Remember when our daily mom-tasks were fairly straightforward? We packed lunches, folded laundry and tried to keep the house generally tidy. These days, with everyone at home, our job has taken on a few unexpected roles, such as:
Barber. A few weeks into our ‘stay home’ routine, everyone in my household started to look like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. I do the best I can with cutting, trimming and blending, but the results are uneven, at best. The slogan for my slapdash home salon could be: “It’s not pretty, but it’s free.”
Tailor/Seamstress. I had a flippant attitude about junior high Home Ec class and didn’t pay much attention to the needle-and-thread demonstrations. I laughed when my mom gave me a sewing basket as a wedding gift, but the joke’s on me as I now fumble to fix torn-up pant knees, holey socks, split armpit seams, and too-long pyjama bottoms. There’s also a lineup of stuffed animals that need minor surgery and repairs.
Hygiene Watchdog. Hands down, the most popular phrase in my house right now is “Go wash your hands.” I find myself listening at the bathroom door and sending my kids back in for a re-do, stating: “That was only 17 seconds.”
Miracle Chef. For me, making a balanced dinner (that isn’t burned to a crisp) is a challenge at the best of times. Now, with long periods between grocery pick-ups, I’m supposed to become some sort of culinary MacGyver who can whip up an exciting, nutritious meal with the limited ingredients I have on hand.
IT Technician. Without in-person contact, we’re more reliant on technology than ever before. There are days where I feel like I spend hours moving from one computer to another, troubleshooting problems like forgotten passwords, poor WiFi connections, unsaved work, and uncooperative printers.
Home Stager. My kids have all these FaceTime and Zoom dates, and before any call, there’s a bit of prep work involved. Have they gone to the bathroom? Are they wearing a clean shirt? Most importantly, is the camera pointed in a direction that won’t reveal the general mess, or any pyjama-clad family members?
E-Learning Consultant. I didn’t understand how to calculate the volume of a 3D shape over two decades ago, and I sure as heck don’t get it now. Still, I’m trying to keep up with the daily schoolwork checklists and navigate the online classroom system. Tomorrow, I think I’m teaching my nine-year-old about fractions, and how to play the national anthem on the recorder.
Night Warden. With my kids being less active during the day, I’m hearing more bedtime complaints of “but I’m just not tired!” Sorry gang, but mom desperately needs the quiet time. Despite my hard-line approach on “lights out,” the inmates still sneak out sometimes, usually under the guise of having to pee or needing “one more hug.”
Ballet Dancer. With my kids home 24/7, I am constantly tiptoeing around an array of toys, books, unfinished board games, Lego pieces and stacks of football cards, all scattered across the floor. It’s like a high-precision game of hopscotch to get from one room to another.
In contrast, some of the usual items on our to-do list have completely disappeared. My kids’ backpacks and lunch bags hang empty on their hooks. I haven’t had to sign a school permission form or pay a field trip fee. Previously, I was shuttling kids to activities and practices every evening and weekend. Over the past month, I think I’ve driven the car once, and I barely remembered how to work the turn signal.
This new reality is just that—new. It’s going to take some time to figure out how to juggle these additional tasks with the ones we were doing already. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get started on dinner. Does penne pasta pair well with chocolate pudding mix?