“Necessity is the Mother of Invention,” an English proverb meaning that the driving force for most new inventions and change is need.
As COVID-19 lingers on, we are reminded of how long we’ve all been tolerating this challenging time. Now, more than ever, it is important to seek support and find ways to connect optimism and hope. As we band together not only as humans in the time of Covid, we also band together as women, men, and parents in what will historically be one of the most interesting, yet challenging times in modern history. Wouldn’t it be remarkable to go down in history as having conquered these times with enlightenment, positivity and gusto as a modern parent? What have we learned during this time about our parenting, what changes will we hold onto, and how will our parenting life after COVID-19 become even stronger?
The Pandemic Has Exposed the Cracks, But There Is Light After COVID-19
As parenting and childcare experts, we have seen this pandemic take a toll on families. It has highlighted where the cracks may have already been forming, not only in personal situations at home, but also in the ways our society supports the average family. However, as these cracks emerge and become visible, we are also able to see the meaningful ways that this pandemic has brought valuable and necessary change. Our eyes have been opened to what may not have been working all along, leaving us available to reassess our priorities. As parents, the pandemic forced us to slow down, spend more time with our children, know them more intimately, and reflect on our parenting. Vered Benhorin, founder of Baby In Tune, says that what moms should let go of is “the idea that their child has ‘lost’ a year. This year, our kids have had a chance to deepen their bond with us, and that will have a huge impact on their cognitive, social and emotional development.”
It’s Time to Create Systems For Problem Solving
If necessity is truly the mother of invention, then let us invent. It is time to create systems that force us to get creative and problem solve. In times with very little choice, we are forced to improvise and in some ways, do better. The COVID-19 era gives us permission to feel optimistic and empowered, knowing that we don’t know when we will fully rebuild, but we will have to. There is life after COVID-19. For those groups struggling most, we must address tangible things that can be done to alleviate the pain, now. At any level, seeing our children hurt by the pandemic can weigh heavily on the whole family. As things progress, time will move forward with vaccinations and societies will slowly fall back into a “new normal” routine. As that happens, how do we rebuild? If you’ve never asked for help, this is the time to start.
Read Next | 5 Things Parents Can Learn from COVID-19
Tools For Rebuilding
A great way to begin rebuilding is to take an inventory of what you miss most about life before COVID-19. Ask yourself why you miss those things and how you can create a specific plan to bring them back. Then, do an about face, and take inventory of COVID-19 life, with attention to your role as a parent during this time. What have been the good parts of your pandemic parenting? What would you like to preserve?
There will probably be elements of both life before COVID and life during it that you’d like to keep. In doing this, you allow yourself to find gratitude now, because there are good things happening now. Vaza, founder of Vaza Yoga says that in regard to life after COVID-19, “I believe that we really had a chance to figure out who is in our support system and that we can fall back on that whenever we need to.” Take a moment to look back: can you think of another time in our lives when we were given such an opportunity to do less, build connection, and bond with our kids in this concentrated way? Seeing this time as having value allows us to build back better. When we really rebuild from scratch, we get to pick which bricks we use.
Another way to de-clutter and rebuild is to let go of “comparing,” says Jennie Monness of Union Square Play. “When we compare ourselves, our children, our marriages, our homes, our Instagram to anyone other than our own selves, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment,” infamously evoking the same sentiment as Theodore Roosevelt with his declaration that, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Think of rebuilding as an art: use layers of scaffolding to construct your new foundation. You don’t need to do this alone or without support; there are so many fantastic resources. Begin your foundation with layers of mentors, friends, family, therapy, support groups, workout groups, mom groups, childcare, and self-education. Take stock of where support may be missing in your life and add in as needed to fill in those gaps. And don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.
A Bright “New Normal” Includes Great Childcare
For many parents, childcare has great importance and necessity. As Daisy Dowling, author of Work-parent: The Complete Guide to Succeeding on the Job, Staying True to Yourself, and Raising Happy Kids says, “If it ‘takes a village’ to raise a child, then you’re the mayor, architect and recruiter of that village, and you want to make sure that it’s as strong and supportive a community as possible.” During the pandemic, childcare options were limited for several reasons. As part of your new foundation in life after COVID-19, find a circle of childcare that can support you on this journey.
Give yourself permission to seek calmness in your life. If that means having a babysitter pick up your child a few times per week so you can focus on other things, like simply having dinner on the table in a peaceful manner, you are giving yourself the gift of a peaceful evening that is more valuable than trying to do it all alone. Your family will benefit from your peace of mind if you reach out for childcare in order to dedicate space for yourself. Children breathe the energy you give. If you can outsource childcare and give yourself back time, everyone will deeply feel the benefits.
Additionally, as you are navigating transitions from working-self to parent-self, rebuild the way you make those transitions. Think of taking a mindful breath or participate in a small ritual as you move from one role to the next. One form of ritual and self-care could be as simple as a walk. “As our day-to-day responsibilities build back up, it’s important to give ourselves a chance to reset, and the best way I’ve found to do this is with an intentional walk,” says Joyce Shulman, Pack Leader and CEO of 99 Walks. “Just 15 minutes of self-care through walking can not only result in a stronger body, but also a clearer and calmer mind.” This type of self-care coupled with great childcare in your life can help breathe oxygen into making all these transi- tions, which leads to a truly happier time for everyone.
As we move through 2021, use these scaffolding strategies to think about rebuilding your life after COVID-19. If we have learned patience and how to outsource, delegate, survive, and balance ourselves during the pandemic, then maybe we can see this whole era as a gift to our lives in the complex retrospective that we will surely reexamine in the future. Let us be proud of our work.
Lindsay Bell is the founder and owner of Bell Family Company, a premiere childcare company originally founded in NYC in 2009 that serves the tri-state area and beyond with exceptional care.
Dr. Sarah Bren, PhD is a psychologist based in Pelham, NY specializing in psychodynamic and relationship-based therapy with young adults, adults, parents and families.
Hire a Nanny in the New York Metropolitan Area
Like what you read? JOIN the Mommybites community to get the latest on FREE online classes, parenting advice, events, childcare listings, casting calls & raffles, and our Parents With Nannies Facebook group. SIGN UP NOW!