Since May 1, a modified stay at home order has taken effect in Illinois, with the ease down of some restrictive measures, like the reopening of a few state parks and some essential businesses. School’s however are still closed like most others around the country. Bébé Voyage ambassador, Liza Marinelarena Lynch, shares her experience of what it’s like being both a mom and teacher during Covid-19 in Chicago.
Q. Could you tell us a little about your family?
A. We are a family of 5. My husband is a construction worker for highrises in downtown Chicago, and work is slowing down but has not shut down yet. We have a 10-month daughter Alivia, a 4-year-old wild boy named Landon, and an 11-year-old daughter Lilliana. I am a Spanish teacher in Oak Park, Illinois.
Q. Where were you when the Coronavirus outbreak started?
A. As I was watching the news on March 12th, I started to notice that everything was getting canceled or closed down. We then received a text from work that schools were going to be canceled immediately starting from the following day. My stomach sank because we have never canceled school! All the teachers had to report into the auditorium for what would be our last day in our classrooms and we were given a brief overview of our responsibilities during the closure. As of 14:00 that day, we had to vacate the premises.
From a teacher’s perspective, this was our worst nightmare. We literally ran to our classrooms with our teams and started to plan and collect resources to take home. It was like a supermarket sweep filled with anxiety, panic and fear for our safety. All this to say, I have never felt more proud of our staff as we came together to accomplish such a huge feat within an 8-hour day.
Q. How has your childcare/job/ day to day changed since the outbreak?
A. My children’s daycare is closed and my oldest daughter has been set up with e-learning modules. During the day, I watch my two little ones while simultaneously teaching my students and supervise my oldest daughter’s e-learning lessons. The pressure is difficult to handle but I just try to do my best. I have to tell myself that it is okay for my son to watch TV a little longer than usual and my daughter to be held more. I try to work on arranging crafts and we get outside as much as we can.
Q. Are your kid/kids aware of what is going on?
A. My little children do not know what is going on but they are so happy to be home with their mom. My oldest plays travel softball and she has been practicing all year just for this season. She misses softball and her friends, and she especially misses running errands with me like taking a trip to Target!
Q. What has been the impact of the outbreak on your daily life?
A. The outbreak has affected both my work and home life. Trying to balance both being a mom and teacher during Covid-19 has been hard. During the day, I am hosting live games for my students on Zoom while being a mom to 3 kids. As a teacher, it is so difficult to watch my kids have a little more screen time then they usually would be allowed. I try to prepare activities the night before so they are working on things while I participate in work meetings. Usually, during these meetings, I’m juggling a baby on my hip, a toddler working at the table and a tween doing her own e-learning.
Q. What type of precautions are you and your family taking?
A. As a family, we do not go anywhere together. I have been exclusively using grocery pick-up and delivery services. My husband is considered an essential worker so he is the only one who leaves the home. We have gloves, masks and he enters the basement and showers before he interacts with us. Although things are hard, I am grateful for time with my family, the space in my home, and our health.
Q. Do you know anyone who has been affected by the outbreak?
A. We have family members who are essential, front-line workers who regularly help Covid-19 patients, and have tested positive themselves. Fortunately, they are now recovering and on the mend. A close relative is also having to do essential air travel at the moment, and we have seen big family events such as graduations and weddings being canceled due to the lockdown. Our entire family has been affected and it makes us all feel very uneasy and on edge.
Q. Anything else you would like to add?
A. I see a lot of parents struggling with e-learning and having kids at home all day, so here is my perspective. As a teacher, my personal belief is that it’s okay to slow down, cherish these moments together at home and do what is right for your family. It’s okay to have a lazy day, it’s okay to do nothing, and it’s okay to cry and have mixed emotions. I am trying to give myself a break. I have learned to be grateful for the little things like my yard, a long car ride, my driveway, and my wonderful neighbors.
Q. One more thing – could you suggest something for other parents to try at home with their kids?
A. Almost anything goes – using educational apps on your phone or tablet, learning a new language, keeping the spirit of travel alive when we cannot go outside, and more. This time is perfect to explore by learning about another culture, try your hand at a new language or attempt to make a new recipe. Speaking to your kids’ natural interests is a great place to start.
For families who want to explore learning Spanish, start counting their favorite things in Spanish, or have them run around and touch the color you call out in Spanish. SuperSimpleEspanol is an awesome educational website with fun songs and activities for kids of all ages.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual, not of Bébé Voyage, unless specifically indicated to that effect.
Did you enjoy reading this article on being a mom and teacher during Covid-19? Are you also struggling between home and work life during this time? Leave us a comment below and tell us your story! We are here for you!
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