Coronavirus quarantine—the ultimate test of a marriage

We need to split responsibilities—now more than ever.

couple arguing

My dear husband,

Hi, you. I love you. You're great. Seriously. I appreciate how strong you've been through all of this, how you're always looking out for our family, and most of all, how much time you've been spending with our kiddo, playing with her and watching over her and trying to get her to watch something vaguely educational on YouTube.

I appreciate how hard you're trying. Your loving attention shows our child that even with all the changes caused by coronavirus—the self-quarantining and social distancing and school closures—you've got her back, and just as important, it's still okay to have fun.

But oh. my. goodness. My dude. You are kind of driving me crazy right now.

I know this is partly me. It's just hard being on top of each other all the time… and not in a sexytime way, more like in a sardine-can way. I just need some space—physical and emotional space.

I know you do too.

Space helps us both breathe, stay calm and think before we speak or react. Sadly, space is a luxury that not many families, our own included, can claim right now.

Another thing that's hard? Being so needed, so much, from so many different directions. I mean, you get used to a certain amount of that, being a mama—being needed is basically the job description. But I'm working hard to split myself into pieces right now so that everything and everyone who needs me can have an appropriately-sized chunk: Our kid, you, our safety and health, my job, our family and friends, and all the new responsibilities that landed on American parents this week like an anvil out of the sky with 75% of schools closed.

(Oh, and the news. The news would like to consume me whole. It's greedy like that.)

And all this while I'm grappling with my own coronavirus-related anxieties and fears—are we going to be okay? How can I make this okay? If I can't make this okay, then how can I make myself be okay with not being okay?

It's hard. I need something to need me less. I know it's not fair that I'm hoping it can be you.

Because as much attention as you're showing our daughter, you seem to, how can I put this? Instructions and help and input on some pretty basic things?

Remember yesterday when you offered to make everybody lunch while I finally answered some overdue work emails, and then you spent the next 20 minutes yelling questions out of the kitchen like, "Where's the peanut butter?", "Where's the mayo?", "Where's the lettuce?", "What should I make?"

You realize—right?—that these are all variations on the question What's in the fridge that I am literally standing right in front of?

This is a small thing, I know. And it's a funny thing. It really doesn't even bother me that much. But it is a sign of a larger thing, which is that we absolutely have to commit to trying to share responsibilities as evenly as we can—now more than ever—so that we're really helping each other and being good partners.

Anticipating issues. Solving problems on our own. Thinking around corners. You know that "mental load of motherhood" thing I keep talking about? Yeah. This is that. Don't interrupt my two precious minutes of stolen work time to make me tell you where the peanut butter is. Just please don't.

As painful as this is to admit, there's something else, too.

Sometimes I just do not feel strong enough to carry all of us through this. In those moments, if I don't feel heard and seen, if it doesn't feel like you're sensing my fear and worry and stepping up—arms out and open, to pick us all up and carry us for a while—I get angry, resentful, mean.

I am expecting as much of you as you are expecting of me. Sometimes we're going to miss opportunities to show one another that we have each other's back. That's just how it is. But man, right now, when it makes me so mad at you.

In a way, I guess, I'm also mad at me.

But you're the closest person to me. And I hope you always will be. Even when you drive me crazy.

I love you, honey. I'm pissed off and freaked out and mad and scared, but I do love you. Even when I'm mad at you. So let's do this. Together.

Oh, and by the way—the peanut butter is in the cupboard on the right-hand side. 😉

[Editor's note: This story is a letter from a woman to her husband. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]

<p> Siobhan Adcock is the Experts Editor at Motherly and the author of two novels about motherhood, <a href="" target="_blank">The Completionist</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">The Barter</a>. Her writing has also appeared in Romper, Bustle, Ms., McSweeney's, Slate, Salon, The Daily Beast, The Chicago Review of Books and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter. </p>

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Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

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Plan Toys balance board

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Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

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Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

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Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

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Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

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Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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