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Adapting to our new normal

To say 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year is an understatement. What started out as any other normal year was quickly put to a halt when schools and businesses shut down for several months because of a pandemic that affected the entire world.

Many parents faced the obstacle of working from home with their children present because schools and daycares were closed. Last year was an eventful and memorable year for sure!

In late February/early March when my employer sent us to work from home, my children’s schools and daycares were also closed. Initially the schools called it an extended spring break, but that quickly turned into e-learning for the remainder of the year. My oldest was in Kindergarten, my youngest was in pre-school and I was pregnant with my third.

My husband and I did a pretty good job in the beginning juggling work and keeping the kids occupied while we were on phone calls and unending Zoom and Teams meetings. We would set up our oldest on a computer so he could do the lessons that were emailed out for the week. Most of the teachings were videos that had been pre-recorded on YouTube, so after the lesson was over, we had to quickly exit out before another unrelated video would pop up. We learned our lesson when we caught our son watching a clip from Hotel Transylvania that he thought was a continuation of part of his lesson – but actually it was just video after video playing from what started out as his teacher’s welcome and daily pledge of allegiance.

Once we had a good rhythm going, we had pretty successful days. Our oldest would do his online lessons, read a book, color, run laps around our cul-de-sac to burn off energy, etc. Our youngest was a little more difficult to keep occupied without always giving him a screen to distract him with. However, it wasn’t until school finished and summer started did it get harder.

When school was officially over for the year, the kids would play outside while my husband and I continued to work from inside. My husband worked in the front of the house that had a big window that overlooked the front yard and cul-de-sac where the kids would play. I worked in another room where I could shut the door since I was mainly on Zoom meetings and phone calls the entire day. While my husband and I did a pretty good job of acting (on screen) like we had it all together, what the person on the other end didn’t always hear or see (thank you mute and the ability to turn off the camera) was my youngest throwing tantrums because no one was sharing or my favorite – when the kids were playing outside and dumping a bucket of water on each other and then decided to chase each other through the house with said bucket full of water.

In 2020, not only did we have to adapt to a new “normal”, but our children did as well. We learned pretty quickly to have more grace and patience with our kids as well as ourselves. While things are hopefully on the upswing, one thing I plan on carrying over to 2021 and future years is that same grace and patience (I’m still working on that). It’s tough raising kids without the fact that our lives have been completely turned upside down as a result of the pandemic. Not only do we need to continue to have more grace with ourselves and everyone else (because we’re all struggling!), but we need to make sure we’re taking time for ourselves. Whether it’s a walk outside, reading a book, or enjoying a cup of coffee in silence, do what you can to take time for yourself as often as you can.

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