Staying at home with four small children
By Christopher Nagy|Photo by Station Blue Photography, St. Johns
The old joke is that Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did, except she did it backward and in high heels.
The statewide stay-at-home order implemented in mid-March by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was an unusual but manageable adjustment for most. Yet when the governor extended the initial order, the novelty of working in your pajamas or spending the day binge-watching repeats of “The Office” had worn thin for many people.
However, the grumblings of boredom and lethargy could be muted — or at least muffled — with the understanding and appreciation that there were people enduring the homebound restrictions who may be a bit worse off. There were many Ginger Rogers among us who were self-isolating backward and in high heels.
Exhibit A: Haslett resident AmyJo Duckett.
The cover woman of this month’s edition of Capital Area Women’s Lifestyle Magazine and her husband are parents to four children 5 years old and under. After trying build a family together, the couple was met with infertility. Weighing their options carefully, they began the long process of becoming foster parents, eventually bringing four siblings into their protective fold.
When the opportunity arose to shift focus from being foster parents to becoming permanent parents, Duckett and her husband leapt at the chance, and the siblings were officially adopted by the Ducketts in April 2019. Twins Harmony and Mario are now 5, little sister Tru is 4, and youngest brother Jayden is 2.
While the idea of being home 24/7 for an extended period of time with four small children may conjure images of chaos and pandemonium, Duckett said the experience hasn’t been too bad. Duckett works for her husband’s companies; however, when she became a foster parent, she shifted the majority of her workload home to work remotely and spend time with the children.
“That sounds good on paper, but it can be a very tricky dance,” Duckett said with a laugh.
The stay-at-home order may have given a new meaning to the term stay-at-home mom, but Duckett said keeping the children active and engaged has been the most important aspect through it all. Being able to spend some time outside for play while maintaining social distancing has definitely been a help, but Duckett and other stay-at-home moms she keeps in contact with have shared a unique bond of commonality throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re all in the same boat – everyone’s tired,” she said.
Still, the 46-year-old believes she may have an advantage over some of the mothers. Her age — and the wisdom and experience that come with it — have helped see her through. Duckett said she doesn’t believe she would have handled the stress of being a self-quarantined mom as well if she was her younger self.
“When you’re a mom headed toward 50 instead of a mom headed toward 30, your mind space is in a different place,” she said.
All in all, being a stay-at-home mom while truly staying at home during self-quarantine has come with a few small differences, but Duckett said the majority of it has been business as usual.
“Really, the biggest difference is just that my husband has been home during this,” she laughed.