Whenever something crazy or unplanned happens in life I have a hilarious and witty question I like to ask my wife: Remember that time nothing happened?
Ok, so it’s not it’s not very witty or particularly helpful but it’s my way of trying to keep things light when the shit hits the fan.
Like, “honey, remember the time our son sat in Santa’s lap peacefully instead of him sitting on the floor staring grumpily at the camera refusing to go anywhere near him?”
Or, “remember the time when our daughter didn’t insist on making elephant toothpaste in the back yard and accidentally die her hands purple?”
The point is that we don’t remember the “normal” times. The times when everything goes as planned and we get those beautiful rustic family photos in the Southern October 85 degree weather without everyone sweating through their flannel.
Instead, we remember the time little Timmy took off his diaper at the Chick-fil-A playground while everyone stared in horror or when little Suzie spent the whole school play with her finger up her nose. Those are the stories we share with their friends and future in-laws because that’s the good stuff.
But we are in some unprecedented times right now and I’m not going to pretend that this is a good time to ask that question. Not about the actual crisis anyway. The likely global recession and potential overwhelming of our healthcare system are going to suck and I don’t think we are going to look back on those things fondly.
But I do think we might look back on how we spent this time with our kids and think, “That was actually kinda fun,” if we don’t kill them for their constant bickering and complaining that they can’t go to the trampoline park first.
Now, I know many of you are in situations that you didn’t plan for or even see coming months ago, hell even a couple weeks ago. But here you are, being called upon to juggle working from home with wrangling and schooling your brood. And I get it, you went to school to be an up and coming mid-level manager at an insurance company, not a homeschool teacher.
But here we are.
So I want to offer a few suggestions to help you get through these times without thinking about the madness happening all around you. And if you do at least one or two of these things you might realize that your kids are pretty cool and this whole thing may have actually been a good thing for your family in the end.
I mean, probably. Or this may turn into The Stand and you probably won’t have to worry about it anymore. See, silver linings abound!
Ok, here we go, a list of 10 things you can do to parent through the Cononapocalypse:
- Let your kids fail at stuff — Let them burn dinner and load the dishwasher wrong and use the weed-eater for the first time. Seriously, it will be ok.
- Make up a new game — Like kitchen smash ball or yard racing or basement socbasefoothullabaloo. All sports are made up anyway so just make up your own!
- Create new yoga poses — The Tired Dad Pose is my new personal favorite.
- Watch your old favorite movies — Warning: Mrs. Doubtfire is more stressful than you remember, just sayin’.
- Don’t spend every second with your kids — Let them explore. Let them be bored. You think God invented Netflix just for them to watch Paw Partol? The Office ain’t gonna watch itself and you kids need to get out of our room for a minute and find something to do!
- Learn something new with your kids — there are a bazillion things you can learn but Mark Rober is a great place to start. He’s hilarious, use to work at NASA, and just released a new video about Coronavirus.
- Kick their ass in Mario Kart — sometimes kids need to remember who the boss is around here.
- Have Christmas paper roll lightsaber battles. If the economy tanks no one’s getting Christmas presents this year anyway so use them for something!
- Just hang out — Sit on the deck and talk. Go for a nature walk in your back yard. Do coloring books together without talking.
- Cut yourself some slack — Some of this will be great, some of it will suck, and most of it will just be meh. Don’t think that you have to do this all perfectly because it’s just not going to happen.
Here’s the thing. If you don’t do any of the things on this list no one will care, certainly not me. It literally doesn’t matter what you do because there is no right or wrong way to do this thing. None of us have been through it before and we are all just making this up. But it would be a damn shame if we went through all this stress, worry, and uncertainty and we looked back on it and thought, man, I had all that time with my kids and I didn’t take advantage of it.
So try to stay calm, don’t doomsurf, and hopefully when we look back on this whole thing we will say, hey remember during the Coronapocalypse when nothing happened, it will be because we as a society avoided the worst of it by keeping to ourselves for a minute and not because we sat here waiting ‘round to die.
Have fun, be safe, and wash your damn hands!