ActivitiesChildcareFamilyHouse & HomeLifestyleReflecting Back- Parenting Through The Pandemic, What I’ve Learned

May 11, 20210
Before Covid


I remember 2 1/2 years ago I was home with my kids recovering from surgery for three weeks, at first I was daunted by the idea of being home with them and concerned I wouldn’t be able to keep up and they’d be bored and I’d be exhausted.

But, we quickly got into a routine, and since I was home during their school break, I wanted to make the best of my time with them. We went to play places, painted pictures, went to the playground. It was perfect. I was at the sweet ages, where my son was still taking an afternoon nap, my daughter was enjoying her independent playtime when he napped and I felt like we hit the sweet spot. The kids were getting along, sleeping at night without 457948 bedtime stories, for the first time in a long time I felt like I was living my life, not surviving.

That night sitting on the couch with my husband I remember looking at him and saying, “I wish it were always like this.” He asked, “like what?” I recounted our day, how the kids were playing so nicely together, all the things we did, and how I wish I always had this time with them, no pressure of school or activities to get them to.


Finding The Bright Side Of Isolation & Helping Others


Fast forward a few years, the pandemic hit, and as hard and isolating as it’s been. I’m eternally grateful I got an entire extra year with my kids and husband. I’ve seen my kids work out conflict, I’ve seen them use their imaginations but most of all, I’ve had so much extra time with them I feel like I know them in a different way. Of course, there were days, I counted down the minutes until bedtime and cried in my closet for 10 mins of alone time, but this time, I helped my daughter learn how to bake, my son was learning how to ride his bike.

As I reflect on this last year, I’ve learned the most about myself and the way I parent, I’ve learned I give my kids a little freedom, but they know if they need me, I’m close by, I learned I value the conversations with my friends and talking about the good and bad, like the day my toilet exploded and my girlfriend explained it’s overflowing and a simple fix, I learned how much my husband loves making pizza from scratch and how he will stop at nothing to make it perfect. I learned how much I value being able to pick up the phone and call my mom to say “is it normal for the kids to do xyz”

Most of all, I am so incredibly thankful for my health, my husband’s health, and my family and friends. The ones who are close to us and recovered quickly without long term effects, the ones who came to our car parades and the car parades we joined, the ones who did driveway dates, we stood what felt like a million feet away, wearing our masks and talking like nothing was out of the ordinary. For our neighbors who checked in on us, this year taught me to slow down, appreciate what truly matters and who truly matters.

It wasn’t at all what I ever imagined but it is what I wished for in some weird way, to be forced to slow down and teach my kids new skills, have fewer things to do and more time playing board games, swimming in the pool, planting our flowers and growing a vegetable garden. I wished for a way to teach my kids about kindness and being more empathetic, not to judge and to welcome all but most of all to give. That’s just what we did, the kids and I did a target pick-up order of small toiletries, dry shampoo, pads or tampons, and snacks. Anytime we saw someone without a home, we made sure to give them a bag with it, water, or Gatorade to keep them hydrated. We would eat out once a week at a local restaurant and shop at local businesses as often as we could.

I wished to have my husband home, so he could build massive lego sets with the kids, or teach them how to change the oil in his car and rotate the tires on his car. I wished for more family hikes, more family game nights. It was an incredible year, a long and heartbreaking year, but we all survived and we are the lucky ones to come out of this unscathed.

We talked to our kids about appreciating first responders, we sent care packages to friends who were on the front lines, made dinner for friends who lost a loved one, or lived alone. We all learned about kindness, we all learned about supporting one another, talk a little less and listen a little more. New friendships were formed, it was a year of love and support.

As things begin to reopen and we begin to see friends and family again, we begin to travel let us not lose what we found this year. Listening more, supporting our local economy, and helping one another out. This was an unforgettable year for so many both in a positive and heartbreaking way, here’s to hoping we can hold onto the sweet memories and laughs and it will get us thru.

Emily M. Howe

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