The Parenting in a Pandemic Simulator aka PIPS

Welcome! The world has been staying home to curb the spread of COVID-19. It has been difficult for everyone.

 

Many working parents have experienced a unique set of challenges balancing remote work and full time child care. This simulator takes you through a day in the life of a parent of young children. Would you like to try it out?​

a) Yes

b) No

 

Wise Choice. Game Over.

 

Return to start

 

Ok let's find out more about your character.

Who am I in this simulator?

You are a parent of 2 young children.

A 4 year old, let's call him Distractocon. And 2 year old, let's call her Chaotica.

 

You are in a solid relationship with your partner who is a good spouse and co-parent. Your partner is also working from home full time.

a) OK. I accept . What's my challenge?

b) Can I get a different profile?

 

No. There are no choices.

 

a) Fine what's my challenge?

 

Your challenge is to get through the day while getting a high score as a worker and as a parent.

 

How hard could it be? 

 
 

Round 1

5:45 AM - You are woken up by Chaotica. She's shouting "I'm pooping" from her crib in her room. On repeat. There is a 0% chance she's actually pooping, but she's discovered that you will come to her if she says this. If you leave her to keep shouting, she will wake up her sibling and then you will have to deal with 2 awake kids at 6am.

 

What do you want to do?

a) Ask your partner to get Chaotica

b) Wake up and get Chaotica

c) Ignore Chaotica and go back to sleep, hope your partner caves and gets her

Round 1

5:45 AM - You are woken up by Chaotica. She's shouting "I'm pooping" from her crib in her room. On repeat. There is a 0% chance she's actually pooping, but she's discovered that you will come to her if she says this. If you leave her to keep shouting, she will wake up her sibling and then you will have to deal with 2 awake kids at 6am.

 

What do you want to do?

a) OK, YOU GOT ME! Now what?

 
 

"I got her yesterday morning" your partner says. " It's your turn."

 

Try again

 

You go to get Chaotica from her crib.

 

"Not you! Go away!" she screams upon seeing you. The feeling is mutual. You make your way to the kitchen.

 

Also, you fact-checked her diaper and she hasn't pooped. She lied about that. Rough start.

 

Maybe things will get better after breakfast

You ignore Chaotica and try to go back to sleep. After a minute, your 4 year old, Distractocon wakes up as well. Now they are both yelling. It is 6am. Rough start.

 

Maybe things will get better after breakfast

 

Round 2

It is 7 AM, 2 hours till work starts. You've made 4 options for breakfast, oatmeal, pancakes, dry cheerios and sliced fruit. Chaotica has rejected all 4 options. She is currently crying. Because she's hungry. Your 4 year old, Distractocon has asked you approximately 54 times if he can watch TV. You know you should say no, but he's wearing you down.

 

What do you do?

a) Make Chaotica a 5th breakfast option and let Distractocon watch TV

b) Let Chaotica get really hungry as the experts have advised you to do in a book you read. Tell Distractocon to play with the expensive toys that you recently purchased for him.

 

Blessed silence and peace. Discipline and standards can wait for another day.

 

Good job, I think.

 

Next round, starting the work day 

 
 

Both children progress steadily and swiftly towards a meltdown. Their screaming has woken up your partner who is not pleased. At least you stuck to your principles.

 

Good job, I think.

 

Next round, starting the work day 

Round 3

 

It is 10 AM, you haven't showered yet. You've been meaning to, but started responding to some emails and then work began and here you are. You have just logged on to the monthly department meeting where you have 15 minutes to present your latest work. The head of department is attending. It's your chance to impress.

 

You've told your partner how important this meeting is and have asked them to mind the kids. They moved their meetings for you. You change into a better top, check you hair one last time before logging on to the call. Right as you are about to present, the door to your room flings open.

 

Distractocon runs in shouting, "Where does the Universe end?"

 

What do you do?

a) Tell him you don't know and that neither do top scientists

b) Mute your call and yell at him to get out before Mommy has to put him out

c) Tell him nicely that Mommy is on a work call and will be with him in 45 minutes if he could just be a nice boy and wait.

 

He is not satisfied by the answer and follows up with more questions. Your department watches with interest. Perhaps they are also interested in the nebular hypothesis?

 

Oh well, there's always next month's department meeting. Maybe you'll do better at that one. 

 

Turns out you didn't actually hit the mute button. Your whole department heard you use your special mommy voice. They look scared.

 

Oh well, there's always next month's department meeting. Maybe you'll do better at that one. 

 

Distractocon treats this as an invitation to discussion. He walks up to your laptop screen and introduces himself and his 3 favorite types of trucks. He doesn't seem to get the hint.

 

Oh well, there's always next month's department meeting. Maybe you'll do better at that one. 

 

You leave the room to get a glass of water. Your partner asks, "How did the meeting go? Hope Chaotica didn't disturb you."

"What do you mean?" you ask.

 

"She dropped one of her board books on her toe, poor thing and was wailing. Like, that huge endless pause to get a breath between the first and second cry, wailing. I rushed her out of the house so the noise wouldn't disturb you. I know that meeting was a big deal. So? Did it go well?".

 

What do you say?

a) "No, you left Distractocon alone. He ruined my meeting. Thanks for nothing."

b) "Yeah, Distractocon came in to say hi. Otherwise it went fine. You could say there was universal buy-in."

 

 

 

Don't be a post-partum hemarroid. Life is hard enough without your nonsense.

Try Again

GAME OVER

 

Hooray! You were kind.

 

Next round 

 

Round 4

It is 1PM. You sit down to lunch when you hear the toilet flush and Chaotica giggle delightedly. You live in an old house that cannot handle recreational flushing. You drop everything and bolt to the bathroom. 

 

"What did you flush?" you ask her.

"Rocklet." she says sweetly, but unhelpfully. What is that? Chocolate? Rocket? Toilet? Hearing it's name, your toilet gurgles sadly. You think it's trying to tell you something. You scan the bathroom and notice that there is a suspiciously empty packet of wet wipes in the tub.  Your next meeting starts in 5 minutes.

 

What do you do?

a) Berate yourself that if you'd watched the kids while eating, instead of looking at your phone, this never would have happened.

 

b) Hope for the best and continue calmly with your day.

 

That's right. You are not allowed to want a minute to yourself. How dare you.

You know what, we're closer to the end than the beginning. Let's just keep going.

 

This would be the right approach, wouldn't it? You'd think people would pick this one, wouldn't you?

 

You know what, we're closer to the end than the beginning. Let's just keep going.

 

Round 5

 

It is 3PM. You are on the couch watching the kids watch TV while doing some work for a deadline. Every few minutes, Distractocon demands that you watch what's on TV with your full attention. (You feel empathy for that fellow from Clockwork Orange. The one who had his eyes clamped open to watch propaganda. You wonder if he, at least, got to watch new episodes of the propaganda on occasion.)

 

Each time you glance back at your work, Distractocon gets increasingly upset that you are not enjoying the show with him. Never before have you felt so angry at someone wanting you to be entertained.

 

Your deadline approaches but the kids have been watching TV for hours at this point and their moods show it. What do you do?

 

Sure, why not? What's the question again?

 

Never mind.It's almost time for wine. Keep clicking.

 

Sorry, they noticed.

 

Try again? 

GAME OVER

 

Trick question. They are 2 and 4. This option does not exist.

 

It's almost time for wine. Keep clicking.

 

Round 6

 

It is 6PM You are wrapping up some work, while your partner is out on a walk with the kids when your phone pings. It is a message from a friend who doesn't have kids. Let's call her, Libertina-Isola. She is a good person and means well. She is struggling with feelings of isolation in this time. She thinks you've got it all. "Hey friend, how's it going? Enjoying your time at home with the kids?"

 

What do you say?

a) The truth

b) The other truth

c) The lie by omission

 
 
 

Last round.

 

Round 7

 

It is 9PM. You've finished feeding, bathing, putting the kids to sleep and cleaning up. You have a glass of wine in hand. Life is good. You are looking over the photos you took during the day. They don't look that bad.

 

You have to admit, there were some bright spots in the day. You decide to post a particularly adorable picture of your kids enjoying popsicles in the backyard. About 2 minutes after your post, an old friend from your hometown, let's call her Sanctimommy, writes a comment. "Can't believe you let your kids eat foods with yellow and red dye. As a mother, I would never do that."

 

You:

a) Ignore her. Don't take her bait.

 

b) Go into an internet rabbit hole on approved food additives

 

c) Visit her profile to see what else she does that makes her a better parent than you.

 

Oh. Nobody actually picks this. We didn't plan for this scenario.

 

Go Back.

 

12AM You've been mindlessly scrolling for 2 hours. Your eyes hurt. You are tired. Mid-scroll, your phone shuts off due to low battery. You decide to be proactive, call it a day and go to bed.

What's your score?

GAME OVER

 

What's your score?

Nobody knows! Here's what we do know, you should probably get to sleep soon as you have an early morning tomorrow.

How do you know I have an early morning tomorrow?