No one ever said parenting would be easy. After all, you made a human being, and now you’re teaching her how to be good in the world. You expected it to be tough, but wonderful work.
You probably never imagined, though, that you’d be parenting in the middle of the worst pandemic the world has seen in more than a century. And that brings the game to a whole new level. Pandemic parenting is the Super Bowl of parenting, and winning means getting yourself and your family through it with your health and sanity intact.
To get there, infuse some extreme self-care into your daily routine.
Why It Matters
When you’re a parent, especially the parent of a little one, it can feel like any time taken just for yourself is time stolen from your baby. However, it’s just the opposite because you can’t give your little rugrat the best of you if you’ve lost yourself in taking care of everyone and everything else.
Taking the time to care for yourself and reconnect with the things you enjoy – the things that help you reduce stress and find your joy again – isn’t just right for you; it’s also right for your family. That’s never been truer than now.
After all, no matter how young your baby is, they’re expert at reading the vibes Mom and Dad are giving off. They may not understand precisely what a pandemic is, but they assuredly know something is different, that the routine has changed, that life doesn’t quite feel the same.
And in this time of so much stress and anxiety, they’re taking their cues from you as to how to respond. They need you to model calm in this uncertain and confusing time, but if you fake it, they’ll sense that too. That’s why being your little one’s strength means taking the time and making an effort to replenish your strength, one bubble bath, cheesy movie, or long nap at a time. So what to do?
Have an At-Home Spa Day
Even if your state remains under lockdown, you can still indulge in a bit of pampering by transforming your bathroom into your own private spa. Pick out your favorite and most soothing music. Surround the tub with scented candles in soft colors. Make your own plumbing-friendly bath bombs infused with your favorite aromas. Let the warm water soak the stresses of the day away.
Enjoy Some Screen Time
You don’t have to feel guilty if you sit your little one down in front of a screen to give yourself a bit of time to decompress. In fact, depending on the quantity and quality, screen time can actually be good for your kids, especially if you watch with them.
Children’s programming can be both fun and educational, and it can give you a bit of reprieve from always having to be “on.” As your baby watches and learns, you can enjoy some quiet time together. Nothing will recharge your batteries, like resting with your little one as you watch them discover the world.
Get the Kids Involved
Your kids might be young, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get involved in helping Mom and Dad with the daily chores while you’re all sheltering together at home. Little ones are probably going to be incredibly excited about being Mommy’s and Daddy’s “little helpers.”
True, you’re probably going to have more than a few do-overs to deal with. But when you make taking care of your home a whole family affair, that’s going to lessen the burden that falls just on your shoulders. It’s also going to teach your kids that home is their responsibility too, and that’s a valuable lesson to learn at a young age.
Above all, it’s going to make those daily chores less of a drudge and more of an adventure. It won’t just be something you have to work into your already overcrowded schedule. It’ll be something you do not for your family, but with your family.
Parenting during a pandemic is probably unlike anything you could have ever imagined when you were just preparing to bring your little one into the world. We’re all navigating uncharted waters, but while there are few answers, one thing is for certain: Self-care is more important than ever before. It’s not about taking time away from your child. It’s about taking the time to give your baby the best you can provide.
Sam Bowman writes about families, wellness, and how the two merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for the community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time, he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.
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