Thoughts and ruminations about being a working mom, raising two daughters, and being Italian … while trying to maintain my sanity and organized closets. (My husband’s laugh, red wine, and ironing make me happy.)
By Adria Giordano
Navigating in uncharted waters, March 19, 2020
My girls are washing the dishes. And drying them. By hand. This has been going on for about a week or so since our dishwasher broke in the mist of all of the coronavirus. They are also helping to make dinner. And we have a puzzle started in the living room.
According to my 14-year-old, we have resorted to living like the “olden days”.
At 16 and 14, my daughters have been home from school since Monday. Like all children living in Connecticut and many across the country, schools have been closed and we are living in an unprecedented time.
They are not sure what normal is anymore but comprehend life as we knew it has changed.
If they were little, I would be putting together poster board size daily schedules, with every color of the rainbow and stickers. We would be snuggling and reading together. Dancing to music and making breakfast for dinner. I would be their rock, their safe spot, and if I did it correctly, they would hardly recognize how the world has turned upside down in a matter of weeks. They might just think mom is working from home to be near them.
But they are not. They are teenagers, which means they are reading and seeing everything online, and by online, I mean much more than news and White House updates. Social media has exploded with celebrities and influencers sharing their thoughts, actions and updates on what is going on since the virus came to this country.
They are scared. They are confused.
They are also sleeping in and arguing. They are hugging the puppy relentlessly and singing lullabies to him. They are making music videos together. They are laughing. They are crying.
They are also asking us questions. About when will they return to school? When will they be able to see their friends, their cousins, their grandparents? And when will things go back to normal.
I wish they were little, and I could pretend to have all the answers and make their world safe. Their little world as they knew it safe.
As each day goes by, the number of confirmed cases of the virus goes up. The number of people dying goes up. Schools closed, then restaurants, entertainment places, and businesses. As each hour goes by, I receive yet another email from the governor and news stations sharing ever-increasing statistics.
As parents, our responsibility is to love and care for our children, feed, clothe and house them. We want them to grow up to be responsible citizens of the world. We have certain expectations: Make your bed. Clean your room. Treat others as you want to be treated. Be kind. Be compassionate. Do your homework. Be conscientious. Stand up for yourself and others. Clean the table when done eating and put clean clothes INTO drawers.
It’s a challenging task most days to make sure our children survive childhood. Monumental in a pandemic.
As we all navigate through uncharted waters, maybe it’s time to put aside some of our parental expectations. Maybe we go back to being the parent we were when they were little.
Then maybe set up a daily schedule but ask them to help create it.
Restrict their contact with the outside world (for now) but encourage them to facetime their friends regularly.
Limit technology but ask them to teach us a TikTok dance.
Remind them to do their online homework, but schedule family walks outside.
Be their cheerleader when they make music videos and play referee when they annoy one another.
Remember they are still growing. They may act like little grownups, but they are still children.
They need to feel safe. Safer than ever before.
The world can be an unsettling all the time, and even more so than usual.
They will continue asking questions and this time I can’t pretend to know all the answers.
So, for now, I’ll love them and do what I can to help them navigate. I’ll lighten my expectations level. There’s enough stress in the world. Unmade beds and clothes outside of drawers can wait.
Adria Giordano describes herself as a mom, wife, fundraiser, party planner, and blogger. She is a currently the director of development for Chrysalis Center in Hartford, CT. She lives in West Hartford with her husband, two teenage daughters, and mini goldendoodle puppy.
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