Updated: Sep 1, 2021
Parenting is hard!
At the same time, it is incredibly rewarding. We have countless choices to make (even during normal times), but parenting during a global pandemic has added exponential uncertainty and decision fatigue to this challenging role.
As a mom of four little ones, the past year and a half has been exhausting. Trying to navigate all of my family's needs, maintain some semblance of normalcy, and tend to my own mental health has been an incredible challenge. When the pandemic started, we had a brand new baby who had just come home from the NICU after struggling with respiratory issues. I'm relieved to say that she is healthy now, but her fragile state made us all the more concerned about COVID.
Virtual school didn't work out for us, and we ended up deciding to homeschool our older three children (ages 4, 6, and 8). Our version of homeschooling involved reading lots of books, playing board games with math in them, and watching documentaries about animals. We hung a ninja warrior course in the basement and our kids spent most of the year in their pajamas hanging from the ceiling.
To add to the chaos, my husband and I are both physicians, and had to work on the front lines at the hospital. I am a pediatric emergency physician, and I was terrified of bringing COVID home to my little ones. I have always worked in high-stakes situations in the ER, but this year everything felt more stressful. Dealing with all the COVID surges, changes in workflows, wearing PPE, and losing staff was hard on my colleagues. Parents and patients were more stressed than usual, and navigating all those emotions made every shift feel exhausting.
We cannot underestimate the effect of the global disruption of the past year. As humans, we are collectively frazzled, overwhelmed, and uncertain about the future. As parents, we have had to navigate health concerns, homeschooling, virtual schooling, or working from home. For medical concerns, there are endless sources of misinformation for parents online that can add to confusion and anxiety.
I am accustomed to working with anxious parents. I love to connect with parents and equip them with the knowledge they need to feel empowered to care for their child. Becoming a parent myself had a huge impact on my career as a pediatrician. The best way I have heard parenthood described is "deciding forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." It is such a huge responsibility to care for a child, and when your child is sick, it is normal to feel panicked and overwhelmed. Even with my extensive medical training, I feel worried when something is wrong with one of my own kids! But one of the things I help parents understand is that children are profoundly resilient. The vast majority of the time, children's amazing little bodies heal themselves.
This blog is my attempt to provide genuine, trustworthy information to parents about pediatric care. I will also share my journey of being a mom of four and pediatric emergency physician, including my thoughts, learnings, and experiences that may resonate with you on your own path.
Thanks for reading!