WEST FARGO — For the last four and a half years, Jenn Landphere has proudly kept what she calls her "mom job."
The West Fargo mother of four had been working part-time as a server at Drumconrath Brewing Co., and before, Fargo Brewing Company. The hours worked well with her husband's job and raising four young boys.
But within days of the first confirmed coronavirus case in North Dakota, her husband started working from home, her kids had to stay home from school, and her serving job temporarily stopped.
Landphere said her company made a responsible decision, but closing still means less income.
Before taking on the serving job, she stayed at home with her children. As she puts it, this is "getting back to the basics."
So far, they have spent a lot of time playing board games, watching movies, and keeping in touch with their first and third grade teachers, who video call the family to check in and have even read books to the boys.
Landphere said her children are not afraid, but they are asking questions.
"One of my kids asked, 'what if we run out of money? How do we buy groceries?' ... He's got it in his head a little bit," Landphere explained. "But we were able to talk about that and say that's not something we are worried about right now. We'll be able to figure this all out."
"The difference is when you're not leaving your house, you're not really spending as much either," she added. "You're not taking your kids to do this and that, you're not going out to buy coffee ... I think it will even out."
While easing her children's worries, Landphere is also preparing to help them learn from home. The family has good internet access and is prepared to do just that.
She believes West Fargo Public Schools is keeping her up to date. She said they recently allowed her to pick up the items her children left behind in school. They were bagged up for each child.
"It was in and out, you didn't go past the point of the door — they handed you the bag, and you left," Landphere said. "You could see on the teachers' faces, they're really struggling with this."
"That tells me that if we're picking up our stuff, we're not going to school next week," she added. She had said this just hours before Governor Doug Burgum announced school would be closed for an extended period of time.
To make matters more troubling, one of her boys has asthma.
"We have nobody in our house, outside of my husband and I, running for a grocery (trip) or something like that," she said. "My kids haven't left the house since Friday. We're in it for the long haul because I definitely am not wanting to expose my 5-year-old to something that's going to land us hospitalized, because we've been there before."
Landphere is looking into her options for applying for unemployment. Through it all, she plans to take it day by day and keep her boys safe.