News flash: It's hard to get your paid work done when your unpaid work is crawling on your lap and demanding a new episode of "Wild Kratts."
About 52% of employed parents with children younger than 12 say it's been difficult to handle child care responsibilities during the pandemic. This is up from the 38% of parents who said this was the case in March 2020.
That's one of the main takeaways from the Pew Research Center, which last week released its latest report on parenting during COVID-19. Moms are feeling the pinch more disproportionately than dads. Parents who have the luxury of working from home are struggling to get their jobs done without interruptions. Half of them say it's been somewhat or very difficult.
This month several Minnesota school districts pivoted to distance learning because of staffing shortages and spikes in COVID-19 cases. My children's elementary school has not, but my younger son's pre-kindergarten classroom was shut down again for 10 days because of a positive case. This is our family's third round of quarantine this winter, two years into the pandemic, and I am tired.
But not too tired to write the following song — anthem? dirge? — for all the depleted parents out there, which can be sung to the tune of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence."
(Please keep in mind when you peruse this column that half of working parents say they feel like they can't give their full 100% at work since the outbreak began, according to Pew. Not like I would know anything about that. Ahem.)
Hello, lockdown, my old friend
You've made me hole up once again
With a kid who scoffs at napping
He keeps me on my toes a-tapping
And the train of thought that was once lodged in my brain
Down the drain
I miss the sound of silence
I used to work in solitude
Now he's saying he wants food
Pirate Booty or Cheerios?
"Hell no, not in this scenario."
Well, help yourself, kid, I am not a short-order cook
Or read a book
Where is my sound of silence
Quarantining one more round
I am worn to the ground
I am typing without thinking
Meeting virtually without listening
Writing columns that are of questionable quality
There's no sound of silence
But we are getting by
Because of some key allies
Netflix and Prime Video
You know you are the true heroes
Disney Plus, Minecraft and of course Nintendo Switch
You've helped this b*@%
Work in the sound of silence
In 10-minute increments
I can finish a sentence
But I have a new challenge
Rapid tests for antigens
I roamed the stores and could not find an at-home test
So I am stressed
There goes my sound of silence
The virus left in last night's dream
We got our shots to be a team
Relieving teachers and health care
Who've worked so hard in this nightmare
And the kids could be in school a full week strong
Where they belong
We reclaimed the sound of silence