To My Kid-Free Peers: Please Give Parents Some Grace Right Now

To My Kid-Free Peers: Please Give Parents Some Grace Right Now

We could all use some grace. But parents right now are drowning. We’re drowning in distance learning. We’re drowning in work or worse, unpaid bills. We’re drowning in anxiety over a pandemic that has no end in sight, an economy in shambles, and a broken system.

And we’re drowning in our own unmet needs.

When I say to please give parents some grace right now, I mean let the caregivers of children in your lives know that of all the balls they’re juggling right now, the ball you just threw isn’t made of glass and it’s ok if it was dropped.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a very strong support system that helps care for my kids so I can work. Both my partner and I have our jobs. And distance learning hasn’t been too rocky for my school-aged child.

But I still can’t shake the feeling that when I say to someone I can’t make their 5 p.m. meeting because I have to care for my kids, I’m being judged for not prioritizing their request over my child’s needs. 

I had this problem before the pandemic too. Only I would be trapped in a building face-to-face with my captor. But still, in some ways it’s gotten worse. Now I feel trapped in my own home office with little ones screaming like hyaenas, playing Zoom DJ and pressing mute-unmute throughout a video conference call.

And I get it, we’re all working through crisis after crisis and some assignments just can’t wait until Monday.

But let’s be judicious about the ones that can. And if a parent says they can’t because they don’t have the time, believe them. Even the ones that don’t have a nine-to-five.

I know I’m not alone in this. In fact, enough of us feel this way that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said recently that he’s worried about the women, children, and business owners who face long-term consequences from the coronavirus pandemic:

“It’s women who are not by choice out of the labor market…It’s kids who are not getting the education they should be getting. It’s small businesses with generations of intellectual capital that is being destroyed, and it’s just workers who have been out of work for a long period of time and losing their connection to the labor force and losing the life that they had.”

Parents are currently sandwiched between so much, from older parents at higher risk of serious illness to kids losing their quality education, family-owned businesses struggling to keep the lights on and primary caregivers deciding if it’s best to pause job searching to stay home and provide distance learning support or risk kids going back to school. 

Please give parents some grace.

There always seems to be a choice to make with no perfect outcome. And the stress is taking its toll without any signs of letting up. With COVID-19 cases rising in most of the country and the holidays around the corner, the stress of being a parent comes with a whole new checklist of demands for our families. 

So, please don’t ask parents to solve more problems. Please give parents some grace if you can. Because right now, they need their problems solved. And maybe, if you don’t have kids, you can be the one to help them and our next generation.

After all, you might not have kids, but these kids will one day be our future. 

To My Kid-Free Peers: Please Give Parents Some Grace Right Now PIN