Remember the first night you were a parent? Remember wondering how you could possibly figure this out, how you would know what to do?
Part of parenting is just flying by the seat of your pants. There are parenting books, support groups, pediatricians and friends who have been there. But here’s the problem with 2020; there’s no rule book for parenting during this time.
There is no script for parenting right now
There’s no one we can turn to on how they did it before us. Sure there were outbreaks, but we are treading in uncharted waters and no one has the answers on how to navigate this god-forsaken ship.
Most of us have abided by the rules. We hunkered down and stayed home. We didn’t see friends and we only went out when necessary.
But we are now more than 3 months in and we are over this. We are divided into camps of “let us out” or “I’m terrified to go out.” Or maybe you, like me, fall somewhere in between. We don’t know what school is going to look like next year and we don’t know when we will be walking around Target without a mask. And I, for one, am worrying more than ever.
I was a worrier pre-pandemic and events certainly haven’t helped my worry gene to improve. Lately what is keeping me up at night is my kids. They are missing out on such important times. School, friends, making new friends, joining clubs, playing sports, dating. Whatever it is it’s worrying me.
So at 2AM last night this is what I decided. My kids are exactly who they are supposed to be. Sure, living through a pandemic was not part of their path but who they are is who they are.
I am often up at night agonizing over my kids
I often agonize over my kids. Are they okay? Are they happy? Are they being kind? Are they being included when they want to be? Are they saying no when they should be? Is their heart being broken? Are they happy? I know. I said are they happy twice.
This is what it boils down to; my agonizing is not their agonizing. My worrying is not their worrying. I cannot change my kids and I realize I don’t want to. My kids are who they’re supposed to be. They’re good kids.
I’ve tried my hardest to raise them to be respectful and kind, and the rest, I figure, will follow. So although I’m pretty sure at 2 a.m. tonight I will find something else to obsess over, it will not be about my boys. They are exactly who they are meant to be.
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Abby Stern is mom to two; married to one. Most proud of her kids and the art of perfecting the homemade chocolate chip cookie. Wants to be a writer when she grows up. You can follow her at eat the frosting first on Facebook (A lesson she lives by after battling cancer twice.)