Editor’s note: The Virus Diaries is a series in which Mainers talk about how they are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Adam Burnett of Scarborough is pictured at his home Tuesday with his children Lachlann, 7, and Magnolia, 4. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Like many parents, Adam Burnett of Scarborough is having to juggle working from home while looking after his children during the coronavirus outbreak.

He called it “walking a tightrope” in the subject line of an email to the Press Herald. Burnett is a single parent who shares custody of his children, ages 4 and 7, with his ex-wife. He has the children two or three days a week.

“We live in Scarborough where school isn’t expected to restart until April 27th,” Burnett wrote. “That’s 6 weeks of no school. That’s hard on any family when it’s unexpected and unprepared for. I wanted to share our story because my current work situation might be unusual in the circumstances.  I’m very lucky to be fully functional in my job while working from home, but I’m also in the busiest time of my entire career.”

Burnett, 39, felt the impact of the virus outbreak well before most of his neighbors. He is market manager for a New England firm that “pivoted on a dime” to begin making a critical filtration layer for medical face masks.

In January, that meant 12-hour days and early-morning conference calls to Asia. Even now, certain calls with overseas clients are too critical for distractions.

“I have been busy beyond belief. … Trying to balance non-stop phone calls, emails, conference calls, and other work while keeping the kids busy has felt impossible at times.”

Burnett said in a telephone interview Tuesday that as more of his peers work remotely, there is a greater acceptance that home-work balance can be chaotic at times.


“I’ve noticed there’s much more tolerance of what’s going on at home,” Burnett said with a laugh. “Having kids running around during a video chat, normally that would be embarrassing and this has become our reality. That alone has taken some of the stress out of it.”

Burnett doesn’t own a television, but at times he reluctantly turns to a proven parent helper – video on his cell phone.

“I find myself feeling terrible about the amount of screen time I have to rely on to keep my kids busy while I’m in virtual meetings,” he wrote. “All in all, we’re getting by, and it could be a lot worse. I’m thankful everyone in my life has avoided the virus and remains healthy.”

Do you have a story to share about how you are affected by the coronavirus outbreak? Email us at virus@pressherald.com

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