Gifts? From Lockdown?
“I would love to continue a career where I worked from home. It simplifies things and I feel much calmer. I’m also so much closer with my children now!! I’m treasuring this time.”
“We have saved money. I found spirituality in meditation. I learned how to take care of my kids without access to entertainment activities.”
“…Spending more time in my local environment (which is beautiful) and we really got to know our neighbors.”
“More time for me and less time in the car taking kids to activities. More time to help kids focus on what they need to be doing. Our family has really benefitted from this situation.”
Over 1,300 parents, mostly Mothers (96%) have shared the pandemic’s impact on their lives anonymously since March. And Covid-living, often without childcare, mental healthcare or self-care, is overwhelming.
So, when they were asked about the pandemic’s surprising rewards, some parents were at a loss to find anything good from this time of grief. One surveyed parent responded, “Absolutely nothing. I liked my old life.” But for most, the crisis has come with some unexpected treasures.
More and better time with family continues to be the most frequently cited benefit of the new situation. As painful as it has been, Covid has forced some positive changes that surveyed parents want to keep. They’ve embraced new habits. Cooking and eating at home, working from home, cooperating more equally and effectively with partners and spouses, eating together, and looking more critically at the world around them, are prominent themes.
More Focused Family Time
“Tons more time with our kids. Lots of morning snuggles and kisses.”
“Much more family time. I have lunch with my family every day. Less stress without commuting.”
“Time with my son and being there for more milestones.”
“Spend time with kids and not feel stressed about working all the time.”
“We have had some fun family times: movies, game nights & my partner’s ability to work from home allowed us to get a puppy.”
“Time with the kids! With both parents working full-time, we never expected this gift of enjoying our kids more than weeknights and weekends, so we’re grateful to have spent every day, all day with them since early March. And my .5 acre gardens grew a lot–we even planted a pumpkin patch for socially-distanced Fall.”
“I have a baby. No pumping!!! I have spent so much more time with her then I ever would have, and it’s been a true gift. And dinner as a family every night at 6, my husband is there every night and helps with the bedtime routine with the big girls which I used to mostly do myself.”
Bye-Bye to the Commute
“I love the ability to work remotely, and the ability to work reduced hours. That part has been far less stressful than normal.”
“Working remotely. I love it! If I never have to drive to work again it will be too soon.”
“Working full-time from home does mean less stress getting to work, power naps, doing laundry during the day.”
“Slowing down to appreciate what I have, forced to look at myself on a deep level, and I prefer working from home.”
“I’ve been able to work from home which has been a huge blessing! I’m able to get more menial work done during my lunch hour. So, I don’t have to do it after my son comes home.”
“More sleep. Professional appearances are required in my office. When I work from home I don’t have to get up as early to do hair and makeup.”
“Taking a nap mid-day.”
“Less rushing, less anxiety related to trying to get somewhere on time.”
“The downtime in my business has given me space to recenter my business around my personal values.”
“Reading more, cooking with my kids more, playing games, puzzles and crafting more together.”
“Getting back to art.”
“I can breastfeed my baby rather than pump bottles while I’m working.”
“We sleep in more! Our mornings are not as chaotic which is a welcome change of pace.”
“More meditation/prayer and time to fix up my home.”
“More time at home has given me time to complete some small projects & start a better exercise routine.”
Self-Discovery & Learning
“I realized I am much nicer person who is patient.”
“I’ve had more time to work on finishing my Grad degree.”
“Able to start grad school.”
“I enjoy homeschooling my child.”
“It’s an incredible time in medicine; we’re getting a chance to experiment with new ways of providing care”.
“More innovation in education than I’ve seen in my lifetime.”
Stronger, Better Relationships
“My kids are closer than ever. My marriage grew stronger. My dog is happier.”
“I’ve gotten to watch my baby hit milestones and develop an amazing bond with her!”
“My relationship with my daughters has improved.”
“My husband has not had to travel for work which had allowed him to help Monday-Friday. It’s amazing.”
“Husband working from home and able to help more with new baby born during pandemic.”
“More time “stuck” together in the evening.”
“Closer relationship with friends who are also distancing by forming a Covid pod.”
“Time with my child, feeling of gratitude for having a partner to get through this with.”
“Closer personal relationships, closer marriage.”
Less Obligations or Feeling Obligated
“Slower pace, seeing some people less has really been a blessing.”
“Getting out of social obligations we didn’t want to do.”
“Fewer obligations and interactions with people I don’t care about.”
“I don’t have to wear a bra hardly ever and there’s far less stress about clean work clothes.”
“My husband was home through my maternity leave. Not feeling pressure to have visitors when my son was first born.”
“Saving money since all activities have been cancelled.”
“We are in the best financial spot we have ever been in since so many activities were cancelled.”
“I paid off most of our debt with my husband’s severance from being laid off.”
“I got a new position because of it (the pandemic)”
“Less money spent on gas.”
Reflection doesn’t come without rest or space. And feeling depleted can distort everything, including the blessings. But parents, through this time of chaos and profound loss, continue to reexamine how they want to live. So, we also see hope in the form of renewed commitment to deeply held personal values, loved ones and the global community we share. As one surveyed parent aptly describes, “I’m challenged to the max. …That can be transformative and empowering in the long run.” Amen!
Many thanks to the amazing parents who shared their stories for this study! Have you chimed in yet? Share your experiences of how life has changed during social distance, it’s quick and the results from this study will be used to advocate better support for parents.
Employers, let us help you transform your workplace into an environment where caregivers thrive. Learn about Allies @ Work.