It's OK to Feel 'Done' With the Stress of Parenting During COVID-19

Gail Hamblin
Gail's son Calvin sleeping
Gail's son Calvin sleeping

I am the sort that needs and craves a plan. In fact, I like to have a plan A, B, C, and D just in case. When I was little, I would ask my mom every day what we were doing. She realized early on to give me a general expectation of where we were going and possible deviations to the original plan. Thanks to Mom, I felt secure and able to handle what was to come. COVID-19 has made planning near impossible. I am struggling.

I am struggling with mixed communication messages coming from healthcare, news outlets, schools, government, etc. I am struggling with finding the specific foods my son needs to survive, medical supplies, supplies for my household to keep running, making sure my kids attend their virtual classes, attending virtual speech, physical therapy, and occupational therapy…. (The list goes on!)

Constant advice from others such as “keep a routine,” “look out for your mental health,” “we are in this together,” “stay home to stay safe,” “make a visual schedule,” “make sure your child does their assignments,” “try altering your routine,” “get more sleep,” “change your expectations.” I’m done! I know the experts mean well. But, come on! We are all constantly inundated with unsolicited advice. I tried the pretty schedule on the refrigerator. That worked for two weeks. Yup! Two whole weeks of a “schedule” I developed until the frequent changes had me give up. It’s week 11 now. And I am done!

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A banner promoting The Mighty's new Navigating Coronavirus Together group on The Mighty mobile app. The banner reads, Want to connect with others who are managing their health during the pandemic? Join Navigating Coronavirus Together now. Click to join.
A banner promoting The Mighty's new Navigating Coronavirus Together group on The Mighty mobile app. The banner reads, Want to connect with others who are managing their health during the pandemic? Join Navigating Coronavirus Together now. Click to join.

Trying to accommodate all my children has not been easy. It is very difficult to explain to a child with Down syndrome, autism, and several medical issues that the whole world is different right now. Try explaining, “You cannot go to school and some of your favorite places.” After two weeks of our “new normal,” my son stopped looking for his school bus. I almost cried.

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I have cried. I cried when I could not find my son’s milk and yogurt alternative anywhere. I cried when my 5-year-old daughter asked when she could play with her school friends. I also cried tears of joy when my son independently used his AAC device while I was in a different room to communicate with me for the first time. COVID-19 has caused many tears for many families.

I try to tell myself I am not a complainer. When I do complain, I try to focus on what I can be grateful for at that moment. I just have to say, “I’m done!” I’m so done with multiple phone calls with the same information only for it to be changed. I’m done with constant disruptions and distractions from the task at hand. I cannot make plans. My plans for each day seem to turn like a giant twisty slide.

I need a plan. It gives me comfort to face the challenges ahead. So, my plan going forward is… I’m done! I’m just going to soak up every ounce of time with my kids. We are going through a traumatic pandemic, but, my family has survived so many traumatic events in the past. I know I have got this! For now my friends, please know it is totally fine to be done!

Related:Facing the Unknown While Managing My Epilepsy During the COVID-19 Crisis

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