#Opinion

Pandemic Parenting Is An Uphill Task: How We Did It

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Pandemic Parenting:  What is your story? Staying at home with the kid 24X7 can be extremely exhausting. Here is mine.

This morning when my editor asked me to write on if the pandemic has made my husband a better dad, my instant reaction was “he has always been the more patient parent, the one with the enhanced ability to read emotions.” He took over night time responsibilities even after a hectic day at work without being prodded to, when the offspring was in the crib. I have seen the two grow up together in the last five years. But was there a silver lining to Pandemic Parenting? I am not sure.

Yes, it gave them an extra 10 minutes of snuggle time in the bed. But has it been a steep learning curve? Also, I believe that just by being a mother, I do not inherently become the better parent. Hence, it does not give me the right to judge my husband as a parent. So, this article emerges from a conversation with the husband rather than an evaluation of his skills.

Staying at home with the kid 24X7 can be extremely exhausting. At the onset, the husband isn’t a frequent flyer and is happier to miss important after-office get-togethers. The home was not new to him. But intense experiences such as the pandemic often forces us to introspect and introspection pushes you to be a better version of yourself.

Yes, we have struggled with parenting, especially in the last year when it was restricted within the four walls. We have gambled and gone with the flow. Screen time has increased, so have order ins, Amazon deliveries.

Pandemic parenting: Tempers have flared, bitter exchanges have happened. We have both yelled at each other and later regretted it.

As difficult it has been for us, it has been tougher for the children. Especially the kindergarten lot who are in the process of developing their understanding of the world. So, given a chance, they would prefer to run barefoot and touch and feel things they have seen the first time. How do you explain the need to use caution before you touch and feel something?

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Pandemic parenting and the challenges of raising children during crisis.

The playground, the slide, the school are all out of bounds so were friends till some time back. Pandemic parenting has been a test of patience to explain the unseen virus/germs to them. We started with Avenger masks then went to dinosaurs along with white and blue sanitisers. Still, nine out of 10 times the mask is under his nose. And we both agree patience is a key virtue which the pandemic has inculcated.

After an entire day, of keeping a five-year-old entertained, to balance his classes and our Zoom meeting, feed him, put him down for his afternoon naps I think we both realised how mentally draining housework can be. We now make it a point to rinse the teacup or breakfast bowl rather than dump it in the sink, now that we have unlocked and welcomed our help back. In his words, “In terms of household work, it has been a steep learning curve with juggling time between the office and home proving to be an uphill task.”

Physically being closer when your little one sits to study is not so delightful. There is a renewed respect for teachers when you have to explain for the nth time why Samar is a friend and Summer is a season, or why the small hand of the clock jumps one number and the big hand five? Or why do you have to sit and study every day when it is holidays?

So I asked him about the silver lining to Pandemic parenting and he said, “It has been challenging and enlightening at the same time. Hopefully, the strong bond has become stronger.”

For me, I secretly wished that my husband’s relationship with our son should be a reflection of his relationship with his father. And I can see we are on the right path.

The views expressed are the author’s own. 

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Pandemic Parenting Is An Uphill Task: How We Did It
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