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Coping with the challenges of looking after four kids during the lockdown, Daniella laments: “I literally have no idea how this is supposed to work”

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“I taunt myself with the idea of how my kids will look back and see their childhood, specifically me in their childhood.” | Photo: Allen Taylor (Unsplash)

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People seem to love comparing misery. It’s as though there’s a $10-million prize for ‘who has it worst,’ because if you’re ever been in a room full of parents, they’re all vying for the title. 

Don’t you dare say you’re tired to the mom of twins, if you value your life; better not to tell the single dad you’re still a bit hungover from drinks with the boys. In a COVID world, it seems this game of ‘who has it worst’ has replaced Candy Crush. Everyone is vying for the title of ‘most exhausted’ and ‘I have it worst.’ I’m here to tell you that we all have it rough. This is hard for everyone. Our circumstances may make life easier for many of us, but that doesn’t take away from this being hard.

Someone from a particular group can express hardship, without diminishing anyone else’s.

With that in mind, I am here to say that the solo parents are not okay. I am writing this in between two Zooms, for two different children, which are scheduled at the same time. I am looking at my kitchen, which is covered in flour from my son’s attempt to make pizza, and my younger two children are literally fighting over my head right now as I type.

Again, I am not saying that non-single parents don’t experience this. In fact, I would much rather be in isolation alone, than in a bad, unhealthy, or unsafe relationship. But the alternative, a genuine partner to share this burden with, would be great just about now.

I am really at a loss for how this is supposed to be done. I have four children who all need help with their classes and assignments. And I have freelance work to do. I literally have no idea how this is supposed to work.

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Tonight, three of my kids went to bed mad at me. Usually, this has me feeling terrible about myself. It probes at my worth as a parent and my value as a human being. But tonight, I just didn’t care. Their anger rolled off me like my threats to throw out their tablets rolled off them.

I am edging the brink of apathy. Sheer apathy. The kind that just lets the kids play on tablets, listen to music all day, and eat pizza every day for lunch. Not because I don’t want better for them, not because I want to increase my internet bill, but because I just cannot do more.

I taunt myself with the idea of how my kids will look back and see their childhood, specifically me in their childhood. I will readily admit this is a narcissistic exercise that yields little benefit to my own mental health. I can sit on the couch, watch Supergirl with my daughter, and bond over the events transpiring in the show.

“There is so much I cannot do. I am one person, sorely outnumbered. And I feel it. I feel overwhelmed. I feel like I am not enough.” | Photo: Camila Quintero Franco (Unsplash)

I can take them on scooter walks, and yell “stop at the road” from 10 feet behind. I can take them on drives to Starbucks drive-throughs. Above all, there is another thing I can do now that hopefully they look back on and smile. I can tuck them into bed with bedtime stories and cuddles.

I have actually come to really enjoy bedtime with my kids during this time. Not just because it signals the day is blessedly over, but because it’s a time for connection and repair. Someone once told me that healing is in the repair. Bedtime with my kids has become a chance to heal from the craziness of the day, to mend the verbal wounds we may have inflicted on one another out of frustration, to restore the expression of love between us.

There is so much I cannot do. I am one person, sorely outnumbered. And I feel it. I feel overwhelmed. I feel like I am not enough. I feel like I am forever not doing enough. And I have to accept that this is all true, and there is nothing I can do about it.  

But one thing I can do is show my kids love in the way I know how to, through affection, through care, and through the assurance that I am here. Always.

Like always here. But seriously always. I go nowhere. Ever.

Daniella English is the author of the acclaimed blog The Not So Single Life. She has written for various publications such as Savvymom and the CJN, and is now a columnist with TheJ.ca. She has been featured on What She Said Talks and The AM 640 Dating and Relationship Show.

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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