August 13, 2020
I write to you as Julian is napping and Ian is working in the office. This has become the norm for me - doing focused sprints of work while my little one naps or Ian is with him. We refer to it as the pandemic parenting shuffle. Working fulltime and taking care of Julian fulltime has been a nonstop source of learning how to work as efficiently as possible, prioritizing tasks by what can be interrupted and what cannot so I can stack the non-interruptible tasks on Tuesdays or Thursday afternoons when Ian is point parent with Julian or after Julian goes down for the night.
Ian and I are so incredibly grateful to have work that allows us to navigate the pandemic parenting shuffle with relative ease. I am have been so grateful to our team at Calvary who understands that I may need to hop off a call for a moment to get Julian down for a nap or up from one, gracious if Julian is having a rough day and crying while I have him and am on a call, or willing to shift meetings to days when Ian is with him so I can offer my full attention. I realize this is not the case for many (if not most) families and it makes me want to figure out how our congregation can offer support to our families and to express my deepest gratitude for being able to care for my kid in the ways we are able to.
For any of you who are doing your own version of the pandemic parenting shuffle and have the added complexities of children who are mobile and/or in school please know you are in our thoughts often and certainly in our prayers. You have learned how to do your jobs in new ways, if you are not working from home you have had to learn how to manage tasks at home with additional people around who need your attention, you have figured out how to support your children’s education from home, and you have navigated a summer without the typical supports of camps, pools, or dropping them off at other people’s homes without concerns or safety measures in place. Y’all are true heroes - and I do not mean that sarcastically. You are keeping so many things going and without many of the support systems you once had. If you haven’t heard it lately, you are doing a great job!
As schools prepare to start the 2020/2021 academic year many families have had to make incredibly difficult decisions around homeschooling, hybrid models, or going back to the classroom fulltime. And within our congregation we have teachers, aides, and administrators who have been trying to prepare for a new school year without being certain how class will happen and now that there is an initial approach determined they still do not know if that will be the reality throughout the year. Quite a few of these folks are parents themselves so they have had to navigate it both professionally and personally.
These decisions have not been easy for anyone and I wanted to take the time to say whatever decision you have made for your family well done. Any decision brings up its own complexities and you have done the best you could given the pandemic dynamics you have had to consider. Thank you for making the best decision for your family and I pray you have a sense of peace about it.
If you are living the pandemic parenting shuffle - in whatever capacity you are - I pray you are doing well. I pray you have a quaren-team that can support you and if there are any ways (tech support, tutoring from a social distance or via zoom, running errands, mask making, etc.) that we as your Calvary community can be there for you please let me know. It is a difficult time for all of us and if there are ways we can be there for one another I pray we know the needs and are able to respond.
While our version of the pandemic parenting shuffle has been relatively easy in comparison to most, I have learned that comparing is not helpful. I can admit it has been difficult for Ian and I and in allowing the needs of work and of Julian to be ever-shifting and addressing new dynamics as they arise I can lean into empathy for those who are living their version of the pandemic parenting shuffle. May all of us be able to cheer each other on, find ways to support one another, and acknowledge that the pandemic has thrown all of us curveballs and we are all doing the best we can - kids, no kids, partnerships, or single.
To all of us within the Calvary community, keep up the good work. You are doing a great job!