Parenting Past the Prairie | Parenting Through COVID-19

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So, I binged the first season of Little House on the Prairie over Mother’s Day weekend. What? That’s not what you did?

Well, let’s be honest, it’s not like my annual massage and date night (sans the kiddos) was happening. Consider that plan #82 canceled courtesy of COVID-19.

Anyway, back to The Ingalls. In episode 19, Typhoid (the plague) was unleashed on an unexpecting Walnut Grove, forcing the small community to remain quarantined to their homes. Charles became exposed, resulting in him no longer being able to return home, leaving Caroline alone with their three children until the cause of spread was determined and contained.

I suspect the written theme of this episode was intended around the importance of showing up for others; as Charles used his time away to aid the many fallen patients throughout the small town. And while that note was taken; that is not admittedly where my main focus was drawn.

All I could do was “eyeball” Caroline, and how she was responding to this quarantine with her small children. And, what did I see? Three children with a balanced set of chores, school, play, and scripture. Caroline seemingly never losing footing, and despite the daring sense that her husband may be infected with a deadly disease: no vulnerable emotion shown, just that of strength.

Picture source here.

Let me guess. Your first response in reading is, “Well duh. What did you expect? It’s a TV show. Of course, she handled it without flaw.”

Can we rest in that response for a moment?

Why can we so easily separate ‘script from reality’ on TV, but we struggle on social media?

This “social distancing, quarantine, six feet minimum, what did the governor say today” way of life has been weird. And, hard. I can’t speak for other moms, but I suspect that I’m not alone in wondering if I’m navigating through it all okay. And my easiest, quickest, push of a button form of reference directs me to Facebook. And, Instagram. And, Snapchat. All of which leads me back to Episode 19 of Little House on the Prairie.

There is such a strong sense of community and collaboration throughout social media. It is in that medium that I so value and appreciate it. But, this season (and every season) of motherhood is tough. And, the headwinds we’re up against now have us especially questioning every move we make and don’t make.

In that, I can’t help but wonder, what if we remained mindful of the “duh!” What if when we drift over the moments that highlight someone as “without flaw”, we entrust that while they are in fact incredible, they too, are with a flaw?

The refuge this offers may be abundant. Not in a, “my weakness is justified by your weakness”; but rather, that we are all connected. And, what if your strength can match that of my needs. And, vice versa. In the mix of quarantine, many of us are trying to figure out how to keep “getting up” despite the headwinds.

I am here to suggest that this is all too big to do by ourselves. That we have to connect our experiences in order to: feel less alone, more normal, and less shame, guilt, and worry. It’s time to shine love and light into others through our resources, strengths, and tenacity.

When you have it, I may need it. And perhaps, it may work the other way around, too.

Let us not compare, but conquer. As we are always, no matter what, better together.

About the Author

My name is Alissa Swarts. I live in Grimes, IA with my husband and two daughters, Bostyn (8) and Greenley (6). Throughout the school year, I am an educational facilitator in a number of school districts throughout SE Iowa. I’m currently involved in the North Ride Elementary PTO, Junior Achievement, Girl Scouts, and BIO (Beautiful Inside & Out) Girls. When given free time, our family really enjoys game nights, going to the movie, camping, bike rides, traveling and spending time with family & friends.


Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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