The Shutdown is Impacting My Family

I’m writing as a parent that has been impacted by the coronavirus shutdown and lives in NYCHA (public housing) with limited resources. I had a child welfare case, but it is closed and my kids (both 3 years old) are home with me now.

The coronavirus is impacting me and my family — I’m struggling financially, our housing is impacted and I’m scared to go outside.

Still, I try to make sure my kids have good moments and I do my best every day to do what I need to do.

Finances, Housing and Other Concerns

I’m financially struggling because this came unexpectedly and I have no money saved up. I struggle with food, having no extra help from welfare.  It is hard for parents and single mothers who have very young kids and have to spend more money on expensive things like diapers and milk. These are tough times. For me it’s a reminder to be conservative with my resources and prepared for situations like this, even though sometimes you can’t be.

My friends and my support system make sure I’m ok and help me financially. Friends lent me money until I get my SSI on the first of the month, so I’m good. I created a budget plan that can help me moving forward and with all the expenses I’m going to need during this crisis. I’m going to stock up on provisions and things the children may need. Right now, everyone is struggling and we have to use any savings we have to make sure our kids have what they need.

The situation is impacting my housing, too. I put in a transfer to move into a new apartment but because of COVID-19, nothing is moving forward. Housing has closed down in-person meetings or anything with the management office. Work orders are delayed. I have to wait for them to repair my sink. It’s been leaking for a while.

My biggest concern, though, is the changes: no school, my kids missing their summer and birthdays, and our health, because we are always indoors. We don’t get enough outside air and exercise.  I miss going outside and I can’t do my hair, nails, nothing. It’s miserable and boring.

Taking Precautions

I am scared to go outside because, in all honesty, who is going be there if you fall sick and God forbid you need someone to help you with your child.

My family, friends and fellow coworkers have emailed me and texted me and have called me to check up on me. They have been there for me and made sure if I do step out, I’m using safety measures for me and my children. 

If we do step out, we utilize gloves and face masks, wash our hands, use sanitizer and bleach to mop and Clorox wipes to clean surfaces in the home. All clothes are taken off as soon as I come in from outdoors. Clothes are washed immediately and dried.

Staying In

The children get home schooling and some activities are fun, some are boring. It’s very hard for my son to get teletherapy (therapy over FaceTime). He wants to go back to school and he is bored.

Even with everything closed, I try to make sure my kids have good moments, like baking cupcakes in the house. We have had fun playing with Play-Doh and making caterpillars and butterflies.  Another time we I took the kids outside in front of my building to ride bikes.

Although I have a support system, that doesn’t mean they can support me at this time. They are facing their own personal problems with coronavirus.  Still, I can recall a few times when I felt supported through this pandemic, like when my brother came to watch the kids to give me a break to go food shopping.

The crisis is affecting me emotionally, but I have therapy over the phone once every two weeks. I write and exercise in the house to keep myself busy. I listen to music and I watch TV. Also, I rest. I take naps and go to sleep before 10 pm so I’m well rested to make breakfast and function with my children.

Everything is not perfect but I do my best every day to do what I need to do.

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