Monday, March 28, 2022

Parenting During a Pandemic+Headway

March 2020 was a time of uncertainty, fear, and general panic.  Nobody had previously lived through a pandemic or knew what to expect.  Guidelines for safety and health changed all the time.  The world was shutting down and people were scrambling to figure out how to continue life as we knew it.  It was not an easy time, but here we are exactly two years later better and stronger.  Remote learning is not a primary way of teaching students anymore, and mask mandates have gone away for towns and schools.  We have the advantages of vaccines and boosters now to protect ourselves and others.  It hasn't been an easy road but we've all done the best we can in these tough times.  

Remember when we were told it was a two week shutdown to flatten the curve? Nobody ever would have believed it would be two years and counting. 
One positive thing the pandemic brought to my family was lots of quality time together since we were always home.  My husband started working remotely (and has been since March 2020!) and has been a huge help in helping me with the kids.  If I need to go to the dentist during Jack's naptime, he's home to watch him.  Things are easier and less stressful with an extra set of hands.  I enjoy my husband Jay having dinner with us every night, which he never used to do.  We all have grown closer too. 

Parenting during a pandemic is something that not only brought me intense guilt, but left me questioning decisions I made too.  Jack was born in August 2019, so in March of 2020, he was 7 months old.  We were just starting playdates and library storytime when the shutdown occurred. Nobody ever saw something like this coming. 

Here I was at home with a 7 month old baby who could have zero interaction or socialization with others outside of his immediate family.  The four walls of our home became all he knew since being near people was frightening.  I did my best to keep him entertained and happy but it was hard knowing he couldn't go to a baby gym, or even play at a playground.  All the while Scarlett was finishing up her final months of preschool via Zoom.  Our weeks were chaotic and filled with masks, gloves, and food shortages.  Scarlett started talking to her friends on Facetime to stay connected.  She was only 5 years old and didn't understand how serious the state of the world was, even though we tried to express it in simple terms for her.

As the months went on all you heard about was people dying from Covid and rising cases.  Hospitals didn't have enough beds for everyone.  We couldn't see family except from behind a phone or computer screen.  Holidays, birthdays, and special events were canceled.  Jack's first birthday was not what I envisioned it would be for him. We didn't see my family in person for about 18 months.  As a parent you worry every time you take your child to the store.  I was a broken record constantly telling Scarlett please keep your mask over your nose, don't touch your face, wash your hands,  don't forget the hand sanitizer etc.  We couldn't have indoor playdates for well over a year, and I felt guilty always telling Scarlett no when she asked to see friends, unless it was outdoors.  It's better to be safe than sorry was our new life motto.  I found myself exhausted, stressed, and depressed from life.  

Fast forward to present day and Jack is now 2.5 years old.  He started preschool in September 2021 and has really been enjoying his time there.  He is speech delayed and is wary in new environment which concerns me. Jack spent so much time at home that I worry that it affected his development.  Everyone tells me that he'll catch up, which I hope he will.  We still keep him home somewhat to keep him safe since a vaccine is not available to him and he refuses to wear a mask.  Although I try to take him out more than I used to.  It's not normal or healthy to grow up primarily inside away from people.  The early years of childhood are the building blocks for life, it saddens me that Jack has to deal with this as well as all children his age. 

Scarlett is back to school in-person this year.  There's been no classroom shutdowns like there was in Kindergarten because of covid cases.  I have never set foot inside her school beyond the lobby.  I hope now I'll be able to since the mask mandate is gone.  I'll be meeting her teacher for the first time next week too, which I'm looking forward to.

Now that the pandemic seems a little more under control and less ominous it's time we can start to breathe slightly.  It's safe to say that it has taken a toll on ourselves and families which is expected.  It's okay to accept that you may feel that you're not the same person you once were, nobody is.  I do worry about how the pandemic has mentally affected Scarlett since she is now 7 and understands more than she did 2 years ago.  She had to be away from friends and people both physically and emotionally for a long time.  Can you imagine telling your child please don't hug a friend or relative? It's just inhumane. She has received both covid vaccines, but we still are living in a pandemic.  It's not over. 

Thankfully, everyone is in the same boat together and stronger because of it. 

It's not shameful or uncomfortable to receive help to better yourself and also to feel better.  Therapy is a wonderful tool that anyone can use for any variety of reasons, especially the pandemic.  

Headway is a national network of in-network therapists that help connect patients looking for mental health care with one of their 15,000+ providers.  Headway gives patients the ability to find the best in-network therapy provider for them based on their needs.  So many people are struggling with the impact of the pandemic, and as a society, we are beginning to normalize the need for therapy.  Many new mental health companies are not able to offer the benefit of online therapy with insurance which limits access to help for those in need.  It's wonderful that these therapists are covered by insurance.  Headway is also developing extensive resources on mental health and therapeutic support to help educate people in need on how therapy works, why it is important, and how you can treat various illnesses.

I definitely would love to find a family therapist to speak with to discuss my feelings about the pandemic with, and also just to have on hand for other issues I may have.  The fact that insurance covers these therapy sessions is fantastic.  

If you're looking for resources on mental health, here are three great ones.  Please click here, here, and here

*DISCLOSURE* This is a sponsored post in partnership with Responsival.  All thoughts and opinions are strictly mine. 

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