Moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, foster parents, – people raising people – are all still getting together to talk about parenting during this pandemic. It’s just that, right now, we have to work a little bit harder to find our village safely. And so, ♫for the first time in forever♫, ugh there I go doing it again. (For those parents who have not watched Frozen on an infinite loop, that is a song that plays in my head often.) Anyway,♫for the first time in forever♫, I had an adult conversation. I joined a weekly online group that meets on Wednesdays at 5:30 pm to encourage others to get through this safely at home and get a little bit of support myself.
I didn’t realize just how much I needed an adult conversation, with someone other than my husband, until I dropped into one of the many Circle of Parents groups in Colorado. Very quickly the parents in the online group, largely strangers to one another, started unloading about what it has been like at home.
We talked about having uncomfortable and heart-breaking conversations with the in-laws about safely distancing from our newborns and why “no, you can’t come visit or hold the baby right now”.
We shared some real talk about how we’re coping, admitting that we are drinking way more than our pre-COVID-selves. Those people yelled less. Those people allowed less screen time. Those people were not the people we are today, and that is ok.
We told each other we need to give ourselves some grace. We got a bit teary at times and we absolutely laughed at just how bonkers life has become. And, as I listened and shared about my new reality parenting a two and a four year-old in near-isolation because Grams is high risk and isolating with us so that my husband and I can continue to work from home full-time, I realized two things. One, I had no idea how badly I needed to talk to another adult not living in my house; and two, there is a soundtrack in my head of Disney songs that I sing to myself to cope. What is that?
As so, I started to pay attention to my inner soundtrack and here is the parenting in a pandemic playlist.
♫This will all make sense when I am older. Someday I will see that this makes sense. One day when I’m old and wise. I’ll think back and realize. That these were all completely normal events
Ah! ♫ – Olaf
As I have conversations with the four year-old about the germs, explain why we can’t go to the pool or do the hundreds of other fun things we used to do, this sing rings in my ears. I hope all he remembers is that we were together A LOT and it was still fun.
♫ Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities, forget about your worries and your strife. ♫― Baloo the Bear
I hum this one as I shop online for groceries. Am I the only one that orders things that either never come or arrive in the strangest quantities?
♫Just keep swimming♫― Dory
Oh my god, this is hard. I was relieved to hear other parents in the Circle of Parents group having the same struggles. That sounds terrible, but it is nice to know you aren’t the only one. Two year-olds are SUPER frustrating. I’ve come too close to losing my temper, had to walk away and put myself in timeout on the front porch away from the kids. This is the song on the parenting pandemic playlist that plays in my head when I need to calm myself.
♫ You’ve Got a Friend in Me ♫
I am an introvert and so isolation isn’t that bad in many respects. But, because I am a self-aware introvert I force myself to reach out to others who are parenting in this pandemic. As I work the short list of people that I reach out to periodically who I know are parenting, this is the song that plays in my head.
♫Part of Your World♫ ― Ariel
Everyone says this is the “new normal”. When I hear that phrase, I can’t help but want to sing this song. When Ariel imagines the wonderful world above the sea, it reminds me so much of when I used to dream of working from home. Oh, how reality is so much different from your dreams.
♫Let it go.♫ ― Elsa
Stop yelling children. Stop yelling mom. We sing this song to each other. We all have our moments when we need to just let it go.
♫Try everything♫ Shakira, Zootopia
If you don’t know this song, I highly recommend adding it to your parenting in a pandemic playlist. It’s about failure and it is amazing. I am not a preschool teacher and oh my goodness, I was not cut out to be one. We are just trying everything and anything to find what works for these little people. I’ve bought the learning curriculum books for teaching pre-k skills at home, some of it clicks and some of it doesn’t. We just try everything.
♫Some things never change♫ Anna and Olaf
It is as if the people that wrote the Frozen 2 soundtrack had a vision of this pandemic with some of these songs. This song is as much about growing up, as it is about parenting. It gets me through so many sad times, reminding me to appreciate these moments together holding on tight to my loved ones to get through this.
♫We’re all in this together♫ – The cast from High School Musical
If you watched the Disney Sing-A-Long at the beginning of the pandemic, you too were shocked to learn that Zac Efron lip synced in the High School Musicals! Nevertheless, this song says as much about how we end this pandemic as it does about navigating parenthood right now.
No parent should parent alone. If you know someone parenting, ask them to try a Circle of Parents group with you. Everything is less scary when you are not alone.
Right now, parents and caregivers all over Colorado are coming together online to share advice, vent, cry, laugh and find out how other parents are navigating this♫ whole new world♫.
Community creates brighter childhoods. Parents with a social network of emotionally supportive friends, family, and neighbors often find that it is easier to care for their children and themselves. All parents need people they can call on once in a while when they need a sympathetic listener, advice or support.
To help parents find support in their lives, Illuminate Colorado, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to strengthening families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment, is focused on growing Circle of Parents® in Colorado.
Join parents and caregivers all around Colorado online EVERY Wednesday at 5:30 pm. Visit www.CircleOfParentsCO.org to get more information about this group or the other 30+ groups meeting every week. Find your Circle.