It’s been two months since an unprecedented public health crisis left the majority of the country under stay-at-home orders. For parents, that’s meant looking after kids and navigating distance learning programs on top of their own work schedules—all from home. Today, economies are slowly beginning to reopen and the school year is coming to a close, but for many Americans, heading back to the office is still a long way away.
No one knows what the next few months will look like or where their kids will be going ‘back to school’ next fall. As we collectively fumble through this new reality of social distancing and telecommuting, we find ourselves stumbling upon simple pleasures and silver linings in the most mundane moments of daily life. Exchanging at-home parenting stories, especially while we’re all still cooped up indoors, is a great way to crowdsource ideas for activities, projects, and how to set boundaries under current circumstances and beyond. We reached out to three parents to see what they’ve learned and how they’ve been handling life at home with their children.
Blogger, Lunch With A Girlfriend
Blogger Sapna has been working from home for years. With schools closed and offices shut, Sapna now shares a workspace with her husband and three kids, ages eight, 12, and 14.
Blogger, Bambine & Me
Pat isn’t used to working from home. He has three young daughters all under the age of five, and a job that typically keeps him out of the house Monday through Friday. His wife also works part-time, so their girls would be in daycare if not for current stay-at-home orders.
Volgger, Janna & Braden Family
Like Sapna, Janna is no stranger to the balancing act of living and working in a single space. With her husband now working entirely from home, as well as their four-year-old, two-year-old, and newborn son, Janna’s day-to-day has gotten a lot more crowded.
How’s it going at home?
“For the most part, everyone has been respectful of work spaces and trying to be quiet during work hours.” – Sapna
“It has been a juggling act. I made a little home office down in the basement to try to maintain some ‘normalcy.’ My wife also has some calls and work that needs to be done, so we try to sync our schedules to see who can watch the kids during those meetings. If not, there is always YouTube!” – Pat
“We actually have loved it! It has allowed my husband and I to collaborate better and really schedule things out so that we’re both able to get our work done a bit quicker than usual.” – Janna
Any silver linings to this time at home?
“We have eaten a lot of meals together as a family. Sometimes we’ve even all helped out with dinner prep, and that is a nice feeling. My two youngest kids play together a lot so it has been sweet to see their bond grow.” – Sapna
“A lot. Spending that extra quality time is great. More time to involve [the family] in cooking. Being there for lunch.” – Pat
“It’s definitely taught us to better evaluate our priorities and the things we sign up for in the future, to make sure we put our family first. It’s also been nice to have lunch together every day.” – Janna
Tips or tricks to pass the time?
“We’ve been getting out on bike rides during quarantine. Sometimes we ride by friends’ houses, knock on their doors, and talk to them from a distance.” – Sapna
“Coming up with some sort of system or chart for the kids to earn rewards (TV, snack, iPad time, etc.), and trying to plan ahead on some fun activities the day before.” – Pat
“My biggest ‘tip’ would be to just slow down and enjoy the ride! Also, we got a bounce house that fits inside and that literally saved us the first few weeks!” – Janna
Share one piece of at-home parenting wisdom:
“As far as home school goes, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” – Sapna
“Everyone talks about how time moves so fast, the kids grow up so quick, life is always go-go-go, so tell yourself that when you start to get a little stir-crazy.” – Pat
“Having some sort of a schedule of activities or school work to do with your kids has helped us a lot.” – Janna
Describe your quarantine experience in three words:
“Warmth, freedom, and sleep.” – Sapna
“Enjoy each day. Or perseverance, love, and YouTube.” – Pat
“Quality family bonding.” – Janna
There you have it: three parents on the benefits of planning ahead and the unexpected joys of cooking together and sharing a meal as a family. After all, it’s times like these that remind us to slow down and reconnect with our loved ones. Sometimes, the fleeting moments of magic found during times of crisis are perhaps the most meaningful memories of all.