The Rules of 'Pandemic Parenting'
Parenting is a roller-coaster in itself. But 'Pandemic Parenting' (parenting during the lockdown) is a proper circus! There is chaos, child or children are seen jumping from sofas and other objects around the house, loud music goes on in the background (ok, the sound from the telly or i-pad that is on for most of the day) and there is laughter, banter and sometimes tears. Yes, there are animals involved too (have you seen a feral 6-year-old when he doesn't get what he wants?).
The six-week summer vacation is what most mums dread. Don't get us wrong – and definitely don't judge – we LOVE having our kids at home with us. The weather is good. We plan trips to the park, picnics in the garden, playdates and outings to the zoo. There are no school-runs to wake up to, and there is no homework to complete. BUT…SIX WHOLE WEEKS of having the kids 24/7 can sometimes get a bit much…
And now, because of the lockdown, we've already had the kids at home for longer than the six-week period. And we have another three months to go before they return to school (not everyone is comfortable about sending their kids back to school in June; so it is September for a lot of us). And all this without the outings and playdates…
So, based on the above situation, it is safe to say that the first rule of Pandemic Parenting is this:
THERE ARE NO RULES!
Or, rather, the rules that once existed are now long gone out the window. And after the initial battle all we parents fought (when the lockdown began in March), we soon realised it's a pointless one, considering the time we were all going to be spending together in the confines of our house, and the fact that we needed some of our sanity intact to get through this! In parentspeak, this situation is akin to survival mode, and when in survival mode, you let things slip…
Here are some of the reasons Pandemic Parenting is going the way it is…
When I fell pregnant with Little Man, I read a lot of parenting books and articles. I listened to other mums' advice. I 'prepared' myself for motherhood the best I could (it's a different matter that nothing can really prepare you for motherhood except being a mother – you live and learn) but never in my wildest dreams did I foresee homeschooling my child! I mean, I knew I'd be involved in his education and help him with homework and land up doing his school projects, but ffs homeschooling is NOT what I signed up for! Yet, here I am, teaching fractions and adverbs to a disinterested child. And in order to make this process less tormenting, I now allow him to tweak the homeschooling rules a
bit lot. But at least we're getting stuff done!
2. Treats and snacks
Always a sore point with kids, and more so now, when this lockdown feels like a six-month summer holiday! At least that's how Little Man looks at it. Add the hot weather to the mix and the demands for juice and ice-cream increase too. As do the snack demands (what is it with kids munching all day when at home?). So when I have to dish out a gaziilion snacks a day, fruit and cucumber-dipped-in-hummus doesn't always cut it. Oreos cut it. And when I have to cook two 'proper' meals everyday for the entire family, I honestly don't mind if he wants fish fingers or a pizza instead! I don't have the energy to argue (I used it all up during homeschooling) and I honestly don't want to cook! Besides, a pizza is exactly what I feel like…
3. Extended screen time
I'm not even going to feel bad about this one anymore! Too much screen time has always been my best and worst bit of parenting – electronics are hands-down the BEST babysitters but the worst for mum-guilt. But parenting during a pandemic allows you that leeway without feeling like the world's worst mum. There is only so much you can do to keep your child/ren entertained 24/7 for months on end! (On that note, here are a few out-of-the-box ideas for when they are bored of everything else).
4. The house is a constant mess
We used to make sure (most) of the toys were put away in their respective places at the end of day. Now, we hardly bother! Little Man couldn't be bothered irrespective, but now I too just don't see the point as it's sleep and repeat every day. There's art and craft stuff downstairs, a toy camper van in our hallway, pretend-swords in the garden for pretend-swordfighting matches and Lego and cars strewn across his playroom. Will do a proper clean-up in September!
5. Staying in PJs all day
Little Man is happiest chilling at home in his PJs all day (he gets that from me!!!), and now that there's no official or logical reason to leave the house (except a walk round the block or to the park), he doesn't see the need to differentiate between 'day clothes' and 'nightwear'. At the start of the lockdown, when energy levels were still high, I used to fight that battle too – but soon remembered those three wise words: 'choose your battles'. And this one was right down on my list so I've let it pass.
6. Bedtime is now waaaay past normal bedtime
Sleeping was always Little Man's sore point. He is content and functional with minimal sleep and is one of those kids who can stay up well past his bedtime without going into a frump. But because of school and having a set routine, he used to go to bed at a decent hour. Now, we don't even know what decent hour is anymore… His Majesty has heard the clock strike midnight on many an occasion during lockdown!
And now some rules for me…
7. Laundry can go to hell!!!
Which mother enjoys doing laundry? None that I know, at least! But it's something we cannot avoid, because school uniforms need to be washed and office shirts need to be ironed. But with nowhere to go and no-one to dress up for, laundry can take a hike! Not to say I haven't washed my son's PJs or my loungewear since March, but I definitely only do a load when it's absolutely necessary…
And my ironing pile is now looking like a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
8. Alcohol is permitted mid-week (or at any time, really!!!)
Remember the bit I mentioned about keeping sane to keep this circus going? I'm the ringmaster who has to balance moods and temperaments (husband included) during the lockdown, homeschool my son, dish out healthy snacks and meals from breakfast till dinner, play with my son so he doesn't spend more time in front of a screen and still fit in a bit of blog time and me-time. So if I feel like a strong G n' T at 1 pm or a glass of wine every other evening, I am entitled to it!
You might also like: Things I've learnt to accept during quarantine (and you should too!)
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