We're a year into the pandemic and one thing is clear: parents are at their physical, mental and emotional limits every single day. Many of us are juggling our careers alongside household responsibilities and caring for children—oh, and did we mention that parents are also attempting to guide their children through virtual learning?
We're doing work we haven't been taught or trained to do, and we're doing it as we navigate the terrifying unfamiliarity of it all. It's a lot. But as parents, we can't afford to forget that it isn't just a lot for us. It's also far too much for our children to take.
A viral post from a mom reminds us of that. Christine Derengowski writes about a day when she was trying her best to get her seven-year-old son to do his homework.
"I told him he didn't have to write about his best day like his teacher asked, he could write about his worst. He could write about whatever he wanted as long as he wrote a few sentences. He said he'd get in trouble. He said he was doing a bad job in first grade. He was on the brink of tears but didn't know why," writes Derengowski.
But then the mama came to a powerful realization and decided to change her tactic.
"Instead of getting frustrated and pushing the assignment, I sat down with him at his desk in his superhero bedroom," she writes. "I said 'you won't get in trouble and you can't fail first grade. In fact, you're kind of a superhero yourself.' He sat up in his chair just a little and looked at me with disbelief."
She's right. We talk a lot about the extraordinary sacrifices health care workers, teachers and parents are making these days. But what about children? They've been handed a whole new set of norms, a jagged break in their carefree childhoods and a complete disruption to their usual routines. They deserve to be praised, too.
Here's how this mama did just that.
"I said, "Do you know that no kids in the history of kids have ever had to do what you're doing right now? No kids in the history of kids have ever had to do school at home, sitting in their bedroom, watching their teacher on a computer. You and your friends are making history.' A visible weight lifted from his seven-year-old shoulders," she writes.
"I told him it means I haven't given him nearly enough credit for rolling with the punches. I told him how proud I am of him and his friends. That kids this year are doing the impossible and they're doing a really great job. I apologized for not saying it sooner and more often. A little tear fell down his cheek."
We understand how hard it can be to handle everything we have on our plates right now, let alone go the extra mile to make our kids understand how deeply we appreciate and honor what they're doing. As parents, we simply can't get this right every single day.
But this mama is right: Our children are doing an incredible job right now, and we need them to remember that. It's our jobs as parents to remind them of all they've accomplished this year.