• Christina Van Starkenburg

Pandemic parenting


In my house, my kids can switch from happily playing together to screaming and crying in a heartbeat. There’s no warning, no signal, no indication of any kind that things are about to go very wrong.


On good days – the ones where the kids and I are rested, and we made it a few hours before the first outburst – I can handle the tears and the thrashing. Someone looking in to my life in that moment would think I’m a model parent. The kind of mother who gets down to her kids’ level, who’s calm even when they aren’t, who is able to listen to their hurts and fears and soothe them without getting the slightest bit ruffled. The type of mother you watch with awe as she navigates the storm around her.


On most days, I am not that mother.


I try to be her, but I often find myself wondering if perhaps Jesus forgot to include me when he promised to give us his peace (John 14:27). It’s hard to be patient when you are stressed.


This pandemic is stressful for both adults and children. Many children, like mine, are expressing their disappointment over not seeing friends, not going to the park, not having birthday parties, in the only way they can: tears and acting out.


On the not-so-good days, we need a reset. We, as parents, need to step back from the stress, from the crying, from the endless questions, and find moments to focus on our own needs because, when our needs are met, we will be in a much better place to meet the needs of our children.


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