Southfield resident Ashley Gailliard, center, and her family, including (left to right) Madison Gailliard, Lance Gailliard and Mariah, 17, have faced a myriad of problems and possibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and are coming out stronger in 2021.
Photo provided by Ashley Gailliard
Southfield resident Ashley Gailliard found out she was going to be having a baby during the pandemic when things were just getting ugly for America and the world.
Gailliard learned she was pregnant at the onset – last April – while in the thick of it all.
“I found out I was pregnant with our son,” she said, adding that because of pandemic-related closures her husband wasn’t allowed to attend doctors’ visits, only ultrasound appointments. “Working from home, grocery bill skyrocketing, managing two kids (then-4 and 16) was challenging.”
According to the U.S. Census, in 2020 there were over 65 million parents in America with children under 18 years of age — that’s over 65 million stories similar to Gailliard’s of hardships that came with child-rearing especially during the pandemic.
June 1 marked the Global Day of Parents which is observed around the world with an aim to show the vital role parents play during child raising. The UN General Assembly declared the Global Day of Parents in 2012.
Gailliard said that she learned last year to adapt and be even more prudent in the running of her household as changes came fast at her and her family.
“Last year in March my job went remote. I have a flexible schedule and was able to work my own schedule,” she said, adding that her job made things easier with her children’s at-home schooling.
Her husband did not have any work and he was “impacted greatly with his business.”
Things turned again as Gailliard became the main breadwinner for her family.
“It was tough and challenging most of the time. It took for me to be financially disciplined, organized and creative to invent my own home workspace,” she said, adding that she learned to be all things for her then four-year-old who stayed at home and homeschooled because her school closed completely. “I had to purchase preschool/kindergarten readiness packets curbside at Target, Costco, JoAnn fabrics to keep her busy.”
Now they are managing “a lot better.
“I am still working remote,” Gailliard said. “My husband was able to get back into the field working again, my oldest was virtual and now graduating high school in June. My youngest daughter did preschool for a couple of months. My family is managing well.”
She added that even with the world opening back up and vaccinations on deck, with some of her family unvaccinated, she is still wary of having their children go to school in-person.
“It took a lot of asking questions and communicating with my spouse to decide on sending our younger daughter to school. She had only started back in 2021 and for only two months,” she said. “It is extremely important that all safety precautions are followed.”
Her oldest daughter, Mariah,17, said that through it all staying at home (despite some difficulties) and making the most of the time she had on her hands, her most favorite experience being at home was a moment of cultivating her entrepreneurship side.
“My favorite experience while being at home was finally having to sit myself down and get to working on my clothing brand,” she said, adding that her childhood dreams are coming to fruition.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tips so that other families can cope including:
- Take social media breaks.
- Take care of your body.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco and substance use.
- Continue with routine preventive measures (such as vaccinations, cancer screenings, etc.) as recommended by your healthcare provider.
- Get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine when available.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, try connecting online through social media, or by phone or mail.
- Take care of yourself to better equip you to take care of others.
Gailliard said that she takes care of herself with a set evening routine which includes putting her kids to bed, relaxing on the couch and watching a good movie or resting her mind and focusing on breathing. She also prayed a lot during this time.
“I often wondered why but I never doubted God,” she said. “I was reminded how God kept us afloat. He provided for my family every step of the way.”
From bills being paid timely to God helping hold her family together during this rough season, she said that she would be “remiss” if she didn’t acknowledge the role God played.
“My faith became stronger because I saw God’s hand on my family every step of the way,” she said, adding that her brother and father, who both contracted COVID-19, were healed and are doing well now. “I was reminded of God’s grace.”