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The Truth About Life at Home During a Pandemic

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The truth about life at home during a pandemic from the perspective of a mom. Is it all sunshine and rainbows? Should I feel guilty for not doing more? Here’s what one mom in the trenches had to say.

The week after Spring Break, a friend sent me a Marco Polo and said, “I know you’re loving that you have all your babies at home and don’t have to send them to school.”

She wasn’t wrong.

I love having my kids home. I live for school breaks and summer when we can spend all the time in the world together and just be.

There is something magical that happens in the carefree days of summer with an ever-changing loose schedule of sorts.

I’ve purposefully never overscheduled my kids. They can all choose one activity to participate in. It’s awesome when they all choose the same thing or if their activity is before school. I don’t want them to buy into the belief that they always have to be busy. 

The Truth About Life at Home During a Pandemic

Teaching them to live a life of simplicity and joy while loving Jesus has always been my hard-fought goal.

The idea that this time of sheltering in place is a blessing in disguise is circling around the internet and social media. While to some extent I agree, it seems to be based on a notion that parents aren’t essential workers. That their days aren’t full of school video chats, finishing assignments that do influence their grades, and completed work for art, music, and PE.

These are not the lazy days of summer when we have not a care in the world.

These are stressful days of crisis learning where moms are struggling with insomnia but have to get up and help facilitate general education classes plus specials assignments. Where there is no tag-teaming because their spouse is an essential worker.

Home no longer feels safe to them because having an essential worker in your home means when they return, they could bring with them any number of things.

New returning home procedures include no more hugs when they come through the door, needing to have the washer and dryer empty so their clothes can be washed immediately, and for some even living in a completely separate area of the house so they don’t inadvertently infect their family.

For us, it’s me making sense of lesson plans for four different grades, plus music, art, and physical education while working from home trying to meet deadlines for projects. I can’t send my children outside to play and explore in the backyard because we live in an apartment on the second floor. We have the added strain of trying to social distance while living on top of strangers.

There is no tag-teaming as my husband travels for work as an essential worker in a hospital.

The New Normal at Home

The new normal of life at home during a pandemic is anything but normal.

While the kids help as much as they can, it’s far from an idyllic.

There is no adjusting their schoolwork to fit with what we’re doing that day. Any baking that doubles as math is extra. We can’t count their bike ride, Cosmic Kids Yoga session, or walk around the lake as PE because it’s not on the Bingo card. Screen time is a must for multiple hours a day because their assignments are all digital.

There are no nightly family dinners or walks around the neighborhood with all six of us.

To forget about the families who have lost loved ones, furloughed employees who can’t afford food for their families, those trying to pay rent and insurance when unemployment was denied, the grandparents who can’t see their families, the families saying hi to loved ones in nursing homes through a window as tears stream down their cheeks, and children who live in abusive situations is both irresponsible and full of privilege.

Am I blessed to get to stay home with my children? Absolutely. I am privileged to be able to stay home in our bubble. I don’t take that for granted.

My children are doing well with it all. They are learning time management skills that I didn’t learn until college. Every Friday they learn that if they put things off Monday through Thursday then they will spend all day catching up. Creating new games to play together, making forts, building LEGO creations, having Harry Potter meetings, and creating obstacle courses have become their favorite free-time activities.

But this is hard and I need to acknowledge that.

There will be good days in the midst of not so great days. Hard days will come when you want to hide in your closet and cry. Do not feel guilty or that you aren’t doing enough. This is survival mode and crisis learning.

We are all rowing different boats in this storm.

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Jen Goode

Saturday 2nd of May 2020

I love the truth you are sharing... I'm sorry it's not easy, but I'm so thankful you are willing to share it. Keep rowing, friend!

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