We don’t know what we’re doing.
Seriously, we are flying blind here. In all honesty, in the best of times parenting is a figure it out as you go type situation. Reality check time, we often make things up and act like we knew it all along. But, up until last week, we had a secret weapon, that one thing we could always lean on to help us through those parenting black holes.
We could always look back at what our parents or guardians did for us, or to us, in a similar situation. We could draw on that knowledge and know that at least we survived, so we’re sure our kids will. I mean seriously, why else would we allow you to walk, swim, ride or (gasp) drive by yourself? Because we did, and we know that all of those milestones are important and real, and, yes, survivable.
But none of us have been through this. None. Not us, our parents or even our grandparents. The school and business closures, the financial uncertainty, the complete and utter unknown as to when, and if, we will get back to what we used to know; these are, in short, unprecedented times.
And here’s another thing, if anyone is attempting to tell you they know what’s going on, or what’s going to happen, they’re wrong. Maybe they are just trying to convince themselves that’s it’s all going to be OK. Or maybe they are trying to protect you from the scary reality. I don’t know; and that’s the point, we don’t know. We are right here in it with you, trying to figure out what’s fact from fiction. We’re trying to figure out how important it is that we make sure you have regular classes, or clean your rooms, or take the dog for yet another walk.
So, here’s the confession part; we’re scared too. I wish I could tell you we know what to do and we’ve got this. I’d love to regale you with stories of the pandemic from ’88, and how we survived that one. Or that I know that after 2 weeks of social distancing, the tide will recede. But I don’t know that, no one does. We are all waking up, together, every day, to a new reality. We want desperately to be able to make this all go away and give you back your normal childhood. Nothing would make us happier than to watch one of your baseball games, or to do a Target run with you, or even to fight with you about why you need to be home at 10 (honestly, it’s because we want to go to bed).
But we can’t, not yet.
But what an opportunity we all have right now. To look at issues without the constraints of traditional roles, to accept people and situations for what they are as opposed to what we think they should be. To wake up each day surrounded by our families and tackle issues together; to learn from each other. Sure, it’s going to be a bit messy sometimes, and we’re going to screw up, but at least we will screw up together.
So have a little patience with us, we’re trying.
Bar Clarke has been working with families for 30 years. He uses his knowledge of family dynamics coupled with his own personal struggles to help families find a new path