Working with young kids while sheltering in place
I am exhausted and completely overwhelmed. I was on the phone with a single friend without a child who blissfully said, “Don’t you just love working from home?” I wanted to kill her. I calmly said, “No. This is so hard. This is impossible. I am reaching a breaking point.”
I recognize that we are much luckier than many. While our pay has been reduced by 50%, we are still working and have health insurance and have a little bit of savings to last us 3 months. I run a small business and took a 75% pay cut while working my butt off without pay right now in order to avoid laying off our small team for the time being. My spouse is also working full time from home. I am truly hustling to keep my small new business afloat while my spouse also puts in his 110% to try to keep his job that provides health insurance for the entire family. My spouse is pretty low on the totem poll at work and we are worried about his job security.
We have no way of staggering our work days to watch the kids. We are both on conference calls most of the day to fight for our jobs.
In the meantime, kids are being ignored with their brains rotting away in front of TV. They spend 5-6 hours a day in front of screen (TV and games). I am crying. I know this is not good for them. But we have to work. It will be worse if we lose our house and can’t afford food.
I tried to get my kids to do online class. They refused. They want a parent to do things with them. I ask them to do worksheets that we spent hours sifting through and put together. They resist and want us to check their work after every page.
I ask the older one to take the little one and play outside. The little one wants to play with mommy. Daddy or sister won’t do and scream for mommy.
I had to buckle down and tried to get that PPP loan application in. It’s survival mode. I let kids cry and had to ignore them. I see them curling up in bed sobbing with their loveys.
Little one asks if I can take a break and play with him. I couldn’t as I was going into a call to pitch to a potential client that could be the difference between my business making the payroll or start laying off people. My little one cried and a bit later I hear him asking Alexa to tell him a joke as I try to sell to a potential client. My heart broke into million pieces.
My kids have been doing a bit better since I started getting up early to work, limit day time work to urgent inquiries and calls, and then work more from 9 pm - 1 am. But, I am now a walking zombie and this is not sustainable. Our business operates during the day, so I still have to be available and do lots of calls during the day.
Juggling work and kids has always been an impossible task. With the pandemic, now it’s super charged impossibility. Parents will succumb to mental health crisis.
Our house has not been dusted or vacuumed for a month. I barely keep the kitchen and bathroom clean. With money being short, I am also cooking all of our meals.
I know there is no answer. I am hoping to hear from others that we are not alone. I would like to see more parents speaking up and sharing the struggle.