• Melanie Fernandez

Mothering in Quarantine

I thought that writing this article as a time-stamped journal entry would be best to really explain what parenting is like for me during this time. This WILL make you feel better, I promise.

April 15, 2020

7:20am: I've been up for about an hour and a half already when I hear the scream of a child requesting a "pouch." My second-born, Margot, is by the way, a fantastic sleeper and had gone to sleep too late the night before (because she took a brief nap sitting up on the couch before dinner from "quarantine exhaustion") - I walked by her room at 6am and whispered to myself, "oh she's going to sleep until like 9:30am today." WRONG. Since I am my children's indentured servant, they like to yell requests at me from across the house, which honestly I'm so tired of and constantly try to discipline, but it's 7:20am and I'm trying to avoid a tantrum. A pouch is a "yogurt pouch" so I take one to her, she drinks it, and I tell her to go back to sleep. Crisis averted for now.

7:40am: I wake up my first-born, Alexander, for his 8am zoom call to realize that the call was shifted to 9am. So yes, I woke my child up for no reason (said no mother ever except me on 4/15/20). Soon after, Margot comes walking into the room requesting more yogurt, "lechitas." These are the drinkable yogurt types (the girl is a yogurt fiend) . She's in the worst mood ever because she's tired and Margot in a bad mood means that I need to tread lightly around her attitude because quite frankly, I don't want to deal. I grab a spoon and straw (will explain), turn on Daniel Tiger, and sit down with her on the couch . Here's the explanation: she NEEDS to open up her own yogurts. If she doesn't, I have to deal with an hour of the most insane tantrums the world has ever seen. Does this make me a terrible parent? I don't know. And frankly, during quarantine, I don't care. I appreciate the independence and tell myself that at 25, she'll be a badass because I let her open up her own yogurt. She grabs the spoon and hits the back of the spoon into the foil, opens the yogurt and drinks them both.

8:00am: Zoom call with Alexander's head of school which I miss because I didn't read the email correctly. Another parenting win for the day. At this point, both of my kids are watching TV, buying me about 20 minutes of work time before the Zoom.

8:45am: I try to dress Margot, to which she tells me she does not want to get dressed, to which I proceed to tell her that the "doggies" are going to come to our house if she doesn't get dressed. Again, does this make me a good parent? Probably not but if your child had as many opinions as mine as well as the ability to ruin your day in a heartbeat, you would threaten her with "doggies" too. Also, it's "quarantine" and I'm just trying to stay sane here.

Fast forward: I left to work around 10am to ship orders out at House of Lilac so my poor husband was left to deal with another zoom call and one homeschooling assignment (I finished the rest) but I can tell you that I came home to my son having pushed my daughter off the bed because she ripped up the coloring artwork he made for me. The night finished off with a Margot tantrum, let's be honest, because she was EXHAUSTED, but she was upset that my husband took her out of the bath earlier than she would have liked. I "threw away" her barbie and her vanity set. I now hold their pending extinction against her every time she's not a "good listener" aka all day.

April 16, 2020

5:50am: I woke up to Margot in my bed - she woke up screaming from a bad dream in the middle of the night that my husband jokingly says was probably caused by my militant yelling during her tantrum. Is there a a manual on disciplining during tantrums? Asking for a friend.

8:00am: Alexander's class zoom starts. I used to check if his face was in the video frame. I no longer even concern myself with this fact. I figure he needs to learn to "zoom" on his own now that the remainder of his preschool year includes virtual learning. My parenting role description was maxed out pre-COVID and there is very little wiggle room these days. Margot wakes up in a much better mood around this time although she refuses to change her clothes. I leave her dress and underwear next to her and tell her "do it yourself."

9:00am: Homeschooling underway and I'm just trying to change out of my PJs and drink water. At this point my daughter walks into the room with her clothes off and proceeds to tell me "She did it!" I sing her "dressing herself" praises and finally manage to change her into her daytime clothes. When she doesn't let me touch her hair (she prefers the "wild and free" look in the 90 degree Florida heat), I tell her that I'll have to cut her hair off today if she doesn't let me pick it up in a ponytail. She conceded. #momoftheyear

I jump on a call from 9:30-10:30 while they play outside. After the call is over, I give them play doh (tun, tun, tun). PSA: parents hate play doh. My kids have eaten it, rammed it into my cushions and carpet, basically figured out every way to ruin some portion of my home with playdoh. But it is the ONLY THING that will entertain them for an hour, giving me time to write this article. So I establish one ground rule: no eating the play doh. Also, I sit to work in the same room they're playing in so that I can monitor the situation. Is there a mess? 100%. But I got a lot done and when you're WFH, you take what you can get.

I'll leave it at this: around 11:30 I leave to the kitchen to turn on the oven to cook a frozen pizza for lunch. I place my computer on the floor in front of the couch and come back to my son stepping and prancing all over my computer screen and keyboard because it "looked like a slide". My reaction? I'll leave it to your parenting imagination.

p.s. my computer was ok.

Hang in there sweet mamas!

a day in the life includes my vintage bamboo magazine rack as a "skip-it", Prime Video, a random baby doll bottle on my coffee table, and my daughter bouncing around my house on an inflatable ball meant for the "outdoors."


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