Pinot & Parenting Guest blog for Gender Reveal Game
By Amy Manos
Bio info available here: https://www.pinotandparenting.com/about/
It’s no understatement to say that COVID-19 dramatically changed life as we know it. From work, to school, to the way we grocery shop – nearly every minute of every day has been affected in some way. And while the choices we have to make as parents have become increasingly difficult, my goals haven’t changed: raise kind humans, don’t mess them up, and try not to lose my mind in the process – and I know I’m not alone. I embarked on a mission to connect with a few fellow moms to see how they were adapting to raise kids during a pandemic and I’m so excited to share a few highlights!
Ahhh, Pregnancy. Hailed as one of the most beautiful stages of life (which it is), but one that also may come with uncertainty without the added stress of a global pandemic. Factor in our current events, and pregnancy can seem pretty daunting. But even in the face of a pandemic, parents everywhere are still finding ways to celebrate the beauty of a new baby!
Pregnancy is often spent surrounded by loved ones while being showered with gifts and attention. Not only are baby showers a fun memorable day to spend with friends and family, but many parents rely heavily on the baby gear and advice given at baby showers, especially first time parents. But, when you consider all the unknowns of COVID-19 and the tiny human growing in your stomach, the thought of gathering for a baby shower can be pretty sketch. So what’s an expectant mother to do?
Drive-Thru Baby Shower
“Drive-thru” style celebrations have become very popular in the wake of COVID-19. Lifestyle blogger Ayana Lage has to have one of my favorite “drive-thru” celebrations I’ve seen to date. I was super excited when she was on board with me including this because her celebration was a straight up masterpiece. It’s clear that just as much thought went into this special day as it would have for an in person gathering.
There was a gorgeous backdrop and decor, and they even passed out charcuterie boxes that guests could munch on in their cars! They truly thought of everything and it was a beautiful day. If I ever need to plan a drive through baby shower, she’s who I’m calling! She even included a list of tips in case you are thinking of hosting your own drive-thru celebration, you can read them here.
I mean how gorgeous is this? She is clearly far more organized than I ever was while pregnant, even the invite is adorable and reminds guests to stay safe. Pop over to her page for all the details. While you are there, tell her CONGRATS! Her beautiful baby girl just made a surprise arrival a month early. It’s a good thing they had their drive by celebration when they did!
Online Gender Reveal
Of course, The Gender Reveal Game can’t go without mention for moms-to-be. The concept of the game couldn’t be more perfect for gender reveals in the era of COVID. No in-person interaction needed whatsoever meaning no risk. It’s a fun chance to connect with friends and loved ones, AND you can raise some money to prepare for baby. With so many expectant parents forgoing a traditional baby shower due to shelter in place orders, and parents left unexpectedly without income, these funds are especially helpful. The average parent pockets over $200 when using Gender Reveal Game!
One thing I really loved when learning more about the game was the many parents that decided to donate their proceeds from the game to charity. It struck me as such a fun and unique way to raise money for a cause you are passionate about! I know many charities and organizations are struggling with donations being down, so this is a great way to give back during these rough times.
Giving Birth During COVID
One of my best friends recently had her first baby so I had a front row seat to the ups and downs of pregnancy during a pandemic. After over a decade of love growing between her and her husband, we would finally get to meet their little mini. I remember they told me and my husband and their happy news on a trip we had taken into the city, long before COVID was a trending topic. We frolicked around San Francisco, unaware how happy we should be to be in public without a mask.
Fast forward a few insane months later, and we talked on the phone wondering if she would be required to wear a mask during labor? Would her husband be allowed in the room? Would their families be able to come and meet the baby at the hospital?
Ultimately, they found creative solutions for these challenges, from maternity pictures on their porch taken by socially distanced friends, to hours on facetime introducing their new bundle of joy to loved ones. She had an uncomplicated birth without a mask, with her husband by her side.
But – the pandemic has also made it more difficult for new moms to receive help after bringing baby home. Long gone are the days of friends showing up with home baked casseroles and just popping over to hold baby while mom sneaks in a quick shower. Each visit is a calculated risk, and it can be exhausting. If you have a friend giving birth during the pandemic, reach out with a phone call or text, send gift certificates for Door Dash or Uber Eats, be understanding if the new parents aren’t ready for you to meet baby. Just being a friend with a listening ear can mean the world to a new mom suddenly buried in dirty diapers and social isolation.
School Age Moms
Anyone else love throwing birthday parties? And no, I’m not being facetious, I really love them! But the best part is spending time with loved ones, and that is another no-go activity in the time of COVID. Moms aren’t letting us down though! We’ve seen some truly creative ways to enjoy some special time for birthdays. We opted for a drive-thru style birthday party last month for our oldest, and had a shaved ice truck out front to help guests cool off in the summer heat.
Another popular option is a Zoom birthday party. We recently attended our first one and it was super fun! I really loved how it also made it possible for family members to attend who were far away and may not have normally been able to attend. The birthday girl loved getting birthday shoutouts from friends and family from all over the state! We enjoyed some dessert together, some friends made signs, and we sang her happy birthday and watched her blow out her candles. It wasn’t quite the same as an in-person gathering, but it was still a very special and fun celebration for all!
We just started the school year at home. A sentence I NEVER thought I would speak. EVER. But here we are, rocking it. And what a rollercoaster it has been. Not only that, but I am balancing working from home with it all. Frankly, I’m still not sure how it all works but there’s a lot of wine and not as much crying lately, so I’ll take it.
One thing that keeps coming up in talks with fellow working-from-home-while-homeschooling-moms is the benefits of a good old fashioned calendar. Preferably with a lot of color coding. I myself and an obsessive maker of lists, but some of these ladies really shine here. They are so organized! Literally down to what day their child is bathing, which quite frankly I think some adults could use too. Hey, I get it. Quarantine has been a trip and sometimes it’s hard to remember what day it is.
Check out this example from a mom in a mom group I’m in, I’ve redacted their names for privacy. The idea of putting this together seems a little daunting, but I think it could be a huge help. I’ve decided to try a paired down version of this schedule because frankly I will never be THIS organized, but I am excited to try and find out what works for us.
One thing that has definitely worked to make the new school year a little more exciting for our boys was putting together their distance learning work area. The boys were super excited to pick out stickers for their new computers and bins to store their supplies. I even splurged for a pencil bag & stationery set from the Disney store. They were actually looking forward to using their new supplies, sitting in their new chairs, and seeing their friends even if it had to be on Zoom. Be sure to hop over to Pinot & Parenting to give us a follow, we just revealed their distance learning work area and shared a few of my favorite items we purchased to make home school life easier!
As it turns out, not everything coming out of this pandemic is bad. The effects of global warming are improving, many families are getting more quality time together, and birth outcomes in our country have improved. However, it is important to note that while birth outcomes have improved overall, many factors can disproportionately harm Black mothers after delivery so there is still much to be improved upon when it comes to delivery of care amid the pandemic.
Whether your baby is 3 months or 13 years old, this pandemic has been tough on us all. Give yourself some grace and a great big hug while you are at it. Ultimately, I am committed to not let COVID be the destruction of life as we know it, but an unexpected catapult into a changed world. One where we have more time to stop and smell the roses and spend time with loved ones. One where we realize how lucky we are to be outside smelling them and have time with those around us. One where roses grow in abundance due to a cleaner, healthier, more accepting world for all. We just have to get there.