A Single Military Mom’s Perspective of COVID-19

Story by Airman 1st Class Christina Bennett

As I sit down to write, my 10-year-old daughter and my four-year-old son sit nearby while completing schoolwork. They are not by any means quiet, especially not my four-year-old; he’s yelling from beneath the dining room table. The directions on his worksheet call for him to draw a big blue circle - he prefers for it to be yellow.

I am a U.S. Air Force photojournalist and as of a few weeks ago, the COVID-19 pandemic has made this our family’s new norm.

I have been a single mother for several years, but never a stay-at-home mom. I certainly have a newfound respect for parents that choose to homeschool. It has been a learning experience, and it has been just as much fun as it has been difficult. I am not the most patient when it comes to teaching, specifically with a toddler.

While being a single mom has trained me to have time management skills that are out of this world, this current experience has taught me to be more flexible with my time. It has taught me to balance between what needs to be done and what does not. I have had to learn when my kids have had enough learning time and need a dance break. Sometimes they just want to relax and enjoy home because we are home – A LOT.

Photo credit Airman 1st Class Christina Bennett

The coronavirus pandemic has suddenly forced parents all around the world to parent 24/7 - but this is especially challenging for our military families and single parents. Many have had to get creative with how they keep their children entertained.

Prior to my new stint as a stay-at-home mom, I would be doing anything from capturing photos of B-1B Lancer takeoffs to writing feature stories about the amazing men and women that I serve alongside. My career requires me to be flexible with each day bringing a new opportunity to highlight the Air Force and B-1 mission.

Even as I sit home, I keep my phone and laptop nearby and I am prepared to do my part as a public affairs Airman, whether it be updating graphics for base dissemination or taking photos for historical documentation. Although I may not have a story to write every day, I’m doing my job. I’m keeping my family safe and healthy.

While being home is not ideal and the unpredictability can be stressful at times – especially when the commissary runs out of toilet paper – I know my kids are watching and learning.

My kids are watching how I cope with stress. They observe how I keep fitness a priority. They see the importance of reaching out to family members back home, in New York City. I am honest with them about current events and the uncertainty of what this pandemic means for the future. But I also show them all the reasons we have to be grateful, such as the time we spend together and the memories we are creating.

It would be misleading if I didn’t mention that I get overwhelmed from days of not having a moment to myself; however, I have realized that it’s all about perspective. I’m not stuck at home, I’m safe at home – with the two little people I love the most.

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As the COVID-19 outbreak is quickly evolving, the USO has pivoted resources across the entire global enterprise in an approach that helps care for military members and their families.

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