We are all in this together, so let’s be honest: being a parent during this time is really hard.
Cue the Rolling Stones’ song that has been on repeat in my mind as I try to juggle being a conscious parent while working from home:
No, you can’t always get what you want
But if you try some time you find
You get what you need.
Well, what do we need? Apparently, two kittens, because I thought that would teach responsibility, structure and companionship for my 4-year-old daughter. Nope. This attempt to distract my only child and get a few minutes of “wanted” quiet time to finish an email just added to my own to-do list. It upsets her when they won’t play with her when she wants to play. Count on cats to teach you that not everyone will want to play with you when you want to play.
So, now this time has become about life lessons, big life lessons.
Social distancing, hand washing, death and the pandemic? My approach is to use honesty and simplicity in explaining our current situation to my daughter. At times it scares her, and at other times she says cool things like, “I want to make a letter for everyone that is sick so they are not alone.”
I’ve learned that no matter what is going on, my child just wants to be sitting right on top of me. I don’t blame her. In my crisis moments where the world feels scary, different and uncertain, I want to be held by my momma, too. My patience has grown, and my boundaries have softened because this time, as crazy as it is, will only last a short time (let’s hope) but the lessons are for life. I would rather my daughter remember the day we made an epic fort for her kittens than the day I sent off that email on time. I’ve learned to have forgiveness around my limitations. Still, the hypnosis machine (aka iPad) can really be beneficial for teaching them when you’ve run out of patience.
The thing that I realized I “needed” for this time was the utmost compassion for my little one and viewing the world through her eyes. She misses her friends, school and the park. Her beautiful spirit is reinvigorated with a walk around the block and undivided attention for a concentrated amount of time. So, we walk, we talk and we remember that we will get through this.
We welcome all feelings in our house. If someone is having a hard day or losing patience, we try our best to provide a safe space to feell all the feelings.
With both my husband and I working full-time jobs before the pandemic, we didn’t prioritize family time with a set “family meal,” holiday or even just a family walk. We were too busy moving through life at a pace we couldn’t keep up. Now, we are redefining our family unit, what we value as a family and, most importantly, how we spend our time together. May this be the ultimate lesson we bring into our new reality.
Alyshia Ochse is mom to 4-year-old Veeda and stars in Sony Pictures’ new drama #FreeRayshawn, a new series from Antoine Fucqua. Previous credits include HBO’s True Detective, How I Met Your Mother, HBO’s Ballers and USA’s Satisfaction. She is also author of “Life Letters,” a book about path and purpose.