Momservation: The parenting playbook may get an update, but the rules stay the same
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Raise your hand if you feel like you are adrift in the middle of the Pacific losing hope that you are ever going to step foot on stable land again.
Great—glad I’m not in this life raft alone.
Mind if I share a story to pass the time as we search for the shores of Normalcy?
Wonderful—I’ll try to keep it brief and then maybe you can give me your thoughts.
So, I’m supposed to be putting out a book this fall in time for the new school year. It’s a collection of my Momservations® “greatest hits” from 16+ years of writing my family column and blog (Don’t Forget Your Lunch: Diapers to Diploma Parenting Wisdom). I was excited to see a collection of my writing go to print and eager to see if how it would be received.
Then the pandemic hit. And everything changed.
People are dying. People are losing their jobs, their businesses, their livelihoods. Schools have been shut down. Kids are losing opportunities to play sports, play with friends, have access to a quality education, hug Grandma. Means of distraction have become off-limits—no movies, no eating out, no concerts, no parties or family gatherings. Parents are scrambling for how to entertain, educate, keep safe and restore a sense of security and hope for their children’s future.
Not exactly the book launch I was looking for.
But worse, having a collection of stories written about guiding parents through the normal trials, tribulations, and joys of raising healthy, happy, and well-adjusted kids suddenly seems irrelevant. Normal? Normal left the building in early 2020.
Not since the Digital Age and social media came barging though the door just as my kids were hitting middle school has the parenting playbook been so quickly and drastically rewritten.
Parents want answers about how to raise kids in this time of crisis and upheaval. I literally have a page in my book of fun things to do and places to go to keep your kids active and entertained during the summer and every one of those things are off-limits right now.
So I stopped working on my book, getting it ready for print. Timing is everything and as I saw it, my window had closed. No Back-to-School shopping, no forgetting lunches on the counter with schools going online in the fall. The title of my book—Don’t Forget Your Lunch, once a daily morning chorus, now a song sung in a different time.
I stopped writing my blog because I didn’t feel like I had experience I could tap into for what parents raising kids were going through right now. I couldn’t even write about Empty Nesting because one of my college kids was forced to come home.
I became a writer with nothing to write about.
But then I realized, hasn’t parenting always been about adapting and adjusting to the changing times? Parents who lived through the Great Depression adjusted. Parents who lived through World War II adjusted. Parents who lived through the loss of a home, a job, a marriage, and like my parents, a child, adjusted. We parents of the 2010’s adjusted when kids suddenly had access to digital media at their fingertips 24/7 and Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat and Facebook became the modern forms of communication.
We have no choice but to adapt because the times we raise our children in are fluid.
What doesn’t change, though, is every parent’s hopes for their children: that they are happy, healthy, safe and well-adjusted. Just ask my 94 year-old grandmother. You never stop worrying about your kids.
I have written over 1,000 stories about trying to raise happy, healthy, safe, well-adjusted kids while the world around us changed. I may not have done it in a pandemic—but I can guide you through what to do when your teenager is getting asked for nudes on SnapChat or why forging a Reading Log is sometimes just a necessary transgression for the sake of family harmony.
So while we’re all floating along in this pandemic life raft waiting to land on the shores of Normalcy again, would anyone be interested in reading my book on raising children?
SPOILER ALERT: The kids turn out okay.
#Pandemic2020 #ParentingPlaybookRewritten #MoreItChangesMoreItStaysTheSame