COVID-19 working from home
Parenting

Having the kids home during COVID-19

Right now I’m writing this from home during the COVID-19 outbreak that’s shut down the world. Like many families, we’re stuck without anywhere to go and no desire to go out. The kids are out of school and times are tough. Here’s what I think about having the kids home during COVID-19.

This isn’t something really new. In fact, I’ve always balked when people tell me how ‘lucky’ I am to have shared custody so I get a ‘break’. Well that break is torture for me. There’s nothing I’ve ever wanted more in life than to be a mother. I also really wanted to home school, but my ex husband disagreed.

Having the kids home during COVID-19

This epidemic is just a more mainstream echoing of what parents say behind closed doors. Parents are struggling with the idea of being trapped at home with their children. Even those who regularly stay at home with kids are struggling without anywhere to go.

Maybe it’s because we’re used to not being able to do much due to lack of money and bitter cold Canadian winters but I’m just not too bothered by not being able to get out. And truth be told I’m happier to have my kids home than when they were at school.

Working from home with kids is hard

I get it, a lot of parents are having working from home while raising kids thrust upon them suddenly. It’s a difficult transition and it’s hard to get everything done. There’s no shame in being stressed! I know balancing work and kids is something I struggle with even now.

I’m not talking about struggling with the challenges of big lifestyle changes during scary times. I mean the people who are just unhappy to be around their kids more in general.

Struggling to manage it all? Here’s some of my tips.

It’s tough when you never get a break

I personally have been on the other side of things where I was doing most of the housework, child rearing, and still trying to work part time from home. I never got a break and when I did get a minute to myself it was either at sacrifice of something else or took a lot of planning and negotiating.

When you’re a tired parent there’s nothing wrong with being over it and reaching out. Being in the thick of it is also hard and it’s important to try and take care of yourself. Especially in difficult times. Right now we can’t call over a babysitter for a night out and that wears thin.

I’m happy to get more time with my kids

Since the kids have been home during COVID-19 we’ve been spending out time so far getting settled into new routines. Especially completing coursework. I’m not confident school is going back in 3 weeks like the government says so I’m trying to instill good habits now.

I also have lots of activities planned for the weeks and maybe even months of social distancing that lie ahead. Sure, we can’t go to the park, but we can work in the yard and plant the garden. We can’t go to the theatre, but we can go movie nights at home.

I feel a bit alone

A lot of people are sick of their kids most of the time. I get angry and fed up too, like anyone, but overall I’m so glad to have them in my life even when things are hard. Maybe that’s why I have five! But I also feel left out, like I’m the only parent rejoicing rather than lamenting having the kids at home. Even it it is harder.

A friend of mine is cut back to a 4 day work week starting in April. He told me he was worried about the money, sure, but it also meant extra time to teach his 6 year old to ride a bike. Hopefully more parents who have that attitude start making it known and the trend of ‘hating’ your kids stops.

For the record, I know these people don’t hate their kids. So let’s all stop acting like we do.

I’m working on my parenting

I’m actually using this opportunity to improve my parenting. Not to mention my kids’ behaviour! We deal with a lot of issues from shared custody that are tough to correct during our short time together. Now that I get all day with them I can spend more time teaching them new skills and behaviours.

I’m also trying to be more engaged. I’ve actually removed social media apps from my phone so I don’t go on there. With all the sadness in the world right now it’s nice to take a breather from everyone’s opinions. I’m just focusing on my family.

We’re bonding as a family

Another happy perk is that we’re spending more time together as a family. The kids are spending time with each other during ‘school’ time and playing together (mostly) well. Since they miss their friends they’re longing for some social interaction. It’s nice that we can come together.

I’m going to work on planning some more family activities for us to do together. These will stave off boredom and bring us together. My 12 year old was even trying to teach her younger brother fractions this morning!

There’s going to be hard days with the kids home during COVID-19

I know it’s going to be rough for the next little while and I’m pretty worried. I hate that so many things are changing suddenly for out family. Shared custody is also hard. I know I’ll be missing them more than every and worrying the whole time they’re not close. It’s just how I am. Again, it never feels like a break at all.

With 5 kids someone always has a problem. Right now one of the twins is crying because he can’t have his tablet that he lost earlier. It’s almost dinner time. The kids all have colds and they’re struggling with the change in routine. It’s hard. But I know we can do it.

The government keeps saying ‘social distance not social isolation’. While I think that’s good, it also looks different to everyone. For me, that does mean distancing from people socially. But I always find I turn to writing more in tough times so here I am.

I hate hate hate the circumstances that brought the kids home during this COVID-19 pandemic but I’m still happy to have more time with my babies.

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