Reflecting on the Nitty-Gritty of Pandemic Parenting

Was there anything good or was it only bad and ugly?

Anna Burgess Yang
7 min readMar 19


Pop art of a blue surgical mask on an orange and yellow background.

Yesterday was my son’s 11th birthday. In 2020, this was exactly one week after the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic.

Back in 2020, our schools had just shut down. In theory, it was only supposed to be a few weeks but I had a feeling it would be otherwise. We had to cancel my son’s birthday plans and try to make him feel special with what we could at home.

On the day of his birthday, only a few days into remote learning, his teacher sent an early morning email encouraging the class to wish my son a happy birthday. She wrote, “I’m sure, somehow, he’ll hear us in his heart.”

I cried, thinking of everything my son was missing on his birthday. I knew that it paled in comparison to what other people were facing, and I’m sure some of my tears were due to general fears of the unknown.

It was the first of many, many tears I would shed over the course of the pandemic.

The early days

Our state (Illinois) shut down in response to the pandemic. Schools closed, businesses closed, only essential services were still operating.

A few days into lockdown, my husband said to me, “We survived Day 6” and I replied, “That was only Day 4.” Time very quickly seemed to lose its meaning.

I read something from Italy, which had been in full lockdown for 87 days. And I remember thinking, “It’ll be ok — even if it’s 87 days, we can make it.” After a few weeks, it became clear that we were in it for the long haul — though I really didn’t know how long. Little did I know we would be home for 361 days (March 13, 2020 — March 9, 2021).

I didn’t know it at the time but our lives changed on Friday, March 13th, 2020. There was a Before and an After. We’re not the same people, even three years later.

Remote learning

School was very rough. From March 13, 2020 onward, all three of my kids were home full-time. Our district already had school-issued Chromebooks but the teachers had to pivot hard to figure out how to deliver everything electronically. They only met…



Anna Burgess Yang

Productivity geek + solopreneur with niche expertise. #5amwritersclub frequent flyer. •