Chronicles of a Working Parent During COVID-19 – Week 1

During these unprecedented times, both my husband and I found out early this week that we are officially working from home for the foreseeable future. No big deal from either of our perspectives, as we both already work from home occasionally. And the kids as of right now will be in school, so we’ll be able to focus and get plenty done, right?


Friday, March 13, at approximately 4:00 p.m. Governor Pritzker closes all Illinois schools March 17-March 30 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Okay, so we’ll have Monday and do our best to have a super productive day in preparation for some not so productive days. We can do this!

Wrong again.

Text from school district comes through at 8:08 p.m. – they are adding a non-student attendance day on Monday, March 16, to the previously scheduled closure time.

F*ck! This is a recipe for disaster! How are we going to work our full time jobs, occupy our kids, and not lose our ever-loving minds in the process?!

Follow along with us as we chronicle the life of a working parent with COVID-19.

Day 1, Saturday, March 14

It should just be a normal Saturday, but it feels different. Maybe it’s the realization that this is our reality for the next 24 days at minimum.

5:45 a.m. Can someone please tell me why I have to drag my 4-year old out of bed during the week at 7 a.m., but somehow he’s a ball full of energy on Saturday and Sunday? Need.Coffee.STAT

9:00 a.m. Both my husband and I have already yelled at the kids separately. They don’t play well together. I have in no uncertain terms told them that they have to figure out how to play and work things out with one another.

1:00 p.m. We had luckily heeded some very early warnings and felt fairly comfortable with the food and other supplies we had on hand. But we did need a few additional items – both for us (ahem, wine) and them (crafts, coloring, etc.) So we ventured out to the Dollar Store, Michael’s and Target. At the dollar store, we got a few puzzles for my little guy, and a bingo game I knew big sis could teach her little brother. At Michael’s, we got some coloring books and new markers. Then there was Target. Another moment where you realize just how surreal this all is and people are understanding the severity of COVID-19. Crazy long lines. Empty produce. Empty freezer section. Multiple aisles of cleaning supplies empty. The staff was clearly doing their best to keep things stocked and it seemingly was a futile effort.

8:00 p.m. Day 1 in the books. We ended the evening with a family movie (Spies in Disguise) and some Yahtzee and puzzles.

Day 2, Sunday, March 15

6:30 a.m. Little E slept in a little later this morning. He didn’t wake up until 6:30 – today’s reason….he couldn’t find his Thanos monster truck. Trying to cram in a bit of work this morning knowing what’s to come tomorrow and this week.

2:00 p.m. We got antsy and just wanted to get out. Not to stores or anything, but just out of the house. We decided to do a little bit of geo-caching. We typically go find a few geo-caches a month, just for something different to do with the kids. They always love searching for them and seeing what, if any, treasures other people leave behind. Once we got home, Little E (and Big E) took a nap, while Emmalyn and I spent some time outside.

7:00 p.m. Winding down the night with a family dinner and some good ‘ol board games. After the kids went to bed I worked on creating a very basic schedule for each of them to follow. I think it’s the way that I have some semblance of control in this situation. We shall see how they work out! The anticipation of the week is a bit overwhelming, but here goes nothing.

Day 3, Monday, March 16

6:30 Ethan started waking up around 6 or so. I had visions of them sleeping in and getting in a solid hour or two of work before the day started. Sigh. Definitely not happening. I put their schedules out, got breakfast on the table and coffee poured. I have ten, yes TEN, meetings scheduled today – first one starting at 8. Big sis took thought it was a challenge to make it through everything on the schedule as fast as possible. So she had 75% of it done before 8. This is not going to go well.

12:00 At a time when a pneumonia-like, respiratory illness is making the rounds – where’s the last place you want to be? If you said a doctor’s office, you would be 100% right. Yet, that’s where I was with little E. He came down with croup on March 6. Normally, after a few doses of steroids for a few days, he’s back to normal. But his cough hung around through the steroid and into the weekend. My mom gut told me we needed to get him in, and get him in now before things got too crazy. And I’m glad I listened to it. I had yet another moment where you realize how strange this whole situation is. When we made the appointment, they told us to call the office when we pulled into the parking lot to let them know we were there. They would then call us back when they had a room open. We then needed to walk into a side door where they would meet us with a mask for little E. It wasn’t just us they were doing this for, they were doing it for all families.

We finally saw the doctor and she did his exam, spending extra time listening to his lungs. I literally wanted to vomit the entire time. She uttered the words “wheezing” and “not quite pneumonia” and I lost it. Full on tears in the office. I like to think of myself as a relatively calm, cool and collected person, but not at this moment. She asked what was wrong and I just remember saying, “I’m scared.” She said, “He doesn’t have the Coronavirus.” I appreciated her saying that, but that wasn’t really my fear. My fear was him having something like pneumonia and us being sent to a hospital – a place that while best for him, had so many other opportunities for exposure to COVID-19 for all of us. She calmed me down a bit and said we’ll just do a nebulizer and see how that works. Thankfully his lungs sounded better after treatment, so she thinks he just needs some time with that for a few days. We’ll be going back on Wednesday for a re-check, and I’m praying that we see a big improvement.


Shit show. Best way to describe the next few days. My heart was heavy. My head was filled with terrible thoughts. My guilt was at an all time high. I’m letting the kids sit on their tablets for a good chunk of the day and it feels like I’m half-assing my job – which is not how I operate. I have SO much anxiety about this all that i’m barely eating, not sleeping well and constantly feel like I want to vomit. I’ve dropped about 8 lbs since last week. It turns out that all I needed was a global pandemic to jump start my weight loss.

We took little E back to the doctor on Wednesday and they think he has a sinus infection. They prescribed him some amoxicillin – the miracle worker. Usually. Two days later and his cough has not changed. He still sounds like a seal. Add to that I’m coughing still. I had the flu (not officially diagnosed, but fairly certain) at the end of February, so my cough is going on about a month. Considering a dry cough is one of the top symptoms of COVID-19, I’m a complete wreck

We started to hear that a “shelter in place” demand was going to be coming, and sure enough, Governor Pritzker announced it on Friday afternoon at 3 p.m.

Here we go.

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