Was it just me, or did you have a parenting checklist too? I’m not sure if it is common or not, but when I found out I was having a baby, I made a list of things that I would do and not do as a parent. Perhaps they were things I wished my parents did differently. But some of them were things I read about, things that I heard experts talk about, and I felt prepared to raise a child. I felt ready and was pretty darn excited. But what no one tells you is that you can never plan how to raise your child because each child is different. They are their own person and will present you with situations you would never have prepared yourself for or even thought of.
I learned this while raising my first child. I had told myself I would only feed her healthy food, but she was such a fussy and stubborn baby that she did not eat anything. I would try to feed her porridge, mashed dal rice with ghee and baby potatoes, carrots, and beans, but she refused to eat it. I broke my rule and fed her some not so healthy food so that she would eat something.
When I had my second child, I thought things would be different. Little did I know that they never will be, and my second child taught me that. He was a sweet little boy who would do anything for his sister. He adored her and was willing to share his toys and chocolates with her. But he had a bad temper and would often throw tantrums. I had promised myself that I would never scream at my children, but it happened. Let’s just say you can never promise yourself how you would take care of your kids, or even if you do, you will end up breaking that promise.
With COVID-19 taking over our lives, we are all stuck at home and trying to get on with our lives. During this time, my kids have seen all sides of me. Meetings, conferences, and other work stress bring out sides of me that my kids would have never seen otherwise. They’ve seen my husband and I stressed, anxious, depressed, and staying indoors during the pandemic. My kids have seen my husband and I quarrel over tiny things, big things, and spend time apart.
My kids have seen us get mad about things that otherwise wouldn’t matter. My commute time was a way to blow off some steam, and ever since the pandemic, I haven’t had that time for myself. My weekends were dedicated to grocery shopping, quality time with my dogs, and solid me-time. Now, everything has been shifted to online within the comfort of my home. Sure, I get a lot of extra time during the day, but that spare time does not translate to my time.
I’m a person who has always enjoyed my me-time. When my kids went to school, I would grab a book, sit on my balcony by my plants while sipping on a hot cup of tea. It was the best time to relax. But with this pandemic, everyone is stuck at home. We do not have space from each other, and sometimes, I say things to my husband and kids that might not be right. Small things trigger me more, and I know it’s because I’m being deprived of my alone time. But I take it out on my kids. They’ve seen versions of me that I never thought they would, and it’s been happening more often than I’d like.
But the last time it happened, both my kids came up to me and hugged me. Like they understood why I lost my cool. It was overwhelming that they were so understanding. It took me by surprise for a second, but I hugged them back, and at that moment, I knew that no matter what happens, my family is everything to me. It always will be.