OPINION: COVID-19 makes everything terrible, but…
Published May 1, 2020 at 7:30 pm
So we’re going on day 4,546 or whatever of this cursed pandemic and I can’t help but reflect on how far I’ve come, or regressed, depending on how you look at it.
I was looking back on the last opinion piece I wrote just before the lockdown went into effect and I cannot help but cringe at my doe-eyed optimism.
In it, I offered five — that’s right, just five — suggestions for things to do while we’re hunkered down at home with our little ones.
In the spirit of full transparency: I ran out of things to do with my two- and four-year-old about an hour into Day 1.
How do you keep humans with an attention span of MAYBE 10 minutes busy for an entire day? (No please, I’m looking for suggestions!).
Since the start, it’s been an impossible juggling act of trying to be productive (I guess you, our readers, would be the best judge of that) and trying to keep my little ones entertained, happy, healthy and not killing each other.
I’m failing at it. Miserably. As I type, my eardrums are threatening to burst from the pitch of my son’s scream as he vents his frustration about not being able to watch the same episode of Dora he’s watched countless times over the past almost month and a half we’ve been cooped up.
Every day the limits of my patience are put to the ultimate test and it’s a constant struggle to keep myself from screaming and bursting into tears out of sheer frustration (it’s a struggle I lose pretty frequently, much to the chagrin of our neighbours, I’m sure).
I have yelled things at my children that I am deeply embarrassed and ashamed of; I worry constantly about the impact this situation will have on their emotional and social development. My heart hurts every time I think about the fact that my daughter’s first year in school has been disrupted like this.
I always have an eye to the clock as it ticks ever so slowly to that sacred time of day: bedtime.
The thing is, there’s little relief from the stress and anxiety I feel even after they’re tucked safely in their beds.
Shame is a big feeling at this time of day: shame at how I’m not doing much of the school work that my daughter’s kindergarten teacher has assigned because I find it overwhelming (even though they’ve made clear this isn’t mandatory).
Guilt likes to rear its ugly head too: for the same reason as above but mostly because I’m not proud of the parent I’ve become during this pandemic.
TV is their constant companion, they aren’t getting as much exercise as I’d hope because they’re bored of being confined to the backyard when we aren’t out for our walks, they aren’t eating well and they are forced to contend with a mom whose attention is divided and who’s anxiety presents itself with constant frustration, annoyance and yelling.
I feel like a monster most of the time.
But there are those moments in all of this where I can see some of that silver lining that people talk about.
We have an opportunity to get to know our kids at this pretty fleeting age in a way we probably wouldn’t have if things were ‘normal.’
Our son’s vocabulary has exploded in the last few weeks and every day he’s saying new words and forming impossibly long sentences that make sense. It’s pretty astonishing to watch!
Our daughter is getting taller before my very eyes and watching her bond with her little brother has been magical. Their relationship has taken on new meaning under these circumstances and its new depth will hopefully continue to deepen and sustain them in the future. Her imagination and wit make us laugh daily.
While these revelations are great and are sometimes capable of alleviating some of the anxiety and frustrations I’m feeling, they are, truthfully, few and far between.
I feel like the one thing that consistently helps me move through day after day of sameness is the knowledge that we are not alone in this at all.
Parents, grandparents, couples, singletons, kids, teens, adult children back living at home, you name it: we’re all dealing with the giant heaping pile of s**t COVID-19 has heaped upon us.
Some of us are dealing with it head-on, while the rest of us do our part by staying home and keeping away from our loved ones.
We all have our burdens to carry in this mess and it’s made even heavier by the fact that we have to — for now — go it alone without the support of our respective villages.
I take so much comfort in the fact that we’re doing it all together. I take so much pride in the fact that my neighbours and the majority of fellow Hamiltonians and Canadians are together in doing the right thing.
It’s honestly what’s getting me through this. So for that, I thank you.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising