I’ve seen different versions of the above on Facebook. I’ve commiserated with other moms about how freaking hard it is to be a parent right now (even given that I am privileged, employed, and not an essential worker). I’ve also compared notes with friends who are not parents, and there are some differences that repeatedly surface.
Quarantine: With Kids Versus Without Kids
1. Reasons for lack of productivity.
Without kids: People feel like they're working all day and still not getting anything done.
With kids: We feel like we’re not getting anything done, but at least (we think) we know why. It's 100% due to our kids.
2. Netflix struggles.
1. Without kids: People worry about watching way too much. Sometimes the next episode automatically starts and then obviously you just have to watch it.
With kids: We aren’t watching much more Netflix on our own than usual. But for our kids, we are either suffering from screen-time guilt and watching the same mind-numbing shows or movies over and over OR having to figure out entertainment for our kids every waking moment.
Without kids: People are reporting more headaches from all the crazy screen time and Zoom meetings.
With kids: We have more headaches from sleep deprivation and all the chaos in the house.
4. Sleep schedules and fatigue.
Without kids: People are staying up later and waking up later, and they keep feeling exhausted for no reason.
With kids: We are staying up later to actually get in a few minutes of self-care or uninterrupted work, but kids still are waking up at the same time. We are feeling exhausted because of it.
5. Alone Time.
1. Without kids: Miss people so, so bad.
With kids: We would give anything for 24 hours in a hotel room alone. Though we also miss adults very bad. Actually, after 2 hours in that hotel room, we would probably miss our families like crazy and spend the whole time watching videos of them anyway.
Nevermind, this is about the same for everyone. On a complete tangent, I’ve thought multiple times it’s a good thing that I’m pregnant right now…it’s saved a lot of money.
Without kids: People are struggling to fill the hours with things other than work and Netflix.
With kids: We are struggling to keep kids entertained but definitely are not bored. People in both groups are surprising themselves with their own creativity.
My big takeaway? Even though our challenges aren’t the same, we’re all riding the same struggle bus.