“I am not doing this well,” Brianna Sharpe told HuffPost Canada. The mom of two has been struggling to strike the balance between tending to the many needs of her energetic, “high-input” kids — who are three and five years old — while still carving out a few moments of peace for herself.
“These days, the windows for self care are much smaller and much shorter than they once were,” she says. “We’re two parents who have lots of resources, but the kids seem to need us a lot right now.”
Before the pandemic, Sharpe had a small but mighty buffet of supports available to her. There was preschool, grandparents eager for a visit, the recreational centre down the street, where she could drop the kids off to rock climb or swim and take an hour and a half to herself, while they were occupied.
But since COVID-19 closed schools indefinitely and everyone has had to stay home, Sharpe has been stuck in her 900-square-foot home, in a still-wintry Calgary, splitting her time between working as a journalist and entertaining the kids. Her partner is still working full-time as a mental health clinician, and when he begins to work from home in a few weeks, he’ll still be busy most of the time, toiling away in a makeshift garage office.
Like many Canadian parents, Sharpe is struggling to make time for herself.
The importance of quiet time for parents
The other day, Sharpe’s husband got off work early. They made a plan: at staggered times, each would take two hours out of the day to relax. Neither would do any work.
“We were just going to do self-care,” she said, pausing for dramatic effect, “but it turned out the kids wanted both of us at the same time. They kept banging on my door, and so my two hours got eaten up trying to help manage them. Self care just has to look different these days.”
If “self-care” has started to sound like an empty buzzword to your skeptical ears, bandied around way too much by lifestyle bloggers, it’s likely because...