Honestly Mom: What Day is it? Motherhood in the Time of Coronavirus

These days are blurring together. Here's what sets them apart.

By Sandra Bilbray May 5, 2020

What day is it? 

Motherhood in the time of coronavirus is like a Groundhog Day grind. The things that used to distinguish a weekday from a weekend are now gone. When school first closed, I deployed my usual cheer and optimism, telling myself, “You’ve got this.” It’s not like I’m a medical professional on the front lines or an essential worker who has to mingle with strangers every day. I’m grateful to be in our cozy home with the people I love best. As entrepreneur business owners, my husband and I have obstacles to hurdle, but who doesn’t?

Using empathy and watching the news, I don’t have a right to complain. Now that we are on week seven though, I sometimes have to work a little harder to stay positive.  

All I need is seemingly simple things: An hour when my twin 7-year-old daughters aren’t talking to me at the same time. A quick bathroom break without a dog or four-foot child following me. Just 15 minutes without someone asking me a question. I long for a day when I don’t have to prepare appetizer snacks for every meal. Is this normal parenthood stuff? Yup. What isn’t normal is that my daughters are home now, every second of every day.

I love having them home. I do. They get along 95 percent of the time and they are funny and sweet girls. I’m so grateful for this bonus time with them. 

But I’ll just say it: I don’t love being a teacher. And there’s frustration in what I’m not doing.

'You can't be naked on Zoom'

Pre-coronavirus, I worked from home, juggling writing assignments, and unrolling marketing campaigns. Now I’m attempting to have some semblance of work productivity while virtually teaching my first-grade daughters, who are in separate classes. We all know what happens to productivity on take-your-kid-to-work day. Now that’s every day.

Plus, we all have Zoom calls.

There are funny moments. Today, my daughter, Sydney, was on her read-along Zoom call with her entire first-grade class, while her sister, Riley, finished up her shower. Riley hopped out of the shower, barely wrapped a towel around herself and went to see what her sister was doing before I quickly intervened. 

“You can’t be naked on Zoom!” was not a sentence I thought I’d ever say.

Keeping your world bright

Like almost everyone I’ve talked to, I have some days that are harder than others. Some days are monotonous, when you wonder when the end will be in sight. Some days speak my love language—quality family time. 

We’ve had nature adventures, movie nights, indoor forts to sleep in, strawberry cupcake baking, fun Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny visits, and outdoor paint sessions. Because I’m equal parts resourceful and hard on myself, I’m keeping a list of "Social Isolation Wins" in my journal so I don’t forget that I got some things right. If my mind drifts to the negative, I can give myself a reality check reading my list.

I heard a government official recently say the coronavirus effects aren’t going to end with a light switch flipped back on; it’s going to be more like a dimmer switch getting dialed up slowly. This is a crazy time. Normal won’t come back with a flip of the switch. All we can do is dial-up as much light as possible in our space in the world.

Sandra Bilbray is a nationally published writer, positive human, and publisher of Macaroni Kid Asheville, N.C. She lives in Asheville with her husband, twin girls, and two dogs. Email Sandra at 


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