Parenting in a Pandemic
This job is challenging when we’re not in a pandemic. However, I wouldn’t recommend it in a pandemic. There are many things on pause. Schooling and socialization. Working in an office and not your home office. Believe it or not, one day the endless hot cups of tea and slightly longer lunches than planned, or the Teams/ Zoom meetings with a child interrupting and asking for something as you give them the death stare will come to an end. As a pandemic, like life, has to run its course.
Until then, what does this mean for families, for parents, children, elderly? Life doesn’t stop. There’s funerals and births. However what goes on for the nitty gritty, daily grind in a household? One way of describing it is mental aerobics. You have to juggle the home schooling log in, one hour window of productivity before someone has a meltdown. Maybe even the adult. Following on from this is the afternoon slump close to assembly. That three hours in the morning has really taken its toll. And what of the poor children missing out on ‘Normal' school. Well actually for some it’s not too bad. They have a catered lunch. Sometimes self catered but usually it might be a special request put in to which the parent agrees. As if mum/dad isn’t busy enough. In our house Dad may disappear up to ‘work’ while I’m juggling six ‘job’ descriptions that I’ve inadvertently interviewed for and got the job for every single one. On top of my paid job as a Speech and Language Therapist. Dad returns from work and rolls up his sleeves to start the dishes or take part in juggling time. Our three children may break into a strange song at any moment. Hmm didn’t think we signed up for choir classes, this must be freestyle.
But what of the whole child? Spirituality, health, emotional well being. Who is in charge of that? Well, again parents need to be on the ball. Make sure they don’t miss Zoom friend meet ups, or counseling sessions. I’d crack if I didn’t leave it to God. And in remembrance of God your heart finds incredible comfort. As that’s who’s in charge, the whole show is run by Him. We’re just making a cameo. The Salims are one brief act in an infinite production.
Somehow mum/dad remembers to mark special days in lockdown with a reminder on a said day their family members are loved. It’s on the 'to do' list. One perk is we can do a leisurely Friday prayer. We even perform the routine weekly. Apply perfume, and listen to a live sermon by our Imam. Finish with our prayer, and say thanks to God. That we reached the end of another week of homeschooling!
Thanks to the Almighty we are all somehow more fortunate than someone else out there. Let’s not lose our heads, and pray we get through 2021 together. God willing.Rabia Salim is a mother of 3 and a Speech Therapist for pediatrics, school and college aged children with a range of special education needs. In her spare time she volunteers, cooks, plays sports travels and reads. She lives with her family in the outskirts of London, England.