COVID-19. Needless to say, it was life-changing for everyone.
But can we talk about the extreme challenges of COVID-19 + Parenting + WFH?
I know this is not just me. Oh, and let’s also stratify the challenges by your child(ren)’s age group. Yeah… if you know, you know.
It wasn’t like I never worked from home before. As someone who helps others with their health insurance plans, my job isn’t bound to an office setting or timing. In fact, I can work from anywhere in the world with just an internet connection.
By the way, I’m also hiring for my team in the Tampa Bay area, get in touch if you’re interested in an opportunity!
But then I became a mother…
What was life before I became a mom? No, seriously, WHAT did I do with all that grand old free time I had? Who knows?
In early 2020, I gave birth to my son. I had my hands full, trying to be present for my newborn baby and run a business and help my clients. Then, before my birthing wounds healed, COVID-19 hit. We were all forced to work-from-home (WFH) full-time. No longer was anyone else besides my husband able to help me take care of my baby while I worked. I had to do it all.
Parenting Struggles I Faced During COVID-19 Lockdown
Do I have complaints about spending each and every precious moment with my son? No.
But was it tough? Yes.
Were there moments that drove me crazy? Oh, yes.
Was it difficult for me to juggle full time infant care, my work and my responsibilities at home? Absolutely.
In fact, I want to share with you some parenting struggles faced during the COVID-19 lockdown. Why? Because I want to address the fact that it was tough and the struggles were real. And I want to encourage all WFH parents who went through this to share their challenges and stories. Let’s try to acknowledge, empathize and validate each other.
I managed to come out stronger and here’s how I did it (major props to coffee!).
#1 – Lack of sleep
I never ever get the full amount of sleep I need. Okay, okay, I know. NO MOM DOES. But the COVID-19 lockdown just made me feel like I was literally sleep walking, at least until I had my coffee. In fact, sometimes I don’t even get to wash up and brush my teeth until my kid takes his nap. IN THE AFTERNOON. I avoid video Zoom calls until after my kid’s bedtime. That’s when I feel “awake” and “refreshed” enough to turn on my video. At 7 p.m.
It was tough to juggle this schedule because not all clients are able to take on calls according to my schedule, but I tried to make it work.
#2 – Noise control
Both my husband and I have client-facing roles. We are always on calls. Living in an attached townhome, we have thin walls and an overexcited child. Even if we sit him down for a bout of nursery rhymes on repeat on TV until that important client call is done, that silly jingle of children’s cartoons is often caught on the phone call with a client.
Believe it or not, I have lost new business and clients because of the level of “unprofessionalism”. What am I supposed to do? It’s either a crying infant or children’s cartoons as the background noise.
Fortunately, I also have amazing clients and compassionate team members who completely understand this challenge that WFH mothers are facing. I treasure all the times a client has heard my child wailing in the background and tell me to go and attend to him, making sure we can talk another time.
#3 – Lack of hands
One handed emails and spreadsheets – I am a master at this now.
Kid on one lap, mouse and index finger typing with the other. Ninja level: mastery.
All thanks to COVID-19.
Also, you can pick up objects off the floor with either foot, right momma? Yep.
Seriously, the amount of things I’ve learned to juggle with just one hand while working from home and caring for my son has amazed me. In order to get everything done, it’s absolutely essential for mothers to know how to pick up their child with one arm and toss a bowl of salad with another. Doing things one at a time is an ideal situation but extremely unproductive.
It’s just a matter of making the best out of the 24 hours we all have.
#4 – COVID-19 paranoia
I see COVID germs on every surface and I wish I could tie my son’s hands behind his back so he doesn’t touch anything.
The struggle with this one is real. Now that I’ve started to go to the office to work, I find myself scrubbing my hands vigorously so my son doesn’t catch anything by chance.
The amount of hand sanitizers I have stocked up is laughable compared to what some other hoarders have but I would’ve never bought so much on a regular day. The number of wet wipes packs, disinfectants and every other healthy thing in my house has definitely risen since the advent of the coronavirus.
#5 – Lack of couple time
Are we even married? Normally, my husband travels 75%+ during the year. But due to the COVID-19, he has been strictly WFH.
You’d think with all the constant time we are home together, we would be spending more quality time together. Nope. In fact, our days are taking turns taking care of our kid or working. Right up until we close our eyes and find out it’s time to do it all over again.
For a married couple who spends every single day together, at home, we spend less together now than we did when he was traveling every other week! How does that even make sense?
To be frank, COVID-19 was a lesson for us parents. I’m a mother of one child, and when I hear stories about my friends and peers who have many kids, I breathe a sigh of relief for myself. Praise to you parents!
Parenting struggles should be talked about more. It’s already not easy being a parent. Being in a situation where you’re unable to meet anyone or pry your eyes away from your child and let someone else take care of him or her is just overwhelming. I’m grateful for my husband but sometimes I wished we had set up some online playtime with other mummies and babies and thought about better solutions earlier.
The only solution I was aware of at that time, being a new mom and just trying to keep my head afloat was….
Creating My Coffee Corner…
My coffee consumption definitely spiked during the lockdown. My husband and I tried to do everything at the same time and coffee was our only solace, aside from the occasional ranting sessions we had with our individual inner circle/besties.
I will admit – the coffee consumption was borderline unhealthy.
I kept it in the acceptable zone by ensuring I was drinking quality coffee and controlling my sugar level. I tell my client this over and over again – as much as we need to keep our bodies fit, we need to keep our minds healthy too. Whenever I could get downtime from caring for my son and from work, I also alternated reading and listening to soothing music instead of gulping down another mug of warm coffee to lift my spirits.
Here’s what my coffee corner looks like in my home (still going strong to date!).
Curious to know the items that I included in my coffee corner?
Here are some recommendations:
The coffee corner, keeping myself healthy, being there for my son, juggling everything – it’s the least any mum could do to stay sane and keep her family (and herself!) happy.
Tell me, what was your go-to support system during the lockdown?
What are some unique challenges you faced being WFH parents?
What was your solution? Any alternatives to caffeine?
If you feel like you need someone to ease one worry off your plate – and that’s your healthcare plan – let’s chat over a virtual coffee.