Lessons Metro Detroit Parents Have Learned from the Pandemic

There’s no doubt the Stay-At-Home Order challenged all of us, but it also changed our parenting. Here are some pandemic lessons for parents, from parents.

The extracurricular calendar is empty and the kids are antsy, begging to see their friends IRL. Many parents are juggling working from home while managing their kids’ e-learning, their steady call for snacks and demands for more attention. At the same time, many other parents are out of work and frantic with worry about how to cover the bills, let alone all those extra snacks.

It’s been tough on everyone. In all the negative, though, we’ve searched for something positive. We reached out to a few moms to hear what they’ve learned and how their parenting will be changed long after the pandemic is over. What they learned might help us all.

Doing our best

Jennifer Christian and her kids, Franklin, 5, Ellington, 5, Averie, 7, and Bailee, 9. Photo by Brittney D, @beecoming.brittney

With the stay-at-home orders in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional parenting and schedules are out the window in my household. This is a time for us Millennial moms to show the world what we are made of, right? HECK NO, this is a time for survival!

I cannot say what is the right or wrong way to parent during this time. What I can say is whatever you are doing, it is your best and do not compare it to what others are doing.

In the past weeks I’ve learned: If schoolwork isn’t done right after breakfast, it won’t be done. When the sun shines, stop everything and send them outside. You can NEVER buy too many snacks. Roblox & TikTok saves lives. My need for self care is at an all-time high and most importantly, if the day does not go as I planned, do not beat myself up about it.

– Jennifer Christian, @flyfitmommy

Enjoy the kids no matter what age or stage

Pam Houghton with husband, Tim, daughter, Erin, and son, Brett

Our kids are grown, in their 20s (our son is working remotely from our house during this pandemic and our daughter lives nearby). This slowing down has given me a chance to, finally, crystallize the notion that these kids are individuals who are going to go off on their own and do things their way

They still seek advice on practical things, but the way they approach life is individualistic; even when your kids are grown you still have this instinct to “parent” them but they are full-fledged individuals now and that’s a good thing! My lesson is to just enjoy them and to always have faith in them.

– Pam Houghton

A slower pace after the pandemic

Sarah Dunlop and her three boys

Every day feels like I’m waking up in uncharted waters. Will I be present for my children? Can I really succeed in being their replacement teacher? Will I have the energy or emotional readiness at all?

I think so many of us are stressed in our newfound roles and it’s taking its toll. While many days I feel like I’m not contributing to my family as much as I’d like, I’ve mostly chosen to give myself grace. That grace has also come with the realization that I don’t want to go back to how things were before the pandemic. I don’t long for the days in which I woke up, made the kids’ lunches, rushed to drop them off to school, went to work, ran errands, picked the kids up from school, shoveled in something quick to eat, drove them to judo practice and then hightailed it back home just in time to start the bedtime routine. How did life ever get so busy? Why was I ever OK with that?

The answer is that it happened slowly over time and ended up being something overwhelming that I didn’t recognize until I no longer had the option for such a routine.

If this shutdown has taught me anything, it’s the value in down time. I need it, my husband needs it and so do my children. I have no idea how long social distancing, online learning and most of our upended ways of interacting may last. All I do know is that once things open up, now that I’ve seen the benefits of slowing life down, I’m hoping to continue to focus on the little things like enjoying a slower pace of life and embracing more family time.

– Sarah Dunlop, @sometimeskidsaredicks

Living in the moment

Kari Zaffarano and her son, Jordan

I am used to running from thing to thing and it’s been nice just relaxing a bit and spending some much needed one-on-one time with my 4-year-old. I feel like I am trying to balance out our days with fun stuff and “school work.”

I saw so many parents on my social media accounts posting their homeschooling schedules by time and subject and I was instantly overwhelmed and wondering if I should be doing that. I tried to be disciplined like that at first, but it just wasn’t something that worked for us.

Now, I try to print out fun and educational worksheets for him to do, projects and experiments that I’ve had pinned for the longest time, virtual tours and Disney rides to pretend like we are somewhere, we’ve done lots of cooking and baking together and just other fun things that I know he is getting stuff out of and stuff that I just maybe have always been “too busy” to do with him all the time. I try to plan things for the week, but not be so stuck on a timely schedule.

I just am trying to be more present.

– Kari Zaffarano

Metro Parent Editorial Team
Metro Parent Editorial Team
Since 1986, the Metro Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for metro Detroit families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.


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