Mothering During a Pandemic – Long Island Moms Share Their Experiences

By: Miya Jones
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Mothering During a Pandemic - Long Island Moms Share Their Experiences

Being a mother is not an easy job. From early morning coddling to late night homework sessions with your chuld, there is a reason why mothers deserve more than just Mother’s Day to be celebrated, pampered and loved.

Throwing a pandemic into the mix doesn’t make things easier. These Long Island mothers shared their experiences dealing with COVID, virtual learning and what went through their minds when they first became mothers.

Portia Ingram

Picture of father holding baby standing next to mother in field

I always wanted to become a mother, so when my daughter came along in July I was ecstatic. The most rewarding part about becoming a mother is watching the little human you dreamt about grow and form their own personality. Something that’s hard as a mother is when my little one is sick. My heart just breaks. As adults, we take for granted even the simplest task of blowing our nose, but for the littlest ones, this is not something so easy and as parents the lengths we go to help them evacuate that mucus… it’s truly an adventure. When my anxiety is on 1,000%, my amazing partner’s calm demeanor and example helps me re-focus. I am also a proponent of meditation.

But honestly, I think the toughest part about being a mother was before my little one got here. Moments like having my partner with me at my appointments, the pandemic took away. It was two months before I gave birth that my partner could come to my appointments. When she has been sick, that’s always a worry that she may have caught COVID during an outing. Covering her in stores is difficult because she is an inquisitive child. In terms of support, my mom’s friends and those who are not mothers have best supported me through check-in texts and FaceTime calls.

For those who are strangers, I think support could also look like socially distancing from a mother and her child in public. I have had people walk up and touch my daughter’s arm or come within a foot of her face and tell her how cute she looked. Respecting a mother and child’s space unless invited at this point in time also helps maintain a mother’s peace of mind.

Irina Meri

Mother posing for picture with child

When I became a mother in 2015, it was exciting, but also terrifying. I kept thinking “Wait, my spouse and I just take this baby home and no one is even going to make sure we know what we’re doing?” I would say the most rewarding part about being a mother are those unexpected moments when my kiddo runs up for a hug. I also love watching him learn new things and then he excitedly tells me about them. He particularly loves dinosaurs, so I am now a dinosaur expert myself. The hardest part is never having enough time with him. Those moments when he wants to cuddle and I have to go to work are the hardest. Me and my partner believe that parenting is an equal endeavor and my partner has been right there with me every day, so we catch each other when the going gets tough.

My kiddo also has two sets of very involved grandparents and a lot of loving family and friends. I am very lucky. In the last year, we have had some losses in the family, and explaining that death is final to a six-year-old has been devastating for all of us. It has been very difficult also doing remote schooling from 2020-2021 for kindergarten while working. We would go for walks and he would hug trees because he missed socialization so much. Remote education was also hard because my kiddo has ADHD and so there was a lot of frustration on all ends.

We were very worried he would have a hard time adjusting to being back in school and being around a lot of peers, but thankfully he has done really well. In order to support mothers, I think we need good parental leave policies, and easy accessibility to childcare and therapy for families and children.

Adrianna Simpson

Mother in cap in gown posing for picture with son

My son’s name is Jayden and he is 10-years-old. When I first became a mother, I was both excited but nervous! I was excited to be able to meet the little human inside of me. I was nervous because I had no clue on about being a parent. The most rewarding thing about being a mother is knowing someone looks up to you daily. Since my son was born, everything I do involves him.

I decided to become a realtor, so I can have more time raising my son. The hardest part of being a mother is sometimes, time. It can be hard to juggle everyday life with both our hectic schedules. My big sister and family always help me when I need them. They would sometimes take my son for a week, so I can get a break. During the pandemic, it was difficult with home-schooling and also entertaining a child all day. I had to figure out how to keep him active while we were stuck at home. It has been very difficult. I feel being virtual was very difficult for a young boy. He did not like the fact he did not have a “gym” or recess so he can socialize with his friends.

Tanya Crawford

Mother sitting on couch with three adult children
Grandmother standing in front of house with grandchildren

I was a teen mom, and I was very nervous, but I was determined to position my life in a way that would enable me to give her the best life I could. I became a nurse and built a stable life for us. When I became grandmother, I had mixed emotions. Although my daughter was older than I was, I wanted her to have the opportunity to enjoy more freedoms beforehand. But when I held [my grandchild] Milani for the first time, I fell in love. I immediately felt an even greater responsibility to create generational wealth. The love for a grandchild is a totally different kind of love. I think it’s God’s way of giving you a second chance. I was a very strict parent, but I am more lenient with my grandchildren.

My children can’t understand how now, I allow a little running in the house or always have money for McDonald’s and the ice cream truck. When they were growing up, they were told “I will make hamburgers and french fries when we get home” or “There are ice cream sandwiches and ices in the freezer.” Watching my adult children become God fearing, empathetic and productive members of society is probably the greatest reward.

Being diagnosed with cancer was hard on my family, and the way my children stepped up to organize was amazing. When I saw all of these things, I knew I did something right as a parent. We often laugh as I apologize to my oldest child when I tell her “Sorry I had no manual, you were the trial and error kid.” Also with being a grandmother, I had to realize that I cannot parent my grandchildren the way that I parented my children.

We live in a completely different time than when I reared my children. I have to parent my grandchildren based on different societal norms while maintaining old school morals and values. The hardest part about being a mom is when they are hurting and you can’t fix it. When they are a child, it’s when they break a bone or are in the hospital with asthma. In adulthood, it’s watching them navigate career goals, relationships and parenting issues. When things get tough, I lean on my faith and trust in God’s promises. Also, my 93-year-old mother provides wisdom and a spiritual covering for the entire family. I also have a great sisterhood who supports me and my family in so many ways.

Through the pandemic, I was worried about the grandchildren. Not having in-person school and the many extra-curricular activities was hard on them. I was also worried about my adult children because they are all essential workers. I had to limit visitors to protect my 93-year-old mom and myself who was diagnosed with breast cancer in the mist of the pandemic. As far as support, I wish there was more education surrounding mother’s support groups. All mothers and grandmother would benefit from a safe space where we can share thoughts and resources with each other.

My advice for other mothers out there is don’t be hard on yourself, this is not an easy job. Surround yourself with a good support system and talk to your children. You may not think they are listening but they are. Also, your children will sometimes make bad choices, that doesn’t make you a bad parent!

Miya Jones

Miya Jones

Miya Jones is a Long Island native and the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Shades of Long Island. She's been a journalist since the age of 17 and is a diversity advocate. Follow Miya on Instagram and Twitter: @miyajones1996 and on Facebook as Miya Jones.

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