Mothers ‘reeling’ during a pandemic

AmericaWomen working while looking after their children have been working hard, and when a pandemic broke out they were forced to choose whether to leave their children at home alone or lose their jobs.

Dekeda Brown, 41 years old, I am in a grocery store in Olney, Maryland and remember New York City’s “Mother of the Year” award. Then her husband blended into the crowd below, looked at her with proud eyes and took pictures of two daughters, an 11-year-old and a 15-year-old.

Almost a year later, Dekeda stood at the back of the house bar, cell phone and keys in hand and wondered if she should start smashing the bottles. “Then I was like thinking that what could have been worse if I broke that bottle?”, She recalls.

Liz Halfhill, a 30-year-old single mother, a hoarse scream from her bedroom in Spokane, Washington. It was 6:30 a.m. and her 11-year-old son, watching a cartoon outside in the living room, shouted in response.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, shouting has been a daily activity for both mother and daughter every morning. “Waking up is difficult, now everything is bad and so that’s how we relieve stress,” she said.

Mercedes Quintana, 29 years old, wondered why she could think of cooking up to three separate breakfasts in the house.

“We never cook by ourselves, so I think if we are a good mother we should cook for our children,” she said. She is in a house in Temecula, California with a spoon mixed with flour and a laptop in the other. She made chocolate cakes for her 3-year-old daughter, baked bread for her husband, and mashed potatoes for herself while trying to get a call via Zoom. However, her headphones failed to connect while the cake in the pan was about to burn.

“It was 9:31 a.m. and I was so mad,” she said.

Three mothers, in three different parts of the United States, are stressed, angry and out of control due to the reversed lifestyle of the epidemic.

The story of the daily lives of 3 mothers since the beginning of the pandemic shows a mix of chaos and resilience, dissatisfaction and steadfastness and of course hope. In other words, it is the life of the mothers.

“There are days when I even feel like I don’t exist. It’s like I go through a day with 24 hours without remembering what I do because all day long I just go, go and move,” Liz said. the.

“It is a recipe that drives people crazy,” said Laurel Elder, a scientist at the University of Hartwick who is studying the psychological effects of pandemics. The results of the study showed: If you become a mother, you will not have a day of rest.

Dekeda Brown, 41 years old. Image: New York Times.


Dekeda was sitting at the kitchen table – which she called “the battlefield” – in front of her were two laptops and she was typing at the speed of a court clerk. Her left ear is listening to the work meeting, and in her right ear she is listening to the teacher teaching the special math program for her child.

Leilani, her daughter, has autism and cannot speak. Babies cannot do everyday tasks on their own and each passing day is a struggle for them. Children learn with teachers through computer with touch screen.

In the late afternoon, Derrick, Dekeda’s husband, just finished work and returned home. He called upstairs to find his baby and went to the refrigerator as usual. Dekeda reminded her husband to wash his hands but he walked over to the computer and called to his wife: “Teacher just called Leilani!”

Immediately, Dekeda muted his computer, apologized to everyone in the company, and helped his daughter type in the teacher answer. After a while she heard her boss calling: “What do you think, Dekeda?”

“It happened within an hour”, Dekeda recounted and she had to run back and forth while always apologizing to both the boss and the child’s teacher.

“Finally I ran into my bedroom and cried,” she continued. She also said that in these days she doesn’t know who she is anymore.

Every morning she exercises, takes her two daughters to two different schools, and in the afternoon manages to have the whole family have dinner at 7 o’clock. By weekends, she is active at church, training cheerleaders for the Special Olympics and is a vivacious member of the autism community. She also runs a nonprofit that helps parents with special needs.

“Everything happens like a rotating clock and I feel happy with all my activities”, she shared.

“I am a mother with an autistic child and we often say,” We can’t get sick, we can’t die and we can’t be devastated. ” everyone in the house, “she said.

Liz Halfhill, a single 30-year-old mother.  Photo: New York Times.

Liz Halfhill, a single 30-year-old mother. Image: New York Times.


Liz’s son Max, hates school, thinks school is boring and gives him a headache. The boy was caught playing games during class and was deprived of the right to use his cell phone. However, Max’s teacher is very kind, Max still does all his homework and has friends who study at home with him.

Susan, Liz’s neighbor, has agreed to let her son study with Max and she will oversee their studies. However, her son Susan suddenly fell ill and she had to stay home to take care of the child.

The next morning, Liz had to do his boss’s duties while watching Max’s drawing lessons. She tries to find the right moment to explain to her boss that she needs to work remotely. “I don’t think they’ll fire me, but there’s always a danger,” Liz said.

Now in addition to working and raising children, Liz also participates in a course she missed while pregnant with Max. I only have one more semester to complete the course and I hope to get my degree to have a higher income.

She is also working with a mortgage company to increase her chances of getting a home loan. The mother and daughter are renting a bungalow near Max’s school and the landlord is willing to sell it to her if she has the money.

“That’s why I can’t lose my job,” she said.

And when the night comes, Liz’s mind comes up a lot if unfortunately. If unfortunately you get sick? If unfortunately you lose your job? Where will Max go tomorrow, next week, next month? Sometimes she felt her heart was so heavy it felt like it fell out of her chest.

Mercedes Quintana, 29 years old.  Photo: New York Times.

Mercedes Quintana, 29 years old. Image: New York Times.


Mercedes woke up in a bad mood.

Her whole sister ached. “My buttocks, knees and legs make me feel like I’ve been walking for 3 days in a park,” she said. She felt unmotivated to do anything and she kept thinking about the issue of “gender equality”.

Both her and her husband got up early to attend the company’s training session, a job that Mercedes has always wanted to join.

“But he kept himself in his office all day and I played with Mila and prepared breakfast for the whole family. Why didn’t he do it? Why should I do it?” .

Her husband is the main earner to support the whole family, so she knows what the answer is. However, in these days, she feels like being “splashed in the face” by the whole world.

When Mila cried to play, her husband told her to “take a moment” and then “sneak” into the office. While Mercedes was talking to customers, little Mila shouted: “Mom!” then her husband went popcorn. Later, while she was working and playing with her daughter, her husband slept on the sofa.

“During those days, I just wish he would sit still in his office and shut the door so I don’t have to help him anymore,” she said. Before the epidemic broke out, she had gone back to work, but she was always in fear of being fired for not doing her job well. She feels stuck between her work and her duties as a mother and wife.


There are times when Dekeda looks at his daughter and feels grateful for experiencing the moments with her children that would otherwise be left at home she wouldn’t have. Parents and children participate in playing games with dogs, rollerblading in parks, activities to entertain the mother and daughter and treat Leilani.

Mercedes and Liz also cherish the time they spend with their children, precious moments that two mothers would not have otherwise had at home.

Now all three mothers share the same feelings, hopes for a vaccine, a new job opportunity or a plan for the future. Mothers will still be busy, but of course it will be easier for them to manage their lives and for sure all three mothers will be out of the current chaos.

Khanh Ngoc’s (According to the New York Times)


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