We are so over this. We have been pandemic parenting for nearly two years, and here we are once again, canceling and being canceled. We’re home alone with our kids, in the winter, in the rain, and with the virus. It feels like we’ve been on this treadmill forever, and we are exhausted.
We’ve run out of projects. We’ve run out of card games and scavenger hunts. We’ve run out of energy, creativity, fun, inspiration, and the yay-more-family-time spirit of March 2020. During this Omicron deja-vu nightmare, we aren’t running on steam. We’re barely running.
Beyond our exhaustion is rage, directionless rage.
We are furious, but at whom? Who is to blame for this mess we’re in right now? Rage is not always a terrible feeling. It’s more fun than depression or exhaustion. It’s fun to be angry at a politician or a system, but this rage is unbearable because there is no one specific to blame!
I have been so fortunate throughout this entire pandemic. I have a great school district and a fantastic job. I have been healthy, and no one I know has been ill. Our response to the pandemic has been good here in the Bay Area. I’m not an epidemiologist or a public health expert. I don’t know enough to say what we could be doing differently. But that doesn’t stop the rage from coming.
If you are not a parent, you may wonder how parents are doing with two years’ worth of COVID? I have two words in response, and it isn’t an answer: it’s a plea. HELP US!
A few weeks ago, my husband and I talked to our friends about pandemic parenting. My friend Tim said, “They need to start giving out medals to the parents who have lived through this. You could get one medal for each of your kids with the child’s age written on it. That way, I wouldn’t have to tell anyone what was going on with me; they would see my kids’ ages pinned to my chest and buy me a drink. That’s what they should spend that stimulus money on.”
And yes, we would like a medal.
And a public apology from God, maybe? Or from the virus? We would also like some acknowledgment from non-parents (healthcare workers get a pass) of how hard this has been. Those things would be nice. But most importantly, we would like some help!
When we decided to have children, we looked forward to building a village to help raise our kids. We did not choose to raise children while living on a desert island or quarantined in our homes for weeks on end. We did so because we thought our children would have schools to attend, play dates, and activities to enjoy. We thought we would have a community. We didn’t know how brittle this world was. We didn’t understand that it could crumble so quickly and that we would have to fend for ourselves.
Even before 2020, society let us down.
If we lived in a community that cared about its youngest citizens, public school wouldn’t end at 2:30. If society cared about the welfare of our children, childcare would be free, we would have paid parental leave, and restaurants would be required to have kids’ menus. Then, in 2020 families with kids were abandoned altogether. Minus a short reprieve when vaccines were introduced, we’re right where we started. Omnicron pulled us right back to March 2020 – everything is closing once again, and it’s infuriating.
From America’s parents, here is our message to you. Please help us! Give us unlimited time off to take care of our families. Provide rapid daily testing, vaccine mandates, double masking, quadruple masking, whatever you think will help. Please do not close schools. Not even for a day. Don’t even think about offering our kids remote school options. We’re not going through it again. Don’t cancel childcare. Don’t cancel extracurricular activities. These things are essential for us and necessary for our children. We’ll go to school outside. We’ll stay 6 feet apart in indoor spaces. Whatever you do, please don’t close down the village.
Parents are not okay. We are livid, and we are barely surviving. Send help.