As a parent, how do I manage pandemic life? I’m asking. I don’t know. There are so many things I have sway over when it comes to my brood. But how do I help my family survive and possibly even thrive in the age of COVID-19? What I’ve decided works best for me is to try to control the controllables.
I have hopes and fears. My quiet time is filled with memories that I hope I never forget and regrets that I wish never happened.
I want so many things for my family and my children. But now more than ever I just want them to survive.
And I’m worried. Scared.
Again, I’m not unique and far from special.
I’m like millions of parents around the world.
I mean I signed up to be a dad but I don’t remember signing up for a pandemic.
I’m more than happy to be a shoulder for them to cry on when they’re scared or have had a bad day at school.
I can handle cuts and scrapes, tantrums and monsters under their bed.
How do I handle a virus? How do I protect them from an invisible killer?
And how do I manage to do all this without losing my mind?
I don’t really know.
I pay attention to the news because it’s important to be informed especially when everything is so chaotic.
But I don’t let it consume me. And I don’t consume every second of it.
That means I know the basics of the situation we’re facing. I know to stay home and understand how paramount “flattening the curve” is. I know about the lack of equipment and protective gear that frontline responders need. This isn’t the flu.
It’s not necessary to watch every second of news coverage.
I know the drill. I know too many people are going to die.
What I need to determine is how my family and I make it out the other side of this.
So I only worry about controlling the things I can control. Nothing else.
How We Control the Controllables In Our Life
We don’t take unnecessary risks. We are cautious, maybe overly so.
We don’t get too confident or too relaxed. We try to use our heads.
But I would rather overreact than underreact.
We shelter in place.
My kids haven’t been outside of the house and backyard for over a month.
They have an idea about whats going on.
They know they can’t see their cousins and grandparents because of the “germs”.
They know they can’t go to the park because they might get sick.
I’ve noticed they don’t even ask “what are we doing tomorrow” anymore. And that makes me sad.
But, I don’t want to put us in a position where our well-being is determined by someone else.
I only go out for groceries and then we handle them with the utmost caution.
We wash our hands.
That’s what we do.
Control Your Outlook
This is where I struggle the most.
I’m a stay at home dad. The pay sucks but the benefits are great.
For the last two and a half years it’s been me and my kids Monday through Friday from about 7:30 to 5:30.
Now my wife is working from home and it changes the equation a bit.
We are lucky that she still has her job.
I’m glad I get to spend more time with her. Even if she is distracted.
I’m glad my kids get to spend more time with us all together.
I’m trying to focus on the positive.
And that’s enough.
I’m lucky enough to have married the best girl I ever met.
I’m lucky that she gave birth to two amazing and terribly rotten kids.
We have our health.
There is going to be a time, hopefully, a long time from now, when we aren’t together anymore and I’ll wish we were.
So I’m going to do my best to take a breath and look around and count my blessings.
I’m going to allow myself a little grace and realize that I’m trying my best and so is my wife and kids.
If that works, I’ll have some wine. And if it doesn’t I’ll have some more wine.
How is everyone else trying to manage this situation?
Let me know below in the comments.