Armenia, coronavirus: diary of a journalist in self-isolation with her three children
To prevent further spread of the coronavirus, Armenia declared a state of emergency on March 16. The government urged citizens to stay home and limit contact whenever possible.
Journalist Sarah Khodzhoyan now works from home. Her three children are in self-isolation with her. They are also home all the time, as the schools have closed and switched over to distance learning.
During this time, Sarah started keeping an online diary, called “working mother with a lot of kids,” presented below with minimal edits for length.
I’m at home. I’m alone, for the most part, except for my three kids. Sometimes my brother’s daughters come to visit. It’s really hard! Occasionally I’ll yell at them, but strangely enough, I often have enough patience to reconcile the situation without yelling.
Today they put together a play and wanted to perform it for me, but I couldn’t find a window in my work schedule to sit down and watch it. I promised we would have the premiere tomorrow.
I’ve had a bad headache since March 12. Today I had a fever as well. It started at 37.4 С, so I took some medicine. By the late afternoon, my temperature had risen to 38 C. I took a strong painkiller and my headache went away, so I could finally sit and write, and think about my kids. My throat doesn’t hurt, I don’t have a cough, and I can still hold my breath for 20 seconds with no problem.
I’m almost certain I don’t have coronavirus, which is why I’m not self-isolating even more, that is, from the rest of the household. But in order to work, I have to shut myself in the bedroom. I can’t do this all the time – I still have to make food, wash the dishes, do the laundry…
Throughout the day, I’ve been working hard writing content for Bloomberg.
The hardest part is doing homework with the kids. They switched to distance learning, and Shushan can’t handle it without me. I do not want to leave her alone during the crazy and tumultuous period of quarantine, but it’s not easy to find time for her. It turns out that I still needed to help both Anna and Avet shoot videos. Their lessons have moved to 4th or 5th on my priority list.
Tomorrow Avet – my eldest – is turning 10. We were going to have a big celebration, just like he planned. Everything has been postponed indefinitely, but I ordered his favorite cake by phone.
There were ten people at Avet’s birthday party, in compliance with the state of emergency rules (up to 20 people are allowed to gather at once).
When I was pregnant with Avet, I hoped I would have a girl. I had always wanted a daughter.
But I couldn’t dream of a better son than Avet. My kind, sensitive baby boy. He needs so little to be happy.
This morning I felt fine, but then my temperature rose to 39.5. I took several doses of medicine and drank some tea with raspberry jam, and managed to lower it back down to 38. I felt better for a couple of hours, and then the chills came back. I had to call an ambulance.
The doctor was a very competent and polite young man. He listened to my lungs and checked my throat. He said he didn’t find anything serious, that it was just a cold and not to panic! He gave me a shot.
My temperature went down, and I was able to go back to celebrating my son’s birthday. The EMTs did a fantastic job.
It’s the third day I’ve been home with the kids. There’s a joke going around social networks that by the third day of quarantine, the cure for coronavirus will be found by a mother stuck at home with four kids. My friends tag me in the post.
Now I’m wondering: should I have another kid or try my hand at pharmaceuticals?
I haven’t written anything in several days, but I’m still alive and am doing well. Last night I even started craving candy – that must mean I’m getting better. I’ve only had candy cravings a handful of times in my life. It’s true, I still have a temperature, but I’m on the mend. I’ve just got to make sure not to eat too much – I noticed my high school classmates have stopped liking my photos recently.
However, the greater threat of coronavirus in Armenia still remains. I, as a mother working from home, was on the news – I was interviewed through Skype, and my kids were happy to pose behind me. Now I can send the link to this diary when my relatives ask why they’re no longer showing me on TV.
Once my headache passed, the rain clouds dispersed and my head was finally clear enough to catch up on all my work. Well, almost all of it. I’m proud of myself.
The kids also worked a little. Next week they are on break, so I’ve got to get them caught up as well, in addition to my own work. So the difficulties continue. I still yell sometimes, but as usual, everything ends peacefully.
The kids performed their play for me. It was called “The Evil Princess.” The script was written by one of my nieces, Shushan played the princess, and the others played the remaining lead roles. Anna did not get a part. She was very offended.
I promise to write more about Anna next time.
Today, Avet gave me flowers.
The strict restrictions imposed in Armenia during the state of emergency will remain in effect until April 14. There are 663 reported cases, 33 have recovered, and seven were unable to be saved.
Sara and her children remain in self-isolation.