Parenting Support during SIP

Parent Q&A

  • 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. 

    You are 100 percent not alone! Things aren't even as dire for me as they are for you, and I'm still going completely bonkers, dying for this insane situation to end. Because I'd already been laid off and was working freelance before the shutdown happened, I have now taken over daytime childcare and "distance learning" for my kindergartner. Fortunately my spouse's job is unaffected and we can survive on one income. Unfortunately, that means I feel really alone in all of this and a lot of pressure to let my spouse work long hours uninterrupted.

    Please do not beat yourself up for relying on screens to get your work done. Were I working my old job right now I'd be doing the exact same thing. The idea that little kids can just plop themselves in front of a computer and do online school all day is a complete joke. I can't even believe that that's the answer our government and school boards have come up with. Maybe for junior high and older that's a reasonable option -- but the under 10 set? Really? I understand that in extreme emergencies schools must close, but the focus should be on how to make up days once school reopens. As your post has demonstrated it is not reasonable to expect parents to suddenly provide an alternative school with no warning and without being able to get any help at all. Even grandma and grandpa are out! I know many people who homeschool by choice, and none of them do so in total isolation.

    It sounds like you are handling an awful situation as well as can be expected. The only thing I can suggest is finding another family in which the parent(s) work can more feasibly be done at off hours and you can quarantine yourselves together and trade off watching the kids. I'm suggesting that because it doesn't sound like you are in a high-risk group, and obviously the second family would need to be low risk as well. That suggestion may not be what our county health advisors want, but the longer this drags on with no announced end date the more people will end up doing things like that to survive.

    Please cut yourself some slack. I truly wish I could give you a hug.

    You are not alone! There are a ton of us out here doing this impossible juggle! I am so grateful to have this time at home with my almost 2 year old, but the stress it's causing on my work (also a small business owner pushing extremely hard right now) is immense. I think we all need to give ourselves carte blanche to do whatever it takes to get things done and refuse any associated guilt. This is not how we wanted to raise our kids right now, but they'll survive. We all will, and maybe they'll emerge a little more independent as a result. This is temporary. It will come to an end and we will have a return to help and schedules. In the meantime, just one day at a time, and lots of deep breaths. 

    I want to also echo that you are not alone!  And it made me feel like I wasn't alone reading your post and the other reply, so thank you for putting it out there. I have a 3 year old and I'm working full-time from home while my husband also works full-time at a low-wage food production job as an essential worker.  I'm nervous every day he comes home that he'll bring back COVID-19 with him.  In order to work from home, I have to sit my toddler in front of the TV for 5-6 hours a day too.  Every time I sit at my desk, she pulls at me and begs me to play with her and not work, but I have to keep telling her to watch TV or look at our tablet, or I end up taking a break to play with her and then work 10:00pm-1:00am.  It's breaking my heart and I'm feeling like a failure as a mother and an employee because I can't be as efficient and she's getting so much screen time, and I'm just plain exhausted.  There's no other family that I can quarantine together with, so we'll be in this situation for the long-haul. But just reminding myself that others are in the same boat and to cut myself some slack does help.  Hang in there - sending you another hug.