CO-PARENTING UNDER QUARANTINE

By Randi Goodman

I hit the jackpot.  For all of the little things we could never agree on, my co-parents and I have always agreed to put the kids needs first.

We agreed early on that many of the kids’ major activities trumped our own in terms of scheduling parenting time.  Summer camp, for example, would rewrite our parenting schedule and we could get back on track after the summer because that’s what worked for our kids.  Medical appointments and availability trumped personal feelings attached to “losing time” with or without the kids.  Sick days at home were based on who was available instead of who was scheduled to “have the kids.”  Amazing opportunities trumped mundane scheduling. 

Quarantine is no different for us.  

The very thought of sending the kids out to travel between houses seems to go against the concept of quarantine.  In these uncertain days we are wiping down our mail before bringing it into the house. We are literally hiding from an invisible army of germs that may be lurking on any item.  

Visiting with grandparents is out of the question.  Same for friends, neighbors, cousins, and anyone not where we all were sleeping when the quarantine began. 

Some kids are lucky enough to have one bed with one pillow and one place to rest their heads at night.  Some of those “lucky” kids are in danger because a parent is an essential worker and every time they leave and reenter the house there is a risk that they brought this thing back in with them.  

This is why so many hospital workers are living in hotel rooms away from their children for now.

This is why our children are seeing the people they love and miss on a screen for now.  It’s why we are so thankful for the technology we have.  It’s why we keep reassuring them how much we are all in this together and how we all are so excited for when this is all over and we can be with each other again. 

This is a very tough time for us and a very tough time for our kids.  It is SO much harder to work from home while teaching at home while triaging behaviors and lesson plans and meal times and everything else. 

Some of us are bored.  Some of us are depressed.  Some of us are anxious.  And some of us (most of us) are drowning.  But we ARE in this together and we will get through this.  And we just have to put a lot of things on hold. 

We have to be creative and cautious and uplifting when we can.  What we don’t need to be doing is adding to anyone’s stress levels.  Least of all our kids. 

So, while some of us miss our kids terribly, and some of us desperately need a break, we will carry on and we will get through this.  And I’m so lucky that this isn’t something I need to fight with my co-parents about.