A Year in Pictures: What Living Through COVID-19 Was Like For Families

The pandemic has given a new meaning to parenting. Whether you're an essential worker trying to find childcare, working from home with your kids in tow, or a brand-new parent, COVID-19 has certainly made raising children a little more complicated.

Despite the struggle of parenting with so much uncertainty in the world, families have proven that resilience is the name of the game these days. Ahead, find a selection of photos that illustrate what parenting amid a global pandemic has been like. From dropping your little ones off at school clad in a mask to attending a socially-distanced graduation ceremony, these shots all illustrate our new reality.

Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

New York-based photographer Stephen Lovekin captured what it means to social distance with your family in a moving series shot exclusively through windows.

"When beginning the project I hadn't completely settled on the idea of photographing everyone behind a window," he told POPSUGAR in March. "Some people would come on their porches or stoops, but that just didn't feel right to me for some reason. As the project began to evolve, the idea of the window started to make more sense. The window being something that we look out on the world from. Something that literally frames how people can look in on us and how we look out at the world. Something that we normally do not enter or exit from."

Getty | The Washington Post

Anna Epstein brought her 9-year-old daughter Riley to visit with her 78-year-old grandmother in a nursing home this past March. This photo was taken as they were saying goodbye after chatting via cellphone through the glass.

Sara Liz Photography

Sara Ester, a photographer from Texas, captured how families were social distancing in the beginning of the pandemic. She put a hopeful spin on a photo series called, "Front Porch Sessions," which depicts families with signs or holding household items like toilet paper and disinfectant.

"Amid all the COVID-19 stuff going on I asked if families would be interested in a quick five-minute session on their front porches to document what a crazy experience it has been to be quarantined at home," Sara told POPSUGAR. "The people participating ran with it! So many families made funny or encouraging signs, showed up in their pajamas or yoga pants, and just really embraced the whole 'quarantine chic' idea. It was really reaffirming to see how everyone is in the same boat. We're all just trying to do the best we can with a crappy situation!"

Getty | Karen Ducey

In March, a woman named Christy Cusick handed out free school lunches to families at Olympic Hills Elementary School in Seattle, WA.

Instagram | Stephanie Scurlock

Mom of three Stephanie Scurlock posted a photo to Instagram of her three kiddos dressed in their dad's scrubs to illustrate the importance of social distancing.

"It's pretty difficult to convey all of my feelings during this time," she wrote on Instagram in April. "So many thoughts. So many worries. But, I think this photo sums up the gist of it. To anyone on the healthcare front lines, you are our heroes and I am praying for your safety, both physically and mentally."

Getty | Al Seib

In April, an 8-year-old named Peyton Buss waited for his teammates from the Conejo Valley Little League to drive by in the hopes of celebrating his birthday. More than 25 cars filled with cheering parents and kids swung by his front yard to give their best wishes.

Ethan Taylor and Carly Hellerstedt

In May, Ethan Taylor and his girlfriend Carly Hellerstedt had the chance to photograph a socially-distanced graduation ceremony at Fannin County High School in Georgia. Having graduated from the same high school just a few years prior, Ethan and Carly were determined to make the experience memorable for the students.

"The school hosted a group ceremony so that the students had a secondary, more traditional celebration," Ethan told POPSUGAR. "It was very emotional and surreal to be a part of. It felt like we were making history, Carly and I even took photos of ourselves with our cameras and in masks to remember it by. It wasn't sad, but it was definitely intense and emotional to be down there."

Getty | Salameh dibaei

In 2020, many celebrations had to be done virtually this year, including baby showers.


A photographer captured what it was like for kids to return to school in Belgium amid the coronavirus pandemic. Clad in masks, students were able to attend in-person learning in May.

Getty | Ethan Miller

Kindergartener Scarlett Keeler spent her first day of virtual school learning about reading and science back in August.

Instagram | myessentialhome23

A mom named Danielle staged a light-hearted back-to-school photo amid the pandemic featuring her kids in masks and plastic ponchos. "Just a few extra safety measures for Back to School," she captioned the picture. "No additional caption needed."

Getty | John Moore

A mother kissed her daughter goodbye while dropping her off at Stark Elementary School in Connecticut for in-person learning in September.

Getty | Fabrizio Villa

A mom named Sara showed off her newborn daughter, Olivia, to her husband while he stood on the other side of a glass separator. This was the first photo he ever took of his little girl.

Instagram | giovana_ochoa

Giovana, a mother of three, shared a picture of what it's like to work from home with kids underfoot to Instagram. "This is how working from home looks like for me!!!" she captioned her Instagram post. "They can say the work with me."

Getty | Sean Rayford

Due to social distancing guidelines, Halloween looked a whole lot different this year. In Columbia, SC, a boy received treats via a candy chute, or a device some parents used to safely distribute sweets amid the pandemic.

Getty | Finnbarr Webster

Visiting with Santa also became a major Zoom event for believers all over the world. Just look at these little cuties talking with the man in the red suit and his trusty elf, Pipkin.