Parenting in a pandemic

During lockdown, we know that everyone’s lives have been impacted in different ways – as someone recently put, “we are in different boats in the same storm”. Whether that’s struggling with mental health, faith-related questions mounting, loneliness, parenting during lockdown, being on the front line, or even sadly losing a loved one, it’s safe to say that no one has gone untouched.

Here at the diocese we want to make sure that we talk about these things, which we will be doing in a new podcast in the coming weeks. But we also want to celebrate the snippets of joy and the hidden blessings that have been found during a time when our #everydayfaith looks very different. This week, we had the pleasure of catching up with Beth, a mum of 2-year-old Eliana, who shared about the ups and downs of parenting in a pandemic, but who also has seen God at work.

Beth was very honest about the challenges she has faced, which undoubtedly many parents will relate to: “Being a mum in lockdown is mixed, there are big ups and downs, and one day to the next is unpredictable as my mood might change, or Eliana’s might change – especially as she is processing what’s going on in such a different way.”

“I’m used to having things on in the day such as mums and tots groups, and my daughter is brilliant company, but I’m an external processor, so I’ve also found not being able to talk to lots of people as I go about my day difficult. A particular challenge has also been remembering what I need, when it’s easy to worry solely about fulfilling my daughter’s needs. God has been challenging me to do a bit more self-care, and remember that actually, that’s okay.”

Despite the challenges however, Beth has been doing a great job of keeping Eliana active and bringing in #everydayfaith to the activities they do together. Before Easter, inspired by a Facebook group Beth had joined, the pair were working through the Jesus Story Book Bible, and doing an activity or craft to help Eliana remember what she was learning. Now it’s after Easter, they have gone back to the story of creation.

“It varies how well it goes, but there’s something really precious for me about slowing down and looking at small bits of the bible at a time. Yesterday we did the darkness becoming light, and about the trees. I used a blanket to demonstrate the dark vs light, and the sea and sky. Then today as we did the next couple of pages we were looking at animals, so we made a peacock. It is amazing to see her understanding that God made these things!”

Easter was a particularly memorable time for Beth, her husband Jon, and Eliana. “We spent time doing communion alone together, and washed Eliana’s dolls’ feet to demonstrate Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Having the time to do that was so special because we’d never normally slow down enough to do something like that on Easter Sunday – it felt like a true celebration of Jesus!”

As a family, they are also talking about their good and bad things of the day, as well as having a set time at the keyboard singing some worship songs and dancing every day, and it’s been a joy for Beth and Jon to see Eliana start to thank God for things at the end of the day as her language develops. Beth reiterated that despite the challenges of being a mum on lockdown, that there are many hidden blessings, and that she’s loving spending more time with Eliana, and making her #everydayfaith such a key part of her daughter’s life too.

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