Despite being a continuing chore for many parents, pre-pandemic drop-offs at school or activities represented "me time" for parents whose kids are now at home all day. Moms discuss how the lack of kid-free time has affected them.
RACHEL LAUREN: My name is Rachel Lauren. I live in Austin, Texas. I am a diversity, equity, and inclusion professional. My ex-husband is a great father and we co-parent. I have three kids. I am actually an adoptive mother. I have a 6-year-old daughter, a 5-year-old son, and a 4-year-old daughter.
VEENA CROWNHOLM: I'm Veena Crownholm. I have been married to my husband Ryan for almost 12 years. We have two boys, Addie who's 10 years old, and Max who's 7 months old and a total pandemic baby.
ELIZABETH GILLESPIE: I'm Elizabeth Gillespie. I live in Westchester County, New York, with my husband and two daughters. One is 4 and one is almost 2 years old. Pre pandemic my daughter was in preschool and my other daughter was just home with her grandparents while my husband and I were at work.
My oldest daughter, I miss being able to drop her off or pick her up for the social interaction. We had just moved to our neighborhood. I would drop her off at school, go in, talk to the teacher, talk to other moms. It was part of my morning routine. All that kind of stopped.
VEENA CROWNHOLM: Addie has been homeschooled for the last couple of years. We do homeschool days at the Natural History Museum, boys team gymnastics, a ton of extracurricular activities. Once the pandemic hit, taking away all of the socialization was really, really challenging. Part of my pick up time for him at all these different activities was a socialization for me too with other parents. My son's friends' moms are also my good friends.
And so I would come in like 15-20 minutes early. We'd chat, maybe figure out a play date. Play dates aren't just for kids. They're also for the parents. And I have really missed that this year. Going in studio for me means getting dressed up and putting on real clothes. And so while I love the convenience of being home, I feel like I'm missing that little piece of putting myself together, which really gives me a lot of self-confidence.
RACHEL LAUREN: Pre pandemic, the thing that was difficult was that I work 45 minutes away from school. But they've been back in person since September. From home it's like a mile and a half away. I do miss the drives. I was able to think and turn my music off sometimes and ride in silence. There was a level of self-care that went into that commute.
And now, although I'm working from home and there are some benefits to that, I just feel like everything is happening at home. I sleep here. I eat here. I cook here. I work here. I raise my kids here. And there is no outlet. And that can become really taxing.
ELIZABETH GILLESPIE: One of my things that I started during the pandemic is getting up in the morning with the kids, and we do a little exercise routine together, and then we go for a walk. It's their alone time with me, no phone. And they love it. And I normally would have never done that, going to the office. But I think I would love to continue that.
VEENA CROWNHOLM: There's a few things that I started doing during the pandemic that I'm going to keep doing. One of those things is cooking a new recipe with my son every week. I probably made 100 loaves of bread. We just kind of went on Pinterest and found new things to make.
RACHEL LAUREN: The pandemic did allow us to spend more time together. Just being more intentional about the time that I'm able to spend with them during the week is something that I've definitely learned is important to them, but important to me.