What’s it Like Being a Mom and Juggling Work During a Global Pandemic?

The Differences Between Elementary School Moms and High School Moms

Julie+Ross+and+her+family+celebrate+birthdays+late+with+masks+on.+They+still+see+family%2C+but+are+safe+in+doing+so.+

Julie Ross

Julie Ross and her family celebrate birthdays late with masks on. They still see family, but are safe in doing so.

Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, daily life has been altered. With about 55.3 million cases and 1.33 million deaths worldwide, events are canceled and many parents and kids have to work from home. Parents with school aged children especially, have dealt with a whole new lifestyle. Here are four different moms, their perspectives, and how they’ve handled life during the virus.   

Cristin Bratt is a full time employee as the Deputy Public Information Officer for the Fairfax County

Cristin Bratt’s family celebrates her daughters First Communion months later because of the Coronavirus pandemic. COVID safety protocols were put in place and extended family watched the event unfold by livestream. (Courtesy of Cristin Bratt)

Park Authority. She has two daughters who attend Terra Centre Elementary School in grades one and three. When asking her what it’s like as a mom, homeschool teacher, and employee during a global pandemic, she replied, “It’s a challenge. I’d like to think that multitasking comes easy for moms, but this has really put me to the test.”

 

 

    With an understanding employer, Bratt has been able to take leave to assist her kids in school and babysitters have come in handy. Keeping non-traditional office hours, not going out as often, and making purchases for life at home have been some adjustments to accommodate the new normal. In regards to her kids schooling Bratt said, “I think that they will catch up and be fine in their studies.” Overall, Bratt and her family are doing their best to stay positive and happy. “At the end of the day, all kids are dealing with distance learning and employees are dealing with COVID-19. Years from now this will be a memory… and know that we’re not going through this alone.” 

Another mom in a similar boat is Christine Notarianni. Notarianni has two kids, a newborn and a first grader. Notarianni is a public health nurse, working within schools to develop plans for students with health issues, though she has been working from home since schools closed back in March. However, after the recent birth of her baby, her maternity leave is running out. She will have to resign to keep her kids out of daycare. The birth of her son, which was much different than that of her daughter, added a new level of worry because he is not able to get immunized to protect himself. They’ve been trying to stay closely bubbled because he is susceptible. To help juggle mom, work, and pandemic life, Notarianni says she makes a lot of lists and is grateful to have a friend with kids the same age who includes her kids in activities. They work together and in return, Notarianni doesn’t feel as isolated as if she was doing it by herself. 

The unknowns of COVID greatly worried Notarianni, especially in the beginning. “I think the biggest struggle has

Christine Notarianni and her daughter Alyssa trying on glasses at the Optometrist. Do their glasses match their masks? (Christine Notarianni )

been second guessing every decision you make,” Notarianni said, when replying to what has changed the most over the past couple months. Notarianni thinks that parents in similar situations should try to find a bubble that is comfortable for them to help provide more normalcy. 

Another mom, Jennifer Lewnadowski, is a single mom with two older kids. Lewandowski retired from the Air Force after 20 years of service and is now working as a GS-13 as the Chief of Accounting at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. She has two daughters, a freshman at Robinson, and a junior at James Madison University. Working while acting as a mom during the pandemic has been interesting for Lewandowski. She likes to be transparent with her kids, but at the same time, she knows she doesn’t have all of the answers. “Trying to balance what we don’t know, calming fears, but also practicing safely and adjusting our day to day routines has been challenging.” 

Lewandowski was working from home since March, but when she started her new job, she has been going into a hospital everyday. Her staff is at 50 percent, cleaning measures are being taken, and meetings are being held virtually. Despite these adaptations, she

Jennifer Lewandowski along with friends and family, tube down the Potomac River. They enjoyed getting back to the basics! (Abby Ross)

and her family have adapted well. They’ve tried to make the most out of the situation and have looked at the positives rather than the negatives. “Getting back to the basics has been nice,” said Lewandowski regarding their return to playing board games, watching summer movies outside, tubing, rafting, and getting into a routine of socializing with neighbors at a distance. 

Julie Ross, another mom with two kids, has been teaching for 25 years in FCPS and currently teaches second grade. She has two kids, a freshman at Robinson and another who is attending Diesel Mechanic School. “I’m not juggling very well. Work is consuming the majority of my time,” said Ross. Virtual learning has its effects on everyone. As a teacher, Ross is used to interacting with her kids, but with online teaching, she sits at her computer. She knows that it’s hard on the students because they’re not getting enough interaction and movement, even with movement breaks incorporated. Staying focused is  another issue she’s noticed since learning from home can be distracting. 

Online learning has been the worst part of the pandemic for Ross. Since Ross has a high schooler, she and her

Julie Ross and her family celebrate birthdays late with masks on. They still see family, but are safe in doing so. (Julie Ross)

family had to work hard in giving each of them their own spaces. “I think that it emphasizes just how important your relationships with people are… Missing them lets you know just how important those face to face interactions with family and friends are, and always needing to make sure you’re taking that time to be together and see each other.”