We work, we struggle with home-schooling our kids, we break up fights both physical and verbal, we tend to their cuts and incessantly remind them we can’t go to the hospital right now, so please be careful.
The worlds of parenting, working and our kids’ education have converged, with no speed bump to slow down this accelerated pace of life at a point in history when we’re homebound, our personal and professional lives now tethered to us like a scarlet letter.
We cook, we clean, we endure the painstaking task of ordering groceries, we take long walks, we Zoom (has that become a verb?), we ride bikes to our friends’ houses to chat from a socially appropriately distance.
This isn’t easy, but some of us are lucky. We have our health and still have our jobs, but there is no break in the day, no down time to catch our breath. Sometimes we need a moment away from our kids and sometimes they need a break from us.
We have driveway visits and FaceTime calls with grandparents, we read, we argue over what movie to watch, we start a movie, we listen when the kids complain the movie is no good, we start another movie.
We are stuck in our houses with what feels like an infinite supply of time, yet we still struggle to balance all that’s being asked of us. Time may be a constantly flowing waterfall at this juncture, but we desperately need more of it.
We play games, we bake, we yell at the kids for playing too much Fortnite. We forbid them from playing Fortnite. We grow frustrated by the whining, cave and let them play more Fortnite.
The days stretch like an endless desert with no relief in sight. We wonder how long this can last and whether our current reality can possibly stretch into summer and – gulp! – even the fall.
We endure temper tantrums, we debate everything from how much screen time to allow to what we should do if camp is canceled. We scour sites looking for toys to put in the backyard to entertain them in case we are home over the summer.
Yes, time has stopped as parents try to cobble life together amidst the madness and uncertainty of the pandemic, but the day slides away like butter on the warm piece of toast so many children demand each morning.
We beg the kids to go outside and play instead of sitting around on the couch. We do laundry. We wash the dishes. We squeeze in a few hours of sleep and then wake up to do it all over again.
“The days are long, but the years are short” is one of those all-encompassing phrases used to describe the challenge of child-rearing. The days are long and so is this year, which, with time having no meaning, feels like it may never end.