A Letter to you – One year of parenting amidst Covid-19

My Dear,

In March, last year, I wrote about the unavailability of hand sanitizers in Minneapolis, U.S., on this blog site. At that time, we were beginning to know a little about a disease called Coronavirus in China that was spreading everywhere. We did not take it very seriously. I had no idea then that we would face a mammoth problem that would change the world forever. I did not suspect then, that the issue would stay as a challenge for more than a year.

I am sure your experiences are similar to mine and you have many stories to tell – stories of loss, resilience, experience or growth. But the biggest challenge I faced during Covid-19 was related to parenting. It is in 2020 that I truly appreciated the roles of schools and teachers for the well-being of our children.

Before the pandemic struck, I had received my EAD and had begun to work as a substitute teacher. But that stopped abruptly due to rising coronavirus cases. The pandemic made me dive into self-publishing and it was very fruitful. But my kids were absolutely distraught while dealing with so many obstacles.

The children were initially excited about getting iPads from school for online learning but the novelty of it faded soon. Zoom lessons and activities became dull and uninteresting by the middle of the school year. They wanted to meet their peers and interact face to face. There were no parties, no outings and no friends – all they had were parents giving directions to wash hands and finish school work.

Second challenge for them was staying silent while their father worked. He often had back to back and face to face meetings where the house had to stay quiet. Staying silent for long hours often made them morose but they did all they could to support their parents.

I tried using creative ideas to keep them feisty and occupied. I also enrolled them in online hobby classes to keep up their spirits but the disinterest followed soon. I knew it was unnatural to stay like that. The festive season in November and December kept them occupied in a positive way but matters became worst in cold January. Apart from Covid-19, the savage cold in Minnesota forces people to stay indoors. During this time, the basement turned out to be the most pleasant place. Every evening, I encouraged them to get some exercise.

Third challenge I faced was monitoring the digital time. I am sure every parent in the whole entire world faced this. They had almost three to five hours of school work on iPad everyday. And then they had their TV time. If I denied giving them TV time, how would they spend their time? They had to be quiet and silent as their father would be working. And As I said, there were no outings and social distancing in place. Yes, they read books but how many books can you ask a first grader and fourth grader to read? Interacting with Google became a way to pass time, yet that was not enough. I knew all that digital time would affect their eyes and brain. But how else could I resolve the issue? I felt I was facing a wall. And then, this famous line would come to my mind, ‘what can’t be cured must be endured’!

And with time, things have started falling in place… My kids will stay in digital learning till June this year but we are planning to send them in person in the next school year starting September.

With the arrival of Spring and loosening of Covid-19 restrictions, I am glad to see smiles back on their faces. Hope has returned in the form of Covid-19 vaccine! Last week, we went to Marshall’s and it was a delightful experience for them after a year in lockdown. As the weather has become good, we are going out often for walks and for bringing their favorite meals from food outlets. Some normalcy is returning as I see kids in schools and in the park with masks in place.

So, one year of parenting during Covid-19 has been tough but I want to applaud every parent for trying their best during the crisis. And kudos to our kids for bearing with every obstacle and moving on… Great things are just around the corner for the little ones. Hang on!

Love,

Shivangi

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