Tiger mom, unicorn mom, dolphin mom, so many animal-themed parenting styles, right?
Well, forget them all. We are in the middle of a global pandemic. Millions infected. Tens of thousands dead. It will get worse. For parents, this time is especially panic inducing. Schools are closed. Parks are locked. You are suddenly expected to homeschool kids with little to no training (turns out law school did not prepare me for 3rd grade “New” math). You are bombarded with all the free and fantastic resources that you MUST do or your kid will turn into a screen- zombie or worse- REGRESS ACADEMICALLY! But you don’t want them on screens all day, so here are a million craft ideas!! Oh and you might be working from home…..
Stop. Just stop. I give you permission. (I gave myself permission to give YOU permission-it’s cool) You know what your kids need right now? An otter mom (or dad).
Otters are the parenting animal to emulate during a pandemic. All our kids need RIGHT NOW is for us to keep them afloat. Protect them from the choppy depths. They are scared, confused, worried, maybe even feeling guilty for having fun. In short- they are feeling ALL THE FEELINGS in their tiny little bodies. They don’t need multiplication facts, tracing worksheets, or virtual field trips. Do it if you can and if they want, but it is not what they NEED. They need snuggles and security. They need to feel safe because things feel scary right now.
Give yourself permission to just float with them. Do what you need to keep yourself floating too. These are not normal times. You will not be as productive as you normally are. Do what you can when you can. Don’t spend the time you have each day fighting about screens or homework or putting on pants. Lower your expectations of yourself, your kids, and everyone around you. Floating is the goal here. Remember otters don’t wear pants and they are fine with it.
We WILL get through this. I’m pretty sure I can promise that. And when we come out the other end of this hellscape maybe our kids won’t remember their times tables, or letter sounds, or that second language you wanted them to learn… but they will remember how they felt during this time. They will remember how the house felt as the world seemed to be shaking under them. Hug them, comfort them, keep them floating through this storm.
*apologies for typos and nonsense- it’s day 21 of a quarantine and my otter babies are distracting.