The Southern California-based artist behind Hedger Humor is using her comics as a way to cope during these uncertain times.
“Since I’m home 24/7 with the family, ideas are coming at me fast,” she told HuffPost. “A lot of my self-isolation cartoons involve my 14-year-old daughter, Claire. I told Claire, ‘These cartoons are writing themselves!’ And she replied, ‘No, I’m writing them for you.’ Touché.”
When the stay-at-home orders were first put in place, Hedger tried to enforce a routine where the kids would get up by 9 a.m. and start their schoolwork. But soon, she decided it was a battle not worth fighting. As long as the work gets done, she lets her daughters do it in their own time.
“They usually don’t surface until late morning, and they do schoolwork in the late afternoon,” Hedger said. “For their ‘free time,’ I had all these ideas about educational videos they could watch or enriching projects they could take on. But I’ve given all that up. You want to lie face down on the ground while listening to an episode of ‘The Office’ that you’ve memorized? Go for it.”
At this point, her family is just trying to get through this the best they can, whatever that may look like.
“Some days are fine. Other days, no one gets dressed, and Claire and I eat ice cream topping straight from the jar,” Hedger said. “Just do whatever you need to do, you know?”
Keeping the house tidy is a constant struggle when everyone is home day in and day out.
“Clutter builds up everywhere, very fast,” Hedger said. “Dishes, books, clothing, random things. Claire likes to bake, and the way she ‘cleans’ the kitchen is interesting, to say the least. I feel we are doing dishes, taking out the trash and sweeping non-stop.”
And with everyone cooped up, cabin fever has definitely set in.
“The other day, Claire said she felt like she was going crazy, and Kate said, ’You think you’re special because you’re going crazy? We’re ALL going crazy!” Hedger said.
But there are bright spots. Claire and Kate’s typical excuses as to why they can’t do their chores or participate in family activities, for instance, no longer work.
“I told Kate I wanted her to watch this history show and she told me, ‘I have something at that time,’” Hedger said. “I was like, ‘No, you don’t.’ She sadly replied, ‘I know.’ Same with telling them to deep clean their rooms or the bathroom. There’s no reason they can’t do it right when I ask.”
Hedger said she knows she and her family are lucky in so many ways. They’re healthy and safe living under one roof. They’re not health care providers on the front lines or other essential workers risking exposure to carry out their jobs. And she doesn’t intend her cartoons to “make light of anything or minimize the seriousness of what’s happening.”
“I’m just trying to inject a little bit of light into a difficult time,” she said. “I’m always looking for those moments that we can relate to, that bring us together, and that remind us we’re not alone. And I hope that’s what my cartoons are doing.”