One thing COVID-19 has taught mothers all over the country: women are still expected to and responsible for taking on the lion’s share of the household and child-rearing responsibilities. After months of juggling educating their kids from home with all of their other regular duties, moms are now faced with summer vacation and full-time mothering…but with limited summer camp and childcare options. As school districts roll out their plans for 2020-2021, moms all over the world are faced with life-altering decisions with little relief in sight.
These Toledo area moms weigh in on how life has been treating them since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. While each mom’s situation is different, there is a single thread of similarity: it’s not easy.
Tiara Smith (Ottawa Hills), mom to Savannah (5) and Miles (4):
“After taking time off three years ago to raise my nearly Irish twins, I re-entered the workforce this past winter just before COVID-19 hit. While our kids did relatively well in quarantine–or at least as well as can be expected–their desire for engagement, attention, and validation grew exponentially. I find myself dedicating far more of my time to parenting and being present with them than I do my work day. Luckily, I’m a freelance worker and I can plan my work around our schedules, but I wonder how sustainable this model is. With school potentially being delayed or looking drastically different in the fall, I know we’re going to need to make adjustments at a moment’s notice.”
Heather Nye (South Toledo), mom to Lulah (3) and Dashiel (2):
“I started 2020 feeling very burnt out. I am a stay-at-home mom with two active toddlers, and the fatigue and lack of breaks was really getting to me. My husband and I worked out a plan to rotate taking the kids out of the house and to hire a weekly sitter so I could catch my breath. Just two weeks later, the COVID lockdown began. My husband is an essential worker and my kids are not in school yet, so our day-to-day life didn’t change as much as it did for others, but for me, the hardest part has been knowing I don’t have many options for relief. Our favorite places to burn off energy are closed, and it feels like an unnecessary risk to have someone watch my kids when I am able to be present. As time has gone on, we have started visiting some of our family, so we have been able to get a break here and there. I am very grateful for any help. I have been able to utilize teletherapy to have a safe space to vent and talk about my fears with my therapist. She reminds me to just handle today…don’t look ahead. It’s hard not to worry about an uncertain future, but I repeat that to myself when times are tough.”
Aya Khalil (Ottawa Hills), mom to Aminah (7), Muhammad (5) and Halimah (1):
Khalil laughs, joking, “I feel like I just sit and yell all day! In all seriousness, parenting while working from home during COVID shelter-in-place orders has been a challenge, to say the least. But I try to give myself some grace and ask for help when needed, whether that means letting the kids watch cartoons to keep them occupied so I can get some writing done or dropping them off with my family who live close by.”
Phoebe Samuel Rapp (Sylvania), mom to Djeserit (10) and Ryker (8):
“My family has every advantage to get us through a pandemic: a spacious home, a stocked pantry, multiple electronic devices per family member, and plenty of good humor to go around. I am the envy of my immigrant child-self! And yet, somehow I find myself languishing in some embarrassing self-pity. The idea that, “I don’t have it so bad especially compared to *insert worse off person or group here*” is destructive to well-being. I had to recognize that my family and I, and really all of humanity, are cycling through stages of grief and need to be allowed to feel all the things. While things are ‘fine,’ they are also ALL. TOO. MUCH.” Read more of Phoebe’s thoughts here.
Best friends Heather Meyer, mom to Ella (11), and Katie Dougherty, mom to Roz (11):
Katie says, “Having an only child, we feel blessed that we have family and close friends who share the same ideas about social distancing, so we are able to stay in our little bubble and still be surrounded by those we love. Roz and I are both introverts, so it makes staying in our bubble very doable.” Heather (fondly referred to as mama Heather), who works full-time, fosters kittens with Humane Ohio and took photos for The Front Porch Project with what little time she had left, adds, “Fostering kittens and spending time with our best friends have saved us.”