I’ve read all of the stories of parents struggling to cope during the pandemic. I’m sure they’re all true. But my experience has been different.
Before the pandemic, I left for work before my kids (tweens and teens) woke up. Around 7:30 am, I started my parenting-from-a-distance routine. First by text: “Are you awake?” “It’s time to get up.” “Hellllooooo…..” Then by phone, if I could manage to sneak away for a few moments. When their school attendance got really bad, I’d try from time to time to sneak home and check in, to try in a few short minutes to encourage them out of bed and into the world. Every working day, I did my virtual parenting dance. Or didn’t and just hoped for the best, waiting until I got home to see who went to school, and who didn’t. Hiding, always hiding this “other life” from my work life.
Then the pandemic hit. I worked from home and schools were closed. Life was so easy! So this is what it’s like to be able to concentrate only on work. The luxury. The leisure.
Schools have since re-opened. But now I parent in person and work-from-a-distance. Between meetings, I check in and turn on lights. Sometimes I even sing a goofy song as I wake them up. My stress levels are lower, which means theirs are too… so very important as we continue our family dance with anxiety and depression. I know that this pandemic brought me a precious year, an important year, as evidenced by the one kid now off meds (in a good way) and en-route to university ~ Would we have made it to this point without this time?
I don’t know what will happen when they tell us all that it’s “safe” to return to the office. I do miss seeing other adult humans “in real life,” but if I have to choose who I spend my non-distant time with, it’ll be my kids. Always.