Like most of you, I’m tired. Bone tired. Tired of worrying about the health of those I love and those I don’t even know. Tired of being home and sharing that home with, sure, the three people I love most because, well, I’m tired of them, too. Tired of social distancing, mask-wearing, of not hanging with friends and extended family, of rules about when, how and whether we’re allowed to go anywhere, near or far. Tired of work screens, school screens, screens for communicating, connecting, and playing. Tired of trying to pull myself and my kids away from those same screens–the play ones, at least–and of fretting that those screens will forever change their (and my) brains for the worse. I’m also tired of feeling guilty that I mutter a near-constant inner mantra that goes something like this: “OMG, what would we do without screens? How did parents during the Spanish flu survive without Minecraft, Zombs Royale, Zoom sleepovers, Bloxburg, [fill in the blank with whatever mind-numbing game, social media app you loathe and can’t imagine (your kids) living without].
Who knew I could truly, madly, deeply miss driving my teenager to and from multiple weekly soccer practices and weekend games in the middle of nowhere? That I might yearn for the monotony and, in my judgy opinion, inefficiency of school drop-off and pick-up lines? Feel wistful about my kids’ grumpiness and monosyllabic responses to my trite queries like: “How was school?” Or to my fancier, yet equally ineffective, school-day questions like: “What’s one good thing and one challenging thing that happened today?” Grunt. Grunt.
Or that I’d pine for being pulled aside by a teacher, principal, teacher’s aide, after-care person, pretty much anyone at school who wanted to let me know how my 9 year old had struggled, or excelled, or challenged, or helped, or refused, or initiated, or resisted, or accomplished, or missed, or resolved to do or say, or not do or say, pretty much anything.
Yet here I am and, I suspect, many of you are in similar places, similar states of mind. I wish I had simple, easy sage advice to get us all through this; to get you through the remaining parenting hurdles you face before COVID-19 recedes into memory; to stay connected to–or reconnect with–your spouse (or better yet to get over the desire to be anywhere but near him/her/them for one more day, minute, second). There are no easy answers to any of the quandaries we’re facing within ourselves, in our relationships, our families, with colleagues, friends and extended family these days.
So in lieu of offering advice, I’m going to provide a link to what I believe is a really interesting post by Stan Tatkin, a psychologist who wrote a fabulous book for couples entitled, Wired for Love. This post is actually for therapists who work with couples using his technique–which is called PACT–and while I’m not a therapist, PACT-trained or otherwise–I found his perspective on what we need to do to reconnect and support each other in the midst of this pandemic (and political crisis in the USA, and global climate crisis, and and and) very compelling. I hope you do too. Read: “How The Pandemic Has Changed Us.”