To My Children: I'm Sorry That This Is Your 'New Normal'

by Talya Knable
Originally Published: 
mother consoling her sad girl at home
Scary Mommy and skynesher/Getty

I never thought that we would be in a situation like we are in right now. How could I have? Yet despite this understanding, I am still so sorry that things are not better.

I feel bad that I was not prepared for this. I did not have a plan in place for how we would spend several months at home, without school, without activities, and without playdates and all the things we used to do to keep you busy. We are doing our best with what we have — daily Amazon Prime deliveries, and tons of extra screen time. And while you might enjoy some of this, I am sorry I can’t give you more.

I am sorry that I do not know how to answer all of your questions. You have a lot of them, and as your mom I want to answer them. Yet, there are some things I don’t know how to explain to you at your innocent age, and some things I don’t know at all myself.

I am sorry that you are not with your friends in school, and that the only interaction you get with kids your age is through a computer screen. I am even more sorry that I am not good at setting up these interactions for you. My social media feeds are full of posts of your peers having lunch time Zoom dates and FaceTime play dates. They look so peaceful and enjoyable. But this is not how it feels in our home, so I don’t do them. Maybe this is more on me than on you, and for that I am sorry.

I am sorry that I am now around all day, working from home, yet can’t play with you. Me being home used to mean that my workday was done with and it was time for us to be together. Now, you know that I am in the house, but I am not with you. I am locked in a room, doing telehealth with my clients, listening to your laughter and joy as you are playing in a different part of the house. It breaks my heart when I occasionally hear you ask for Mama, or when I pop out in between sessions, only to hear your sweet voices ask “Mama, are you done work now?” I am sorry that I avoid seeing you during the day to prevent this from happening.


I am so sorry that I am not being the parent that I always wanted to be for you. Maybe this is something I felt sorry for prior to this pandemic, but it is definitely exaggerated now. My patience is short. I am anxious and scared about what the world is like currently. And you and your father get the brunt of that. And I am sorry.

I am sorry that I yell for you to not hug your father as soon as soon as he walks in the door from the weekly grocery shop. I can only imagine how confusing it must be for your little mind to get used to something that feels so unnatural to us as parents. The excitement you have always had to greet him any time he comes home has always brought a smile to my face. Now it is something that I fear, because that hug might be what gets you sick.

I am sorry you can’t hug your grandparents. Your whole life we have encouraged closeness with these people, and in a blink of an eye, we tell you that you can’t get near to them. It is contradictory and confusing. We have tried to keep them in your lives via FaceTime and visits six feet apart, but this doesn’t make any sense to you.

And in all of this, what I am most sorry for is that I am sorry. I know logically that most of this is out of my control, and it is something that we need to deal with. It is something all of us are dealing with. I know we are lucky in comparison to many. I want to be able to focus on the positive and enjoy this extra and unexpected time that we get to spend together. Yet that is hard to do sometimes.

And for that, I am sorry.

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