Interview 09: Lydia
August 21, 2020
Stress self-rating: 5     
1 = no stress, 5 = extremely stressed

Looking after children full-time
House Type
Single storey single family home with attached secondary dwelling
Approx. 1,500 sf
3+1 Bed + 1+1 Bath
Built 1950s, frame / concrete block
Household Size:    12
8 Children                
4 Adults                    
2 Pets                        
(rabbit, chicken)
Persons Per Room  2.00 

Lydia’s household has just returned from a stressful month-long hotel stay while their home was being renovated during the pandemic. Located in the 100-year floodplain, the house had been badly damaged during Hurricane Harvey, and they had been living with flood-damaged ceilings, walls and floors until the renovation. Two families reside in the single family home and its attached secondary dwelling: Lydia’s family of 7 and her sister’s family of 3. Lydia’s daughter and her newborn lived with them early in the pandemic, making a household size of 12. Lydia’s family keeps a rabbit and chicken as pets, which helps soothe her child with autism but causes indoor stress. During the lockdown, Lydia’s family home doubled as a “hospital” and a “school.” Nearly all family members fell sick with COVID symptoms and one family member tested positive. Lydia described numerous sources of extreme stress during their confinement in an overcrowded home, from the constant noise of ten children, sharing a single bathroom, and organizing schooling from home, to taking turns quarantining from, and caring for, each other. 