I have a message to the parents at home, in self-quarantine with their kids during the COVID-19 crisis. I’ll divide you into two groups: moms and dads.
Moms: You’re doing great. That color-coded chart you made for filling your kids’ time is outstanding. If you abandoned that chart halfway through the second day, that’s fine. You’re doing great. You did your best, but the chart wasn’t for you. Your kids will be all right because you love them. If you never had a chart or schedule, you’re doing great too. You love your kids, and you care about their mental and emotional well-being, and they know it.
When you became a mom, your number-one job was to keep your child alive. That’s still your number-one job. You’re doing great.
When COVID-19 is over, it won’t matter whether your kids did three hours of yoga, crafts, and jumping jacks this morning or whether they watched Frozen 2 for the ninth time this week. It. Won’t. Matter. When you see a mom friend post photos of her kids making soufflés and learning macramé, remember: That’s one snapshot of her self-quarantined day. Immediately after she posted it, one kid started screaming, “I hate this,” and the other kid crapped their pants.
You’re doing great, moms. You’ve got this.
Dads: You’re doing great. Maybe you’re not used to being home with the kids during the day. Perhaps that’s always been more of your partner’s thing, and this is a big change for you. But you love your kids, and now’s your chance to spend more time with them. Take advantage of it. Plan some fun activities. Plan some educational activities. Do a load of laundry. Teach your kids how to make dinner.
Maybe you’re already doing those things. If so, you’re doing great. If not, let’s go, dads. This is your time to shine. The COVID-19 self-quarantine is uncharted territory for all of us, and your partners need you to share the burden of keeping the house running and keeping the kids occupied. Like I said, maybe you’re already doing that, in which case, you’re doing great.
Maybe, dads, you’re like me, and working from home with kids screaming in the background is your norm. Perhaps you’re also like me in that you lose your patience with those kids sometimes. That’s understandable. Take a deep breath and carry on. You’ve been training for this. You’re doing great.
All parents: Don’t forget to thank your partner for everything they’re doing. Everyone needs to hear that right now.