Parenting During a Pandemic

Another humorous post by Tejal Toprani Misra who is a psychotherapist in part-time private practice and a most-time stay at home mom. She lives in California with her spouse and two young sons.

I forgot what I was going to say. Does that happen to you now? Well let’s face it, I’m a mom so it always did but now I feel like it’s ALL. THE. TIME. For example, yesterday I had this thought: “My 5-year-old starts kindergarten in the fall” and I said to myself, “Wouldn’t it be nice if he had a break between the in-person pre-k he’s going to and starting in-person kindergarten in August? I should figure that out when I get a chance.” I never got that chance. For all I know kindergarten starts tomorrow. Can someone check that for me? 

The time we are living in is hard, ya’ll. Speaking of “ya’ll” I’ve started picking up lingo from all the binge watching I do late into the night – part of the maladaptive pandemic coping skills I’ve picked up. For a week I sounded like I was a Duchess. 

After much deliberation my husband and I decided to send our kids to in-person school starting in July. If it wasn’t for that option you would have found me in my home one day with two hairs left on my head (I currently have six, so yay me). Being a mom has had its challenges but the challenge has been at another level when you literally have no clue about the future or the present. At any moment I can get a call from my kid’s school saying that someone is COVID-19 positive and I have to come get my kids. As much as everyone is trying their best, this has happened twice. And as the mom to a two- and five-year-old whose spouse works on the front line of this pandemic 80 hours a week, I am the fall back. I am the fall EVERYTHING – the wearer of all the hats. As a psychotherapist with my own private practice, it’s hard to explain to a client why my five-year-old needs his butt wiped during a therapy session. I’m not being facetious, that really happened. Don’t feel bad for me, I still have the option of that school opening. 

And I would like to give a shout out to all the moms out there who haven’t had an alternative option for childcare in this pandemic. I tip my six hairs to you. I know your pain. Over a year ago when the pandemic started and the world shut down, for our family, that meant: no childcare, my private practice coming to a halt, and my spouse working day and night. The term mental load took on a different meaning for me. Before the pandemic I had a fresh four and one year-old and I was finally learning to take things off my mental load plate. I had let go of the fact that my one-year-old might be wearing an outfit comprised of clashing colors to school (I love you, husband). I had given into dinner being microwaved more than once a week. But then this pandemic hit and what I was managing became unmanageable because I didn’t even know what was on “my list” anymore. Was it everything? Or nothing at all? It was hard to get my bearings and every time I felt like I did, something changed again. Like moving during the pandemic. Apparently, we were trendsetters because according to NPR everyone is doing it. In June of 2020 we moved from Philadelphia to Los Angeles to be close to family. We bought a plane ticket for our then 18-month-old, that way he would have ample ability to spit in between the seats (I can provide video proof of this on request). Looking back at it I cannot believe we pulled it off. I can’t believe that we quarantined at an Airbnb for two weeks and visited the kids’ new school from the parking lot. Being forced to be less cautious than I would have chosen to be during this pandemic has somehow made it easier to navigate. 

Anyways, what was I saying?

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