I don’t know how to parent well in a pandemic.

I don’t know how to juggle all the Zooms, all the homework, and all the different schedules for virtual learning without wanting to tear my hair out. I don’t know what to say when my frustrated and tearful children ask when they will be able to go back to “real” school. I don’t know how we can possibly continue this way of learning for several more months.

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I don’t know when to let things go. Is the feistiness coming from my 8-year-old something I need to address before it gets worse, or is it just a manifestation of all the ways his world has been turned upside down over the last seven months? Do I give extra grace or extra discipline?

I don’t know how to stop all the bickering between my kids. They never get a break from each other, and that is something they could both desperately use.

I don’t know how to share the weight of this mental load with my husband. Most of it falls onto me since I am with the kids 24/7, and he is able to escape to the office for eight hours a day. I am thankful for his job, but also a little resentful that I have to deal with all of this mostly on my own.

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I don’t know how to answer when my kids ask what Halloween will be like or Christmas or their birthdays. Will they get to go trick-or-treating? Will they get to see family? I don’t know what risks to take. I want to give them a normal holiday season, and I have no idea how to actually make that happen.

I don’t know how to fill up my own cup so I can continue to pour into others when I hardly ever get time to recharge. I don’t know how to not feel mentally and physically exhausted from the weight of everything that I have been carrying the last seven months.

I don’t know how to parent well in a pandemic.

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There is no manual for any of this. I can’t run to Barnes & Noble and pick up a copy of “What to Expect When You’re Expected To Parent in a Pandemic” to guide me through this season of parenting.

So I find myself returning over and over to the same mantra: Just take it one day at time.

I pray for guidance as I make impossible choices. I pray for extra patience. I try to flip my focus back to gratitude when I feel the heaviness of our current world washing over me.

And I suppose that is how we will all survive this season of parenting during a time of so much uncertainty—by taking it one day, one choice, and one positive thought at a time.

Mary Ann Blair

Mary Ann Blair is a stay-at-home mom living in the Pacific Northwest with her two little gentlemen and hubs. She loves connecting with other parents who like to keep it real! Her work has been published on Her View From Home, Motherly, A Fine Parent, Perfection Pending, That’s Inappropriate, Pregnant Chicken, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Red Tricycle and in Chicken Soup For the Soul. She can be found at maryannblair.com or on Facebook at Mary Ann Blair, Writer.