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Parenting

The year that was

Well, 2020 was certainly … something.

Dan was out of work for about two-and-a-half months due to the pandemic, so the boys were out of pre-school during that time, as well. My job stayed open, as animal healthcare is pretty essential (despite our state not including us in their definition). So Dan became a stay-at-home dad during a very difficult time to be stuck at home.

Parenting in general is very hard for me, as a person living with bipolar disorder, but parenting during COVID-lockdown when you struggle with your mental health on a good day? Holy shit. My stress level saw new highs I dared hope it never would.

When things started to return to semi-normal for us (Dan back at work and boys back in school), it was still hard because we couldn’t go anywhere. Or do anything. The boys have long required rescue inhalers to get over a common cold, so we were not about to take unnecessary risks. There was lots of food delivery and I was pretty much the only one that went to the store for months.

We felt so bad about not taking the boys to the park or playground … or anywhere … that we bought them a big playset for the backyard. Swings! Trapeze! Monkey bars! Climbing wall! Slide! Clubhouse! This thing is ridiculous. But so was the guilt in not taking them places. And so was their extreme restlessness at not having anything to do besides run around in circles in the backyard or ride bikes (which is not high on their list of fun things to do, for whatever reason).

So now, we find ourselves here. In 2021. With maybe a glimmer of hope of this long nightmare coming to end at some point. But I am fried. I have burned myself out. My level of patience has become almost non-existent as I deal with 5-year-old temper tantrums day in and day out.

Too many times I find myself thinking terrible things like this is why I didn’t want kids. But I did want them. It’s not like I was coerced or accidentally got pregnant. We made a conscious decision to try to get pregnant. Now the whole having-twins things, that was not at all in our realm of thought when we decided to go down this road.

Do any other parents out there feel this way sometimes? Mental health issues or not, being a mom (or dad) is really tough these days.