By Sarah M. Bond
CCC Journalism Program
MARLTON – Adjusting to life during the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult for most. Whether you’re an essential worker, student, working from home or homeschooling children, it’s a stressful time. If you’re struggling because you’re all four of these, you are not alone.
I struggle adjusting to all four of these. I am an essential worker in healthcare, a full-time student and doing an internship. I’m also a mother of two, so homeschooling, feeding and entertaining my children all day has been one of the biggest changes in my everyday life.
My spouse and I are both essential workers. This means we have no choice but to work outside of our home and then do our best to lower the risk of bringing the virus home with us. This means we undress in the car or at the front door. It means after a long 12-hour overnight shift I must carefully discard my scrubs, put them straight into the washer and then immediately take a shower.
I’m used to being able to walk into my home without worrying about what surfaces I may come in contact with or telling my children not to come near me until I’ve properly cleansed. But the safety of our family comes first, so we continue to take necessary precautions.
Adjusting to my courses being moved online is a challenge I didn’t expect. I assumed that it would be a lot easier to manage. I took for granted the contact I had with other students in class. I realize I miss the engagement of in-person discussions.
My grocery bill has nearly tripled. I thought I would at least be able to save money on gas since I was no longer commuting back and forth to school or for my internship. I had no idea how much more in groceries I would spend to feed my family at least six meals a day.
When it comes to my children, I’m not only their parent but also their teacher. Doing class work together, monitoring progress, answering what seems to be a million emails a day has been overwhelming.
Add trying to keep them entertained because they miss their friends or don’t understand why they can’t play with the other children they see outside. At 4 years old, my daughter can’t comprehend. My son, 9, is the opposite and needs to be reassured daily that we are safe.
As the school district adapts to the ever-changing state guidelines and determines how best to serve the students and their families, it is clear to me that resilience and adaptability are needed. This requires a lot of time and attention. I have more tasks to complete with the same amount of time to complete them. Sometimes balance seems impossible to find.
While this has been a trying time, I am grateful to have spent quality time with my family. I am also mindful of the many families that aren’t able to view this as a time for bonding.