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Pandemic Parenting: Lowering the Bar

Hey there, parents. Anyone else struggling right now? This whole “parenting in a pandemic” situation is really, really hard.

In addition to providing basic care to our children, many of us also expected to help them learn remotely (or, if you’re still in the baby/toddler/preschool crowd, provide around-the-clock entertainment), prepare, feed and CLEAN the endless train of snacks and meals (seriously, did you know kids could eat so much??!), keep the house tidy and, you know, work (HA!) — and all of this while trying to generally just be good parents who don’t lose their ever-loving minds countless times a day (oops).

parenting in a pandemic

NONE of this^^ feels practical to do to a standard that we would normally strive for. We literally cannot do all the things (or at least do them well). And yet, many of us are still feeling this intense pressure (and related stress) to not only keep our kids — from babies to toddlers to school-aged kids — stimulated while they’re stuck at home, but also keep things running just as we would have if life were still… normal. Because in the face of absolute uncertainty, keeping things as familiar as possible can do wonders to ease kids’ worries (and yours).

parenting in a pandemic

But life is anything but “the same.” COVID has robbed all of us of our social connections, our security, and our already-limited time and resources; and trying to offer our children everything we think they need and deserve, on top of all the grief we’re coping with right now can feel like Mission Impossible. No, it IS Mission Impossible. Sure there will be days where all the boxes will get checked, but on most days, only some (or perhaps even none) of them will.

That’s okay.

There truly is no playbook for how to parent during a pandemic… That said, if there were, we’re pretty sure commandment #1 would be this: LOWER THE FREAKING BAR.

That’s what we’re here for: to remind you that, no matter how you’re parenting, you actually don’t have to “do it all” right now (or ever). Cut your expectations in half, and then cut back on them some more. Just… really, keep it to the minimum.

parenting in a pandemic

As my first grader’s teacher told us, “as long as your children are happy(ish), healthy(ish), fed and taken care of, that’s what matters most. If they learn some things throughout the day, great! But don’t be too hard on yourselves. Just do what works best for your family.”

Well, phew.

Sometimes it feels like we just need permission — so can we all just agree to give it to each other? To ourselves? Let’s take a deep breath and be okay to lower the bar. Like, wayyyyyy down.

Parents, please tell us how you have adjusted to this new “reality.” In what ways have you lowered the “parenting bar” since the start of this pandemic? Please share your answers with us in the comments below!

In the meantime, let’s all cut ourselves some slack and know that we’re doing our best, okay? Here’s to managing life as a “good enough” quarantined parent.


  1. You’re right, let’s stop trying to do everything and just be with our kids. It’s stressful enough we just need to slow down and be .

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