getting to see parts of my kids lives that I would have missed. I’m getting more connected to them and learning more about their personalities. Trying to follow what makes them throw tantrums or break down. Trying to figure out what calms them down. Trying to work with them on finding solutions to problems. Trying to teach my oldest child and help with his remote learning. Trying to entertain and do things with my youngest. One child getting more attention than the other. One having a meltdown because he can’t find his favorite toy. Getting them food when they say they are hungry – which was probably every 20 minutes. They were talking in screams rather than normal voices. They were arguing over a blanket. Pulling toys from each others hands. Walking by each other and giving them a little shove with their shoulder. There have been fists thrown too, and maybe some kicking. There were toys thrown across the rooms and toys thrown at each other (some even at me). Whining about everything and anything. Holy cow this was crazy!
I feel it only fitting that during this time I have become so interested in parenting books, mindfulness, and self care for myself. I recently got into more self development books so reading up on things has been a recent joy. But within some of this reading, I wasn’t only learning about myself, but also about my kids. There have been some great tidbits of information from books that I have been trying to incorporate and use them in every day situations with the kids. So far, nothing has entirely worked, but with a little bit of persistence on my part, I’m going to continue to try in hopes that some suggestions that I thought were good, I can use and they can be effective.
I’m also learning more about myself and how my personality is with my kids. I have learned an incredible amount about myself and continue to do so. The past couple years in themselves has been a journey. And it’s only the beginning of learning more about myself. (that can be another post for another time). But being with my kids during the summer was one thing. I was getting ready to enter a different zone in September and the winter months. Late August, the school system decided to have in-person learning with the option to be remote learning. We chose the remote learning. I know I wasn’t the only one, but this was extremely challenging. I now had to ensure my 1st grader was following his schedule and participating in what he needed to. The struggles back and forth with him were by far some of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I know the challenges will still be there as he grows, but man 7 year old’s can be rude and out of line. And then there was my youngest. Oh man. I had to occupy him. Thank goodness for tablets! I was able to at least have him play on his tablet for a while when my 1st grader was doing some of his video meetings or assignments. He also loves coloring, play doh and building with Legos. I could occupy and play with him for those during times my oldest didn’t need my guidance or assistance.
Fast forward to now, March 2021. It’s gotten a bit easier, but it still is challenging. We recently made the decision to send my oldest to in-person learning, which meant for 4 days a week he would be in the classroom and 1 day would be remote. That’s a different challenge, as it’s not the same remote learning as it was in September. So far it’s all going well. And he’s loving being around other kids and socializing. My youngest is loving the 1:1 time he’s getting with me, and sometimes his dad, during this time. Getting to know his personality as it evolves is awesome, as he’s very fearless and stubborn.
While this past year has been nothing but a crazy rollercoaster ride that I never expected, I do feel that there is some good that came out of it. What I do feel this past year has done is strengthened our family bond. While we have had some challenges, we have pushed through them and it’s only making us closer than ever. For all the struggles and challenges this past year has given us, we have made the best of it. And I can only hope that our bond will continue to get stronger.
Although this past year has been difficult in lots of various ways, I’ve also gained so much in regards to myself. There were moments of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. But I’ve grown in those areas as well. In doing so, I’m hoping that the family bond will grow in many more ways.
Becoming a stay-at-home mom during the pandemic has easily been one of the most challenging jobs that I’ve done. But I wouldn’t change anything in the world for the experiences that I’ve having.