Being a Parent Has Made My Pandemic Life Simpler, If You Can Believe It
Hear me out.
by Tom McTague
Jonas Bendiksen / Magnum
Perhaps it’s the strange effect of being forced to slow down, to spend all of one’s time outside work pootling and pottering rather than actually doing things and seeing people. Perhaps it’s the atmosphere, the eerie streets, the cordoned-off playgrounds and lines of masked shoppers. Perhaps it’s just being a dad with a garden, a shelf full of Dr. Seuss stories, and sudden access to Disney’s entire back catalog. Whatever it is, something in the air is making a time that should be anxious, monotonous, and frustrating somehow pleasant, and even meaningful.
One might assume my life to be an unrelenting grind right now—I’m locked down in London, a global epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic, trying to juggle my day job with looking after a 3-year-old. Yet that hasn’t been my experience. Having children does add pressure to lockdown life, no doubt, and those without children are always very gracious to say how much harder it must be than what they’re experiencing. I am conscious that this pressure is doubled for single parents, parents without a steady income, or parents whose jobs require them to risk their health in the service of everyone else’s. But for the privileged professional middle classes, I am beginning to think that parents have it better than nonparents.