I have hesitated to make a post about this pandemic due to feeling overwhelmed with everything going on and trying to keep everything moving. Many tears have been shed. However, I realized that other parents may feel the same and could use some reassurance that they are not alone.
Typically, I am a working mom and I am very lucky that I have my mom who watches Alex and Mary during the week, with Mary attending daycare one day a week and Alex attending school five days a week. Now, I am working from home for awhile, while having two kids here full time and Alex is doing virtual schooling.
Our schedule is the same each day. I start my work day at 7:30am. The kids and I go into our basement where the home office and a play area is. Bryan’s work is considered essential so he still needs to go into work everyday. Alex starts his school work at 9am, the time when his school day would start pre-quarantine. Mid-day, we break for lunch and video chat with Bryan on his lunch break. Mary goes down for her nap after lunch, and I return to working. Alex will return to schoolwork if he is not finished. Mary will nap for about 2 hours (if we are lucky) and then we continue the rest of the work day in the basement until Bryan returns home and showers before touching any of us.
It isn’t easy. It’s frustrating and overwhelming sometimes. Luckily, Alex is doing very well with his virtual schooling. However, trying to work, helping Alex with his work, trying to keep Mary engaged and working on her speech…. it’s a lot. We have the TV going a lot right now, I won’t deny it. Sometimes it Disney+, sometimes it’s videos of people reading stories, sometimes it’s educational videos. I do feel guilty that I am not able to devote more time to working with Mary.
The hardest thing has been to allow myself to let go of my expectations for myself. No, I may not be able to work with my kids as much as I would if I wasn’t working an office job full time. However, they are healthy, they are happy, they are progressing. Mary’s team at the Down Syndrome Center were very happy with her progress at our virtual appointment earlier this week. Alex’s teacher said that she is proud of how well Alex is doing with getting his schoolwork done and turned in each day. I am able to get my work done each day, even if it does take longer than usual. We even try to take a walk around the neighborhood when we can, just to get out of the house and enjoy the weather.
I want to share some advice from my counselor. Don’t feel like you need to be “super parent” and doing everything for everyone right now. Just be a parent, doing the best you can. Also, try to take some time to do something for yourself each night, whether it be a hobby or a long hot shower. Self care is important too. These are unsure times so give yourself some leeway to adjust to it. If your kids are safe, fed, and happy, then you are doing ok.
Please, stay safe out there.