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The new normal of the one family in Bristol

One mother explains what is it like working from home full time and raising four kids during the COVID-19 pandemic.

BRISTOL, Conn. — Every family is impacted by the pandemic in different ways.

Alexandra Strahowski of Bristol has four kids and one on the way. She decided to help her family cope with uncertainty surrounding when she will be able to go back to work and when her children will be able to go back to school with positivity.

“Going to work is the easy part,” says Strahowski. “Definitely being a mom is the hardest job because I have four bosses at home, so it’s hard to deal with everyone’s personalities.”

Yet, everyday, Alexandra Strahowski finds a way to make her children find positivity and motivation.

Strahowski is an administrative assistant at the Imagine Nation Early Childhood learning center in Bristol.

She has been setting up different art projects for her children. This week she is doing themed activities about the weather.

But, she can’t wait for life to go back to normal and to return to her job.

“I love it. I love working with the community. I love working with all the children and I work closely with the parents, so I build a nice relationship with them,” says Strahowski. “We can take children as young as six weeks old and they’ll be with us until they go to kindergarten, so it’s a long time to be with kids and their families as well.

During the pandemic,  Strahowski’s title isn’t only mom—it’s also teacher, therapist, and personal chef.

“We’ve had a couple tough days because of trying to get through each day. They’re not all perfect but we try,” says Strahowski. She writes messages on a blackboard for her kids every morning. On April 22, she wrote, ‘Family First. No more tears/anger. Positive Day.’

From doing an art project to supervising online school work, Strahowski fills each of her children’s days with productive activities.“For me it’s my child who just turned three,” she says. “She doesn’t understand why she’s not in her routine or where the rest of her group is or where her teachers are.”

With life turned upside down, each of Strahowski’s children deals with the pandemic in different ways. Her husband, an essential worker, works to keep the family motivated when he gets home.

“He knows as soon as he opens that door that it’s go-time and we get our bikes; we get the scooters; we’re around the neighborhood,” Strahowski says.

Strahowski initially had problems with receiving unemployment benefits. This week, she was able to pay her mortgage and also received her extra $600 dollar federal benefit check.