Hello everyone! A very tired and disheveled greetings from me to you. This self quarantine has me on edge and very depressed, so I apologise for the lack of posting recently. Now, let’s get onto the topic of the day.
Parenting and My Sanity
My nesting partner Pan is a wonderful parent. He’s kind and compassionate and works out of town a lot… (Cue record scratch sound) … You read that correctly. With how much childcare costs, and all the risk that having someone else watch your child carries now, it makes sense for me to be home. I feel awful that I’m even complaining about it at all. He makes good money and that gives me the ability to be at home and spend time with my kid while giving her at least one parent available at all times.
The thing is, I love working! I love being out of the house and it gives me a feeling of purpose. So for me to feel confined and put into a role that is dominated by “mommy and me” groups gets frustrating. I’m sure any dad/parent can understand the frustration of feeling out of place. Hell, it’s probably worse if this is a dream role for you.
So I’m at home, in a housekeeping role that’s not my favorite, the groups locally I have available are religious and/or mom groups and we haven’t even brought up my gender. And there’s a reason for that. I actually don’t feel as gendered as you would think. I mean, I used to feel that was for sure, but once I broke down some societal expectations, it pretty much went away. I’m a parent. Not a mom or a dad, just a parent to a wonderful child. Which brings up my next point…
…My feelings about how good my child is. She’s an elementry student. She is smart, curious, listens to the rules, doesn’t play outside much but is great at video games and carries conversation. I feel like a monster for wanting to spend less time with her. Especially right now, as schools are closed and we have teachers breathing down our necks to do more work since they have people breathing down theirs. I always wanted to be a teacher but not like this. I want the freedom to follow my kids lead on what to learn about and you just don’t get that with the “at home learning” the public schools are providing.
I think for me, what it boils down to is the lack of support. Not mentally, I have partners and friends that reach out and do a great job with that. It’s the physical support of having friends/family be there to help watch her and/or give me a break. Even if the virus wasn’t running rampant, I can’t go on dates, I can’t catch a movie, if I miss shopping during the day, it’s rough to bring a kid along to the store. That leaves me with the option of all of those things when Pan is in town but what about spending time with him? It’s a weird place to be in.
For now, all I can do is try and practice some self care. I get caught up in how many parents are so grateful to spend every moment with their kids and I feel bad about my self care being based around me, not her. We can blame social media for some of it but geez, idealized lives look, well, ideal. If I use something I learned in therapy called “fact checking” then I can combat this to some degree. Here goes:
- Don’t spend enough time with her
- Feels bad about taking me time
- I don’t do enough activities with her
- actually spent all day with her and cuddled her for a half hour since she was upset
- She also like taking time for herself
- actually does art projects and plays video games with her.
Phrasing it like that really helps give me perspective.
How I survive: Pan helps a lot. He encourages me to get out and do stuff even when he’s home. My friends. They check on my even when I don’t realize I need it. I use my skills I learned at therapy. They work more the more I use them. And being kind to myself. This one I’m still working on, but I’m starting to get the hang of it and treat myself like a friend.
As for my self care: Coffee! I consume a lot of it and grab it when I’m out of the house when I can. Even during quarantine, I get it when I can and it gives me that sense of normalcy. Making a schedule helps a lot too. Checking off a list makes me feel good. I can also make sure I don’t overload myself.
I have a lot of respect for single parents. It’s hard work and when you don’t have a support system, it’s overwhelming. But I guess as long as we’re all trying our best, our kids will see that.
Do any of you have some ways you survive feeling stuck at home? Feel free to comment them below. I’m always looking to try out new ideas. And if you need a listening ear, I’ll be here for you. No judgement.