With a coronavirus pandemic, life for parents has changed. Especially those moms and dads who are normally in the office all day, but now finding themselves in the middle of shifting demands of work and child care, figuring out how to submit work on time while explaining a reading lesson to their kids.
Enter the Andrade family, with 9-year-old Desmon Jr., 8-year-old Kingston, 2-year-old Kainon and 1-year-old Afeni.
Before the stay-at-home order, the two oldest boys would be on the bus for school by 6:50 a.m., and Andrade would be in court or his office by 7a.m. The family nanny would get to the house by 9a.m. and allow Andrade’s wife to begin her work day. The boys would arrive home around 2:30 p.m. The nanny stayed until mom takes over at 4 p.m. Dad usually gets home between 6 to 7 p.m.
Things have changed, and Andrade admits that things haven’t been smooth or perfect, but there are a few strategies they have used to make their new situation a little easier.
“I knew that I would have to adjust my schedule to provide more support for my wife,” Andrade said. “It became more and more apparent that having our nanny come in and out of the house was not going to be a viable option.”
When some see a challenge, this family has seen an opportunity.
"It is so easy to become stressed out due to being in close quarters under scary and indefinite circumstances,” he said. “You have to extend yourself, and most certainly your children, some grace to do things outside of the traditional norms your family may have been used to operating within precoronavirus.”
Focusing too much on being perfectly structured and you can find yourself burned out before noon. He said that he concentrates on being available for his family during this difficult time.
Part of the shift for this family is a lot of nontraditional learning. The mom and dad duo are teaching their kids about things that come up in a natural conversation rather than a preplanned curriculum.
“We were talking about their great grandfather and how he was awarded a Purple Heart for his tour in Vietnam,” Andrade said. “Their fascination in learning about their great grandfather led us to learn more about the Vietnam War and the several life lessons embedded therein.”
Some additional family fun gets spent playing reggae music and going in the back yard to play basketball, soccer, Nerf gun fights, jumping on the trampoline or just get fresh air as a family.
This opportunity for the family to grow together and share this extra time has brought them an extra layer of comfort.
“I have no doubt that it has meant the world to them,” Andrade said. “My oldest sons (say) how thankful they are to have a good family and be able to spend time with their parents.”
While their situation is different from families who regularly work at home while taking care of children, the Andrade family has built a great structure for their temporary circumstances.
“My children are very outgoing with big personalities,” Andrade said. “They are all very silly and enjoy making mom and dad laugh so our day is basically tantamount to a room full of circus clowns attempting to one up the other one.”
With their planning, conversations and a flexible attitude, they’ve been able to better navigate through their COVID-19 shift at home with the kids.
“We have definitely strengthened what I believe was already a strong bond,” he said. “We are excited about maintaining this level of connection long after the quarantine is lifted.”
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