I am at a Stalemate with this Season of Parenting — Parenting During a Pandemic

Remember that time when I wrote about seizing the day and I was so over-the-top sappy that you couldn’t even bear to read it?

Or maybe you didn’t have time to read it because your toddler was screaming for more toaster waffles and your five-year-old was trying to bargain for more screen time. The noise they make never stops and maybe you could barely manage to go to the bathroom alone that day, let alone sit in a comfortable chair and read a blog post.

Well. Sister, I am with you.

Maybe my hefty dose of “going crazy during quarantine” was delayed because I work in healthcare, but I read that previous post and cringed so hard I pulled a muscle.

I’m over it. I’m done.

These babies need to go live at grandma and grandpa’s house for a week. My moods are all over the place. In one moment I’m grateful and happy and “living like I might end up on a ventilator” and the next I’m shouting orders and impatient and begging my boys to be quiet.

We now close our windows at 4:55 p.m. every afternoon. This is because at approximately 5:10 p.m. every evening, our children lose their ever-loving minds. They either play together and lose themselves in imaginary scenarios that always involve ear-piercing screams or they are at war and have to antagonize each other. With ear-piercing screams.

Either way, we have to close our windows to spare the neighbors. There is no way to reach the children during this witching hour. It is as if their ears have snapped shut and their mouths are stuck open. They are loud. They drown out the parents. Even when I try to out-shout them. And they’re wild, running through the house at full speed and it feels like they are unstoppable unless we trip them or physically pick them up and put them on the couch. They get off the couch just as quick as if nothing happened. I tell them to stay but they can’t hear me because of the shouting.

This is about the time I start deep breathing.

I use all the tools my therapist has given me and I still end up shaking mad while tearfully asking my wife if I can take a walk around the block.

I feel like a failure.

I feel like I don’t deserve those beautiful boys because I cannot handle myself when they are overwhelmed and acting out. Instead of a “good” parent, I become overwhelmed myself and need to escape. And because they are four and five years old it is impossible to get away from them. Leaving them in their room while I breathe doesn’t work. Going to the bathroom and locking the door just buys me an extra minute because they know how to unlock the knob. Leaving them alone in the house while I walk isn’t an option, obviously.

There is no getting away.

And I think of all the single parents or parents with unsupportive partners and I shake my head in wonder. How in the world do you all do it?

Bedtime inevitably comes and hopefully the only tears shed are my own. It’s awful when we end the day with everyone sad. But I am so tired and I am at a stalemate with this particular season of parenting —parenting during a pandemic.



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