Interview with Four Moms About Life in Quarantine

Mom Jean Confessions: An Honest Q&A with Four Families in Quarantine

Three months ago, if you would have asked me what we’d be doing this weekend, I would have excitedly said “Celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary, and my best friend’s coming to visit from Chile!” We would have probably dropped the kids off for the weekend with family, and tried to sneak away for a mini staycation. See, this year was going to be a “redo” since we didn’t end up taking that trip to celebrate our 10 year anniversary last year (kicking myself now, but how would we have ever known). The following week was supposed to be spent planning a 2nd bday party for my friend Jamie’s little girl. Now all we’ll be lucky to do is a virtual WhatsApp call with “TheOG4” as we call ourselves aka my childhood best friends.

An Honest Q&A with 4 Moms About Life in Quarantine

Fast forward to today, as I scroll through countless daily messages that we used as our lifeline to each other through all of this Covid-19 insanity, I’m reminded of one thing. We truly are all in this together. I know it doesn’t seem that way, with all of the opposing opinions and political hoopla, but I’m here to prove to you that we are. I asked my three best friends, as well as myself, the same 5 questions about life in quarantine and here’s what we said. You may not relate to all of it, but as I read through our answers I was struck with the overwhelming rawness of our experiences. And I think we can all relate to that.

Interview With Four Moms About Life in Quarantine

Alissa, New Mom – Ft Worth, TX

An Honest Interview with 4 Moms about life in Quarantine

Q.What kind of lockdown are you on and for how long? 

A. We are on a homebound lockdown. I really don’t go anywhere except to Wal-mart when absolutely necessary, or to my Moms house because she helps with my 3 month old baby. Also, we do go walking on the trail with the dog, but we are not close to any people. I can’t stay in the house all the time or I will go crazy, so walking on the trail helps with my sanity! They just changed the lockdown to allow people to go out and re-open stores, but I am still going to stay home for awhile and see what happens.

Q. What has it been like as a mom of young or school aged children, and do you have any advice for other families coping during quarantine?

A. I have a 3 month old baby so it has been good and bad. At times I am loving spending my time with him and then at times I want to cry because I need to get out and take a break from him. Sometimes I just take a walk around the block so I can feel like I won’t go insane!

An Honest Interview with 4 Moms about life in Quarantine

Q. How have you been handling needing to work, inside or outside of the home?

A. Working at home with a baby has been tough, almost impossible. I have to be on the phone a lot. I am not sure I have been handling it very well. My work has suffered. My maternity leave ended right when this began, and I was looking forward to putting on adult clothes, doing my hair and makeup, and going to work. The office closed one week before I was supposed to return so I was a little disappointed! I have been grateful though for more time with the baby. It feels like I am pulled in two directions emotionally!

Q. Are there things that have surprised you about this experience? 

A. Well, I am generally a homebody so I am surprised how quickly I was antsy to get out of my house! I think the fact that I was told I can’t do something just made me want to do it more. LOL. Also, my husband travels for work as a CDL Truck Driver so he was able to keep working which we were really blessed by, but I was a bit jealous of people who were getting to spend a lot of time with their spouse.

An Honest Interview with 4 Moms about life in Quarantine

Q. What would you say has been the hardest part of all this & how have you personally been affected by coronavirus? 

A. The hardest part has been not being able to go out to eat Mexican food! Ok, really we have not been to personally affected and we are very grateful. I just try to do my part to follow the guidelines to make sure I don’t contribute to someone getting sick.

Cammeo, Mom of Two – Houston (Clear Lake), TX

An Honest Interview with 4 Moms about life in Quarantine

Q.What kind of lockdown are you on and for how long? 

A. In Texas, our lockdown was just lifted at the beginning of May and they just rolled out phase two which opens up even more businesses, restaurants, gyms, salons, etc. Honestly, I feel like I’ve had the biggest roller coaster of emotions about it all. I’ve literally gone from wanting to board up my home & never let my kids around a single soul (ok, not really, but you get the idea), to being so grateful for our community and desperate to converse with anyone who breathes.

Q. What has it been like as a mom of young or school aged children, and do you have any advice for other families coping during quarantine?

A. My son is 6 and my daughter is 2 and a half so I’ve had to juggle homeschooling, or “crisis schooling” as I’ve heard it referred to recently, as well as trying to keep a toddler/preschooler entertained. Most days it looks like I’m one monkey short of a three ring circus, as I attempt to motivate my son to do school work while simultaneously keeping Cha Cha from drawing marker all over the white cabinets (that I’m totally regretting right about now). Other days I feel like I just might be getting the hang of this whole “quarantine life” thing, but that bubble quickly bursts 😉 All I can say is the same thing I’ve been telling other mom friends of mine – just do what you can and your kids will survive. Your mental health is what’s important and lean on those around you, even if it’s just virtually.

An Honest Interview with 4 Moms about life in Quarantine

Q. How have you been handling needing to work, inside or outside of the home?

A. Work has been interesting to say the least. The minute the news hit about schools closing all across the country – brands I’d been working with started emailing about needing to cancel or delay campaigns. In fact, most bloggers I know have filed for unemployment because budgets were being cut across the board. After about a month into quarantine, I did manage to secure a few social media paid campaigns, but nowhere close to the amount of work I’m used to getting this time of year. I’ve also been pitching for months through my agency We Are Rosie to try and land some more freelance digital marketing work. Fingers crossed on one gig I’m waiting to hear back on, that both excites me and also makes me want to puke cuz I have no idea how I’m going to keep up working from home with the kids all summer like this.

Q. Are there things that have surprised you about this experience? 

A. Yes so much has surprised me honestly and most of it in a good way. I’ve been happily surprised at how supportive friends have been, both locally and virtually. I’m blessed with an awesome group of moms friends, as well as a community I’ve grown online that consists of mostly bloggers and fellow moms who I’ve literally met once, or some I’ve never even met at all. The other amazing part of all of this, that collectively I think a lot of people agree with while also feeling extremely guilty admitting to, is appreciating how this situation has led us to a slower way of life. We take family walks almost every night. My husband has been able to work from home, and with a job that usually has him traveling, it has been such a blessing having so much uninterrupted time together as a family.

An Honest Interview with 4 Moms about life in Quarantine

Q. What would you say has been the hardest part of all this & how have you personally been affected by coronavirus? 

A. I’ve personally had a hard time making sense of all the information thrown at me about the virus. I hate living in fear especially since I deal with anxiety on a regular basis as it is, so just add a pandemic in the mix and my mind goes into hyperdrive. My sleep has been affected the most because of it, well that, and a certain toddler who won’t be named. I’ve had a close blogger friend of mine who lives in Connecticut test positive for coronavirus and battled it for nearly 2 months (you can read more about her story here). Thankfully none of our familiar members have caught it, praying that it stays that way.

Jamie, Toddler Mom – Santiago, Chile

An Honest Interview with 4 Moms about life in Quarantine

Q.What kind of lockdown are you on and for how long? 

A. I live in Santiago, Chile. I think we have something like 19,000 cases of Covid-19 now. In my neighborhood we are on a total lockdown and must get permits to leave our home to go shopping, walk the dog, or visit a doctor. Not all of Santiago is under the same rules, which I think makes the whole quarantine we are subject to a bit pointless. We have been in total lock-down since March 13th.

Q. What has it been like as a mom of young or school aged children, and do you have any advice for other families coping during quarantine?

A. My daughter will be two in June so for me there was never any school. We don’t get to take her outside though, and that has been very difficult. We live in a big city and in an apartment, so no backyard. We are a big park family and I love letting her climb all over everything. Seeing her cooped up in the house really bothers me. We have made the best of things though – there’s now an awesome cardboard box house on my balcony. We made a ramp from the balcony into the living room so she could zoom down on her little bike. We sing and dance every morning and evening. I have let her paint all over my sliding glass door, play in our sink, and spill water all over my floor pretty much every day since we started this home-bound life. And I have found a lot of joy in all of that mess. There is a slower pace of life that took adjusting too, but now my husband and I know that these are the moments we will miss when life goes back to some sense of normalcy. I still miss going outdoors with her and have snuck in some walks once or twice now. Who knew that going on a walk could be a guilty pleasure?

An Honest Interview with 4 Moms about life in Quarantine

Q. How have you been handling needing to work, inside or outside of the home?

A. I work in travel for a company that operates small-expedition cruises to Antarctica. My job has been busier than ever, and I am working later than when I was in the office. It is hard and my daughter ends up watching more TV than I would like her to. But what else is there to do? My husband helps, but also is working from home. Thankfully, she still naps once a day, although they are getting shorter and shorter. Currently, as I type this, she is sitting on my lap while watching Peppa Pig. I really admire moms who don’t let their children watch TV right now, but considering everything, it just didn’t work for my family and me. We still read plenty of books, and as I said earlier, play lots of games, so it’s all about balance, right? I really hope so.

Q. Are there things that have surprised you about this experience? 

A. I have enjoyed the extra time with my daughter and husband. I don’t feel like a chicken running around anymore. Before it was race to work, and then race home to race to the park, to then come home and race for dinner, bath, and bedtime. There is no more racing. There is plenty of overlapping of work and home life, but the race has been taken out of the equation for me. I feel like I can breathe a bit more now for the first time since going back to work after having my daughter. That has been one of the more positive outcomes of this experience.

An Honest Interview with 4 Moms about life in Quarantine

Q. What would you say has been the hardest part of all this & how have you personally been affected by coronavirus? 

A. Thankfully, I have not been affected personally. Everyone in my family is happy and healthy and I still have my job. Today, I am so blessed to be able to say all of that. The hardest part is the unknown. I don’t know how long my job will be okay. I don’t know when the next time I can visit my family in Texas again. We had to cancel our trip this year. I don’t know what life will be like for my daughter in the short term or long term. Will parks and playing with new friends be a thing of the past? Will she go to daycare? I am uncertain. That uncertainty has been one of the harder parts. If I allow myself to do it, I can get really caught up in the “what ifs” of the whole thing. Thankfully, work is busy, and I have a toddler that doesn’t allow for much time contemplating. I miss my family, but also talk to them all more online as they are running a bit slower now too. So in that, I also find a reason to be thankful. The only thing I really can do is be patient, try and find the good in all of this, and be grateful for some time to get out of the race. And when things get back to normal (if they do) then I think that is something I will have to think about as well. 

Nicole, Mom of Three – Houston (Oak Forest), TX

An Honest Interview with 4 Moms about life in Quarantine

Q.What kind of lockdown are you on and for how long? 

A. Harris County, released from lockdown Friday, May 7th. Still doing social-distancing, but trying to return to some normalcy.

Q. What has it been like as a mom of young or school aged children, and do you have any advice for other families coping during quarantine?

A. This has been an odd feeling of thankfulness for the slowdown and the lack of commitments, and a crazy pack of meerkats trying to keep things in play. I have a 2, 7, and 10 year old. So managing all the ages, within elementary school and preschool, has been exhausting. After two weeks of trying to make “homeschool” happen, I read a very poignant article clarifying what type of schooling we were ACTUALLY doing…”Crisis Schooling” she called it. And after I read it, we quit. We do the minimum to meet the requirements, and then we “quit” for the day and go outside. We bake, we bike, we watch NatGeo, and collect tadpoles to watch metamorphosis in action. We collect leaves, we mow lawns for neighbors, and we play 7 day monopoly tournaments. We quit “school” the way school was told to us how it should be. The mental health of my family, and Mommy, is wayyyyyy too important to me than whether or not we complete the daily expectations of our school district – and my children have flourished because of it.

An Honest Interview with 4 Moms about life in Quarantine

Q. How have you been handling needing to work, inside or outside of the home?

A. I am a Houston Area Realtor, specializing in the Metro and The Woodlands areas. The first two weeks were quiet…too quiet, and then…they all started coming out of the woodwork to look, lease, sell or buy! In 8 days, I’ve done four contracts with more clients looking! Balancing work, “crisis school”, potty-training, house-keeping, cooking, and at some point self-care – has, at best, been challenging. And although most days, I feel like I’ve failed, I look back and see the fruit of my efforts coming through. My children are happy and see Mommy working and contributing to the family. My children tell me “I’m the best” daily. My husband “mans” the fort when I have to skedaddle on a whim to show clients. It’s certainly a team effort, and it’s working. I have been very thankful for my outside work…it’s helped me to do my inside work much better.

Q. Are there things that have surprised you about this experience? 

A. I’ve been surprised how the people who you thought were friends have fallen away, and how people who were more acquaintances have become close to my heart. I’ve been surprised how vehemently people are willing to attack one another for not following “their” plan. I’ve been surprised how willingly people will sacrifice their freedom. I’ve been surprised how in the beginning I fell victim to the fear mongering, and now taking more time to educate myself. To use common sense and to be careful, but not erratic. My anxiety level has actually dropped and my productivity has increased. I’ve been surprised how much I miss some of the chaos. I’ve been thankful to have this time with my family and children, although some days I’d pay someone to take them! I’ve been most surprised though how, in a blink of an eye, the world can change and the things that you take soooooo for granted, become something that you truly hold dear and want back.

An Honest Interview with 4 Moms about life in Quarantine

Q. What would you say has been the hardest part of all this & how have you personally been affected by coronavirus? 

A. The hardest part of all of this has been the inability to see my family. My mother. My father, who is most at-risk. My sister (Jamie) who is on the other side of the planet and couldn’t come back if she wanted to. The uncertainty of our financial standing due to our livelihood depending on the Oil industry, and preparing to sell our home in the blink of an eye if we have to. Personally, I know no one who has perished due to the virus and am so thankful. I don’t want to. I’m so sorry for those who have. But, I know that we must get back to work. We must get our country more self-sufficient. We must trust our government, which I don’t. We must trust each other, which I do. We must look forward for better solutions. We must walk out our front door and start again. We must.

One thought on “Mom Jean Confessions: An Honest Q&A with Four Families in Quarantine

  1. Janet Messana says:

    Since I know your friends and their families it was nice to read about their different stories during the quarantine. And I am so happy they are all safe. I feel that this reflects how other families are coping during this pandemic.

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