New parenting balance under a pandemic-hit balmy sun

New parenting balance under a pandemic-hit balmy sun
'Creativity in Crisis' is an anthology of short stories capturing the authentic experiences of 26 British Indian key workers, parents and educators through the coronavirus lockdown. Here is the second in a series from a mother in the backyard of a quiet London garden.
As a mother, coronavirus has given me the opportunity to stop, slow down and introspect. It is hard to believe that the world falling on its knees in the wake of a global pandemic has forced many of us parents to awaken to the brutal truth that up until now, we just haven't truly got the balance of parenting right. It was in the hue of the balmy sun filled Saturday afternoon of the Easter weekend that I lay on the picnic mat on the freshly cut grass of our small but plentiful back garden with my beautiful little boy staring into my eyes. At that moment, it struck me. Where have the last five years gone?

Undivided attention

Two weeks overdue, bringing with him considerable birthing and postpartum hardship, that wondrous small bundle of new life, had now flourished into this chatty, handsome, rotund little boy with a cheeky glint in his eye and a smile to melt even the hardest of hearts. It was on this mat that his small hands caressed the back of my arm, with his forehead wedged against mine and a look of complete love and awe as he revelled in the opportunity to have my undivided attention.
The sun enveloped us with its embrace and in this moment, I was at peace and fully sure of myself that so many more moments of stillness like this with my son should have happened up until now and should continue to happen going forward.

Forced confinement

Prior to this forced confinement in our homes, our lives had been fast; two parents holding down careers in central London whilst leading full on social lives, managing a home, as well as trying to ensure we are contributing members of society to the best of our ability. Our boy had fallen into step with this pace of life, spending long (but might I add happy) hours at school throughout the week followed by the obligatory packed weekend schedule full of classes, birthday parties and other family commitments.
Covid-19 silently and unashamedly knocked on our doors with chaos, upheaval, economic turmoil, death, loss, grief, a stretched and overworked the NHS and facets of our vulnerable community threatened by this silent killer. Whilst this tumultuous period plays out on the global scene outside the four walls of our home, here in our bubble, our moments of being present, our moments of connectivity, the opportunities to go back to the raw basic principles of quality family time have increased. And right now, we are happy.

Lessons for life

We play, we have long weekend breakfasts and more dinners around the table, we exercise and walk together, we talk and share, we innovate to bring joy into our daily lives, we team better and most importantly we laugh even more.
Coronavirus, in time, will lay down its weapons and a broken world will attempt to rebuild after this battle. But my hope is that these cherished moments, the gift of time brought to us in the midst of crisis, and the realisations that have come with it, will stay.
As we lie here in the hue of the balmy weekend sun, he turns, eyes wide and beaming and says to me: “Mummy it's been a great day, hasn't it ”
“It has my baby,” I say, “it has.”
by Shivani Pala
*As published in 'Creativity in Crisis', Tattva Press, an independent publisher, with a mission to nurture aspiring authors and ideas at the frontiers of Indian culture. All proceeds from this publication will be donated to the National Emergencies Trust (NET)'s Coronavirus Appeal. Buy a copy and find out more:

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