Parenting in the Age of a Pandemic

How do I do it all?

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Dear Wellness Expert –

I’m currently in that boat of parents lucky enough to work remotely while overseeing remote learning for my 6-year-old who is in the first grade this year. I also have a 3-year-old. While I try to stay somewhat organized, making sure my kids are fed/clothed/and taken care of while also working can be overwhelming. I personally love being organized and having a routine but trying to decide between remote schooling vs the hybrid in our area has given me so much extra stress that I didn’t know existed. My stress and anxiety have been awful plus some life challenges have occurred; we lost my sister-in-law who was only 32 (close to my age) at the beginning of the pandemic and my father is now in hospice.

I guess my question and my biggest challenge is finding that work/life balance. On the week-ends and after work I try to spend as much one-on-one time with the kids and my husband but that leaves zero time for me on a good day. I’ve thought of the idea of possibly working longer days to have that extra day, but my schedule is so booked up as it is that this sounds daunting. Any suggestions on what I should do that will help make my life easier would be so appreciated.

- Signed, One Tired Mom
Dear One Tired Mom  -

As pandemic rates surge once again and school schedules grow even more unpredictable, parents are being pushed to their limits. When you’re juggling it all during a pandemic, it’s okay to drop some balls. It would be impossible not to. Bestselling author Nora Roberts was asked a similar question once about this work/life juggling act. She said the key is to know that some of the balls you have in the air are made of plastic and some are made of glass: if you drop a plastic ball, it bounces, no harm done; if you drop a glass ball, it shatters. You have to know which balls are glass and which are plastic and prioritize catching the glass ones. Sometimes, in order to catch a work glass ball, you let the kids have a little more screen time than you’d like. Other times, in order to catch a kid glass ball, you say no to a work meeting that isn’t high priority.

These are abnormal times so feeling out of rhythm is now what’s normal. On top of the pandemic, you and your family are also experiencing some of life’s most heart wrenching experiences. That’s a lot under normal times. Try to be gentle with yourself. Let yourself grieve, remembering that feelings come in waves and that you will get through them. If you need help, give us a call at the EAP at 1-800-769-9819. You don’t have to keep all the balls in the air on your own.
Yemaya St Clair, LCPC-C
EAP Counselor