Balancing Home Life During Covid-19

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Lili Stevens, Arts and Entertainment Editor

While we are all dealing with this new form of learning, many students with specific at-home responsibilities such as childcare now have to balance their education and responsibilities on an unprecedented scale. My siblings are in fourth grade, and prior to the lockdown, my job at home was to watch and feed them until my mom returned from work. Now, if my mom is called into work, I have that responsibility all day. Additionally, both my siblings and I are required to participate daily in online learning. If they have any complications, I am the one who has to resolve them. While this hasn’t proved to be too big of an issue so far, I can see it becoming difficult in times to come. 

In order to gain more insight into this unique predicament, I have reached out to my own younger siblings and other students I know who have responsibilities to siblings, work or technologically incompetent parents to see how their family dynamic has changed since the lockdown.

My younger sister, Nora, made sure to tell me that we have been doing more chores since school went online “because we don’t come home late from school,” and that we have been hanging out together more as a family. Her online school revolves around a daily meeting with her teacher and completing a couple of tasks such as reading and math independently. She likes the fact that she gets to be on her Ipad and talk to people and see her friends that way. I asked her about how she feels about my role in the house, especially concerning online school help, and she said that she needs my help more “because sometimes I get a little confused about what to do with the technology because we didn’t have to do that with normal school.” It seems that technology is confusing even with the youngest recipients of this new online learning.

Rory Mendelow, a senior at Boulder High, informed me that while her family still expects her to keep up with a regular chore schedule, she and her siblings are close enough in age that they are “in the same boat” of trying to keep up with their learning. Her mother may be working from home, but her father travels for work, so he has been significantly inconvenienced by the lockdown. Based on this information, one can infer that for students with similarly-aged siblings or no siblings at all, family dynamics haven’t changed all that drastically. However, with a new development every day, we really have no clue as to how this virus will continue to impact the rest of our school year.

Avery Dahl, a freshman at Boulder High, is in a similar spot as me with her younger sibling. Her sister is in third grade, and quarantine has placed Dahl in a situation where she is more responsible than ever to help her sister learn. Helping her sister with “math and video chats” are just a couple of the responsibilities that have arisen from quarantine. Her family has assigned more housework and chores to each member, and everyone has their own schedule for the day. She’s found that her parents working from home has made it more challenging for them to balance work and home life.

Overall, it’s clear that the quarantine has changed nearly every facet of normal life for all of us. It’s something that no one expected to happen, and we are all working to adapt to the new reality. Just as we should be thanking the amazing essential workers in grocery stores, hospitals and law enforcement, I think we should each take time to thank the members of our family for their individual contributions. Whether or not your family dynamics have wildly shifted, it’s still important to show gratitude for the everyday things we may have taken for granted pre-quarantine.