Parenting is just plain hard right now.
I’m not going to lie; being a parent right now feels like a game of survival of the fittest. This just has to be said for all of us trying to be parents and to keep it together in what has been a most trying year.
I’m a stay at home mama of two under three, and most days, I focus on simple survival. Did we eat? Did the little ones nap? Did we avoid any catastrophes? Did I remember to drink water? Did I let the dog outside? If my answer to all of those questions is yes, I made it. I managed to survive another day.
Did I finish my cup of coffee while it was warm? Did I shower? I still haven’t figured out how to get past survival mode to make this happen regularly.
The kids are climbing on everything, taking out all of their toys over and over again, refusing to nap. They require constant attention, especially around all the sharp corners. My oldest is still very much in the early stages of learning to share and is pushing over or rolling on top of his little sister when she tries to join him with his toys. Most days, I feel like I’m literally trying to survive the day with them.
The crazy part about all of this is that my kids aren’t even in school yet. The families juggling work, virtual school, and the continued restrictions of the pandemic are the real MVPs.
Parenting right now is extra hard. It’s important to say this out loud, to acknowledge this, and to accept this.
No matter what your circumstances are, as parents right now, we can’t do it all.
We’re being pulled in many directions, and we have limits. This means that we won’t be able to give our kids our full attention as much as we’d like. This means that we might have to put on another episode of Sesame Street to keep things quiet and calm. That we might have to–dare I say–bribe them with a cheese stick to avoid a meltdown when they don’t want to leave the office when someone is trying to host an online work meeting.
And even though this may create massive amounts of guilt in the moment, we must remember that this is ok and that this doesn’t make us failures.
I know I’m not the only one who has felt that like I’ve reached my limit multiple times in a week by 10 am. Do what it takes to make the time for self-care: whether it’s reading a chapter of a book, going for a run, stretching out on your yoga mat, or taking a bubble bath. Whatever it is, we deserve it, and we shouldn’t feel guilty for taking the time for ourselves.
Survival of the fittest may be a brutal metaphor for parenting right now, but life is really hard right now. It’s important to normalize the idea that as parents, we can’t and shouldn’t do it all. If you’re feeling like you’re barely surviving the day, know you’re not alone. Reach out to your friends who are parents for a healthy venting session because we all need this healthy space. We don’t need to pretend that everything is going well all the time.
And most of all, remember that barely surviving is still surviving. Tomorrow is another day with the same challenges and some new ones, but we’ll survive that too.