Ed Center: Parenting in the Pandemic

Save ArticleSave Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

Parenting through the pandemic has been tough work for many parents, and sometimes neither parent nor child is at their best. Ed Center has this Perspective.

The robins woke me up early on Sunday. They've been so loud this year. I got up, made coffee and made a note to be a better dad.

I wasn’t a good one the day before. A trip to Golden Gate Park resulted in my kids bickering and screaming. I screamed back, then walked the three miles home without my husband and the kids. Pandemic parenting is the hardest thing I've ever done. There are times when my nine-year-old son throws things or yells that he hates me. I know he is scared and hurt, and I need to attend to the wounds in his soul. But I end up screaming back because my soul is wounded too.

I miss our community. Since we adopted the boys, our friends have surrounded us. Quarantine interrupted those connections. Uncle Jeff hosts virtual Science Saturday lessons and Auntie Maveric reads bedtime stories through a screen. But I want them to arrive with hugs, ice cream, and wine. It’s been hard and lonely.

My husband sits with me when it all seems too big, most recently on the kitchen floor amongst old, cold rice because I smashed the plastic Tupperware until it shattered. He waits through the tears and short breath. He lets me walk myself back from the edge. We trade dark humor as he sweeps and I cook a fresh pot of rice.


He is calm water through all of this, flowing naturally in this strange situation. He points out that I keep showing up. He reminds me that I’m the best at fort-building and breakfast dance parties.  I witness his super power; the ability to nudge us from one day to the next.

The robins wake me up before five each morning, singing out their unending to-do list. There are hatchlings to feed and nests to rebuild. I sip my coffee and pay attention. Maybe persistence is my super power. Today I can breathe, be gentle with myself and try again to be a better dad.

With a Perspective, I’m Ed Center.

Ed Center quarantines with his family and listens to the birds in the Western Addition.