As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, many people are now spending more time with their families.
While it can sometimes be fun, it can also be challenging.
Oxford resident Sarah Sapp works as a communications manager for the University of Mississippi’s School of Applied Sciences and teaches. She is also working on her doctorate degree.
Married with a 7 year old boy, she works from home.
“I’m working during the day, and he’s [her son] doing his schoolwork parallel to me,” she said, “and when my husband gets home, around 4 o’clock, that gives me some time to focus on my work while they hang out for a while.
“If I’m not grading papers or writing for my ED (education doctorate) at night, we play Munchkin, which is a card game,” she said. “It’s super fun and friendly to kiddos.
“There is a lot of Fortnite happening in my house, a tremendous amount of Fortnite. It seems to be… where I might look to yoga and meditation and walks, my child and husband looked at Fortnite for comfort during these times.”
Sapp said it has been challenging to get her son to do his work. The newfound responsibility once instructed by teachers has been difficult.
“It is hard in the mornings to get him focused on school,” she said. ” … it’s hard for them [children] to look at parents the same way as teachers. We don’t have that authority. We have lots of authority, but not that authority.”
Sapp tries to remain positive by limiting her media exposure, taking breaks and going outside. She looks forward to the day when things return to normal.
Now, she is happy her family is together and safe. She recognizes that some people aren’t as lucky. She is grateful that she and her husband still have jobs, although she said she is tired of cooking and doing dishes.
Some parents did not expect to have their college-age children at home again. It’s also been an adjustment for some college students who have returned home.
Grant McLaughlin is a sophomore journalism student from Flower Mountain, Texas who was attending the University of Mississippi a few weeks ago. He has since returned home to continue his studies. Moving back has been a challenge for McLaughlin and his parents.
“I did not expect to live with my parents again,” he said. “When the onset of the semester started, I did not expect to have to make multiple eight-hour drives, two in a week, to get essentials and get back here.”
Despite the fact that it has been hard to move back to his home, McLaughlin said he and his family have been eating together as a family again, and he has joined his father working in contracting services.
Iman Kee, a Jackson State University sophomore, is studying psychology. Like McLaughlin, she had to move back to her family home in Itta Bena, Mississippi.
“I was not expecting to have to move back home,” she said. “It really wasn’t discussed until two days before I had to move all my stuff. It came as a shock. It was a huge transition, and in such a such a short period of time. I know that they are glad to have me home, and they know that I’m safe, but also we wish we didn’t have to do it.”
Kee said she and her family are doing things together to keep their spirits up.
“We watch movies, and we play board games,” said Kee. “We talked about getting bikes to ride around the block just to get fresh air and exercise, staying in the lines of our social distancing.”
Most everyone is taking care of some high risk person or persons in their family, or even themselves, which creates more stress and worry for their loved ones.
“Both of my parents are Boomer babies,” she said, “so they’re paranoid on their own. I have acknowledged that I am in high-risk. I have asthma, and all my grandparents are in the age range of, like, 75 to 85.”
McLaughlin said he is the only member of his family who is not high-risk, and Sapp is taking care of her parents, who are both over 65. She set up a grocery delivery service for them, and she takes them their medications.
Everyone is bunkered down as they wait for the storm to pass. When it does, everyone will resume their lives, happy this stressful time is over. It’s also possible we may not appreciate the new found simplicity until it’s gone.