Motherhood in Quarantine

Motherhood in Quarantine

Even without the excuse of Mother's Day, I've been thinking a lot lately about that part of my identity.  I'm thinking about my pregnant friends and what it'll be like for them to give birth later this month.  I'm thinking about my friends raising kids alone.  I'm thinking about my mom friends who worked in restaurants and bars. I'm thinking about my mom, far away from me. I'm thinking about the million ways that all of us might be experiencing motherhood right now.  Fellow moms, I'd love to hear how you're doing. You can leave a comment below to share with everyone, or reach me at

Here's how I'm doing: 

4:45 am

I got a later start this morning than I’d hoped for. I’ve already wasted time fussing with a clump of splinters in my right hand, setting the water on the stove, watching a video of Brad Pitt playing Anthony Fauci on SNL. If I’m lucky I have two hours alone, but more likely our two-year-old will realize I’ve gotten out of bed, and in twenty minutes or so, I’ll hear her tiny feet on the steps.  “You there, Mama?” These days, darling?  Yes. I always am.

5:10 am   

During quarantine, I fantasize about being alone. Taking a bath alone.  Reading the newspaper alone. Eating lunch at my desk alone. It’s 5:12 am and already I’m mourning this fleeting moment of silence. A lot impacts how each of us is experiencing this pandemic. Here’s what it looks like for us:

For 8 weeks, my husband, our daughters Lucia (2) and Vita (4), and I have been quarantining in a little house in the woods owned by friends who live in Charleston.  A path leads down the hill to the Hungry River.  There’s satellite Internet—enough bandwidth for Alex and I to be living in our email and GSuite, but not enough, really, to stream movies online.  There’s a DVD player, though, and 1 DVD—Frozen 2.  Vita’s made a convincing case for being allowed to watch it twice a day, so long as she plays it in Spanish. “I’m learning, Mama!” Sure, sweetie. Whatever you want.

As the reporting director for our Sales, Marketing, and Creative teams, I’m still working full-time.  Alex took a few weeks to clear his head but now has been at the factory a lot, masked, gloved, figuring out how we’re going to make more pots than we did last year, but with 6 people on the factory floor at a time instead of 35.  My work and my motherhood are only getting half my brain, but that’s not really new, is it?

My vision of myself in motherhood was pretty off the mark from reality.  Before I had kids I’d imagined day after day filled with homemade playdough, construction paper crowns, planting gardens, going on walks.  I didn’t imagine myself working 50 to 60 hours a week, distracted by my cellphone, tired all the time, bickering with Alex over work stuff that we probably actually agree about if we could hear each other better. “Stop talking about East Fork!” was an early adopted phrase in both our babies’ vocabularies.

During quarantine, I fantasize about spending more time with my children.

5:48 am 

Still alone. Vita, understands that the Coronavirus is especially dangerous for older people, which has her very worried about her grandparents, especially my mom and dad, who live in Los Angeles and are still having to go to work Downtown.  She’s had a lot of tantrums—hitting her sister, throwing her fork, stomping her little foot while her face floods red.  When I’m patient enough to hold and breath her through it, the feelings behind the anger is always the same—I miss my grandma and I want to know when I can see her again. “Me too, baby,” I say. My mom’s started dressing as Disney characters and having my dad film her talking in character.  When Vita is sad, we watch them again.

Connie's Mom holds a Buzz Light Year and Woody Doll

The third week of quarantine, after I gave up on trying to keep my team’s regular meeting schedule, I gave myself some space to close my computer, turn off my phone, and—in spurts of 2 to 3 hours at a time—give my babies my full attention.  A few days I even turned my phone off at 4 pm and didn't turn it back on until the next day. That week Vita told me she had something she really needed to say.   “Mama,” she whispered, “ I know I’m not supposed to say this, but Coronavirus is the best thing to ever happen to our family.”

6:03 am

I’m terrible at long-distance communication. I hate talking on the phone.  I think a lot about writing letters but then I don’t—when would I? I miss my mom.  She loves the phone and is a great letter writer.  I’m trying to convince her to move out here to Asheville, but she’s not ready to retire,  or she feels ready but she won’t.  I can’t really tell.  Sometimes I think it’s selfish of me to suggest it.  LA is her home.  The only city she and my dad have ever lived in. The city they’ve given their entire life to serving.  But in quarantine, I fantasize about a big, dysfunctional family compound, with my sisters and brother and parents and kids. We’d drive each other crazy.  But we’d be all together.  That way maybe I could have a bath alone. 

6:37 am 

Everyone’s still asleep! Now’s my chance to read the newspaper, but I won’t.  Instead, I’ll slip back under the covers with Lucia and put my forehead on hers. She’ll wake up and hold my chin with her tiny hands. “Good morning, Mama,” she’ll say.  “Hi, baby.  Did you have good dreams?” She dreams the same dreams every night.  “I dreamed of you, Mama,” she’ll say.

6:39 am

Nevermind.  I hear footsteps.

Connie with her two daughters

Back to blog


Thank you for writing this. I sat and read it and cried while my 10 month old baby naps in the next room. I am an essential worker but have chosen to take time away from my job to be home safe with my baby. We have been off for 5 weeks now. In many ways, this time has been a huge blessing for me, almost like a second maternity leave and it has allowed me to see my baby crawl and stand for the first time and have time with her during this precious phase. It has also taught me a very important lesson about gratitude for the villages that help us raise our sweet babes. My mother in law watches her for us while my husband and I work, and it can be a delicate relationship, to say the least, but one that I now realize I am SO THANKFUL for. The emotional weight of it all is very real though, especially as a trip to visit far away grandparents had to be cancelled and now means another few months til my parents can kiss this sweet baby. Thanks for opening up the conversation, it’s nice to know we are all getting through this the best ways we can.

Sarah R

I loved your piston motherhood. I am visual artist and have 3 adult daughters- identical twins, and a singleton who is 4 years younger. When I was working, it was in a Boston restaurant that my husband and I partly owned- I had waited table high end for years, then was the pastry chef, manager, and he was the chef. When I got pregnant with twins, my active lifestyle( runner, restaurant worker and artist,) quickly changes. My last 8 weeks were spent in bed, trying to eat enough to gain the recommended 100 pounds that both my midwife and Doctor were pretty insistent about! My husband the chef would send meals home by taxi, and the doctor would do home visits a couple of times a week. The girls were born on my due date, and were over 7 lbs each and 21 1/2 inches long.. My husband was still working 65 hours a week, so I was on my own with no family nearby. Long walks in nature with the pranks or one of my 2 twin strollers became my salvation. I was able to do my commission work during naptime and late at night, and then I went as able to start teaching aerobics at the Boston Y once they were older. I founded and ran a large arts camp for years , and the 3 girls were students, then junior counselors, then counselors. When the twins were in middle school I went to grad school and became a full time high school art dept head. Taught for years and then quit to open a large art gallery where I sold my own paintings and the work of many others. When the art market in the Northeast tanked, I moved to Santa Fe , NM , and my husband found he all of a sudden changed his mind about reinventing our marriage as empty nesters- it led to a sad divorce after 27 good years together. I have been alone ever since( 12 years now, but he remarried immediately.
I am so close to my 3 daughters now, although they live all over the country. They are kind, loving, creative and very successful- everything I hoped for as a mother! There were isolated times in the early years/ there was a very tough balance between my work and my running the household, but they were always supportive, and now we all laugh that my good Mama karma came back to me! I admire you for what you are doing, and love your posts and your pottery ! Thank you for being a progressive and such a good employer in your area! Sincerely, Nancy

Nancy Philo

“It’s like having a newborn,” I told me friend the other day “I should be sleeping but it’s the first time I’ve had alone all day so I’m going to stay up every night way too late looking at things of no importance”.

I had grand plans for this – I always have grand plans. It’s the execution and follow through – so why should this be any different. My husband has a horrible genetic condition and each day together is a gift in good times. Now we live under the strictest of quarantine conditions in the epicenter of it all. I have three kids that mostly like each other – but I have three kids nine, eight and five. It’s exhausting. But we are happy and healthy and fortunate. Ten years ago, our life wouldn’t have been this way. I worry about the people that are struggling. I remember paycheck to paycheck and crippling credit card debt.

The kids seem happy. “How’s everyone holding up?” My friend just lost his Mom weeks after losing his Dad to Covid. What can we complain about? (If you’ve met me, you know the answer is EVERYTHING but trying to keep perspective).

I’m baking a ton of bread. Watching it rise in my mixing bowl brings me joy. Kneading bread beats punching walls. It continues to rain. Rain all week. Come on, Sun. Give us something. I started a sourdough starter. I named it after my mother. Her name is Susan. I feed it once or twice a day. Each time, I start singing “My name is not Susan.” I fear I’ll never be able to have a real conversation with another human again as a two decade old subpar Whitney Houston tune ruminates… I’m an introvert but I’m approaching peak weird. I don’t do zoom happy hours or birthday parades. I find new recipes to feed my family. Which is better than the take out we had five nights a week before this.

Making cocktails from David Lebovitz’s Drinking French. Cocktails are nice a few nights a week – it’s that old pearl of wisdom…Cocktails – They’re like breasts – one isn’t enough and three is too many. (See? PEAK WEIRD). It keeps things in check at least. No one wants to emerge from this crisis with a new problem. It’s fun for us – something my husband and I can do together. We’re cooking together. Sharing things like we did before life got in the way. Then the moon changes and I’m ready to run for the hills. “I never get a break!” I yell. Then the moon changes again, “Come on children, let’s snuggle!” Tomorrow will be eight weeks.

Puzzles, board games, chalk stenciling of rainbows of hope – these things aren’t happening here. A few weeks back we started “Little House in the Big Woods…” haven’t had much time for that lately. The laundry never stops, the dog hair is always there. No one is visiting – why do I care? I still care. The order keeps me sort of sane. But does it really?


This is the most accurate thing and I loved reading it. Phew. I also have been getting up at o’dark thirty, trying to work my full time job. My littles wake up and I am constantly—all day long—going back and forth between “I just need to be alone so I can figure this out” and “I just want to be alone with you both right now and forever.” It’s so hard and emotional for me because my work has blown up. And I’m thankful because it pays our bills, especially being self-employed. But it is also hard for me to manage. And I am so tired. So tired. It’s been a really long few months.


Connie, I always enjoy your writing, but this really struck my heart. It’s also a poignant reminder of sweet memories from when our two sons were young. As a longtime working from home mom, I fully appreciate the tug-of-war and blurred lines between obligations to my family, my clients, and myself.

Now, I’m sharing my wfh life with my husband and our youngest son, who is a senior in college and never returned to campus after spring break. We’ll be celebrating his graduation at home, this Saturday. Who knows what he’ll face after that?

Another son is half a continent away, working remotely with two roommates and two cats on the coast of your lovely state.

Mom and Dad are 300 miles away, confined to their rooms in what was previously a vibrant senior community. I’ve become their remote personal assistant, navigating deliveries of essentials and slowly learning how to manage their financial affairs as their dementia gets worse. They never complain, but I know they are suffering from social isolation.

We’ve all lost a lot. But, hopefully, we’ve learned some valuable lessons too. I just keep reminding myself to take a deep breath and stay in the moment, as much as possible.

Best wishes to you and all the other moms out there.


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