Parenting during COVID

photo sourced via Unsplash – Kelly Sikkema

It has been over a year and a half since the whirlwind of COVID hit the shores of Jamaica and life as we know it would change so drastically. On a wider scale I believe this is something that we can all relate to ; just how sudden of a shift life has had on our well-being not only emotionally but spiritually and financially. Many of us were forced to pivot while many are still trying to figure it out. I will say, if you are struggling to pick yourself up, latch on to a sense of hope. There is more in store for you. Greatness is on its way and you have the key to unlock it.

Parenting for me has been so complexed, trying to balance the emotional, spiritual, physical and mental wellbeing of my beautiful children. This has been a task that many days I am up for the challenge but on some days it gets a bit heavy. Understanding that and identifying what’s best for your child is important. Identifying what’s best for your family on a whole is crucial. What does happiness look like for you? What does emotionally balanced look like? Are you teaching life skills like cooking washing cleaning only? Or are you teaching self resilience, understanding, spirituality, gratitude, mindfulness and knowing how to level up when in difficult situations? Truth is, as an adult there are so many things we look back to our childhood for and wondering if things would have been different if the circumstances were different. Truth is, we hold the power to choose and with that, though life is designed on a larger scale with more in mind, we decide how we choose to see our circumstances.

In reflecting on my childhood, I am realizing in so many ways just how instrumental my mom’s choices for extra-curriculars were. I learned how to swim from an early age. She sent me to summer swim camps and though I was never on a swim team I appreciate the lessons as knowing how to swim now as an adult and more so as a parent I believe is super important. I was sent to computer lessons on a Friday afternoon and it taught me quite a bit about typing and the very basics of computing. As an adult, seeing many people struggling now to learn the basics has placed a great level of appreciation for my mom’s investment. I participated in so many events, I ran track, I was a debater, I performed in speech competitions and it made a world of a difference for me. I was able to travel and see more of the world and understand that life existed outside of my immediate bubble. Now that I am older, my mom and I have stayed up endless late nights discussing her perspective on my memories. She sacrificed so much and I am so grateful and now I not only try to dedicate myself to raising my children but relieving her worries and concerns.

Lessons in life and in education

I appreciate my alma mater and the lessons they try to teach the children outside of pure academics. In the first week of school, my son was asked to write a few lines on how COVID has impacted him. I listened to him listening to everyone else and shaping his response based on their outlook and I had to ask him to pause for a while when he was on lunch break. Our conversation centered around understanding that there is always a bigger picture, there is always a silver lining and there is always something great in store. Though he could no longer go to the beach as I would pack my bags like an overladen hamper and trek to the local beach, he was still able to try new things at home. I was adamant that we appreciate what we have rather than complaining about the things we don’t. I wanted him to understand that I wasn’t trying to minimize his feelings but more so share the fact that there is more. We don’t have to be held hostage by dark times. I love researching, not just for work or my personal lessons on development but also to understand how others are doing life and seeing if we can apply anything to ours. It is by way of researching that I came across a few of the platforms that I will share momentarily that have impacted our lives positively over the past few months.

Aunty Jodi

I came across an early childhood educator, Jodi-Ann Robinson, chief storyteller and virtual educator, lovingly known as Aunty Jodi on TVJ’s Smile Jamaica, a morning time show on our local TV. She is a Jamaican living in Japan and sharing her gifts, knowledge, talents and time with little ones all over the world. We joined Aunty Jodi’s story time and I was immediately swayed by the level of engagement that the children were experiencing. Not only did she read the story in English but she also did so in Japanese and exposed us to a whole new language and I couldn’t have been more appreciative. Then there was the no fuss arts and crafts. As a creative and a lover of all things crafty, I appreciated her efforts to design a craft for each class and pre-share all needed supplies. Though my son who is so unique and loves to dance down the road less travelled, it was an opportunity for him to experience a bit of structure while still encouraging his vibrant take on doing things his way. Her virtual playdates have been fun, feel free to check her out on YouTube via her Aunty Jodi platform.

The Language Boutique

An Instagram blessing that shows just how important it is to place your sponsored posts in the right place to capture your ideal audience, TLB has been great. As a digital marketer/sales strategist I could not have been more pleased to stumble upon this gem. Avalon Arscott is the Director and Chief linguistic educator. Over the summer, I came across her advertisement for her summer camp. I did reach out to request a virtual option and was pleasantly surprised when she made it available. Liam does not love his vegetables but he sure did love making his salsa and he enjoyed every last bit and I was in awe. Listening to him in class made my heart smile because he was engaged and present. Just her overall approach made me appreciate those moments. The Language Boutique can be found on Facebook, Instagram and please, feel free to head over and engage your little one in learning a new language.

Scholastic Teachables

Though my little ones attend school virtually, I have always loved exploring alternate avenues to support their learning experience. Scholastic Teachables has been a great tool over the years and I love the ease of access to information at the varied grade levels.

Epic!

We’ve enjoyed story time twice as much since discovering Epic Originals. I enjoy the fact that they have a slew of audiobooks as well as digital copies available. I am able to assign books and the kids enjoy logging in and reading their favourite titles.

KER Marketplace

Food is vital for life. Here in Jamaica we have had a few weeks of three-day lockdowns and it was crucial for me to find some way to ease mom’s load with having to lug around heavy groceries. I came across a flyer just before what would become our first lockdown and I ordered what was deemed the “No movement” package. It was ideal for our household as there are two children and ultimately we are predominantly chicken consumers as my daughter does not have an adventurous palate. Needless to say, being able to stay home, order online via the KER marketplace website was a convenience much needed. Their customer service was on point and the produce was fresh, I would gladly do business again. If you’re here in Jamaica, feel free to check out their Facebook and Instagram accounts. Needless to say the children enjoy the the convenience as well and just the whole process of being able to still have their voices heard by choosing their meats and other produce.

Refresh Wholesale

Snacks are a kids bestfriend. My little ones love being able to go online with me and choose their favourite cereals, snacks and juices. Refresh Wholesale is my location for all things exotic and imported snackation. They specially curate packages from China, Mexico and the United States of America and truly offer a global snack journey right from my Jamaican couch. Children appreciate being included in decision making. I’ve found that my children love being able to try new snacks and even if they don’t like it, well they tried. That goes more for Liam than it does Leila because as I shared earlier, she definitely has a chicken palate lol. Be sure to check out their website, and social media accounts via Instagram and Facebook.

I saw the need to speak to a professional and reached out to a friend who is a clinical psychologist to help find someone to just unpack and explain life to my son. Though he is the happy go lucky child he does have days that are challenging, like the rest of us. I do believe though that it takes a village and as the years have gone by I have seen the benefit in being more mindful about the people we have around us. Speaking to a counsellor or a psychologist is not a bad thing. Yes, it can be costly but I would encourage anyone to budget for one just the same as you would budget for any other necessity in life. Also, dealing with COVID takes a village, a separated and distanced village but a village nonetheless. So I encourage you to wash your hands, keep your distance but also research and come up with creative ways to maneuver this time.

Faith

Whether you are religious or just acknowledge the presence of a greater being, having a faith system is crucial not only to your survival but to allow you to thrive. My peace of mind, my focus, my abilities came only by the way of God.

COVID has taken many joys and caused a deep plunge into sadness for quite a few homes. I would encourage you to continue to see the silver lining. My pivot into Digital Marketing allowed me to create a lucrative stream of income for me to be able to support my family and allow my children to live a life of comfort and stability. The fact remains that though life is not perfect, with Christ in the vessel, we can smile at the storm.

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s