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  • Writer's pictureSuzie Olsen

How We Spend Our Time During the Pandemic

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

Apologies for no post last week. I’ve been wrestling with how to breach a topic that I think others may need to hear which is: we’re not living some perfect COVID19 lifestyle. What I mean by that is I’ve received a few comments from others lauding how I’m a good mom, doing all these STEM experiments and STEAM crafts with Jack during this pandemic. And while I think the majority of parents in the world are good people, doing the best they can, myself included, I don’t want others to think I’m a perfect parent, potentially making others feel guilty or inadequate because they don’t spend an hour a week doing some kind of STEAM craft or STEM experiment.

Seriously, what Jack does for STEM Spark is probably an hour of his time each WEEK. The rest of the 167 hours is spent sleeping, eating, a little play and a lot of TV. And I mean a lot of TV. He averages 6 hours of TV per DAY. That’s right, per DAY. It’s a lot of TV. That is our pandemic reality. Both Bobby and I work jobs outside of caring for Jack, so he busies himself with TV and whatever Lego or toy I bought the previous day off Amazon while we work.

That’s right, I’m the “totally wouldn’t be surprise if a Llama shows up via Amazon” COVID19 shopper. I have anxiety shopped so much stuff online that I lose track of what I’ve bought. Jack’s expectations are that there is always something new coming for him almost every day. I’ve created a spoiled child, but he still is relatively sweet. But that fact doesn’t abide my guilt and anxiety. I feel like I’m doing everything wrong, like too many toys, too much TV, not enough playing with Jack, not enough socializing with my coworkers, and so on.

And I’m in a position of privilege. I’m fortunate to have the means to stream Netflix, PBS kids, Amazon Prime, and so on, work from home without too many glitches thanks to our high speed Internet, and to buy Jack a $40 Lego set without blinking an eye. So I can only image the pressure of parents who don’t have the same means.

The stress, panic, anxiety, depression, grief and all the feelings I know so many parents, so many people, are experiencing right now, I just wish I could fix with the engineering design process, but it’s not made for feelings. I want to help and fix things like I was trained to do, but I honestly have no idea how to fix this (which causes me more stress and panic). But, but thank goodness for the doctors, nurses, scientists, engineers, local governments, historians, economists, and so on who are working to slow and ultimately stop this pandemic.

I have had this anxiety and stress way before deciding what to have to do about school…that is a whole other poop storm of anxiety, stress, panic, etc. that I don’t even have energy to address right now. I live in school denial right now. But what I’m trying to say is that you’re not alone in your COVID19 feelings. I have them too. And perhaps we stress about different things, like you’re worried about unemployment or your loved one in the hospital or how to put food on the table for your family and I’m worried about my child’s mental health and my 91-year-old dad’s health (he had a sinus infection early July, I was beyond worried, but he’s currently well), but we all have worry.

I don’t want to cause others to have worry and stress because they’re not living up to some STEM crafting standard they see here on the STEM Spark blog. Our blog is meant to create joy and curiosity, not stress and anxiety. So hopefully peeling back the curtain to see how we spend the majority of our days, Jack watching TV while Bobby and I work, brings you less stress and more comfort. Take care everyone!

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