Because of COVID-19, the family of four has been spending a lot more time together than they normally would. This has provided plenty of fodder for Hedger’s comic series.
“It was getting a little harder before COVID because my kids were always out and about, but now I see them all the time — and that means ideas are coming fast,” she told HuffPost.
That being said, actually getting work done can be a challenge when there’s always some type of noise in the background.
“My family won’t realize I’m on a call, and they’ll get ice from our refrigerator ice-maker or talk loudly,” Hedger said. “One time [my daughter] Kate turned on ‘The Bachelorette’ to watch it at lunchtime, and I was like, ‘I’m going to be on a call, and I can’t have Chris Harrison in the background telling people that this is the final rose!’”
Other times, it’s Hedger who’s causing the commotion.
“I’m part of the problem, too, though, because whenever I try to make a hot lunch — like cook a pizza or nachos or something, I seem to set off the smoke detector,” she said. “This has happened four times already, and the kids are in class while it happens. Oops.”
Keeping the house organized continues to be a struggle. These days, the standard for “tidy” looks a lot different than it used to, Hedger said.
“It used to be that we could get everything put away and enjoy that for a couple days. But since we’re all at home so much, it’s way harder to achieve that. There are piles of things everywhere. So the new goal is to ‘make the piles look nice.’ It’s a more manageable goal,” she said.
After beginning distance learning last spring, the kids’ school district recently reopened for hybrid learning. Claire, her younger daughter, goes in two days a week, while Kate, her older daughter, elected to stay online-only for the semester. Hedger’s husband, Jack, is also working from home for the foreseeable future. With everyone working and learning at home, tech issues abound. And somehow Hedger has become the de facto IT person.
“I continue to struggle with tech problems, from dealing with our persnickety printer to looking up solutions to computer issues,” she said. “Everyone in the family comes to me for some reason, so I do my best to help. I wish I could hire a tech support specialist to just be on call, sitting near me at the kitchen table.”
One of the thorny aspects of pandemic life for the Hedgers is trying to balance the kids’ social lives with safety concerns. They’ve had to compromise by agreeing to keep their circles to just a couple of close friends. Parties or larger get-together are no-gos.
“It’s still hard, because some kids do get together. And it’s [Kate’s] senior year, so she feels like she’s missing out,” Hedger said. “It’s really difficult to feel like you’re making the ‘right’ decisions because there’s no playbook for this. We’re all just trying to figure it out. I wouldn’t say the kids are happy with their restricted social lives, but they get it.”
When asked if there have been any silver linings this year, Hedger said she’s really soaking up the extra time with her daughters.
“It’s been really nice to have Kate around because she’ll be off to college next year. So in a way this is ‘found time’ that I wasn’t expecting to have with her,” she said.