Katie Goodale

Kara Houser sits outside of her therapy office on May 5, 2021.

Moving forward

May 10, 2021

As more people get access to the COVID-19 vaccine and society begins to open up, many moms are getting ready to send their kids back to activities and school, and head back into the world themselves.

Conrad said for the past two months, since her children have been back in school, she’s begun to get little pieces of her life back. Biking to the gym, seeing friends, and getting to do other activities have brought back her passion. 

Greenwood is looking forward to the little things, like going back to the library and taking her 1-year-old to the store. She said it’s crazy to think that her kids don’t remember experiencing certain activities, even ones as commonplace as going to Target.  

Johnson is gearing up to head back to work in-person. She said her son will start full-time preschool in the fall, as she’s feeling more comfortable with the safety of in-person classes and doesn’t want to put the full load of caring for him on her husband. 

“I’ve been forced to create a new normal for my family, and we’re doing okay now,” Johnson said. “And I’m going to be forced to create another new normal that won’t be the same as the old normal. And I know that will be OK.”

Tearing up, Buxton said she’s so privileged to have had the choice to stay home without negative consequences for her family. There are so many mothers who can’t take care of their kids 24/7, because of work or for other reasons, and she’s tried to appreciate every little moment. 

Buxton’s plan is to return to teaching in the fall, though she won’t know if she’ll get to teach in Shimek Elementary again. As with many families during the pandemic, Buxton and her family will be reentering the world a little different from when they first isolated from it. She’s going to try and keep work at work rather than bring stress home with her, and have her family at home more in between their crazy lives. 

“It’s going to be a rude awakening for us, but I think we can do it,” Buxton said. 

Through her work as a family therapist, Houser talks to many mothers, and said one theme she’s been hearing throughout the pandemic is that they’re just doing what they can to get by. Whether this means ordering takeout more, caring less about certain aspects of life from before the pandemic, or letting kids rely on technology more than ever before, mothers are just trying to help their families survive. 

“They’re, they’re not sure if they’re making the right decision. And there’s a lot of second guessing that’s coming along with that,” Houser said. 

Houser has had to make concessions with things such as technology to keep her kids learning and connected, but she’s worried about how reliant they’ll be on technology when they’re fully able to enter the world once again. As they move forward, Houser will continue to try and balance how she feels about the changes in her family versus taking their wants and needs into account. She’ll keep getting by. 

“The pandemic has been something that, as a mother, you really continue to want to put your children’s needs first. And of course, I think parents are doing that,” she said. “But at the same time, you’re also coping with that, and how you can balance that is really tricky.”

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