Parent Week - Meet Lizz and Elliott

This week we are introducing you to different families who are just like you: working from home, trying to homeschool, keep their kids busy, and keep everyone fed 24/7 during the pandemic!

Meet Lizz and her son Elliott and read about how they are learning to work and play from home together during this pandemic.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hey, I’m Lizz and I am the parent of Elliott, a funny, silly, smart, energetic, and sometimes hair-pullingly stubborn 3-year-old. I am a single mom working full-time in healthcare administration and share custody with my son’s dad. I keep sane by singing show tunes and sneaking in a run here or there. I also have a 65-lbs dog and an opinionated cat that make life even more interesting.

What's changed in your family's routine since being home?

When I started a new job four months ago in healthcare administration, I had no idea what I was in for! This position was an exciting new opportunity that offered more responsibility. The phrase “more responsibility” takes on a whole new meaning during a pandemic. Confronting COVID-19 on a daily basis adds a weight to my life in a way I have never experienced.

Amongst it all, my son’s daycare has closed, which has required me to work from home with a 3-year-old when he is not with his dad. That means balancing back-to-back conference calls while keeping Elliott from screaming in the background. I hold my breath that I won’t be asked a question and have to un-mute to a wailing toddler temper-tantrum. Elliott is sick of me working and he isn’t afraid to say it. He will walk up to my laptop and try to close it saying, “Mommy, you are done working.” Sometimes that sassy little boy of mine even tries to put me in time out for not listening and continuing to work.

Before quarantine and before my son’s daycare closed our routine was easy to maintain. Sure it was stressful getting him ready in the morning and out the door in time for me to make it to work, but we made it work. I am lucky to live close to my job and my job is even closer to my son’s daycare. My job is well-balanced and I work an 8-9 hour day. However, once the pandemic intensified, work has followed me everywhere, even outside the office.

Hardest thing about the stay-at-home orders?

My work is supportive and understanding of my situation, but it is still hard to feel like I am “enough” for either Elliott or my job. The thought of being a bad mom haunts me. The hardest thing about the stay-at-home order is having to say “no” so much more: “No, you can’t go play with the neighborhood kids," "No, we can’t go to the park," "No, I can’t play with you I’m on the phone," "No, we can’t go see your friends.” A whole lot of “no’s” in an effort to keep him safe and socially distant. Elliott is a sociable, happy kid. He is the one that waves to you from his stroller when we’re out for a walk and wants to run up to any kid he sees and start playing with them. Squashing that naturally adventurous and friendly part of his personality has been difficult.

Best thing about the stay-at-home orders?

Despite work and all of the “no’s” I have enjoyed spending so much time with him. Juggling work and Elliott during the day is tricky, but I still love having him there. When I can, I keep my phone on mute, keep my laptop nearby and build block castles, play with play-dough, or even sometimes walk with him while goes on a bike ride.  Sometimes he will sit next to me while I’m working and have a full conversation about what I’m doing or what is on his mind. He will play guitar for me or tell me stories, and while sometimes the timing isn’t ideal (during a video conference!) it still makes me happy. As soon as I finish work we go straight into play-time. We even painted my basement together one weekend! And, finally finished potty training with some extended time at home.

I’ve tried to look up activities for 3-year-olds that he may have been learning in daycare, but it doesn’t come naturally to me. I bought a couple work books for him, but he is mostly disinterested. I try to focus on letters and numbers and the things I can easily help him with. We watch a lot of PBS together and I make sure to interact with the shows to try and help him absorb the info. The Daniel Tiger potty song has been especially helpful!

What do you want other parents to know right now? Or advice you would give?

I want other parents to know that they are doing a great job. All of them. This situation has NEVER happened before. There is no research or best practices on what to do with a child during a quarantine. There isn’t a book titled “At Home, But Not at Rest: how to make the most out of a stay-at-home order during a pandemic”. We are all doing the best we can. So I say, say yes to jelly beans before dinner, be forgiving of extra TV time, celebrate any moments you get to spend outside, and remind yourself what you love about your family.

 

 

 

 

Want to share your experience about educating your children during the pandemic? Call our messaging service to share how the world of education has changed for your family during the pandemic at 801-587-3267. Your message could be used in our new show, Utah Insight!

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