Covid-19 and its continued effects are wholly unprecedented. For those of us with children the altered state of our everyday lives, and that of our families, has been challenging, overwhelming, and is riddled with a consistent sense of uncertainty. Despite the overall tragedy that is Covid-19, finding positivity in our new ‘normal’ is tantamount to our ability to parent effectively while also caring for ourselves and our mental health.
When the pandemic became a reality, I immediately pulled my son out of daycare. As someone with backgrounds in both public health and nursing, I was acutely aware of the severity of the many effects that Covid-19 could and would have on the world and I wasn’t taking any unnecessary chances on the health of my family. Soon thereafter my husband, who is a teacher, was shifted to working-from-home when schools shut down. Suddenly we were both trying to work full-time while caring for a rambunctious 18-month-old. Despite the love that we have for our son, Henry, it was hard. Henry couldn’t understand the overnight shift in routine, isolation from other children, and being stuck at home. My husband worried about the future of his job and the children that he cares so deeply for, and I worried about how I would be able to juggle caring for a small child while working full-time. Henry was mostly worried about Sesame Street and goldfish crackers, with the occasional meltdown over having to wear sunscreen.
The ability to work remotely has always been a perk, and despite being fortunate enough to have job security during a time when so many people were being laid off, it suddenly became a pronounced barrier both personally and professionally. As an Enrollment Advisor, my work performance is based on metrics and I simply couldn’t meet them while being a mother and wife with my family in my ‘office’ 24/7. Enrollment Advisors are expected to be on the phone for the majority of their day, so chaos and background noise are a no-go. It was beyond stressful, but I’m also grateful that I was able to spend so much time with my family. Finding silver linings and positivity in the unique situations I’ve experienced due to Covid-19 has been a saving grace for me, and the value of the quality time with my husband and my son during such a shaping time in his life is immeasurable.
Henry just turned 2 and is thriving. His language skyrocketed almost immediately when he left daycare which I attribute to the constant interaction with my husband and me. We learned to be creative with ways to keep him entertained at home, and found a love...no...PASSION for sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and inflatable pools. Our dogs received more attention and walks than ever, we prioritized sit-down family dinners, and embraced being more mindful and present for ourselves and for each other. Both my husband and Henry are back in school/daycare now and although it has been a relief to have some sense of normalcy again, I admittedly miss the chaos and togetherness of forced lockdown.
Working for Noodle has been a blessing throughout the uncertainty of the pandemic. I have felt nothing but support, caring, and understanding from the executive level to my direct manager and everyone in-between. Mental health, work-life balance, and prioritization of family are discussed consistently, and multiple resources have been made available to all employees for which I continue to be grateful. The culture of our organization has always been a major benefit working for Noodle, and I believe the culture has not only remained intact during Covid-19, but has also vastly improved. The sense of togetherness that is so desperately missed by being socially distant is alive and well at Noodle, and I credit this to my ability to remain focused, motivated, and balanced in both my personal and professional life.
Parenting is a challenge during the best of times. Covid-19 brought an entirely new set of challenges that we continue to navigate and overcome piece by piece, and that’s something to be proud of. Our kids love us. Our kids appreciate us. Our kids look up to us. We are doing the best we can with what we have, and though they’re hard to find at times, we must continue to focus on our silver linings.