As I mentioned in my Instagram stories today, after nearly two years, I’m at a point in pandemic parenting where I really feel like I’m losing it. There was so much I promised the kids – and myself – that we could do once they were fully vaccinated. But the window between their first shot and when Omicron hit was so cruelly short. Drew and I went to the movies twice in the middle of the day when the kids were in school and the theater was empty and cases were low and it felt relatively safe. We went on a night out one time (our second babysitter night in two years). And, then, boom, we had to basically quarantine for ten days before flying to Missouri to reduce the risk of infecting my high-risk parents.
And since we’ve been back, the schools are just so full of Covid that sending our kids into one every day seems like enough of a risk if we want to try to avoid getting sick, avoid long Covid (already had that in 2020 and don’t want it again, thanks), avoid contributing to community spread (especially when the hospitals are full), avoid a school quarantine, avoid having to mask around each other and isolate from each other at home for a week or two. And so every decision is weighted again/still. Still! Is this worth the risk? Is that? Movie theaters right now: no. Indoor dining: no. An indoor playdate (bc it’s too cold for an outdoor one) for Joanie with one of her classmates whose family assumes/avoids similar risks: I think that’s important.
And I know we’re all weighing things differently, calculating things differently, and that makes it hard too. Seeing parents post pics on social media of all the things they’re doing that don’t feel worth the risk to me, it’s not judgment I feel but self-doubt. Am I robbing my kids of normalcy because I’m neurotic? Is it really neurotic to want to protect my kids from getting a virus – that, apparently, we’re all going to get – whose long-term effect we haven’t begun to understand? Is it neurotic when you’ve been trying to protect them for two years and there’s no real end in sight? Is it crazy to keep trying?
I want to burn all our masks. I want to take my kids to Chuck E. Cheese or whatever gross germ-laden place they want to go – the kind of place that skeeved me out even before Covid, I want to take them there. I want to take sips of my friends’ cocktails just to see if I like theirs better or if I’m happy with my choice. I want to be happy with my choice. I want to feel like I have good choices again. It’s been two years of choosing between the less worse options, and I know we’re lucky just to have options – to be able to stay home as much as we do, as much as we’ve been able to. But it’s still so hard, after two years of this, after two years of waiting for an end point, or at least a point that feels much easier.
And, soo, I found this essay particularly relatable: COVID Parenting Has Passed the Point of Absurdity
And here are a few others you might enjoy:
“People Are Sharing Things They Don’t Do Anymore Because Of COVID, And It’s A Reminder How Much Our Lives Have Genuinely Changed These Past Two Years.” What do you not do anymore because of the pandemic?