Laura Yuen
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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

And frivolity

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