Confinement has brought on new challenges for all of us, and that’s especially so for parents with young kids.
As the world goes into total lockdown, we’re all scrambling to find new ways to adapt to our new confined lifestyles. For parents with young children, it may prove to be more challenging than for the rest of us. Having kids at home 24/7 creates difficulties between balancing work and family life simultaneously. Such is the case for this family, Anna Pazos and her partner Pol Mallafré, a young Spanish couple who are currently confined at home with their 4-year-old and their cat.
They have been on lockdown for fifteen days and have had to reinvent themselves in more ways than one; transforming their tiny apartment to fit all of their needs and that of their daughter’s. “Some spaces in the house have acquired new meanings,” says Mallafré. “We put some duct tape in the door frame and now it’s a swing for her [Vera’s] stuffed animals… and during the day her room is a gym for us to exercise, so is the living room.”
Both parents are in a constant back and forth when it comes to taking care of their daughter, balancing her education and entertainment with their work, while also trying to get some alone time. Parental multitasking is also proving to be more essential than ever, “sometimes I do yoga in the living room and since everything is a mess, I put things in place,” explains Mallafré.
Creativity is also an absolute must when it comes to keeping children entertained at home for so many hours on end. “We use watercolours and paints, we do handicrafts, modelling clay, we come up with board games,” recounts Pazos. “And in the afternoon the more physical activities. We create a whole circus at home.” Quarantine parenting is an all-encompassing, full-time job.
This young family’s struggle to adapt to the new times is certainly not unique, however, and shows that childcare and caregiving are extremely challenging jobs that often go unrecognised in our society.
One thing I hope quarantine can teach is that childcare/caregiving is LABOR.
People are ordinarily paid (not enough) to do it, but those who aren’t being paid are still doing a full job.
& right now parents+caregivers WFH are doing 2+ jobs simultaneously.https://t.co/Ch0qBixFzm
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 1, 2020
But adjusting to a new lifestyle isn’t only about having to work through the night and shutting themselves in the bathroom to steal a few moments to check social media. It has also brought some positive changes for this family of three. “Everything that bothers me has to do with my addiction to social media and its phantoms,” reflects Mallafré. “I feel that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.” It’s true, social distancing is taking an emotional toll on them by keeping them away from friends and family, but it’s also helping them spend more time with their daughter in a way that would likely never happen if it weren’t for these unique circumstances.
Young Vera also wants to go out but knows she can’t. Her solution? She just eats ice cream! A very innocent and sweet reminder that everything she needs and wants is exactly right there at home with her parents.