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What It’s Really Like To Quarantine With Kids, According To 27 Moms

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The first few weeks of the COVID-19 quarantine (remember those?) were a roller coaster of emotions. School suddenly stopped out of nowhere, kids were home, and parents were put in limbo as days, weeks (and then months) went by without really knowing when life would go back to normal. And then, the reality sank in that in addition to all of your already existing mom duties, you now had to be your child’s teacher, too, as they navigated distance learning. But now that we’re 7-ish months into quarantine, we decided to ask what it’s really been like to quarantine with kids. No surprise, there were a lot of big emotions.

Sure, some of us might have started out searching for banana bread recipes, but that cheerful enthusiasm for fun domestic projects might have waned by now. And with good reason, since the reality of balancing real life demands with the ever-changing school landscape is downright stressful. “We’ve been quarantining with our kids going on 7 months now,” Dr. Amanda K. Darnley, Psy.D. MHC, a licensed psychologist tells Romper in an email. “Some of us have viewed this as an opportunity to spend quality family time together and perfect our bread recipes; and some of us feel like we are barely holding on to our sanity. I think it’s likely that most of us are a little bit of both, depending on the day.”

And here’s the thing. That’s okay. These are unchartered waters, and if you wake up feeling somewhat normal and end your day with a banging headache, it’s kind of to be expected. “Remember that life is stressful for everyone, including you,” psychologist Elisa Robyn, Ph.D., tells Romper in an email. “Acknowledge your many emotions and changing stress level, take time for self-care, and release any thought that there is one right answer for our unique lives and to parent our children.”

These 27 moms would agree, as they honestly explain what it’s been like to quarantine with their kids.

1. Melissa, mom of 3

“For the most part, it’s been going okay. I think it’s really all about perspective. I try not to overwhelm myself with too many things to do during the day, and it has made it easier.”

2. Suzanne, mom of 1

“I feel like the worst mom in the world. I see all these parents having an amazing time with their kids, baking bread and sh*t, and I think, ‘Why don’t I feel like that, too?’ I’m lucky if I can get cereal in a bowl — for dinner.”

3. Trish, mom of 2

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“It’s made me realize that I need a lot more space than I thought I did. I think that we’re all sick of each other at this point, to be honest.”

4. Irene, mom of 3

“All three of my kids have had their birthdays during the quarantine, and we couldn’t have any parties or anything. They miss their friends, and it’s been so painful. It's even harder now that they're remote learning. We all feel a bit cut off from the world.”

5. Donna, mom of 4

“Every day feels like Groundhog’s Day. And not in a good way. I can’t tell if it’s 6:00 in the morning, or 6:00 at night. Every day, every moment, feels the same. Sometimes, I can't even tell if I slept or not.”

6. Jamie, mom of 2

“I’m so sick of being with the kids all the time. I can’t be the only one. I gave birth to them, but that doesn’t mean I want to be with them all the time.”

7. Helen, mom of 3

“I never realized how annoying everyone can be — including myself. I feel like the quarantine has brought out the worst in me. I try to wake up and be positive, but by the end of the night, I’m snarling. Not a good look.”

8. Flora, mom of 2

“I’ve actually quite enjoyed it! Our family was moving in a hundred different directions all the time, and really, it wasn’t a sustainable pace. Plus, I wasn’t happy with how much we had going on. The quarantine has forced us to slow down, and spend more time together. Is it perfect all the time? Nope. But do we get to enjoy each other more? Absolutely.”

9. Christina, mom of 3

“I think I’ll feel sad when things go back to ‘normal.’ We’ve had more days in pajamas, more snuggling, and it’s time that you don’t get back. I think this pandemic might be a missed opportunities for parents to really bond with their kids in a way that has been unprecedented.”

10. Brianna, mom of 2

“I’m a Pinterest mom by nature, and so my crafty side has gone into overdrive! I’ve been going on nature walks and collecting leaves with the kids. I’ve loved (almost) every minute of it.”

11. Carla, mom of 4

“I like it! My kids are in their late teens, and prior to the pandemic, I never saw them. Now, they’re home, and I really like being with them. I doubt they can say the same, but every now and then, they’ll hang out with me and my partner and we’ll watch movies. I even get a hug, and I know deep down that they are having fun, too.”

12. Becky, mom of 2

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“Call it what you like, but we’ve used this time together to really connect. It's kind of like a blessing in disguise."

13. Joanne, mom of 2

“It wasn’t so bad when the quarantine first happened, and it was all new and kind of exciting, if that makes sense. But as time dragged on, (and on and on), I think we’ve all gotten on each other’s nerves. The silver lining was that the kids would go back to school, but we live in Florida, which has had some of the highest case counts in the country. So now they’re remote learning, and I’m trying to work from home. It’s not pretty.”

14. Alejandra, mom of 2

“It feels like a pressure cooker. All. The. Time.”

15. Isabella, mom of 3

“I try to enjoy spending time with my kids, and I post on Facebook a lot the things that we do together, like making homemade soaps or baking pumpkin bread. I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten unfriended a lot during the pandemic, to be honest!”

16. Mia, mom of 2

“I open my eyes in the morning, and I can’t tell if I’ve even slept. Every day feels the same, and time moves so slowly and fast at the same time. My kids are constantly fighting because we’re all sick of this crap. They keep asking when things will go back to normal, and I don’t have an answer for them. That’s the toughest part.”

17. Danica, mom of 2

“A lot of my friends on social media have been quiet the past couple of months, and I think that’s because they are struggling, just like the rest of us. Any mom who says she’s enjoying this is either day drinking or on something.”

18. Cora, mom of 5

“I fantasize about being on vacation, with no kids, no husband, nothing. I’ve actually researched packages and set up the entire trip. I stop myself just before clicking to purchase. It's gotten that bad.”

19. Maren, mom of 2

“Being with my kids 24/7 made my husband and I realize that we never, ever want to try for a third.”

20. Priya, mom of 2

“It’s all about organization. That’s the key to survival. You have to have a game plan for each day; otherwise your kids will be bored and they won’t ever leave you alone. A simple craft, a small activity can work wonders to keep the peace. It’s helped me to stay sane.”

21. Yvette, mom of 3

“I cry in the shower at night. Not every night, but many nights. It’s beyond stressful.”

22. Alma, mom of 4

“It’s all about how you sell it. If you’re negative and miserable, well, that’s what you’re going to mirror to your kids. Even if I have to fake it, I do it so that my kids don’t feel like I don’t want to be around them. Which I don’t, but they don’t have to know that.”

23. Cindy, mom of 3

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“We miss our regular lives so badly! The kids miss their friends, school, grandparents. I miss our old life, too. It’s gotten to the point where the kids are complaining how everyone chews their food, and I can't say I blame them. We are all on edge, all the time.”

24. Imelda, mom of 2

“Call me a Pollyanna, but I truly believe that this pandemic has a purpose. So I challenged myself to do a deep dive into who I really am, and what I want, and I had my kids do the same. One kid learned that she really doesn't like lacrosse and wants to switch to soccer instead. My other kid started painting, and isn’t really good at it yet, but it makes her happy.”

25. Sonia, mom of 5

“Not every day is amazing, but most days have a moment that is awesome, and that we might have missed in our pre-pandemic lives. It might be seeing my kids helping each other during distance learning, or having a little more snuggle time at night with the younger ones. And I think maybe that’s the reason for this all.”

26. Lian, mom of 1

"I think the quarantine has helped to shine a light on things that weren't working before in our lives. And for that, I'm grateful, since it helped me to make improvements in my life. It was really hard for my kids, since they feel like their friends were ripped away from them, which they kind of were. That's one of the big reasons why we decided to send them to school, so they could see their friends again. But to say it hasn't been easy is an understatement."

27. Monica, mom of 4

“I had to start taking anti-depressants. That’s how it’s going.”

Experts:

Elisa Robyn, Ph.D., psychologist

Amanda K. Darnley, Psy.D. MHC, licensed psychologist