“Parenting is a breeze”-said no one, ever.
I have seen so many social media posts and internet resources offering clever activities to do with your kids during “social distancing,” like crafts you can make, live streams of zoo exhibits, and even “Quarantine Karaoke.”
While I appreciate all of the efforts everyone has made to remain positive and provide support during this difficult time, I also worry that parents will feel pressured to engage in all of these activities or to come up with their own in order to be good parents.
If your children aren’t occupied at home 24/7 or if they aren’t happy every minute of the day, that is ok. If you aren’t able to engage all day, every day with entertaining and educating your kids, that is ok, too. If you still have to go to your workplace and are struggling with the new demands this public health concern has created on your work-life responsibilities, you are not alone.
And if you make it through each day, one at a time, imperfectly, you are still winning.
“Parenting is a breeze”-said no one, ever. At least not seriously.
At this time more than ever, I think often of the best advice I didn’t know to give early enough in my career.
If you feel tired, frustrated, or overwhelmed, put your kids in a safe place, and take a break. If you can, ask for help, or let someone know that you are struggling. You will be better for you AND for your loved ones.
And for all you moms out there having a baby during a pandemic?
When I was just starting out as a young pediatrician, I learned at least 20 ways to console infants. When parents came to my clinic, I was prepared with all these ideas and strategies for how to stop a baby from crying. I thought I was really helping people-and maybe I was. However, I wish I had learned at the beginning what I now think is the most important advice of all when it comes to crying babies, which is this: Babies cry, and that is OK.
As hard as it might be to listen to and see your baby upset, it is part of their neurologic development; it is part of how their brains grow. It is normal, and if you cannot console your baby with the 20 ways you know how to, it is still OK.
Put your baby in a safe place, close the door, and take some time for yourself.
If your baby cries a lot or is difficult to console, it does not necessarily mean that something is wrong with your baby, or that something is wrong with you. It does not mean you are bad at caring for your baby, and it certainly doesn’t mean that your baby doesn’t like you.
Sometimes when celebrities on TV or parents in their friend groups talk about what it is like to have a new baby, they feel pressured to talk about how wonderful it is…and it certainly can be. However, people sometimes feel less comfortable admitting that it isn’t always wonderful, that it can be very difficult, and even downright miserable, at times. Feeling this way is normal.
Take a break to feel calm, to let your frustration lessen. You and and your baby will be better for it.