I was a final year university student when SARS hit. I remember feeling relieved to be amongst the lucky few who landed a job before I graduated, though I was extremely disappointed that I had to cancel my post-graduation holiday. But other than that, I hardly remember much about SARS if I had.
Going through COVID-19 as a mother feels different, even more so when you have a child taking the high stakes Primary School Leaving Examination.
Emotionally, you worry. I worry about my children being quarantined in a hospital without seeing me for two weeks, and how it would traumatize and affect them mentally and emotionally. I worry that my child would be quarantined for 2 weeks and miss out on school. But requests to wear masks to school to assuage my panicky heart is met with a big no. “Mummy, the masks are only for the sick and the healthcare workers. We cannot wear masks.”
Physically, you are exhausted. I am constantly reminding my kids to wash their hands and shower after school. With all tuition classes cancelled and homebased learning, I’m busy acting as IT support to my kids. By the end of the day, when your daughter calls out to you from the computer saying “Mummy can you help me with my music class? I need to play the recorder,” your brain feels ready to explode.
Socially, it has been challenging to say the least. Everyone is on the edge, tempers flare, patience is worn thin. Friends who insist on travelling despite the travel advisory, happily posting on Instagram and Facebook about their travels and sending their kids back to school or tuition after their travels… what do you say to that friend? I’ve had friends unfriend people on Facebook and I’ve personally exited a number of Whatsapp chats and sworn off social media, just to preserve my sanity.
All I can do as a parent now is to pray for my children, my family and the world. To take each day as it comes and to focus on the tremendous gratitude I have that I am a parent in Singapore, in this trying time.
This is a piece by Stephanie Choo, on how she handles the Covid-19 situation as a parent.