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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.