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Don’t Shrink Your Circle Of Friends

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Parenting and Mothering is difficult at any time. We are faced with the difficult tasks of making decisions that continuously impact our children and family’s lives on a daily basis. Decisions like, “do you call 911 when your middle child sprays bug spray in his brother’s mouth?” or “is it okay to let your baby sleep all night in the swing because it’s the only way he will sleep longer than 20 minutes?” My earlier writings as 3ammom focused on the difficulty of managing small children in a pre-pandemic world. And as much as I would like to ignore the impact of Covid-19 on my parenting game, it cannot be ignored and we could all benefit from verbalizing our navigation of these uncertain waters.

They are between the ages of 8-12. It’s called survival folks—pure and unadulterated life survival skills of 2020-2021. No judgement please.

Navigating these pandemic times as parents has added a new level of stress and judgement to our already difficult lives. I find myself in many situations, on a daily basis, where I try not to judge nor receive judgement from my fellow mommy village, in regards to the choices that I make. Should I take my son to the birthday party at the movie theater and then stress about their chances of getting sick or keep them at home again and worry about the effects of a year of minimal interaction with their friends. Do you send your kids to school where 6 feet distancing is challenging or keep them home and worry about the impact of virtual learning and less peer contact? Should I return to organized sports with differing rules on mask policies or try to be creative with athletic activities at home to maintain some physical interaction amongst my children? This list goes on and on with daily choices of what is right for your kids all while balancing risk, judgement and consequences. We find ourselves explaining our choices to friends and family and praying that we do not regret our actions. These are unchartered waters and unprecedented times, and a little grace goes a long way.

There is no blueprint on how to do this. I think what I have learned is to not judge but to have a little understanding and respect for everyone, especially those closest to me, my village. Ironically, the controversy of this life’s navigation does not always involve choices related to social distancing and masks. For example, we decided that letting our entire family watch Bad Boys Three isn’t such a bad thing (even though only two of us are 17 and older). A little swearing never hurt anyone, right? We have also created our own Movie Rating System in this household to satisfy our lack of alone time allotted to watch certain movies. Let’s just say that PG 13 has been virtually approved for 8 and older (which is quite convenient) and Rated R is left up to our discretion. In addition, bedtime schedules have suffered a massive restructuring, especially on non-school days. I will sheepishly admit that on more than one occasion, my 3 children have all gone to bed after my husband and myself. They are between the ages of 8-12. It’s called survival folks—pure and unadulterated life survival skills of 2020-2021. No judgement please.

As we hopefully inch closer to a more “normal” existence, the one thing we can take away from this past year’s challenges is a better sense of what is important. It is imperative that we understand that the nurturing of our relationships with those most important to us is still a necessity, even if we do not always make the same choices. If I have learned anything this past year it is that in our most troubling and trying times, our opinion of who is right or wrong does not seem to matter as much as it did the day before. Whomever is there to help guide you through the darkness is what reigns supreme and most meaningful in our lives. A kind word, laughter during a movie, moments with friends on a rare outdoor playdate, a hug or smile and precious time with our loved ones. That is what matters most.

The pandemic gave us time. Time and insight of what is important. So, text your friend who makes different choices than you. Give them a call or drop off a note. Make sure they realize that their presence is still a monumental part of your life. Reach out to that family member or friend whom you have not seen since your daily life has pushed you apart this past year. Do not make the mistake of just surrounding yourself with the circle who makes the same choices. That is the easy route. Covid is not grounds to restructure your base of support. All members of your circle before this pandemic need you. And you need them as well. The way you navigate your village today may look a little different, but just make sure that you traverse every street and savor every relationship. Yes, our world physically changed this past year, but the narrative never did.

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