You didn’t see this coming when you brought your baby into this world. Things are pretty uncertain for so many people, and parents have the added burden of trying to maintain normalcy for our children while the world around us is anything but normal.
Maybe you’re missing your usual family routine. Maybe you worry that you’re missing out on valuable time raising and enjoying your children while you juggle the stress and uncertainty so many of us are feeling and experiencing right now. Maybe your heart is breaking for a child that will now miss out on prom, or possibly walking across a stage to reward years of hard work on their part, and yours.
Our mom hearts are heavy right now for so many reasons.
This isn’t my first “parenting through a crisis” rodeo. I have dealt with this type of grief (yes — that’s a form of grief you may be feeling) for what I thought raising children would be like when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I had a 16-month-old, and when I lost my mom several years later we had added an extra cute little baby girl to the mix.
I couldn’t shake the feeling that raising my girls was going to forever be different than I expected it to be. I missed that care-free feeling of playing with my children without distraction and heartache. I felt uncertain about everything I used to feel confident about. Just getting through the day felt like a challenge, and I had such guilt from feeling distracted.
I thought I was missing out on time I could never get back. I was convinced that my grief was going to forever impact my daughters’ young lives — that they’d think of me as the “sad mom” and wish I could have done better by them.
Here’s the thing though — I didn’t really miss out on a thing. And my girls are growing into happy, healthy little women who carry a great deal of empathy for those around them. I was parenting and raising my children under new and unexpected circumstances, but in hindsight, I realize that I was doing as much, if not more, to guide them than I ever expected.
Even if you feel distracted, or worried, or flat out scared, you are more than likely shielding your child from those feelings as best you can. You are showing them what resilience looks like, or showing them how to find the bright spots in difficult times.
You are showing them love by shielding them from the hard stuff, and finding new ways to brighten their day while yours may feel pretty dim. You are showing them what hard work looks like, as you balance working from home, or going to work every day because not going isn’t an option for you.
You are showing them how to adapt to the hard stuff. Even after we come through this hard time — and we will — they will go forward into their lives having learned from the example you set now.
So while parenting right now may look so much different than you expected, know that it IS still an important part of your time raising your children. Maybe more now than before.