COVID19 life Parenting Work

Day 2: Just Getting Started

March 17, 2020

First, a happy announcement related to my professional life: our pediatrics residency program filled! For those not familiar, getting a residency spot is a ~6 month process, beginning with electronic applications and ending with a match. I experienced it as a resident, of course, and now I’m in charge of the flip side — sifting through >1000 applications, interviewing candidates, showcasing our program, and creating our rank list.

Normally, the match is a day of much congregation and in-person celebration. This year, it will be a Webex (our workplace’s answer to Zoom) reveal. This happens on Friday. From a resident standpoint, it’s a very exciting time. But it’s also a very big deal for a program (or a program director ie me!).

Every year, some programs don’t fill, which means not enough people ranked them high enough to take all of the slots. If you don’t fill (or don’t match), you have to “scramble” (stressful rapid fire interview process).

I’m just thrilled we filled! It’s a big deal as a newish program (we’re in our 3rd year) in a not-terribly-competitive specialty. No scramble for us. As PD I actually get to find out a day early who is on our list. (I am sworn to secrecy). I can’t wait. A bright spot in the midst of all of this — I needed the happy news!

The Rest of Our Day

I worked from home, because I have developed a dry cough. (Weird right?)

No fevers though and otherwise feel fine. I have been instructed to stay home and work remotely until symptoms abate; if they don’t abate after several days or worsen (ie develop high fevers or shortness of breath), I would be tested. I could have COVID19, or I could have some other kid-related thing. Someone in our home has URI symptoms a very significant chunk of the time.

Our nanny — who has the same cough — came, so I was able to do the work I needed to do. I also spent some time with the kids (I went with them on their ‘outside time’.

We are now moving all non-essential patient care activities to virtual (ie, call them and order meds; they are working on setting up templates for ‘real’ telemedicine). And we are moving our residency didactics to online, too. So I will continue to work from home on days that my “body” is not needed in the hospital.

My next call week isn’t until mid-April, but I anticipate covering for others when they inevitably get a URI (or actual COVID19). So there’s my plan with respect to work.

Josh is not going to be doing elective cases but has thus far still been busy.


The kids are doing well. I know there are 38473 free resources for things for them to do online, but I am keeping it simple for now. They are doing their regular online homework stuff + a daily journal + reading.

We can get fancier later. Maybe after next week (which was supposed to be spring break). We followed “the schedule” yesterday and it worked well. They probably had 5 hours of screen time.

2.5 hours of Minecraft / iPad stuff while Viva napped

1 hour of Cosmic Yoga (they did the yoga and were engaged so I don’t know if this counts)

1.5 hours of a movie

But they also did plenty of non-screen things. An hour outside (a walk, then family soccer on our driveway), lots of drawing, their aforementioned school activities, magnatiles etc. This amount may seem horrifyingly high to some but it feels like the right amount for us. Of note, I purposely designed a schedule that felt doable and had a lot of built-in treats rather than an ambitious one that we were likely to abandon in 3 days.

peaceful screen-free moment

Because it’s going to be (at least) weeks, not days. At least the weather is cooperating.


Dry cough and all, I decided to restart 21 Day Fix. I contemplated jumping straight back into 80DO but since I haven’t been doing a great job on strength training (and maybe comfort and familiarity is nice right now?), I am planning:

  • 21 Day Fix
  • 1 week of “A Little Obsessed”
  • 21 Day Fix Extreme

And then I will attempt 80DO. As usual, not doing the nutrition plans. But I am trying to eat a little better. At least we won’t be doing a lot of eating out or sharing of office goodies!

I’m mentally doing okay. I used my meditation app. I did a lot of planning and organizing. I didn’t really 100% stick to reading news twice a day, but when I was busy with other things, it left me less time to compulsively look at headlines.

More tomorrow – time to get my BB on and then be ready for an online meeting at 7:30.

(No video so I can be in my post-workout gear. Yay 🙂 Working at home is really weird.)


  • Reply Jenn March 17, 2020 at 9:14 am

    Hey! Mildly off topic but your episode on raising kids with special needs seems to have gone missing. Is it just my phone and I’ve lost it somewhere in the archives or was it taken down on purpose? Thanks!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 17, 2020 at 9:15 am

      We switched hosts! Try refreshing feed – does it reappear?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 17, 2020 at 9:16 am

      Definitely not taken down on purpose

      • Reply Jenn March 17, 2020 at 12:47 pm

        Hmm okay! I can’t find it but that’s okay 🙂 Hope your sister is doing alright with all the isolating! I’m 37.5 weeks pregnant and kind of dreading the lack of people coming in to help, eek!

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 17, 2020 at 12:49 pm

          I just tried and was able to re download it like normal. Does this work?

          • Jenn March 17, 2020 at 12:54 pm

            Ah yes it does, thanks!

  • Reply Lisa March 17, 2020 at 9:28 am

    Thanks for sharing a simple schedule and sharing honestly about screen time. My social media feed is filled with a lot of ambitious parenting right now which does not help the stress levels! I think I’m going to delete insta for now and stick to resources like your blog for a more balanced outlet.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns March 17, 2020 at 9:39 am

    I hope no one makes any comments about screen time decisions. You do what you need to do when your kids are out of school for an extended period of time. I’m home with my 2yo, trying to work as much as i can. He has been watching lots of PBS kids and Little Baby Bum when I am busy. It’s not optimal, but what else can I do? At least it’s mostly educational stuff? (totally justifying my decisions but whatevs!) My husband will WFH on days when I have client calls so that will help. But he trades for an asset manager so WFH on a laptop is NOT optimal for him.

    Congrats on filling your program. My cousin is a doctor so I know all about match day. As an introvert, I kind of cringed when she told us about the process and how you find out who you matched with in front a huge group of people. Eeks. I think she said you get your news privately if you didn’t match with anyone, but I wouldn’t want to find out I got a 2nd or 3rd choice in a big group of people. Again, makes me just cringe! My cousin is an even bigger introvert than I am, but she got her #1 choice on match day so was very very happy! This was over 10 years ago, maybe things have changed since then and it’s not quite so public?

  • Reply Lori C March 17, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Keep the posts coming! I am loving the updates. And you seem to be relatively calm all things considered, so the meditation must be working 🙂

    As far as finding things to do, I found a couple of board games for sale on Craigslist and picked them up (Ticket to Ride and Pandemic… of course). I also dug out a puzzle I never opened, and a dusty Candyland. Candyland is a blessing and a curse as my 4 year old is now obsessed and wants to play nonstop. I would also highly recommend Meri Cherrys book “Play Make Create,” or as I refer to it, “kid crafts for dummies” hahaha. The crafts are simple and my kids have loved them so far. Hang in there everyone!

  • Reply omdg March 17, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Congrats on filling your residency program! That is no small achievement! Totally failed at getting Dyl outside yesterday. We have no driveway or yard, but still. Should have been better. Today it’s lovely out. Kind of misty and just rained, and in the 50s. Feels very crisp. Maybe we’ll do better today.

  • Reply A March 17, 2020 at 11:29 am

    Where did you get Genevieve’s desk? It’s adorable !

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 17, 2020 at 11:42 am

      IKEA 🙂

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 17, 2020 at 11:43 am

      Oh wait the little Disney desk? I am not sure – it was a holiday gift from our nanny!

  • Reply Dominique March 17, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    Happy to see Cosmic Kids yoga is a hit with your kids.

  • Reply Margot March 18, 2020 at 6:30 am

    I just want to say your schedule sounds perfect! I agree that something more ambitious would get thrown out the window eventually. No need to apologize for amount of screens- elementary school teacher over here saying it looks perfectly reasonable. Keep up the good work, mama.

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