Updated: Apr 9, 2021
Do you remember coming home from the hospital with your brand new baby? Every sound she made, every cry ruled your world for months. Then she grew interested in the world around her, started walking and then running and now here she is, an active little girl full of wonder. And demands and peanut butter. But mostly wonder. And you adjusted to this growth as well. You went back to work, maybe enrolled her in a daycare program. But now with our new circumstances of coping with the COVID crisis, you’re unexpectedly back at that time of being with your child all day, every day. Suddenly, you are a primary caregiver again and your identity as a professional has been put on hold.
There are a lot of feelings associated with this whole upheaval. Let’s take a look at some of them.
1. “Wow, these are like old times! We don’t have to wake up early or go anywhere. We can start the day any time, stay in PJs all day, avoid the daily shoe-tying tantrum.”
Maintaining a schedule is really important for growing children. The skills your child learned are hard-won. At daycare, teachers worked with her and her friends every day, and so did you. Remember? Of course, you do! You would wake up at a certain time, negotiate getting dressed, getting in the stroller. You don’t want to throw that all away. You can have a more relaxed version of that, but remember to maintain the independence they gain every day.
2. “Oh no, what am I going to do with him every day? I’m going to run out of activities (and snacks) by day 3.”
Don’t just shove these feelings under the rug and put on a brave face every single moment of the day. Pace yourself. It’s like running a marathon - you don’t just sprint for miles. With the help of a daily schedule, you can mix up the day between time for your child and time for you. After all, the part of your identity or self-worth tied to your career doesn’t just disappear. It’s still there and you may feel you need even more space to individualize right now. So read a book, start a project, take up yoga. Do something just for yourself. It’s important.
3. “I’m SO bored, I could CRYYYY!”
We know! We understand! You love your child, but they are not the most intellectually stimulating company. And yet, you can add a beautiful dimension to your perspective: you don’t really know them yet. You feed them and watch them every day, but who they are inside is a whole mystery. They have their own blooming personalities that are growing every day. That journey of finding out who they are in the most incredible (and entertaining) part of parenting. So use your imagination as you spend time with them - get to know them. Let them introduce themselves to you day by day.