Parenting is not easy, especially during pandemic

I had great dreams for myself as a parent before I became one.

I was going to spend each and every day laughing with and enjoying my children (back when I thought I would have more than one). I remember thinking once that my best friend, who at the time was experiencing a trying moment with her 7- or 8-year-old twins, should just have a better sense of humor. Then things would go so much more smoothly.

I now find that hilarious.

Just last night I told Ainsley I don't have a sense of humor after 9 p.m. I'm not sure I have one after 8, to be honest.

I also envisioned passing along all the wisdom I've accumulated to help make my child's life easier. I pictured her listening attentively, absorbing everything I had to say. Instead, I hear, "Mom, I am NOT talking about that."

I also pictured myself talking in a neutral-tone voice, even when I was upset. I was not going to get angry or yell.

Also hilarious.

Of course, the past year might not be the best one to examine for examples of parenting excellence. After all, our family has felt additional stress during the pandemic, like everyone else. We've worried about my husband's job. We lost my mom, and were unable to visit my father-in-law in assisted living. We quarantined while Dan endured a mild case of COVID-19. We were forced to adapt to remote school.

But there have been some moments when I've gotten things right.

We've had some meaningful talks about death and loss after my mom passed away in November. Ainsley told me this week she's trying to make it up to God for being mad at him each time she lost a grandmother. I told her God has heard worse. And He can take it.

Recently while trying to help Ainsley determine the surface area of a prism (a calculation I am confident she will never, ever have to complete in real life) we broke through our frustration to share a moment of levity. At one point, after covering a sheet of legal paper with multiplication and addition, , Ainsley informed me of one key point.

"You know, I can use a calculator," she told me.

"Go get it!" I replied. No reproaches about wasted time. Just a shared laugh. Fortunately it was 8 a.m. and my sense of humor was still intact.

- Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean