I just listened to a UK radio show in which the speakers were enjoying their time at home during the COVID-19 lockdown because they did not have husbands or children. The main speaker, Sinead Kennedy, is writing a book about living alone (Flying Solo, not published yet), so the situation is perfect. She is using the time to “sit with herself,” to think, walk, and be creative. She feels sorry for those who are having to deal with husbands and children 24/7. On the rare occasions when she gets lonely, she knows her friends with kids are too busy to talk, so she seeks out her childless friends.
Click here to hear the show. The hostess and another caller were also childless and making the best of their time at home. Maybe this will cheer you up. Maybe not.
As you know, I’m at home alone, too. Well, my dog is here, but she’s old, and she sleeps most of the time. I attend Zoom meetings and “watch parties.” I go out for groceries and once a week to do music for the videotaped Sunday Mass at our little church, but I’m mostly here by myself. To be honest, it’s not that much different from pre-COVID times.
Last week, I met with three other women for a “socially distanced” chat session in one of their back yards. The others are all grandmothers who have been separated from their children and grandchildren since the pandemic began. They are hurting because they can’t see their families, especially the little ones. Another friend’s first grandbaby was born in March, and she hasn’t been able to hold her yet. How sad. Children grow and change so quickly. It’s hard not having children, but it’s also difficult having them and not being able to see them except on telephone or computer screen.
On the other hand, I panic at the thought of trying to home-school children. I’m a good teacher of college-age adults, but kids, oy. I suspect they would rebel at Mom or Dad trying to impose a school schedule on them. I’d be going crazy trying to work, too. I’m relieved I don’t have to do that.
Then there’s the husband part of it. God knows I miss Fred, but let’s face it. He was not good at sitting still. With no sports to watch, he’d be unbearable. He’d be like, I’ve got to get out of here. Let’s go do something. I can’t stand it, while I’m okay reading, writing, baking, walking, or watching ‘chic flicks” on my tablet.
So yes, maybe at this time, it’s easier not having children. Whether it’s comfortable sheltering in place with a partner depends on the partner. It’s certainly a test of how compatible you really are. Can you find things to do together or can you agree to do things separately? I wonder how many relationships will implode during this time. As for having children, is this the perfect time to start a family or the worst?
This is my 700th post. I had hoped to do something special today, a video or such. The “Best of Childless by Marriage” book is coming along well. But we’re panicking around here this week. Up to last weekend, our county of 50,000 on the Oregon Coast only had 10 positive cases of COVID-19. No one had been hospitalized or died. We were doing incredibly well. Lincoln County moved into Oregon’s Phase I of reopening just before Memorial Day. Restaurants, hotels and many businesses reopened, with lots of restrictions—masks, distancing, sanitizing, etc. Tourists rushed in. The number of COVID cases went up to 30, but okay, that was still not so bad.
Then on Sunday, authorities announced that we had 124 new cases of the coronavirus, all employees at Pacific Seafood on the Bayfront in Newport, the city closest to me. This being a fishing town, the company processes and packages what our fishermen catch. They tested 376 employees, and 124 had the virus. As of this morning, we now have 157 positive cases, two in the hospital. Most of those who tested positive did not have any symptoms yet.
You might say that’s still not such a big number, compared to places like New York, but these are small towns–Newport, with 10,000, is the biggest–and these people all have families and friends who have been exposed. They have shopped in our stores, eaten in our restaurants, and visited our parks. They’ve been to the gas station, the bank, the doctor’s office, and all the other places people go.
We’re officially staying in Phase I for now, but one business after another has announced that’s it’s closing back down to be safe.
Suddenly I’m dying to go out, to socialize, shop, travel, do things that were normal four months ago. I feel like I’m living the movie “Groundhog Day,” in which the characters relive the same day over and over. Will things ever be “normal” again?
Is it easier without children? Probably. Is it better? I don’t know.
How are you doing in this crazy COVID world? Are you more or less eager to have children? Are you talking about it? Is your partner driving you crazy? Are you able to see your family, including the little ones? Please share.
I’m thinking about doing a Facebook Live broadcast where I can talk to you all, and you can ask me questions or chat among yourselves. What do you think? Would a Zoom meeting or another format be better? Let me know.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: As I mentioned above, I’m putting together a “Best of Childless by Marriage” book from the blog. i am including many of your comments, all anonymous or by first names only. If you have any objection to have those comments in a book, both print and online, please let me know at email@example.com, and I will remove them. I don’t want this to be an issue later, so please speak up. Thank you. Many of you are better writers than I am.
Socially distanced hugs to one and all.
9 thoughts on “Is COVID Lockdown Easier Without Kids?”
Hi Sue, family members attest it’s terrible at home trying to work full-time with children. I know two who forfeit school online and let the kids do whatever they want while they are trying to work. I also have a single family member who is so lonely it breaks my heart. We used to go months without talking. Now he calls weekly and talks of trips to the store just to see human beings. He hates face masks because he can’t tell easily if others are smiling at him. There is no way anyone will convince me the social distancing is easier for singles. It boils down to individual personalities. Some are wired to be okay alone to a degree; others are wired to require social interaction to a degree. As the saying goes, each one of us is battling something so be kind to all.
Congratulations on your 700th post, Sue. I have only been following you for a short while but I’ve enjoyed reading the posts that I have seen.
It must feel very scary to have such a big increase in cases close to home. I live in quite a big city (well, big by UK standards)–there are about half a million people in this district and so far we have had over 300 Covid-19 deaths. My partner has been working from home for the last 14 weeks–not that I am counting or anything. . . It has been hard as I am mostly housebound and used to having the place to myself during the week. He usually goes out a lot at weekends and also goes away at least once a month to visit his parents or friends. He can’t do these things now. We do not get on well enough to spend this much time together. He used to talk about taking early retirement and I used to think, “oh please don’t”. We still laugh together most days but we argue as well. A lot of it is down to frustration and impatience; we still love each other.
This situation has brought up a lot of feelings that I usually try to ignore and I feel increasingly low about it all. I am clinically vulnerable, so it’s hard to see people getting excited about the shops reopening next week. I know it will be a long time before I can go in to shop. Maybe it will never be safe for people like me to go out and the few things I could do outside before will never be possible again.
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Jo, it is scary. Being older, I’m considered part of the more vulnerable population, too, and many of my friends have serious health problems. I hate to think we’ll never be able to do the usual things anymore. When there’s a vaccine, things should be safer, but that’s going to be a while. I have to smile about your comment on your partner taking early retirement. My husband did take early retirement, at age 55. I told him, “You’d better have something to do.” And he did. He got himself a part-time job in the tasting room at a winery, and he volunteered at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Now he wouldn’t be able to do those things, and we’d definitely be driving each other crazy. Hang in there. Remember the love. Go for a walk if you can.
I am finding this lockdown SO lonely. Having no children makes everywhere SO quiet. I lost my dad of cancer in Oct 2018, my brother-in-law last July of sepsis, and my beautiful Mum on 23rd March this year to COVID-19. She picked it up in hospital.
Having no children makes people treated like a hole, even though I was 50 on 21st March. So poor Mum missed wishing me a happy birthday and died the day before Mother’s day ( UK ) so they will NEVER be the same again. I wish I had children now but too late. I will just sit in with my amazing husband and my little dog Alfie.
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Oh Josie, I’m so sorry. Hang on to that amazing husband and dog for all the comfort you can get.
I think staying at home without kids is easier in the sense that there’s less stress but harder in terms of loneliness. It’s just me and my husband and two dogs at home and at first I enjoyed the time at home. Now that summer is here I’m a little more sad. I saw a facebook post from a childhood friend with a little wheel of activities that their kids can spin each day to have something to do. It got me pretty down. I realized there’s no one to make my days worthwhile and I’ve just been passing time trying to make each one end. Today I don’t plan on getting out of bed.
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Erica, I’m sorry you’re feeling so sad. It’s just me and my dog here. But we’re keeping busy, and I make myself reach out to other people, which helps a lot. I hope you feel happier soon.
Thanks, I’m glad to have this place to write something when I have days like this. Your blog and willingness to open up about your own struggles is a big comfort to me and many others.
I’m so glad I can help.