On (Not) Blogging Through a Pandemic

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Monday starts my family’s fifth week of staying home (and fourth week under a formal stay-at-home order). Other than daily walks and occasional (rare) trips to the store to pick up necessities, my whole world has been the Chicago apartment we’ve lived in for the last half-decade-plus.

And my life has been pretty devoid of blogging.

You’d think, with all this spare time, I would have plenty to say here. (At the very least, I owe a book review of First Nephi: A Brief Theological Introduction, which I finished reading weeks ago. Spoiler alert: it’s amazing, and you should get your hands on it for some quarantine reading. But I’ll do a fuller review in the near future.)

Except, it turns out, I don’t have the kind of spare time, let alone the motivation, to blog.

I still have to do my job. My wife has to do her job. And I’m lucky that I’m the kind of worker who can work from home, especially since every law school in the country is finishing the year with remote education. But I’m still preparing and delivering my classes. I’m (theoretically) researching and writing.

On top of that, I have three kids who are also learning from home. Now, I’m a big proponent of public schools, and for my own personal reasons, have never had a desire to homeschool. And I’m not homeschooling—my kids’ teachers are providing work and instruction. Still, I’m the frontline person here. My oldest two are fairly self-sufficient, but I have to monitor and actively help my youngest. And in recent days, I’ve helped teach my kids, among other things, experimental probability, molarity, and volume of liquids, in spite of the fact that I haven’t taken a math or science class since, um, high school.

And that’s not to say I’m not exercising self-care. I practice my various saxophones an hour a day or so. I was running until this week (when it turned cold—it snowed twice this week!). I’m reading to and playing games with and watching movies with my family. Like the rest of the world, I’m making sourdough everything. And I’m trying to keep my cats from destroying everything (like the two bowls they knocked off the counter yesterday afternoon).

I suspect that my cobloggers—and, frankly, a significant portion of the readers of this blog—are experiencing similar things, if not in detail, at least in concept. So stay well, stay safe, and let us know what you’re doing to ride out the COVID-19 pandemic!


  1. Kevin Barney says:

    I definitely relate to this, even though I don’t actually have kids in the home to complicate things. But yeah, working from home (or trying to) has absorbed a lot of my bandwidth.

  2. Yes. Everything is harder, everything takes longer. Also, everything is shrouded with risk, anxiety and uncertainty. It’s a shrinking economy, up close and personal (as we seek to avoid a similarly intimate acquaintance with a global pandemic).

  3. I’ve adjusted to teleworking full time. My job (bless it forever) offered up to two hours paid admin leave per day to deal with caregiving and educating children. So I am able to take a two-hour lunch to supervise my three kids’ school work. Two work fairly independently. The third has ADHD and doesn’t accomplish anything unless someone is sitting next to him to keep him on task. I’ve learned a lot about what they’re learning. I love reading the essays and writing assignments they’re working on, though I am under strict instructions to stop offering suggestions to the 6th grader. On Friday, my ADHD child actually wrought a miracle and finished a project entirely on his own. Blew my mind; he’s never done that before. He was so pleased with himself he about sprained a smile muscle.

    Also, I read news articles about the critical need to donate blood. I called and they scheduled me three weeks out. There are plenty of willing donors, but with businesses shutting down, the blood bank said they’re having a hard time finding places to spread out enough to take donations.

    Interesting times. I’ve stopped trying to sort things into ‘this is good’ and ‘this is bad’ categories. It just ‘is’ and we’re dealing with it.

  4. charlene says:

    I have extreme sympathy for families with children trying to homeschool. Although a significant part of my career included working from home, I never had to combine it with homeschooling my children. And, although a majority of my career involved creating computer assisted learning, I’m distressed with the poor quality of almost all current online instruction. I learned at the beginning of my career that no matter how good the materials, they can never compensate for a good teacher. As I am now retired, I’ve taken on a daily responsibility for ‘grandma school’ over the phone with a 1st grader. I’m grateful and happy to do it, but also mighty sad for the millions of children without such a resource. Blessings upon all parents and public school teachers!

  5. Oh yes. We have two kids under three at home now and are lucky to have jobs we can do by teleworking so the week is a constant juggle. Our saving grace is that husband and I give each other 3 hours on Saturday and Sunday to do anything. Hobbies, sleep, walk, just be alone…

    Our other saving grace is probably Octonauts. So grateful for Octonauts.

  6. Geoff-Aus says:

    Retired and in 70s, live in a house we designed and built ourselves 15 years ago, 300m2 with long views, so don’t feel closed in. I am an introvert so the social distancing is not much of a problem. My wife is much more outgoing, but is visiting on messenger, and doing jigsaw puzzles.
    I have a mercedes s class 2006 which I am converting into a plug in hybrid by using parts from a 2016 mercedes gle. Very few of the parts fit so lots of problem solving to make them fit. It is getting close to finished and will find out if it works? Or what has to be done to make it work. I work on it for 5 or 6 hours 4 or 5 days a week. Making a mercedes S550e.
    Missing going out for lunch with my wife weekly, and days out, but saving on fuel.
    Had a house for sale (to help fund next few years) and had a contract, but it fell through, because one of the couple buying it was laid off because of the virus.
    Very concerned about the consequences of the latest developments of liberating states in America. A contest between ideology, and science. And greatly politicizing the virus. If the science is right will cost thousands of american lives, and create all sorts of problems for you.

  7. John Mansfield says:

    The saxophones are the key: You can’t practice saxophone at work. At lot of things that one likes to do with available time at home can’t be done as a break at work.

    Thirteen years ago on this website, one of the writers directed the readers to “stop reading blogs and read some books.” She gave as a reading list and told us to not “talk on blogs until you’ve finished it.” My response was that “I thought this blogging stuff was mainly a way that people sitting by computers all day with little supervision kill time when they should be working. A series of books on Mormon history and theology sitting open on my desk would be going a little too far.”

  8. Josiah Reckons says:

    With my PhD being reviewed, my wife working in the respiratory dept of the hospital, and NZ in lockdown, I’m homeschooling our 6 year old daughter and taking care of our two preschoolers.

    It’s been a really bonding time, but quite demanding and draining. Not much blogging happening. At the end of the day, I don’t feel that motivated to think very hard, and mostly sit down and read manga or watch videos, even though I have several fascinating books waiting to be read and some interesting ideas to explore and blog about.

  9. “I thought this blogging stuff was mainly a way that people sitting by computers all day with little supervision kill time when they should be working.“

    The website stats agree, I think.

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