Mom with a baby in her lap, sitting at desk. Mom is on her laptop, trying to work and baby is playing with her plannner.

Parenting During a Pandemic: These Parents Tell Us What It's Really Like

by Rebecca Norris

It’s safe to say that 2020 (and the beginning of 2021) was, collectively, the hardest time of our lives. In what seemed like an instant, all of our world’s came to a halt back in March 2020 when the first stay-at-home orders went into effect. While that abrupt change was shocking for everyone, arguably no one felt it more than parents. After all, with no in-person school or extracurricular activities, what were their kids supposed to do? And how were they supposed to work in the interim?

While the past year undoubtedly taught parents (and folks in general) to be more appreciative of things (like in-person school) that were once taken for granted, there’s no denying that ample struggle has been endured to get to that place. With that in mind—and in an effort to make what may seem like an individual struggle feel less isolating—we asked parents to share the biggest parenting struggles they’ve encountered during the pandemic. Check them out—and breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you’re not alone—below.

The biggest parenting struggle I am having during the pandemic, especially as a first-time mom, is doing considerably regular things with my child, such as going to the grocery store. He is almost four months old and I’ve never taken him. Pre-pandemic, that’d be a long time but as of now, I get all my groceries delivered so it was no big deal. My anxiety about leaving the house was real—how do I maneuver the car seat? The stroller? Also, on a personal level, I want to make new mom friends and have socialization time. I want to experience mommy and me groups and right now can’t.” - Kathleen A, Mother of one

“It’s a challenge. There’s this constant need to control every situation, which isn’t possible.” - Cody G, Father of two

“Being everything at once. Full-time mom, full-time employee, housekeeper—nothing gets full focus.” - Devon P, Mother of 2

“Lack of socialization with peers in my child’s age group. She only sees adults.” - Matt V, Father of one

“Worrying if I gave [my kids] enough common sense to be safe for themselves and others.” - Teresa M, Mother of three

“Lack of socializing with other kids my kid’s age.” - Bryan L, Father of two

“Keeping my kid off the tablet while I work. I always feel like I’m being a bad mom since I cannot always give her my undivided attention after she gets home from school.” -Monique D, Mother of one

“Running any errands… gotta go alone and it makes it hard to get things done.” - Caitlin Z, Mother of one

“Juggling work and childcare/homeschooling.” - Sarah K, Mother of one

“My kids turned two and five during the pandemic so birthdays were really tough and we didn’t have parties for them. But we made it work!” - Beth B, Mother of two


Little girl (toddler) sitting in a high chair. She is holding a toy camera in front of her face with her eye peeking through.


But remember: You can’t have rainbows without the rain. So, while the struggles of the past year have been life-changing, they’ve also made way for some pretty heart-warming joy. Ahead, uncover the biggest parenting joys that these same parents (and a few others) felt within the chaos of the pandemic. 

“Some joys throughout this are extra snuggle time at home with my baby boy. I am lucky to get to work from home. So that means extra cuddles on my lunch break!”- Kathleen A, Mother of one

“I have been there for every single one of my son’s firsts, which wasn’t the case with [my daughter].” - Cody G, Father of two

“Seeing my 6-year-old more than I would pre-Covid.” - Devon P, Mother of two

“Seeing my child in between work meetings.” - Matt V, Father of one

“Quality time.” - Bryan L, Father of two

“Spending so much more time with her and my hubby since the pandemic and getting to take her to school sometimes and pick her up when I don’t have meetings.” - Monique D, Mother of one

“Getting to spend the whole first year of my baby’s life at home with him.” - Caitlin Z, Mother of one

“Getting extra time with [my son]. [It’s been a] reality check on expectations of ‘perfect’ parenting.” - Sarah K, Mother of one

“I got to make some pretty amazing memories with my kiddos despite how crazy it was.” - Beth B, 30, Mother of two

Let this be a reminder to look for the silver linings in life. More often than not, you’ll find them among even the most unprecedented times.

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Rebecca Norris