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Season 1: Doctor's Wife and Business Owner Managing Family Life During the Pandemic

Lisa Feren, a mother, wife, and business owner, responds from San Diego

This interview took place on June 1, 2020.

Lisa has a unique perspective in that she runs an online marketing business, and she is married to a doctor who knows up close and personal how significant the pandemic is. We met in person a few years ago in San Diego after meeting online through a branding program.

Guest bio:

Lisa Feren of Handcrafted Marketing pairs business and marketing together to reach more people through telling compelling stories, educating, entertaining, and positioning her clients as experts in their fields.

She works with creative, innovative, and forward-thinking businesses to craft their online messaging, connect with more people, and to elevate their brands to be seen and heard online. As a natural-born connector, her writing and storytelling bring brands to their tribes.




Sally Hendrick (00:09):

News stories were coming in about this strange virus in Wuhan China. It was weeks before we saw the first cases in the US as the numbers went up each day. My curiosity got the best of me, and I started plotting the curves here's stories from real people all over the world and how they've responded. I'm Sally Hendrick, founder of Shout Your Cause, and this is COVID-19 the world responds.

Sally Hendrick (00:39):

Hey, Lisa. Feren. How are you doing today? Hi, Sally. I'm good. Thank you. Good. We haven't talked in a couple of years and we met in an online business group, which I think is really cool. It's a, I call it planet Facebook, where we met and a lot of people in my world these days tend to be from that that new way of communicating and meeting people online. And so it's good to reconnect after, after a little bit.

Lisa Feren (01:15):

Right. But we had the real face to face when you were in San Diego, we had dinner out and and a roof top the year after I believe to happy hours. So that was it. Yeah.

Sally Hendrick (01:25):

Yeah. That's awesome. Okay. That's cool. And yeah, I do come out to San Diego for the Social Media Marketing world most of the time and try to communicate with people that I've met in the online space. And so it's always good to connect again. And what I wanted to talk to you about today is, you know, you're a mom, you're a wife, you're a business owner. You've got all of these things. You're juggling and COVID-19 happens. And the life that we planned is no longer in our plans anymore. We can't, we can't keep up with all of that. And so I wanted to talk to you, not just from the business owner perspective, which is what I do with a lot of people, but from the mom perspective, you know, what is it that you're having to deal with right now?

Lisa Feren (02:16):

So it's really interesting because our lives were incredibly scheduled. Both my kids had activities every single day and from, you know, right after school until seven, seven 30 at night, I mean, I was just shuttling them and driving them around so they could get to where they needed to go. Dinner. Dinner was like non-existent. And my husband is also crazy hours, so it's all me. And all of a sudden the brakes up put on it, it literally was like going 100 miles an hour or two, like a screeching halt. So the first few weeks actually felt okay because it was novel, it was new. It was like, Whoa, we have like all this freedom and all this new time. And it was kind of, until things until it really surfaced like, Oh, this is not just two weeks. This is going longer.

Lisa Feren (03:06):

And school is now online. And kids are now home full time and how we were going to manage that. And that was difficult.

Sally Hendrick (03:16):

Are you finished with school right now with your kids?

Lisa Feren (03:19):

We have one more week. I think, I think my saving grace for my son is that he's an eighth grade and all though he's missing, you know, promotion and the end of the year party, which he was looking forward to. He was just so ready to move on to high school. So he, he never really more like, Oh my God, I'm so sad about this, our eight grade finishing up eighth grade. Right. Right. And I couldn't imagine our kids in a time of not having their devices because my 12 year old daughter has been on FaceTime with her friends nonstop. I call her my exchange student. She literally stays in her room all day.

Lisa Feren (03:58):

She comes down for dinner and she goes right back upstairs. I have like, I don't even see her.

Sally Hendrick (04:03):

So the way my 16 year old is as well. Right.

Lisa Feren (04:06):

But at the same time it's, it's not natural. It's not natural to not have your peers going through, you know, puberty and this time where you need your friends to, you know, slap you for saying something stupid or, you know, it's like social graces and it's not, it's not right to be sitting on phones and not in person. So that's been interesting too, but yeah, we have one more week of, of school. You know, my kids have pretty much have asked it like a lot of them did, they, they did what they needed to do. And now they're like peace out.

Sally Hendrick (04:45):

Our school changed some of the grading process. They went to at least on some of the classes, they went to a pass, fail option.

Sally Hendrick (04:55):

Did yours do that? Or did you just still stick with the number system or whatever it is the ABC?

Lisa Feren (05:01):

Actually as of, I think this week, they just told us that they were keeping the grade your child had before. COVID, so whatever they were doing before COVID is what they're continuing with. Again, I'm lucky with middle schoolers that it doesn't count. So whether it's a pass-fail or an A, or B, I am more, I was more concerned with just keeping up with, you know, their grade level math and their grade level reading and everything that they needed to do for their grade level. Not as much as like, did they pass a test? Right. Right.

Sally Hendrick (05:37):

So as far as plans and after school activities, you know, tell me a little bit about what your kids were into that they were going to get to experience that now has totally changed.

Lisa Feren (05:50):

Yeah. Well, it's, it's been a hard day actually. So my daughter is is in theater and she just moved to the big competitive theater in San Diego. It's the biggest or the longest running junior theater in the country. And she was starring, she got the role of Matilda, in Matilda. And so they practiced for two weeks or rehearsed or whatever they want to call it. And then it all got shut down and we've basically been waiting just to see if they'll put it on the schedule and when it's gonna open and it's in city buildings. So the city won't open. They can't, they can't resume. We just got the final news today that they're canceling it all. So today was rough. But that was taking up a ton of my daughter's time. And she was an assistant stage manager to another show prior to that.

Lisa Feren (06:45):

She was there every single day for months. And so that's been, that's been hard and trying to keep a semblance of life. I keep her lessons going, they're on zoom and they're not as you know, personal, but I try to get her to keep going in that. So she's still working her craft and getting to sing and do her thing. That's good. And as far as my son, he sails, so he does racing, sailing, racing. And so same thing, you know, one [inaudible] cancel and then the next canceled and then the next canceled. And then, and then they, they in San Diego, they said they couldn't even get on your boat anymore. Boating was prohibited. So he couldn't even get on the water. So that was a huge, now they're allowed to get on the water again, he's been in his boat a little bit, but I think that the, the main theme for my kids and probably for everybody's kids is that there's nothing to work towards and nothing to look forward to.

Lisa Feren (07:44):

So the kids don't have a, you know, a carrot or a driving factor, and that makes them, you know, I don't want to say lazy, but it makes them just not as, as caring about what they're doing.

Sally Hendrick (07:56):

Yeah. The motivation just kind of the away.

New Speaker (08:00):

And even if they said you know, [inaudible] can continue, they were saying that they literally would have no parents watching. They would have the kids get right in their votes, they would do their races and then they would go home. And half the fun is hanging out with your friends on the water and the celebration afterwards. So that just kind of takes the excitement away from it.

Sally Hendrick (08:21):

Yeah, exactly. Now what about for vacations, summer plans? What's going on there?

Lisa Feren (08:30):

Yeah. Well, Hawaii in June was canceled so strict. Oh God, I'm so sad about that. But again, I don't, and my opinion may differ from people listening.

Lisa Feren (08:45):

I don't even know if I want to get in an airplane. They're dangerous enough on a good day. I just don't know if that's where I'm at. So we have canceled summer plans. We are not going to be going away. Luckily my husband and I sneaked in a, a solo trip to Paris and got back right before everything closed. So I feel, I feel like I got that. That was good. But no, we're not going to go away from the summer. We're going to stick close to home. And we've been making travel priority for the last five years. So now we might just throw some money into the house and fix things up that have been neglected because we've been traveling instead of, you know, fixing up the house.

Sally Hendrick (09:33):

We actually planted a rooftop garden, or, and we haven't done that in a really long time because we normally leave. We go, we leave for several weeks in the summer and go on a nice vacation and, or at least, you know, all of us kind of split up and go different places. And it never made sense to really plant anything because we couldn't stay here to take care of it. And it was silly to pay someone to take care of it. Nobody was going to see it, you know, it's on the roof. So, so anyway, we've decided to plant lots of herbs and some vegetables and different plants around the deck outside. And we've been enjoying being outside there for a lot, you know, which is very isolated from everyone else. So that's been kind of cool. But yeah, we were, we had plans as well. We were going to Europe. I had two business trips in Europe that were canceled and then we're still not sure yet, but my daughter was supposed to go study in Spain this fall, but I don't know. We don't, we just don't know yet. They've been given information from time to time, but we're still just kind of hanging on, not really knowing what's going to happen.

Lisa Feren (10:47):

I think that's the hardest, it's the waiting game, what is canceled? And if it's not canceled, how, how is it going to look? And, and then I think there's also some for me anyway, anxiety around when, when, and if things do not cancel, like if that trip actually happens, what's your comfort level and even sending her. Right.

Sally Hendrick (11:08):

Exactly. And then my youngest supposed to go to a rising senior program for high school for, you know, it's a college program for high school students to get some credits and be able to interact with other kids and experience some classes and get some credit, that sort of thing. And they're moving it to online and it's kind of like, well, it's just, you know, the excitement is a little bit not there.

Lisa Feren (11:34):

Here's a really big thought. Are you ready for my big thought? Yeah, here's my big thought around parenting. You know, it's not just my kids who have had heartbreaking, you know, things cancel and disappointment. It's all of these kids that, you know, were looking forward to college or they had to come home their college year or, or missing things for their senior year and their prom and walking across the stage for graduation. And I was thinking about that pretty deeply, because I guess it's now literally the world, is pre COVID and post COVID. Right. And I don't, I didn't want to put that on my kids because it was my experience. Like, I'm so sad for you. You don't get to walk across the stage because I did it and it was important to me. I'm so sad. You're not going to be in a dorm for your freshman year because I did it.

Lisa Feren (12:25):

And that was so amazing. And I'm sad. You won't have it. Like you're setting them up for disappointment and you don't want to do that. So our kids are going to have, their kids are going to have something new that we have to literally break from our past and our childhood about because there's will be completely different. And that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be bad. It's just going to be different.

Sally Hendrick (12:50):

Yeah, it will. Now we've got a lot of people out there who don't believe this and who think that everything's just going to be back to normal. And a lot of people are behaving as if everything is okay. And every chance that they get when some sort of mandate is reduced or released, they're taken off and just go in like gang busters, like, Hey, you know, we're here and we get to do this and we're going to be here.

Sally Hendrick (13:17):

And like, you see all these different parties and things that happened over Memorial day weekend at different places where people were together and, Oh, excuse me, don't let me forget this. Weekend's crazy protests that were everywhere. And it's like, you know, a lot of people here wore masks, but they weren't doing the social distancing. So of course, there's this fear that we're going to have this huge resurgence of cases and that this thing. And even before the protest, it's like this, thing's not going anywhere. And you get a unique perspective on this because your husband. So tell me about that.

Lisa Feren (13:54):

Right. so he, he's got a microbiology slash chemistry major. I believe the microbiology part is there. And I mean, I've been living with him for 21 years and the man never touches the door handle and wash his hands after he touches in venue.

Lisa Feren (14:11):

And you know, he he's been living this way. I mean, he's laughing because he's like, Oh my God, it's finally, people are living the way I'm living. Like this is great. You know, but he also, and I should say I've had so many Facebook fights. I don't fight with people. I it's, it's insane about, about the hospital. So when you're walking around, no, you're not seeing sickness and you're not seeing deaths and you're seeing the healthy people walk around. And that does not mean that things are okay. The hospitals have a full COVID ICU wards. We have a lot of people from Mexico, obviously because we're right on the border. And a lot of our patients are from Mexico and they're here, they're in our hospitals. They're chirping things to other hospitals it's full. I mean, they are, this is here.

Lisa Feren (15:06):

And I think it's just with everything in life until it really hits home. You're like, Oh, really? I'm really sorry about that. But until it really hits home and you know, someone who's not sick or died, you can't process it. So when you're going to the beach and you're going to trader Joe's, it doesn't look like it's out there. So I get it. I really do get it. And I also get that the economic lines are really crossed and people can't flourish financially. They can't flourish mentally and it doesn't matter. So it really is. At what point do we try to get back assemblance of light and, and stay healthy. And I don't know what the answer is to that. I just know that with everything opening up, I'm going to sit back still and I'm going to just let things play out and see if the cases keep rising. And if they flatten out and I was just hoping that miraculously would just go away, like people, like, I don't know,

Sally Hendrick (16:08):

It doesn't seem to be going away. I keep checking the websites every day. And the numbers just keep skyrocketing.

Lisa Feren (16:22):

Your numbers I've actually showed your numbers to my husband. I'm like really, Sally knows what's going on. Sally's got this look at what the research she done. I think for me, because I'm in immersed in a Western medicine world, when I hear people talk about like, well, I'm keeping my immune system up and I, I totally know. I, I'm not going to get it. And it's like, well, that's great, but you really have no idea how your body is going to react to a virus. And it's never seen before. And you run in here, we have no idea of what's happening. So that's great that you're staying healthy, but you really have no idea.

Sally Hendrick (16:54):

Yeah, man, you've got to do everything with all of the precautions to try to not get it, not just stay healthy or eat healthier, or do all of those immune boosting activities or whatever. So yeah,

Lisa Feren (17:11):

I used the word anxiety before and it's again it's anxiety provoking to me because I don't want my kids to be left out. I don't want to be left out when I see people getting together. And I see people go into restaurants and I want to hang back. I'm literally looking at it like, wow, am I going to lose friends? Because people are going to think I'm the crazy one, because I just want to keep this isolation going a little bit longer. You know,

Sally Hendrick (17:40):

I read something and I can't remember if it was this morning or if it was yesterday, but it talked about the difference, know how a lot of people are saying, Oh, don't be fearful. Or, Oh, you're just afraid. And it's like, no, not really. I don't think people are as much afraid and that's an emotional response to some, but I think people are just cautious because of the danger. And when you've got something that's dangerous, you need to, you know, go forth with caution around it. That doesn't necessarily mean that you're afraid. Now you could get some anxiety around it because there are the social constructs that are happening and the pressures, the peer pressure and all of that with, you know, going to a birthday party or attending a wedding or going to a restaurant for something, or, you know, whatever we've been invited to a couple of things, funerals, even we've been invited to you know, we had a family funeral that we did not attend. We had Oh, there's a wedding party coming up. That we're, I I'm pretty sure we will not attend. And those types of things, it's just like, you know, we have somebody who's elderly and our family that we take care of. And we have to make sure that we're staying as cautious as we possibly can because there's always that chance that we would be asymptomatic. And people just don't understand that whole piece of it, of the asymptomatic, you know, danger there.

Lisa Feren (19:19):

And I don't, I don't think it's a, like, I'm not, first of all, I'm not stopping my life. And I haven't actually looked at the last few weeks as me stopping my lights at all. I been, I've been working with my business. I've got clients, I've been hanging out with my kids. I've been taking lots of walks with dog. We bought a barbecue. I eaten better. And my son and my husband won't let me touch the barbecue. So they're cooking and cleaning for me. Finally. I'm like, I don't feel, I don't feel like I've lost my freedom or my rights or anything. I really haven't. I mean, really it's annoying going to the grocery store and having to wait in line. And, you know, we, my husband's been making us wipe down the groceries before they come in. So some of that stuff is obviously more cumbersome than it used to be.

Lisa Feren (20:13):

I just look at it as being cautious. And am I afraid of dying from COVID? I'm actually not afraid of dying from it. I'm more being cautious because I have children that rely on me. I can't be down for two, three weeks. And secondly, I'm more afraid of the consequences of living with some like that outcome for my liver or my heart or whatever tasks. And I don't want to live that way. So it's not a fear thing. It's it's, and I don't want to be cliche about the Facebook memes, but I wear a seat belt. I wear a helmet. I, you know, I do those other things as precautions. So why wouldn't I be cautious about this too?

Sally Hendrick (20:59):

Exactly, exactly. Like anything else? Right. So what about your hopes for what's going to happen with this? Because a lot of people are like, you know, some of the environments improving people are arriving as much. You don't have people are not polluting things as much because they're not out as, as what as like, you know, like normal other things like as far as, you know, kids being able to communicate in a different way, there's learning in all of that all kinds of things that we're experiencing, you know, what do you think is going to be the good outcome from this?

Lisa Feren (21:44):

Well, I would first say that there's a humongous section of the population. That's literally doing this and they're just ready to, to run as soon as everything's open. So I really have a feeling that as soon as everything opens up and it is those, that section of the population will be right back to where they were. And that's fine. There's nothing wrong with that. You know, what you do, you and go out and do your thing. And that's what I think come down to. What I hoping for, you know, for all the kids in the fall is and our school is looking at maybe like a hybrid situation where they stagger the students more and there's a hybrid if maybe two days at home, three days in the classroom. So maybe they can go to that. People will spend more time, let me weekend in San Diego, you know, outside instead of in home. So people are not, you know, confined, I don't know. I think maybe it'll look like that. I hoping for either a vaccine or some sort of like Tamiflu for COVID

Sally Hendrick (22:56):

What would you call it? Right.

Lisa Feren (22:59):

Herd immunity. I don't know.

Sally Hendrick (23:01):

Well, the whole herd immunity thing, from what I understand, 70% of the population has to either get it or the vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. So that's kind of a long way away. So we've got to figure out how to navigate this as we go whole new normal here, whatever that

Lisa Feren (23:25):

I think that, you know, how do I say this in a nice way? I think that other countries and listen, we're 330 million people. I mean, the countries that people are trying to compare us to literally are the entire size of like San Diego and orange County, you know, it's like California make their entire population. So it's a lot easier to I don't want to use the word control, but it's easier to control a population of that size versus, you know, millions of people. But I think everybody just wants to live their life and they want to look at their lives and people won't look at it collectively as a whole of what they can do and some will. And I know that no matter what we say, like I said, no matter what we say, there will always be someone to you know, rebut it or yell at me. It's true.

Sally Hendrick (24:20):

Well, it's a sensitive time. It's really easy to push buttons into, you know, kind of hit those sensitive spots that because people are feeling very raw and exposed these days and it's kind of an unfair position to be in from any angle. So I guess we're going to have to get some emotional intelligence to be able to move forward in that, right?

Lisa Feren (24:45):

Yeah. I just go, I go day by day and some days are awesome. And some days are rough. Some days I look at it and I'm like I said, happy as can be another day as I'm like depressed by what it looks like. And I think just I'm taking a new outlook on it and it will be what it will be, but it, it won't be what it was before.

Sally Hendrick (25:11):

Yeah. I think I agree with you, that we've got a whole new, a whole new way of life and a lot of different ways, but that can be a good thing as well. And I'm looking forward to the fact that a lot more people will have access to education that didn't before, but just as a lot will be on the internet and and other things that people will have access to and awareness around that otherwise they never experienced because they kind of live in their own little bubbles. So, yeah. We'll see what happens. I know. Thank you so much, Lisa, it's been great talking with you today and to giving me an opportunity to put makeup on and actually, you know, exactly in our sweat pants and no wake up in the last two months. Right. All right. Well, thank you.

Lisa Feren (26:00):

Yeah. Nice talking with you, Sally. Thanks for the opportunity.

Sally Hendrick (26:03):


Sally Hendrick (26:11):

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