Juggling a job and schooling kids: Parenting challenges during a pandemic

Back to School

CLAY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Being a parent comes with many challenges and there’s no manual for parenting in a pandemic.

Moms and dads all across Central New York were forced to become teachers when COVID-19 hit the area in the spring. One mom living in Clay had to make sacrifices to be there for her kids.

Life in the Gracey house came to a screeching halt on March 9. Beth, a nutrition coach, and retail pharmacist, also became a teacher. It was impossible to do all three.

“Virtual world was really hard for them,” said Beth Gracey.

Beth’s company offered a voluntary COVID leave and she was grateful to take advantage of it to be there for her six and seven-year-olds, Dylan and Taylor.

Beth’s husband works in the Air Force and can’t work from home. They also don’t have family in the area, so this was their best and only option.

The two kids chose to go back to in-person learning at St. Rose of Lima this fall instead of homeschool with mom.

They were excited to get back to school and see their teachers and friends, but they’re struggling in ways none of them prepared for.

They’re angry. That’s what the biggest struggle right now is.

Beth Gracey

Beth went on to say:

The first day they came home they were both mad. They were mad and crying because they couldn’t play tag and they weren’t allowed to eat in the cafeteria with the kids in the other classrooms. They don’t really understand why that’s not okay.

Beth Gracey

She also fears what the pandemic might do to her kids long-term.

“Right now it’s sad because if they meet a new child they stand and they make sure their fingers can’t touch and then they try to talk. The fear that they have and just that fear of school. They’re so little I don’t want to taint that idea that learning and people are scary,” she said.

Beth is doing her best to be a mom first and be there for whatever it is her kids need. She’s hoping they won’t dread school forever and sympathizes with parents who don’t have the ability to be home to help.

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