“I have a lot on my plate — and I like it that way. I’m better at multi-tasking so I can work and look after the kids, this is my gift and my curse.”
I’m a mom of two young kids. I’m married, and I work for myself — I have a leadership coaching practice and I am the co-founder of a global community that explores some of the most tabooed topics with women around the world. I’m also a freelance qualitative researcher. I have a lot on my plate — and I like it that way.
Pre-pandemic, I had at least six hours of uninterrupted work per day. Not anymore.
Guilt Is at the End of My To-do List
My husband still goes to his office (an empty and COVID-free coworking space), and I stay home. I’m better at multi-tasking so I can work and look after the kids at the same time — this is my gift and my curse.
My son is in second grade and has virtual classes with school work from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. For the most part, he is self-sufficient and only comes to me when Zoom is not working or needs help with his homework. My daughter, on the other hand, is only three years old, so she is a lot more dependent on me.
TV, video games, and crappy food are keeping me sane during this quarantine. (Full disclosure: these things also bring up a lot of guilt, but dealing with my guilt is at the end of my to-do list).
The TV is on pretty much all day long. I go into the home office when my daughter is watching Dora or Ben & Holly marathons. When she gets bored, I take a break from work, and we play with some of her toys.
Pre-pandemic, my son was only allowed to play video games during the weekend, one hour each day. Now, his quarantine “playdates” are playing Minecraft or Roblox with friends via FaceTime. I continue to wonder how much damage are these games really doing to my son.
Down to One Healthy Meal a Day
The kids are hungry all the time. I need to have an ongoing supply of snacks to keep them happy and stay sane. At first, I was making sure they had three nutritious meals a day. I’m down to one healthy meal a day. ‘You want a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch for the third day in a row? Here you go!’
While I have to “mother” for more hours every day, I’m also doing some of the most exciting and purposeful work I’ve ever done. So I’m adapting to the constant disruption. I can write presentations with my daughter seated on my lap or help my son with his homework while replying to emails.
At around 4 o’clock, my daughter is losing patience “two minutes, mami, time to finish work.” At that point, I use my ultimate weapon: my phone. She is allowed to look at old photos or play music on Spotify. That gives me a solid half-hour or even more if I provide snacks.
Devices off, the Highlight of My Day
At 5:30 p.m., my husband returns, devices are off, and we go for our daily bike ride. This is the highlight of my day. We cycle to a green area nearby. My son climbs trees, and my daughter collects dead leaves. We play tag or hide and seek. Then we come home and have our family dinner. Sometimes we end with a dance party and then it’s time for books.
One night last week, I was putting my daughter to sleep when she told me, “Minnie (Mouse) is my best friend!” But after her initial smile, she went sad. She said that Minnie misses Mickey. And that Mickey is in the park with all of their friends. She looked at me and said, “we have to go to the park! We have to find Mickey! Minnie is very sad.” This broke my heart.
My days are filled with all the emotions. I jump from frustration to gratitude to guilt to anger to excitement.
I can’t wait to have my six hours of uninterrupted time back, but I know I will miss not having them around. Having the kids at home has been the most challenging but also the most beautiful thing for me during this time.