COVID-19 Diaries: The Elephant In The Room

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It is almost 6:00 pm. My mind is thinking about what to make for dinner. The IM on my work machine pings. The request is almost always polite, there is an illusion of choice.

“I can do it,” I say.

I want to be done with it as well. It is well past 7:00 pm when I am done. In a normal world, I would have ordered take out. We would have had dinner at the usual time.

Today, I am surly as I stand near my pantry evaluating options. Healthy. Fresh. One-pot dish. Some of these are at odds with the other. Eventually, I settled on rice with a medley of vegetables. It is a compromise as most things these couple of weeks have been.

As companies offer remote work and schools offer online instruction, it feels like we have it all made. Only we do not.

As a parent working hours when the children are at school, I can focus, I can compartmentalize two wildly different parts of my existence. As a parent who home schools, I can plan ahead, I can draw up schedules and I can make it work for my child.

As an employee, I have a commitment to deliver on what is expected in the time frames that I am expected to do it.

All of these are at odds with each other. No one ever talks about it. We don’t bring it up when we discuss deadlines at work. We are grateful when the school offers some semblance of online instruction especially at elementary level knowing full well, the onus of having children with attention spans that are minuscule, actually focus enough to learn something falls on us.

As a nurturer and provider of food at home, all of the other things I have to do eat up time and energy that would otherwise go into the preparation of the said food. The same goes for cleaning, decluttering, keeping a home that is a semblance of one.

This is in a house where two people are gainfully employed and have the ability to share the workload.

In battling a pandemic while keeping the economy going and providing essential services, these conversations should be at the forefront. Acknowledging this is important for coming up with solutions that are tenable in the longer term. I shudder to think of single parents, men and women in the frontlines diagnosing, nursing, dispensing, ringing up groceries so our lives can maintain a sense of normalcy.

I shudder to think of the toll this will have on the survivors. On our children, on our teachers and on the average population that is winging it, day after day.

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