Random reflections on parenting during quarantine from a mom of sextuplets


We’re a month into our COVID-19 quarantine. Weeks have never flown by so fast and also taken so long to pass at the same time. Our normal seems like a distant memory, but I miss it. Well, some of it. Not so much the crazy busy schedules, but I miss freedom and people who don’t live in my house. If I happen to see someone in person, I worry if I’m getting too close. Telling family to stay away from my kids is awful. I’m certainly not much of a hugger or a crier, but I want to give hugs and I’ve started crying on a regular basis.

In the beginning, I kept telling myself I’ve done this before, like any high-order multiple mom has. When you have lots of tiny babies who can’t afford to get sick - you’re hyper aware of germ exposure, you hardly leave the house and essentially put yourself in quarantine. But it’s not the same. My husband is working from home amongst our chaos on a makeshift ironing board desk. No one can come visit. The kids don’t nap. They need schooling and want me to cook all the time and they ask a million questions a day. Mostly, “What can I do now?” or “Is it screen time yet?” And some days my answer is “I don’t care anymore!” You win today, children – you wore me down!

Speaking of questions, I frequently get asked if I’m going to homeschool. Because it’d be so perfect with all the kids in the same grade, right? Well, sure, if you’re into that sort of thing – which I’m not. I’ve always answered that question with a firm NO, unless I’m forced and/or that option is what’s best for any of my kids. Well, you’d think I’d learn to never say never my friends, because here we are with a set of sextuplets on forced distance learning (i.e. crisis homeschool). And, guess what? It’s not for me. That firm NO was spot on. Four weeks in and I’m more thankful than ever for teachers. I don’t know how they do it day in and day out. And my kids’ teachers have gone above and beyond to support their students and parents during this craziness – we hit the teacher jackpot. Which makes me more grateful, but also sadder, because we just found out they won’t be going back until next school year. 

The school situation goes from me feeling like it’s all working to panic and overwhelm of all that I should be doing. Between the 2nd grade curriculum and Leah’s plethora of services, it’s hard to know where to draw the line on what’s best. Plus, you know, the usual mom stuff.

Originally, this post was going to have some of my helpful tips I figured out during the first couple of weeks, but things have changed. I don’t even care about what I figured out a few weeks ago! I guess the semi-controlled chaotic laid back structure is working. But it’s much more likely my kids will be Minecraft masters and turn into giant pizza rolls by the end of this than writing in cursive and explaining character traits. And that’s OK. We’re all in this boat together, paddling in circles. Debating jumping in the life raft to save ourselves.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we’ve also had fun! My kids really are best friends. They play and work well together. They bicker and fight, of course, as all siblings do. During this time, I have loved the conversations with my kids over the Bible and faith and reasoning what they’re learning in school. They know so much more than I thought they did. We’ve played new games, made new recipes, watched new movies and gone on countless walks – I’ll cherish those memories. We’ve sorted toys and clothes and planned a quarantine birthday. I’ve loved spreading joy and cheer to others however we can and seeing other people do the same. That part is pretty awesome. Obviously, we’ve had our ups and downs and special moments like everyone else. I’ve gone from “we’ve got this!” to randomly crying, to hiding in the closet. One week, I even put hiding in the closet on my daily schedule – but at least I’m not hiding in the pantry eating peanut butter anymore. 

I’ll leave you with this – an interesting observation two dear family friends brought to my attention this week – we are three women of different ages and life stages. We’re all experiencing different quarantine circumstances – almost opposite really, yet, all having the exact same feelings – all over the place. From grateful to lonely, to peace, to frustration, to worrying about a million things and everything in between. But all of us cling to our faith and prayers and hopes for the future. That’s what keeps us grounded. Because these are weird times and we’re not in control – but we’re all in it together.