COVID-19 Conversations: Life as a Furloughed Single Parent

Maggy lives with her six-year-old son in Chicago. Prior to the outbreak, Maggy worked as a manager at a nail salon and split parenting time with her ex-husband while her sister helped with child care. In April 2020, she had been furloughed from her job, staying at home with her son and trying to cope as a single parent. 

What is life like for you?

Maggy: I just feel like days are pretty long. I realize I am not good at being the teacher. I have been furloughed from my job, so at least I’m home and able to take care of him. I am trying to do the homeschooling, so it’s nice that the school has some e-learning for him…. Being six years old, I think it’s hard for him to understand that it’s not just playing all day long. So that’s kind of been a little stressful because you know you still have your dishes and meals to make. I think that’s the hard part, it’s just like long days. Long days of trying to do the school work and then also trying to be an entertainer.

Are you worried about being out of work?

Maggy: We can’t have bills constantly building up without making money somewhere else… maybe there’s like the essential jobs out there, with my son it’s something I can’t really do all the time. I don’t know if you can pick up something on certain days, but it does worry me right now like health wise, so to me right now it’s not worth it… I don’t know what’s another way to be making money at this point.

How is it affecting you emotionally?

Maggy: There are days where I think I’m pretty much I’ve cried myself to sleep, just because I felt like I had no more energy to deal with it.

I do have Sjögrens. And that is an immune system disorder. So, because I have that, I am more cautious and try and really shelter-in-place.… it’s something that adds up with stress I feel… I’m definitely just all over the place these days with the stress and anxiety. 

With this pandemic right now and just being a parent, I think it’s really like a test. A test of patience… it’s a tough job, taking care of somebody else… When you say parenting is such a rewarding thing, I think now with the shelter-in-place, it makes it definitely a lot harder. 

But you know you just have to take it day by day and you can’t think you’re the only one because there are so many parents out there. 
- Maggy

How do you think this is affecting your son?

Maggy: I hope it’s not really affecting him… I guess it’s hard to say with a child if it affects them. I feel like kids are strong. They get through stuff and I guess having it explained to him and why we have to stay in, he understands and that helps.

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