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  • Veronica Rivas

Parenting in the time of Covid

Five things I have learned during this time

By: Veronica Rivas

Parenting during Covid is one of the hardest things we have all faced in the last year. Is not only about juggling life, work or the stress of loosing a job, parenting, missing friends and family, and our relationship with our spouse. For me, one of the most difficult things to do, at least in the early months, was to unteach my son about approaching others, playing with new friends in the playground, and overall physical interactions with others outside our bubble. As social creatures, this is so unnatural. Kids need time to practice and learn social skills from others, particularly from their peers.

In the early months, when we ventured out in nature, my son Brian would walk ahead of me by the Terranova Park trails. But as soon as he would see people on the trail heading in his direction, he would scream and run to me. He was only four years old and could not quite understand why we should stay away from others; nevertheless he complied.

Ironically, towards the end of 2019 my husband and I had planned for me to take a year off to spend time with our son before he goes to kindergarten. So, in a way, as my dad would say: I was mentally prepared to be home with my son. That said, I have been working non-stop since I was 20, except for a few months a couple of times, so I was not sure if I could handle just being a mom. When Covid arrived in Canada, all the worries and anxieties I had about staying at home, dissipated. We decided to keep him home since mid March of 2020. It has been quite an adventure. Here are some of the things I learned from my son:

You've got this

We are all doing the best we can to be there for our kids, relationships, and careers. There are days when you feel tired, drained, and less than perfect but, if your kid was happy about his/her day and still wants to snuggle up with you at night for bedtime stories, I would say, you've got this!

Make it work

Indoors, outdoors, with or without our small bubble; there is always a way to make time fun and interesting. You cannot always pack all the learning, activities, exercise, homemade nutritious meals, and playtime you would like in a day but just adapt to what you have and can do. Rainy day: cowboy set decoration and role-playing. Sunny day: forest trails with park ranger kit to trap insects, if unsuccessful: collect nature samples. Hot day: set up a mini swimming pool in your balcony or backyard and just play in the water.

Each family is unique

Each family is different and unique; perfect Facebook family photos, in no way reflect what happens the other 23 hours of the day. Do not think about what sahre online to compare your own experience, but rather just used them as ideas you may use.

Do not be afraid to take things apart

Growing up I never played with Legos. Nowadays, you will find me and my son on the floor of our living room playing Legos for about 1 to 2 hours a day, 4-5 days a week. I guess I am also getting my Lego playtime hours too! At the beginning I was obsessed about rebuilding the sets he had taken apart to create cooler things. Now I see how his creativity has expanded by not just following instructions but instead, just creating. After all, he is a self-proclaimed Master Builder. Jus let it go and embrace change.

Time is precious

As I see my son growing up every week, I realize how precious is the time we have with him. His childhood has been so rewarding. A couple of years back, when I had a couple of high-profile accounts and he was younger, it was hard to appreciate some of those moments. I felt tired, pressured to work afterhours, and stressed. Sometimes I still feel like that today, juggling work and time with my son. However, I can feel and see the impact my actions are having in this little person and that is incredibly humbling and rewarding.

FOne of my favourite things to do is to immerse myself in our fun and imaginative playtimes we create together. See the world through his eyes.

I know we are still struggling and adapting to the ever-changing conditions out there. Some incredible parents did the impossible task of homeschooling while working full-time. I deeply admire you. A year after Covid arrived in Canada, we are still standing. Tired, worried, stressed, and stretched. But you know, we are on the last stretch now. So to all the hard working parents out there: you’ve got this.


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