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Distance learning blues…and laughs



A mom shares her story of raising 4 kids during this trying time

A mom shares her story of raising 4 kids during this trying time


Sometimes it takes a mom with a sense of humor in the thick of pandemic co-parenting, writing as if from a foxhole, with not one, not two, but four kids (including infant twin daughters!) to realize we’re not only in good company in this ongoing crisis, but we can actually use this crazy time for helpful perspective.

Popsugar writer Anne Fitzgerald provides a wonderful perspective. She is dealing with pandemic co-parenting, while her husband has been taking medication to treat Chronic Myeloid Leukemia for eight years. 

For anyone not dealing with that kind of load this becomes a reality check.

READ MORE: Homeschooling

Clearly, despite a chronic, if treatable, health issue, this family of six is able to swing the combo of remote learning and work-from-home, although their situation is not without intensity and, of course, drama. She does not give a list of how fellow parents could copy her to help get through the inevitable bumps and potholes in the road, but we can glean some helpful hints.

For starters, Fitzgerald makes a point to be the first up in the morning, which allows her some quiet time (to pump breast milk for the twins and “some light reading of the news,” although that last bit doesn’t sound relaxing at all).

She and her husband compromise a bit, but frankly, that’s refreshing. They allow their two eldest – their sons – to wear pajama pants during Zoom lessons if they pinky promise not to stand up. Fitzgerald also freely admits to bribing her youngest. “I bribe him with every Paw Patrol toy, ice cream sandwich, and future adventure I can dream up,” she unapologetically says. But apparently just changing her tone of voice works best, although she attributes increased voice usage to a sore throat which makes her wake up every morning thinking she’s seriously ill.

READ MORE: Get physical while remote learning

“Many mornings,” she says, “I wake up with a sore throat and wonder if I have COVID-19 until I remember that I barely leave the house, and I spend most of my day barking out orders, answering questions, and spelling out entire journal entries letter by letter. So it's no wonder my voice is strained. My voice can now mutate at the drop of a dime, as I can be speaking in sweet-toned baby talk one minute and the next be dragging my son back to his virtual desk while chanting the days-of-the-week song.”

Ultimately, Fitzgerald and her husband are models of forbearance, and inspiring to any parent messily managing, but nevertheless managing, this unprecedented time. Extra special props go to teachers, who Fitzgerald now sees, with more clarity than ever, are deserving of the deepest respect.



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