“What must the world look like from their eyes? Schools closed, sporting games canceled, desolate streets and subways — it must look pretty strange from the eyes of a toddler. This weekend while waiting for an elevator, Presley reached to press the button. Without thinking, I screamed, ‘Don’t touch that!’ Presley, nearly in tears of shock, froze and stared at me like a crazy person as I scrubbed her hands with Purell.
From a child’s perspective, we all must look insane. They don’t see the news articles with Coronavirus totals. They don’t see the barren shelves at the grocery store. They don’t see the fear and panic. Innocence is bliss. They may not understand this awful disease and what it is doing to people. They only see Mommy keeping them from pressing an elevator button!
Now sitting on the couch with my three girls, I’ve reflected on this whole situation and what is going on in the world around us. While things are going to be tough for a while, I am grateful to just stop and relax.
Relax is not a vocabulary word used often in my home. I am a mom quarantined with five kids in the middle of New York City and four of my children are 2 years old and younger.
After struggling with infertility, I had four babies in 13 months! I had one son and just turned 40 at the time, but couldn’t get pregnant again, so I turned to IVF. After two unsuccessful rounds and a miscarriage, I turned to surrogacy. But I finally got pregnant on my fourth round of IVF! I feared this would end in another heartbreak and I didn’t want to take any chances so I still moved forward with my surrogate. I did have a successful pregnancy with my daughter Harlow and 4 months later, my surrogate had TWINS — Piper and Presley!
It doesn’t stop there. After 3 months, I found out I was pregnant again. I learned I had placenta accreta, which is when the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall. I gave birth to my son, Dylan, at 29 weeks. Although he was diagnosed with congenital scoliosis, a bone condition, Dylan is a WARRIOR and a very happy baby. I mean look at that FACE!
So here we are now — family of seven with one 13-year-old and four babies under 2, living in the heart of Manhattan. Throw a pandemic in there and life has gotten pretty complicated.
People always ask when are we leaving NYC because we have such a big family and we say, never. This is our home. Right now, it is very surreal. We always appreciated the hustle and bustle of the city, but currently, it is desolate and quiet. Grand Central Station has always been a place to take the kids to run around. Now there is no one there. It’s a very eerie feeling.
Our biggest focus is on protecting our kids from the coronavirus, so we have mostly been quarantined inside. I take the little kids out once a day for a walk but they are not allowed to get out of their strollers. My attitude is to be smart for the time being. I’m not taking any chances. My kids have learned to wash their hands when they wake up in the morning, before their nap, after being outside and before bed. Now we sing a song, ‘Wash, wash, wash our hands….’
As a parent, we have to make this experience fun or there will be a lot more tantrums and breakdowns. As you can imagine, I am completely exhausted, so that’s really why I snapped at Presley when she almost touched the elevator button. Keeping these children busy all day is hard work. At least when life was normal, they would attend classes and it would make the day go by quickly. Now it feels like we are moving in slow motion. It is one activity after the next.
I think it’s fair to say every parent is feeling the same thing. No one wants to keep their kids locked up indoors and if you are you feel obligated to keep them busy with fun things to do. At this rate, it seems it could be weeks to months before we find some normalcy, so we have to find our new normal. I need a schedule with the kids which keeps them indoors and safe, but also keeps Mom sane. I haven’t figured how this will work just yet, but hoping I find better footing soon.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Tracy from Manhattan, NY. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more stories about motherhood during times of Coronavirus here:
‘I received a call. ‘We’re out of diapers. She went to the bathroom…a lot.’ Boy was I in for an experience.’: Mom urges others to stop hoarding baby items during quarantine, ‘Some families can’t afford to buy in bulk’
‘This may come as a surprise…but we aren’t on a routine. My house is not a school. My children do work when they feel like it.’: Mom gives herself ‘grace’ during quarantine, ‘I don’t feel bad about it’
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