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 need...um, 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 happens...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="https://www.siobhanadcock.com/" target="_blank">The Completionist</a> and <a href="https://www.siobhanadcock.com/the-barter" 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>

In This Article

    The HATCH Mama collection is everything your pregnant body needs right now

    Their oil is the only thing that stopped my belly from itching as it grew bigger.

    Conz Preti

    Let me start by saying I'm not a fan of moisturizing. I hate being wet and sticky and after applying product to my body, I have to stand around awkwardly until I'm fully air-dried—a practice that is not compatible with having three kids under the age of 3. However, as someone who has carried three children in her body, I also know how much your belly needs hydration as the baby grows.

    This was especially true with my second pregnancy. My belly popped way sooner (a thing that happens with subsequent pregnancies) and on top of that, I was carrying twins, which meant I became super pregnant super fast. My belly was itching constantly from the skin stretching (I checked with my doctor to make sure I didn't have Cholestasis) and there was no scratching in the world that could ease my discomfort. My doula recommended the HATCH Mama belly oil and changed my life. The oil is nourishing—but more important to me, quick-drying—so I could apply it all over my planet-sized twin belly and get dressed immediately after without having my clothes ruined nor stuck to my body. Because of how much I loved the oil, I tested other products, and let me tell you, they're all equally amazing.

    Curious about the HATCH Mama collection? All of their products are non-toxic and mama-safe, designed to help pregnant people overcome the challenges unique to pregnancy. As their website claims, "from stretch marks to thinning hair, to sleepless nights, we're helping you tackle every prenatal and postnatal beauty issue head-on so you can continue to feel like the best version of you." I'm here for all of this. For the entire Hatch Beauty collection click here.


    Here are my favorite products from HATCH Mama:


    Belly oil

    HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Oil

    Intensely hydrating + fantastic at reducing the appearance of stretch marks and scars, this will be your favorite through pregnancy + beyond.

    $58

    Belly mask

    HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Mask Set

    Not only does it help to minimize the appearance of stretch masks + scars during pregnancy + postpartum, but there is a little non-toxic wink (and that's to you, mama.)

    $42

    Nipple + lip ointment 

    HATCH COLLECTION  Nipple + Lip

    Calming + soothing, this magic sauce is lanolin-free & made of tropical butters and super fruits. I'm not lying when I say you will not want to stop using this, even way after birth.

    $28

    Belly tattoos

    HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Tattoos

    A very rock and roll way to honor your bump. And non-toxic + plant-based at that!

    $18

    This article was originally published in March 2021. It has been updated.

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

    Shop

    Motherly created the flexible online birth class moms need

    The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

    Taking a birth class is a pregnancy milestone. Whether you've been excited to take a birth class for a long time or have just recently decided that you wanted to take one, sitting down for that first lesson feels big—spoiler alert, this is really happening! But finding time for a birth class isn't as easy as it would seem.

    We know new parents are busy (hello, understatement of the year). Between diaper changes, pediatrician appointments, healing from birth and the general adjustment to #newparentlife, the days can fill up quickly. But a lot of people are caught off guard by how busy pregnancy can be, too! That first trimester is so often full of symptoms—like nausea and fatigue—that can make previously easy or simple tasks exhausting. The second trimester begins and (usually) we start to feel better. But then our days get filled with planning out baby registries and deciding on questions like, "Where will this tiny new human sleep?" And before you know it, it's the third trimester—and, well, then you're in the home stretch. Plus there are so many appointments!

    All this to say that we get how busy you are—and how hard that might make it to fit in a birth class.

    And that's why we created The Motherly Birth Class. The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.


    Think you'll want to watch each lesson a few times over? Great!

    Due date's next week and you need the option to take a birth class very quickly? No problem!

    Like everything at Motherly, we designed this class with you in mind.

    Taught by Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding (who also wrote "The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama"), this class is broken into 12 lessons—and you get to control how and when you watch them. We'll teach you about what your (amazing) body is up to in labor, how to decide when it's time to head to the hospital or birth center (or when to call your home birth midwife), what your options are for coping with pain and so much more.

    When you sign up for The Motherly Birth Class, you'll get access to a downloadable workbook and meditations. Plus, you'll be invited to join our supportive private online community (where you can chat with the class instructor!)

    Oh, one more thing: Your insurance or flexible spending account might even able to able to cover the cost of this class.

    Pregnancy is wonderful—but it's a lot. You deserve a birth class that works for you and empowers you to have your best birth. Because vaginal or Cesarean, unmedicated or medication, birth is incredible. And you are the star of it all.

    You've got this.

    Sign up for The Motherly Birth Class today!

    The Motherly Birth Class

    pregnant-woman-looking-at-her-belly

    Take our completely digital birth class from the comfort of your living room. We'll help you have your best birth—because you deserve it.

    $79

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

    Shop
    BABYBJÖRN

    This post is sponsored by BABYBJÖRN. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    popular

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

    So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


    Secret Agent play set

    Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

    This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    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.

    $40

    Stepping Stones

    Stepping-stones

    Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.

    $99.99

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

    $120

    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

    $30

    Sensory play set

    kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

    Filled with sand or water, this compact-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.

    $19.95

    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.

    $121

    Foam pogo stick

    Flybar-my-first-foam-pogo-stick

    Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

    $16.99

    Dumptruck 

    green-toys-dump-truck

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.

    $22

    Hopper ball

    Hopper ball

    Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

    $14.99

    Pull-along ducks

    janod-pull-along-wooden-ducks

    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.

    $16.99

    Rocking chair seesaw

    Slidewhizzer-rocking-chair-seesaw

    This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

    $79.99

    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.

    $79.99

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $30

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

    Shop

    Mom relieves baby's gas like a pro in viral TikTok

    "How was he not floating around like a balloon?!" asked one commenter.

    @kaseybuscemi/TikTok

    We all know the struggles of having a gassy baby. It can be rough—for baby and for you! Since babies don't actually come out of the womb knowing how to pass their own gas without a little assistance, there are so many different techniques and tips out there to help your baby feel more comfortable when they're a little...flatulent.

    "Bicycle legs" is one common technique that can help get things moving for baby gas relief, and no one does it better than this mom on TikTok.

    Her video has more than 10 million likes, and it's not hard to see why—it's mesmerizing, informative, and, of course, downright hilarious!


    Her little baby has a wicked case of the toots and even mom cracks up by the end.

    Someone give this mom, @kaseybuscemi TikTok, a gold medal, because she just placed first in the Farting Your Baby Olympics. No joke. When I first learned about the "bicycle legs" technique (after my baby spit the gripe water right back at me and, I kid you not, laughed in my face while making direct eye contact), I felt awkward and had no idea what kind of rhythm was required to effectively fart my own baby.

    This mom? TOTAL PRO.

    The comments on this video are as funny and entertaining as you'd expect them to be, too:

    Never in my 30 years of living have I ever seen someone fart a baby. This is so cool.

    TWIST IT! PULL IT! BOP IT!

    *baby all grown up* "So what's a fun fact of yours?" "Oh 6 million people saw me fart."

    How was he not floating around like a balloon??

    Farting a baby is just as important as burping a baby!

    As far as the importance of farting a baby goes, yes, in case you're wondering, it is important. Some gassiness in babies is totally normal—just like with adults. Regular farting and burping are a sign of good gastrointestinal health, according to Healthline. In addition to bicycle legs, changing the baby's position, gently massaging the baby or bouncing the baby a little bit can also help alleviate trapped gas.

    Your baby could also be intaking a tad too much air from your nipple or the nipples of a bottle if they're extra gassy. If you're concerned about your own baby's gassiness, contact your pediatrician or healthcare provider for more information.

    If you're looking to master the bicycle legs technique, though, look no further than this video right here!

    News + Trending

    Coco Austin on breastfeeding her 5-year-old: 'Why take it away from her?'

    Coco says breastfeeding her daughter is more about comfort than anything else, and she's totally unapologetic about it.

    Coco Austin/Instagram

    Lots of moms continue breastfeeding their kids as they grow from babies to toddlers, and some continue doing it for longer than that. Coco Austin, wife of Ice-T and mom to 5-year-old Chanel, is one of those moms—and she's totally unapologetic about it.

    In a new interview with Us Weekly, Austin says she still nurses Chanel in small spurts throughout the day and doesn't play on stopping anytime soon.


    "Chanel still likes my boob. She's five years old," Austin said. "A lot of people are like, 'Oh, you're not getting the nutrition after 2 years old. Why do it?' And I'm like, My child's eating steak and hamburgers. She just likes a little snack every now and then and more of the bonding between the mother. Why take that away from her?"

    She says breastfeeding is more of a nighttime comfort for little Chanel—as it is for many babies and toddlers, too. I know I nursed both of my own babies to sleep every night until they self-weaned.

    "She loves on it and it's not like she's getting milk from it," Coco said, "but she's getting her little snack and it's kind of soothing her to sleep."

    Coco also says that she'll stop breastfeeding on her daughter's timeline—when she's ready to be done, then they'll be done. "I don't want to deprive her of something she wants," she said, "just because society says you need to stop after two."

    Chanel herself even spoke up about her love for breastfeeding during the interview, saying, "You know what? The boo boo makes me sleep."

    Can't argue with that! Whatever works for you and your little one is all that ultimately matters.

    Celebrity News