Parenting During the Pandemic: 6 Ways I’m Setting My Child Up for Therapy

mother and daughter jumping on bed

Every time I log onto social media, I’m inundated by the positive parenting posts of my friends. I see images of white boards that reveal carefully thought out daily schedules. I see visual presentations of perfectly prepared lunches – turkey and cheese sandwiches with the crusts cut off, carrot sticks, and apple juice (non GMO, naturally). I see pie charts that track time spent on each homeschooling subject.

Pie charts….when the only “pie” in my house is the piece I let my daughter eat for breakfast the other morning because I ran out of oatmeal. My point is that there’s nothing like the internet to make the typical mom feel overly inept. Facebook equates to a parental facepalm.

But I’m here to flip the switch: Your cousin’s kids are well-oiled machines and you’ve dubbed your homeschooling “Smirnoff Academy.” Guess what? That’s okay! In fact, it’s awesomely normal. It’s human to be imperfect, especially during a global pandemic where everything is off: Left is right, Tuesday feels like Saturday, math class takes place in your living room.

Embrace that you don’t always know what you’re doing. Embrace that your children are jumping on their beds instead of studying science (they’re getting exercise and learning about gravity!). Embrace that you’re making things up as you go along. Embrace your imperfections and I’ll do it too.

In fact, here are some of my most imperfect parenting moments of the pandemic:

So Many Cheez-Its: In the past six weeks, my daughter has eaten more Cheez-Its than I thought was humanely possible (I legitimately regret not buying stock in the company beforehand). Sometimes, she even dips them into chocolate (and by “sometimes” I mean “always”). Her other meal of choice is white bread with mayo……just mayo and nothing else. 

Bedtime is Fluid: The days of having a bedtime seem long past, stored away with travel and hugging. Now, my daughter goes to bed at “whatever time she wants o’clock.” I once got up at 3:30 am to find her still awake, watching a show on her iPad. When I told her she needed to go to sleep, she shot me a look like I was being ridiculous.

Hooked on Hooky: We’ve played hooky a few times, including skipping school last Friday to go fishing at the lake (as a writer, I love the literalness of playing hooky with an activity that involves actual hooks). I showered, did my hair, put something on other than sweats, and wore makeup for the first time in what feels like forever. In other words, I wasn’t just fishing for fish; I was fishing for compliments, too.

A Video Game Addiction: While my daughter has always loved video games, now she LOVES them. Her addiction has quickly taken over and turned her into a lean, mean, Roblox machine. Carpal tunnel or bust, baby!

Accidental Spending: It’s a tale as old as time (or as old as 2001 when iTunes came out). Mom gives daughter Apple ID password to buy something for school. Daughter remembers password. Daughter uses password to buy $77 worth of video games. Mom changes password. Mom’s checking account lives happily ever after….or until it meets Amazon.

Broke Bad: A few weeks back, my eight-year-old daughter watched fifteen minutes of Breaking Bad (totally on accident, to be fair). Now she not only knows to just say no to drugs but she also knows to just say no to manufacturing them inside a 1986 Fleetwood Bounder RV. Let’s chalk it up to an important life lesson.

Of course, I’ve done good things too, like discovering the location of all the best sprinklers.

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