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Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Weekend Open Thread and Links

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:

Why Holding a Grudge Is So Satisfying

Arguing with your partner over Covid? You’re not alone, with the pandemic straining many relationships

I’m Getting Married, Mom. Please Cry.

“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?

17 comments… add one
  • sunflowers January 21, 2022, 1:53 pm

    I’m a mother of a 2 and 4 year old and am currently on unpaid leave from my job because daycare closed for month due to so many staff in quarantine. With the never ending delays of the under-5 vaccines I am just losing all hope that this will ever get better. The light at the end of the tunnel just keeps moving and now I can’t see it anymore ….

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    • Dear Wendy January 21, 2022, 2:20 pm

      SUCH a difficult position!

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    • anonymousse January 21, 2022, 3:49 pm

      You are incredible.

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    • MaterialsGirl January 21, 2022, 4:08 pm

      Big hugs. I also have two little ones in the under-5. The horizon seems riddled with landmines right now. I hope that together, we can make it to the other side (and that the other side is far, far away from the world of masks and covid and quarantine pulling us back into a complete pit of misery, calculation and loss).

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    • anonymousse January 21, 2022, 5:11 pm

      I feel for every mother, father and or anyone parenting under 5s right now. Gigantic internet hugs.

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  • anonymousse January 21, 2022, 5:08 pm

    I am right there with you, Wendy. We got an email yesterday that our schools aren’t doing contact tracing at all anymore. None. It’s starting to remind me too much of the Wild West out here.

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  • Allison January 21, 2022, 8:56 pm

    Have y’all seen the “We Don’t Talk About COVID” video on Youtube? It’s a parody of the hit song from Disney’s Encanto, and it’s pretty darn spot on and funny.

    A link, in case your comments allow that:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lf-8rEK63eg

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  • Melisa January 22, 2022, 9:19 am

    Hi Wendy, I’m a long time lurker but had to comment on this post because it just hits so close to home. I’m a mother to a 7 and 4 year old and my heart breaks for them. I can’t believe it was just November that my daughter got her Covid vaccine and we all celebrated, telling her this is how we can start doing normal things. And here we are, first two weeks of January school were virtual, and I’m upgrading our family’s masks to kn95s. Meanwhile my poor 4 year old doesn’t know any other life, she was only 2 when this all started. Eating inside a restaurant and taking the metro to visit a museum are just fairy tales to her 🙁 🙁 As a SAHM, I realize our family has been soooo privileged throughout this whole mess. But most days I feel like I am suffocating.

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  • Kate January 22, 2022, 11:57 am

    Yeah, idk what you do if your kids are under 5. I have one teammate at work with kids that young, and she’s got daycare for the toddler and a nanny for the baby, but often the daycare is closed and the nanny won’t come, and she just can’t work. Obviously she’s privileged to have a nanny at all, and PTO.

    Even those with older kids… my one co-worker has a sister with a serious health condition and she basically can’t do anything. A lot of people are in that position due to a loved one.

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  • Kali January 22, 2022, 6:39 pm

    As an immunocompromised chemo patient, I’ve been quarantining for years. But even I am tired of not being able to go to a restaurant or store. I haven’t seen my grandkids in person since this all started because we all live in different states, they weren’t all vaxxed until recently, and I won’t travel. We’re all missing out on so much.

    I’m grateful I don’t have to manage work and a household and school and kids. Those of you in the trenches have a ton of respect from me. Raising kids isn’t easy under the best of circumstances and our current situation is pretty sucky. I can only hope things get better soon and we can start to have lives again. But I’m not holding my breath.

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    • Dear Wendy January 23, 2022, 9:26 am

      That’s such a long time to not see grandkids – I’m sorry. I really hope you are able to soon!

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  • allathian January 24, 2022, 2:22 am

    I miss indoor gatherings with friends, where we eat finger foods and grab chips and candy from bowls, and freely eat food that has been touched by other people’s bare hands.

    I miss going to a sit-down restaurant, or even the self-service cafeteria at the office.

    I miss going to the store without having to plan it like a major event.

    But I do recognize my privilege; both my husband and I have jobs that can be done remotely, and employers that make it possible for us to WFH effectively. Our house is large enough for separate home offices for each of us. Our son has been able to go to in-person school for most of the pandemic, and he’s had only two possible exposures, and he’s been off sick for a week, but it wasn’t Covid. But even if he had to go to remote school, he’s a diligent student, pretty self-motivated, and mature enough at 12 that he doesn’t require constant supervision if he’s in remote school.

    Kudos to all the parents in the trenches, whose lives have been much more affected by Covid than mine has.

    Only one of my close friends has had Covid, and it wasn’t a serious illness for her. My extended family has managed to avoid it, so far.

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    • Dear Wendy January 24, 2022, 6:15 am

      Oh my gosh, just two exposures at school for your son? Only one close friend has had covid? Amazing! My kids have a covid exposure multiple times a week at school. Nearly everyone I know here in nyc has had covid in the past month. I don’t know how my family has avoided it. We test 1-2 times a week (most recently last night, and always negative, knock on wood).

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      • allathian January 24, 2022, 7:46 am

        Two known exposures, I should’ve said. At the time, they asked everyone to test who had the smallest sniffle. Now there are no official quarantines, because the system is overloaded. My friend tested positive just before Christmas, and they called her last Friday to say she should quarantine. By then she’d recovered and returned to work, even if WFH. Now they’ve given up trying to trace contacts among the general population, they’re focusing on healthcare workers and vulnerable populations. I’m not saying this is a good idea, but the number of health care workers is limited, especially since they’re at least as likely to get sick as anyone else.

        People are pretty good about masking up, though. There was a local election on Sunday, and when we went to vote, everyone was masked up, and the person who checked our IDs wore a face shield as well as a mask and sat behind a barrier. I didn’t see any unmasked faces at that polling station.

        My son wears a mask at school, everyone in his class does, and on the school bus. One of his classmates has parents who are anti-vaxx and anti-mask, but even he masks up in class, because the other kids refuse to acknowledge his presence if he doesn’t, with the silent approval of the teacher. Peer pressure can be a force for good, sometimes.

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      • Dear Wendy January 24, 2022, 8:23 am

        I’m so amazed! We get emails from the kids’ school several times a week that they’ve been exposed in their classroom or on the bus. Now that they are fully vaccinated they no longer have to quarantine, thankfully, or they’d only ever been at school one day at a time between nonstop quarantines.

        I had to look up your IP address to see where in the world you might not know many people with covid, because I know it can’t be North America, and it’s not. Lucky you! 🙂

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