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Letter: The kids are home from school so we should have a talk

Dear Editor:

I hope you might please share with your readers a few things kids could do with their father during the school hiatus in Virginia Beach amid public health concerns about spreading the coronavirus.

I’ve been noodling on all the ways I will divert and distract my children while I struggle to work in the same space. 

However, it occurred to me that this is not a conversation I should have on my own. Surely, other families may find themselves in that situation. In that way, if not another, this letter may be of some good use.

Like so many moms, I do the lion’s share of housework and most of the cooking. I am the parent teachers contact when there is important information regarding our children. I make medical appointments, do the shopping and so forth. I am a full-time parent.

I also happen to be a full-time marketing manager for a software firm working remotely from home to support a team spread across North America. My husband happens to run a certain small community newspaper based in southern Virginia Beach – thanks for reading, by the way, and please support the advertisers – so arguably he has several full-time jobs.

Like many families, we’re going to face a real time crunch trying to instill a home school ethic in our daughters because there’s no way either of us can also be a full-time teacher under these circumstances. 

Luckily, my own partner is reasonably smart, a great cook and physically, if not emotionally, capable of cleaning. 

Under the right conditions, he is marginally patient when interacting with other human beings. He’s certainly goofy and fun with his daughters.

But the coming weeks of kids around the house will pose a parenting challenge for many families. Including for parents of, for example, three of them who normally spend their weekdays in our fine public schools.

Instead of assuming this is a problem one parent needs to solve on her own, instead of jumping in and creating my own master plan of how to manage what is sure to feel like endless days of boredom for them on top of stressful days for me, I decided to write and offer a compromise.

Perhaps my husband and I should schedule a meaningful conversation about which one of us is going to be in charge on specific days during school hours. Perhaps we, like other parents facing unexpected time with the kids in our city and beyond, can share the load.

Thanks for considering this letter. Please let me know if you have any thoughts.

— Cortney Morse Doucette, Back Bay


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