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Illustration by Alyssa Kiefer

Four months ago, my husband, my 2-year-old son, my dog, and my newly pregnant belly (thank you, IVF) left our Brooklyn, New York, apartment to escape the wrath of coronavirus.

We said “see you soon” to our nanny and packed our bags for what we thought would be a 3-week hiatus away from the epicenter of the outbreak until “things slowed down.”

We’d come back when it was safe to take subways, go to restaurants, work in an office, sit in coffee shops, and take our son to playgrounds again. Oh, the innocence of the unknown.

Now we’re not sure if we’ll ever go back.

This is officially the weirdest summer (I hope) I will ever live. I’m not oblivious to that fact that this could be an all-year or 2-year escapade. But in efforts to be optimistic, I’ll call it summer.

We’ve been living in my parents’ house in Maryland for 4 months. We’ve been working full-time jobs without child care while also making sure our toddler was entertained, safe, fed, and happy in between (and often during) Zoom calls. These have been the longest days of my life. There are no breaks.

We are all just doing our best to keep ourselves and our families afloat, safe, and hopefully COVID-19-free. I’d say this is what it feels like to climb Mt. Everest on a daily basis. Add a growing belly and the stress of figuring out what doctors I’ll see now that I’m not at my home base, where will I deliver if we don’t make it back to New York, and attending appointments solo without my husband, life just feels like a lot.

On the flip side, there’s the guilt that comes with me complaining. So far, we’re all healthy, and with that, I can’t really ask for anything more.

I also love spending more time with my son, having home-cooked meals, eating as a family every night, wearing leggings (and no makeup) every day, and now being with my own parents and watching their relationship with their grandson continue to grow.

Am I still allowed to admit that I miss the way life was before this virus infiltrated our world while simultaneously feeling grateful for the step back we’ve been forced to take?

If you’re feeling the same way — like the world is weighing on you, your worries about the health of your loved ones are all-consuming, you don’t know what day it is, you don’t know if schools will reopen (but pray that they do), and you’re wondering when you’ll be able to sit on your butt for more than 5 minutes, we get it. We feel the same way.

Our team at Healthline Parenthood wants to help you out, because even the littlest bit of support right now can do some good for all of us. The articles in this collection, The Summer You’ll Never Forget, will give you guidance for making decisions when it comes to your kids — we’ll tackle expectations around homeschooling, what to look out for at summer camps, when your baby can go in the pool (we need more activities!), and life skills to teach your children since your home more often (because we run out of activities).

But of course, we have a ton for you too, including fun ideas for date nights at home, ways to keep your cool when you feel like you’re losing your mind in this “Groundhog Day” lifestyle, and ways to keep kids occupied (which means an easier day for you) when there’s nowhere to go.

This time spent away from our friends and families is weird, but eventually life will return to a new normal that works best for each of us. Until then, here’s a reminder that you’re a great parent and you’re crushing it even when you don’t feel like you are.

Jamie Webber
Editorial Director, Parenthood