No one ever thought they'd have to navigate parenting through a pandemic. Natalie Moutafis shares her feelings on how she's coping with the move to stage 4 restrictions in her latest Tiny Humans blog.
Parenting during a pandemic is not something that I ever thought about when I pictured myself as a mother. I’m 99 per cent sure no parent ever entertained such thoughts.
It’s dealing with big emotions – from everyone (including my own).
It’s making decisions.
It’s juggling demands – the unpaid 24/7 work that comes as a parent, and the paid work, the work that we not only enjoy but happens to allow us to pay our bills.
It’s feeling guilty.
When I found out what the implications of moving to stage 4 restrictions and a ‘state of disaster’ meant for the Tiny Human household, I cried.
I had hoped that we’d be able to continue sending the kids to childcare simply to retain some semblance of their routine, but then we were advised of another confirmed case of coronavirus at the centre after having only come out of quarantine from the previous instance, so it was closed again and we headed back into quarantine.
I’m worried about my kids. Not only for their physical health on possibly contracting the coronavirus but their mental health. What are the long-term effects of being in isolation (and quarantine) and missing out on education, extra-curricular activities and seeing family and friends? We don’t know, no one knows.
Life feels incredibly hard right now. That’s because it is. But we aren’t doing this alone.
Every single family out there is finding this difficult on some level. Some parents are trying to help their teens navigate their VCE studies when they should be celebrating their 18th birthday or looking forward to school formals and university.
Parents of younger kids are trying to help them manage feelings of anxiety for the first time. And many parents are doing this all while trying to work, too. Everyone is dealing with something they never could have imagined they’d be dealing with.
We might not be getting it right every day.
We are doing the best we can.
We are surviving.
We are parenting.
It’s okay to feel grief and anxiety over what our tiny humans are missing out on and to feel parental guilt all at the same time. But I want you to know this. I’m there with you in solidarity. You are not alone. You’ve got this. We will make it out the other side.
These kids of ours are resilient. Take all the cuddles and kisses. Take all the extra moments together that might not have happened otherwise and hold on to them tightly. We need to hold space to feel all these emotions while also looking for silver linings.
Looking for help?
Now, more than ever, it is important to keep your mental health and well being on track. Don’t feel like you need to do this alone or without support.
If you need to talk to someone, Victorians are very fortunate to have access to a wide range of online and telehealth services here.
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About Natalie Moutafis
Natalie Moutafis is the author of our Tiny Humans blog, providing her engaging and insightful take on life with two young children. Natalie is also a project manager at ISV.