Parents ‘depleted’ and ‘nervous’ at home, under extended shelter-in-place mandate

Published: Apr. 17, 2020 at 12:13 AM CDT
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Working parents anticipated more stress and worry, as Governor Tony Evers extended the Safer at Home order on Thursday.

Shannon Barry, a mom running the Domestic Abuse Intervention Services from her dining room, described already feeling “depleted,” while truck driver Jimmie Duncan said he was “nervous more than anything.”

Barry explained how parents like her are juggling many responsibilites while working from home. “You have to hold everyone's emotions. You have to hold your kids' emotions, your partner's. I'm also trying to run a 24/7 essential service, dealing with domestic violence survivors. [I'm] trying to hold space for our staff team who are on the front line.”

In a group interview with NBC15, five parents of different professions and backgrounds said that while the governor’s shelter-in-place extension promotes public health and wellbeing, it doesn’t ease the pressure at home.

Sagashus Levingston, an entrepreneur and single mother of six, said that some of her children need to go outside to relieve anxiety, whereas one needs to stay indoors due to health complications.

Concerned about others’ mental health, most parents described putting their own mental health on the backburner.

“I’m just compartmentalizing it right now and not really dealing with it,” Barry said. “I feel like I can’t until this [pandemic] is over because I feel like I have to be present for everybody else.”

Myra McNair, a therapist on the group call, said many parents are responding similarly but suggested they act upon their anxiety sooner than later. Otherwise, she said, “things can build up, and it can get out of control.”

Parents also looked ahead, anticipating an end to the shelter-in-place order.

“I want all of my children living by the time this is over,” Thompson said. “I don't want to be the mother of a child who passed away. I don't want to be the spouse of a person who pass away. I don't want to pass away.”

Levingston is organizing the upcoming Talk Back virtual conference. Some of the parents from this conversation will lead workshops, further addressing how the coronavirus has impacted their fields of expertise.