In Parenting — And Everything Else — Now Is The Time For Grace

The coronavirus pandemic has reminded me of an important life lesson: Self-compassion is crucial.

Last week, back when self-distancing and self-isolating were beginning to become the norm, a friend of mine commented on an Instagram post of mine calling all parents “non-consensual home school teachers.” At the time it was funny, and it was easy to see the humor in the idea of being a home-school teacher because we all hadn’t yet become home-school teachers to our kids.

And then shit got real.

Fast forward a week, and here we are: if you’re being responsible, you’re self-isolating or at the very least self-distancing with your family. Hundreds of millions of kids around the world are out of school. If they’re privileged enough and able, parents are working from home. My kids’ schoolrooms are now in our dining room while my office is my kitchen. It’s hardly perfect.

We here at HuffPost Parents are writing articles about activities and shows to keep kids occupied, how to create a schedule for your kids, and how to tell if that app your kid has been playing with all week is ruining their brain or teaching them something. Countless other outlets are pumping out similar stories. All the type-A parents have to stick together, huh?

But after a few days of home schooling, when the Groundhog Day effect really started to kick in, I started worrying about the psychological effects my husband and I wearing two hats (teacher and parent) was gonna have on our kids ― as a result of all of this, will our kids turn into extreme germaphobic introverts, or will they be able to rise to any challenge?

I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about all the pressure I was putting not only on myself but also my kids. I worried about that down-to-the-minute schedule that loomed over the dining room; I worried about how this was really all going to work long-term. I worried one of us would get sick.

And then, around 5 a.m., something dawned on me: I will not get through this by worrying. I owe it to myself and my family to try to roll with the punches and stop trying to be all things to everyone. Yes, it’s inevitable that something will have to give, and that’s OK.

Now, more than ever, is the time to put yourself in your kids’ shoes and remember that they will be fine. If you treat this like an extended slumber party and not a home school and just try to make this as fun as possible ― if you’re able to ― you’ll get out the other side.

Now is the time to watch that movie with them, and talk about its lessons ... or not.

Now is the time to build that fort and play Legos and do an in-house scavenger hunt.

Now is the time for screens.

Now is the time to run outside and skip and do funny physical challenges ... or not.

Now is the time for snuggling.

Now is the time to be silly.

Now is the time for grace.