*This post is in conjunction with Boots UK but all thoughts are my own
Parenting in a Pandemic
How have you found parenting through the pandemic? It’s taken things to all whole different level hasn’t it? I knew that having a third child would be a challenge. For a start, I had run out of hands to hold my children. But one of the things I have never anticipated was having to parent all three of my children through a pandemic. Boots UK have asked me to ask about parenting my own way, especially my parenting story before and after the pandemic and I think more parents out there have stories to share. The challenges they faced and how they overcame them during this difficult time.
Boots, like so many amazing keyworkers, have been one of the places that have been open throughout and there for families during this difficult time. Also, for those of you, like me, who have been missing Mothercare, did you know that you can now shop for Mothercare at Boots? You can find all of those parenting essentials online including baby clothing, baby pushchairs, baby car seats and essentials for your baby nursery.
How Parenting in a Pandemic has Changed Me
When we went into lockdown my youngest child – Bo was just one year’s old. All baby classes were cancelled and even parks were closed. I also had the added challenge, like all parents, of homeschooling my two older children who were eight and five at the time. It was an incredibly overwhelming experience.
I am very grateful to still have my Mum in my life, who is often a font of wisdom and advice when things go wrong or I’m not sure what to do, but this past year we have been living through something no one alive has lived through before and we have had to muddle through and work out the best way to get through as we go along.
There have been times during lockdown when I have watched my single friend’s social media feeds with envy. The pandemic has given them time to start wonderful new hobbies, get super fit, get more sleep, or even get bored. As a Mum of three, this was far from my reality.
I do believe though that lockdown has made me a better mother. It has taught me to be brave, to step outside of my comfort zone, to do things with my children I never would have done before. Essentially to parent my own way. Our children are individuals and need a unique approach that suits them. I was so consciously aware of the lack of socialisation and mental health challenges during all 3 lockdowns. That they needed a different type of parenting. I went from the parent afraid of crafts, to the parent that got the craft box out nearly every day.
Parenting my Own Way
The change in my parenting style is definitely a positive one. I feel more in touch with my children, understanding exactly what they’re learning at school rather than it being kind of an abstract thing I sort of knew about. I feel like I have gotten to know my children better and have loved watching the bond between my three grow as they had to spend more time together.
It’s also been hard. In October, my oldest was diagnosed with autism. All three of my children have faced different struggles, Aria and Bo particularly missed out on socialisation and playing with peers. Their relationship with family, grandparents and cousins. I remember the first time I took Bo out after the first lockdown and him being amazed at the cars on the road, we hadn’t been out to the shops for so long. I became acutely aware then of just how much he had missed in his little life.
I’ve also had to protect my own mental health and realise self-care isn’t bubble baths and candles, it is so much more and by making time for it, it makes me a better mother. But there were times during lockdown where I was exhausted, buried in homeschooling, trying to make sure the house didn’t collapse under the weight of the children’s clutter and holding the weight of everyone’s wellbeing on my shoulders where it did all get too much. When the tears came. That I had to what was right for us, even if for that day it was packing away the schools books and snuggling on the sofa with books or a film.
I think lockdown 3 was the hardest of them all. No glorious sunshine and fun in paddling pools. Instead, overnight our Christmas day was cancelled, and we were stuck in during the rain and the cold and the wet. But we got through day by day and are just so grateful that restrictions are easing right now.
It seems strange to think it, but good things do come out of difficult times. I have learnt I never want to home school, but I have also grown in confidence as a mother. To do what is right for my children and my family. To remember to brave different things, to live in the moment and enjoy the little things. To stop when we need to and the self-care and mental health is so very important.
Has the pandemic changed you as a parent?