Parenting in Crisis


I am sobbing. I am not sure what’s come over me but I am crying to this kind, sweet third grade teacher who, much to her dismay, shared her personal cell phone number with me awhile back. My lovely, intelligent eight-year old son has thrown remotes at the door, trashed his room and almost broken my husband’s new laptop in a matter of ten days. He has been explosive and exhausting and I am looking for an answer to this insanity because I have no idea how I will survive quarantine during the coronavirus.

Schoolwork in Quarantine

As I try to use the words to tell her what I am feeling, I realize that I am terrified to tell my son that third grade is over. And, my terror is because I, too, am feeling the loss of what has happened as we have gone from living our privileged lives of freedom to crisis mode in quarantine. I cannot catch my breath because I am processing my own grief and cannot even begin to imagine his.

And I acknowledge, much of this pain and grief is privileged. We have food and shelter and even toilet paper.

But, I am still feeling devastated. When the Governor cancelled school, tears streamed down my cheeks. I am mourning the loss for my son because school is his sanctuary. He doesn’t throw things and have meltdowns and tantrums there (as confirmed by his third grade teacher who answered my call). He learns and loves reading and socializing. He likes routine and structure, she insists. And I know this. But, with two little sisters and grandparents, we cannot provide that routine and structure right now. And my heart goes out to the families who don’t have resources and connections like I do to persevere, despite how hard it feels every day.

And I know, I will look back at this time and it will be a moment. But right now, all the moments feel so big and the feelings so strong.

My truths are:

  • I am not sure how to parent right now and balance working from home.
  • I do not understand distance learning.
  • Seesaw? Clever? Dreambox – what does it all mean?
  • I post photos of my kids learning but really I am just coping.

But, I choose joy. Since I am parenting in crisis, I have decided that I will:

  • Let things go – the dishes will always be there.
  • Be kind to myself – mistakes are a part of life.
  • Focus on care and connection with my kids – they cannot articulate the trauma of the pandemic.
  • Give respect to the front line folks who are doing all the work – bless them.

How are you holding up?
I see you; I hear you and I am with you.


  1. I read your story in OBP news today. Your story sounds just like mine, I have an 8 year old boy who is struggling emotionally and refuses to do school work. It’s heartbreaking to see him like this but we are all having to deal with our own difficult emotions too. I have been looking for stories like this because I want to know that I am not alone in this situation,
    THANK YOU for sharing yours.

  2. Thank you – it’s been very rough and I think we are lying to ourselves if we don’t start talking about the trauma associated with this pandemic as it relates to our kids. I also worry so much about kids who don’t have the resources or tools to manage through this. I am grateful but still so devastated.

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