This post is in conjunction with Boots Uk but all my thoughts are my own
Being a parent is hard work. I often feel like I have so many plates spinning and at any moment one of them is going to come crashing down. This was before the pandemic and now I feel like being a parent has been made that little bit much hard. Never did I think I would be parenting through a pandemic!
One of the main things for me during the whole pandemic I have found hard is being so isolated from people. We are used to meeting up with friends at least once a week. Going to toddler groups which if I’m honest some weeks were the highlight of my week. Chatting with a group of like-minded parents that agree completely that parenting is hard. Each of us sharing a story of how our kids have pushed us to the edge that week. May it be throwing the biggest tantrum in the supermarket because you didn’t pick the cheese they wanted. Or because you gave them a pink cup at snack time, and they wanted blue. Even though they said they wanted pink. If you are a parent of a toddler, you will know exactly what I mean. Who knew you could ruin someone’s day by giving them the wrong-coloured cup!
So not having this support system during the covid-19 pandemic was and is still hard. Yes, I know they are there at the end of the phone if I needed them but let’s be honest sometimes you just need a face-to-face conversation with a person. For me I feel more at ease talking to people face to face than I do over a text. I like interacting with people in social situations which for the last 12 months has been so hard to do.
I just cannot wait for toddler groups to open back up and days out to be back on the cards. When lockdown started to ease a little last summer, I made the most of seeing people regularly. Taking the kids places where they could play with other children. It was so nice for that snippet of time we had more freedom. The only thing is it made it a lot more difficult to go back into lockdown. The kids were asking to see people and do things and again I had to tell them they could not.
Guilt kicks in but then at the same time I wanted to keep them safe and protected. So, we did what we had to do and stayed at home. We have however found a new love of being outdoors. Going on many a walk and now we have Luca these walks are daily; on the weekends we go further afield and visit new places. Once we start walking, I can see both myself and the kids just decompress. Going on a walk before the pandemic was not something we would have done as a family. Now it is a regular activity and something we will always do now.
Being outdoors has really helped me to cope when things were getting hard. Either with the kids or by myself. I have recently tried to change my working days around so I can have a day at home when both kids are not around. This is something I would never have done pre pandemic it almost felt pointless. Now however I have realised without taking a moment for myself to recharge my own batteries and clear my mind I am no good to the kids. Having just a few hours a week to myself I feel I am less of a shouty, stressy mom. Don’t get me wrong it still happens I am only human, but I feel that small break really levels me out.
The pandemic has taught me as a parent I needed to be more present. Take time to be with them and play or just be there to listen to them. Even though work has been the busiest it has ever been. I make sure that once I get home that I leave work at work. Any blog work I do once they are in bed and I make sure that they know I am here for them. It may just be to sit and watch telly with them and chill. Or to make time to listen to Ava read without feeling like I need to rush her as I need to move onto the next thing.
I have also made sure that I am present at bedtime going back to reading more stories for them instead of putting on bedtime stories and sorting the bathroom out or tidying the washing away. Bedtime for my two is a time when they offload, probably because they are stalling going to bed. However, Ava tells me more about her day at school at bedtime then she does any other time. So, I make sure I sit with them and give them the opportunity to talk to me.
I have also changed how I run my house making sure that I do not spend long periods of time cleaning whilst the children are around. For many people cleaning is a burden but for me I find it quite therapeutic if my house is clean and tidy my mind is clear. So, I make sure that each day I do one thing. It doesnt have to be a big job it may just be wiping the bathroom over or running the hoover around. But doing it like this means weekends we have family time. Family time which we used to just take for granted but lockdown made me realise we needed time together as a family.
The kids are growing up so quickly and, in some ways, need us more than they ever did before. Ava’s in her first year of school and sometimes she just needs time with her mommy to share everything that happened at school and just to recharge with cuddles.
I do feel for first-time parents who have had to learn all things parenting during the pandemic. Without the support of toddler groups. Or just a coffee and a catch up with a friend. I learnt so much about parenting from my friends. Like what are the best baby pushchairs or what baby car seat should I be using once they reach a certain age? Yes, you can google it but sometimes you just need to talk to a real person. Or just to go shopping for cute little baby clothing bits or things for the baby nursery.
One of my favourite things about being on maternity leave when they were small was going to Mothercare and eyeing up all the cute outfits . Even now my two are older I still turn to Mothercare for kids bits . Especially for puddle suits and dresses for Ava like you can see in the pictures. I’m so happy that you can now buy Mothercare products via boots. Their clothes are always great quality and I think the prices are pretty reasonable.
When you become a parent, you have all these little things you want to do with them whilst they are small, make the most of your maternity leave. So, I cannot imagine how heartbreaking it must have been for some new parents not to have the experience of what they thought their maternity leave was going to be like.
Every parent would have had a different experience during the pandemic. Some may have loved the extra time with their children. Some may have felt completely out of the dept. At the end of the day if you try your best then that is all you can do. Parenting is hard I just try and think about it as chapters. I found being a new mom hard at times, but I completed that chapter. So soon I will complete the parenting through a pandemic chapter and will move onto the next chapter of my parenting journey.
How have you found parenting through the pandemic?