Pandemic Parenting

If there was ever a time that we needed a parenting manual, 2020 would be the year. I mean – throw out all of the past advice about limiting screen time. We are in survival mode, people! If my daughter wants to binge-watch Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix, and my son is playing more hours of Minecraft than I typically allow that’s fine with me. It keeps them indoors, right?

I’m fortunate that my kids are teenagers – one in high school and one in college. They know how to make their own breakfast and keep themselves occupied. Homeschooling was us saying – “Did you turn in that English essay?”

My husband wanted me to wake up Jenna for her statistics class because the professor sadistically changed it from a 7 pm to an 8 am time slot. Because she is not a morning person, I woke her up for the first few days, but then I left her on her own. I got tired of her yelling at me.

I also remembered that she is in college and knows when to get up for class. I was much happier being her personal barista instead.

For eight glorious weeks, we were together 24/7. We enjoyed sit-down family dinners. We cleaned out multiple closets. We met new neighbors and reconnected with old friends. We had a Passover seder and a virtual family reunion over Zoom. We spent quality time doing jigsaw puzzles and playing the not-so-wholesome  Cards Against Humanity. We grew stronger as a family.

And now, four months into this pandemic and things are starting to open up even though COVID-19 cases have not subsided. The kids are restless and want to see their friends. I can’t blame them. I mean – we are cool parents and fun to hang out with, but even they have had enough of us. Andrew is craving his freedom in the form of a new driver’s license burning a hole in his pocket. Jenna is babysitting and Door Dashing. Luckily, they both have a close-knit group of people they always hang out with – outside and hopefully at a reasonable distance.

Deep down inside, I just want to keep them locked up in my bubble. But, I’m letting go of the reins which can be so hard. My first decision was to let Jenna go down the shore. But before she left, I made sure she was fully equipped with hand sanitizer, a face mask and my newly-minted, real-world pandemic safety review. (And yes, there was a quiz at the end.)

They are 19 and 16 years old. They watch the news. They know what is going on in the world. I’ve raised them to be responsible young adults.

What else can I do? He gave up his water polo season. She came home from spring break and never went back to campus. They have been through a lot. All I can do now is say a little prayer about their health and safety – and do a temperature check before they walk back into the house.

8 comments on Pandemic Parenting

  1. Robert Krantweiss
    July 3, 2020 at 9:27 am (4 months ago)

    Very eye-catching, thought-provoking, and humorous introductory paragraph. Who could resist wanting to read more? The body of your blog points the advantages and problems that may occur in a NOTEWORTHY, descriptive way. Your final sentence contains empathy, solid advice, and a wise, “hilarious(?)” conclusion. This could be your best effort yet.SHOULD BE READ BY EVERYONE!!!

  2. Dr.Amrita
    July 3, 2020 at 12:26 pm (4 months ago)

    You have to help them adapt .I thing you are doing the right thing.We need to learn to live with this till a vaccine comes

    • Marths
      July 3, 2020 at 10:53 pm (4 months ago)

      Sounds like you have two terrific children. This certainly has been a game changer for every age. My granddaughter became hubby’s and my “daughter” and took over ordering groceries online because she didn’t want us going out (hubby is immune compromised). Our
      22 month old greatt granddaughter.lives with us and she has adapted well, except she cant figure out why her little friend can’t come over and they just wave across the street. We have to take it day by day and say our prayers that we will be safe.

  3. Lori Ferguson
    July 3, 2020 at 12:52 pm (4 months ago)

    Congratulations on adapting – I imagine your teens are probably adapting to your role in their life too! They sound like they’re are cool as their parents!

    Parenting is such a constant change of seasons – even without this COVID-19 mess.

    We’re now parents of adults, where one of our kids is a parent himself. It’s wild. And fun. And nail-biting. (Just like all the other times with toddlers, tween and teens.) And then with the grandparenting… oh my!

  4. Roy A Ackerman, PhD, EA
    July 3, 2020 at 3:08 pm (4 months ago)

    I have the opposite problem. My children are grown- and are petrified of getting together with their ancient mariner who has all sorts of risks. So, it’s been WAY too long since we got together. (Sorry, folks, ZOOM is NOT getting together. Sure, it’s better than nothing- but that’s like saying a baseball bat to your backside is better than a dart in your elbow.)

  5. Ana de Jesus
    July 3, 2020 at 4:54 pm (4 months ago)

    I agree that that the pandemic has changed the world as we know it and has brought some of us closer together. I am glad that you have been able to spend more time with your family and now that things are going back to normal, you acknowledge the difficulties of getting accustomed to the bubble system. I am worried everytime I go out but always take a lot of precautions so I am glad that you make sure your family are fully protected as can be too. Great advice.

  6. Nancy
    July 4, 2020 at 6:59 am (4 months ago)

    Most definitely trying times. Everyone is tired of being cooped up. Makes me glad my kids are grown & on their own, but I worry about my granddaughters.

  7. Glenda Cates
    July 4, 2020 at 5:36 pm (4 months ago)

    I’m at my wits end as well and my son is 12 we have played umpteen games of Basketball and taken many many walks. I am blessed as his best friend lives next door. I have been letting him come over as his mom works from home and there can’t be any noise so they stay in my son’s room on the Game much more than I like but what can I do during this time? As for my husband he is a Essential Worker and I PRAY every time he walks in the door that he doesn’t get sick or make us sick.


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