COVID-19 and the anguish of worsening my mental health & that of my kids; working from home and supporting my kids' remote learning.
Wed Apr 28 2021
I am a single BIPOC mother of 2 children and my school age kids are doing remote learning. We live in a small cramped and cluttered apartment in public housing. We do not have a backyard. One of my children has special needs and cannot do their school work independently and needs someone to scaffold and support their work for them. Because of the lockdown, I have NO family members who can help me with kids--even if I could afford to hire someone (which I cannot), it's not safe. Their dad and I separated a few years ago and he lives across the country and only calls or FaceTime's with the kids a few times a year.
I work a demanding job in marketing and I'm not able to keep up with the demands of work but I need to pay the bills. I guess you could say that I am one of the "lucky ones" who gets to "work from home". I used to have 2 jobs but got laid off one. I suffer from anxiety and depression and PTSD that has gotten worse since Covid. My kids' mental health is suffering because they used to be able to access before and after school programs and they were a part of a Boys and Girls club which kept them active engaged with their peers. One of my kids my middle son has become very aggressive and he has been developing an eye condition from being on the screen so long. My other two kids manage fine but are lagging behind and one wants to play video games and each day that goes by, he's falling further and further behind. I worry that he will never catch up and he's supposed to start high school in a couple of years...if the kids ever go back; that is.
But others are quick to judge me for losing my temper and patience with my kids. I am completely exhausted ALL THE TIME. I just feel like a shell of who I used to be and I just feels like I am in an endless rut and there is nothing to look forward to. No hope in sight. I feel helpless and defeated but every morning even though I want to stay in bed, I force myself to get up and make breakfast for the kids and put a brave face on. I do my best to try to make the kids happy but I know that they can see the pain behind my eyes--especially my daughter who is very intuitive. A few weeks ago after hearing me in the hallways chasing after my son who was getting on my last nerve after I reminded him for about the 27th time not to run and scream in the hallways, a neighbour of mine told me that I could be nicer and more patient. Yeah thanks lady. Do you think I I felt good about the fact that I had lost my patience with my kid and that I yelled at him shamed him. . The
e poor kid all he needed was just some exercises and an outlet to release all the tension and stress he'd been feeling trying to learn remotely with having a distracted and confused brain that takes longer to process information. Don't you think I go to bed every night feeling like I'm absolutely failing as a parent? And as a worker. my productivity is really poor. I have terrible brain fog. I know my boss has been noticing that I am slipping and I'm afraid it's going to start to be reflected in my evaluation at work.
I need this job though. I know I need to be more patient; but would you be if you're up late every night trying to complete all the work that you didn't complete during the day and not getting a good nights sleep endlessly for days and weeks now and you have no supports and mental health issues. Although, I know I'm far from the exception and that I am not alone but I still feel alone. Because ultimately all the responsibilities lays squarely on my shoulders.
All across this province and all over the country, many parents have this and even more stress to deal with. Some are in abusive relationships. Some are in danger of being evicted. Many parents are basically having to parent right now without the help of a community or the village that they require to raise their children. Many parents are struggling as they get no respite or relief; they are working their tails off to make ends meet and their children are struggling too. I just hope I can get through this pandemic but I literally feel like there is no end in sight. :( please pray for me🪶🙏🏽