Parenting in a Pandemic
Our world has changed. It saddens me to see that people around the globe are making this pandemic into a political argument. The death count continues to rise in a way that on one has ever seen. This alone should bring Americans together, solidified in doing anything we can to stop the spread (IMO). However, things seem very different than this across SM platforms, public areas, and as businesses are choosing to open up to the masses. Needing an outlet for all that has transpired during this time, I’d like to share a bit of my story as my family figures out how to navigate life, while this virus lives among us.
What has taken me by complete surprise is that some see this terrible illness as a dramatic exaggeration (due to political affiliation). I started to see a little bit of this while communicating in Mom Groups on Facebook. The stark contrast to care and concern was (and continues to be) amazing and quite disheartening (to say the least). You see, I don’t hold loyalty to any political party. However, it just so happens that I am extremely empathetic and look for ways to understand others vs dismiss their differences which points my internal compass more toward the “liberal” party. It was not until I had a few conversations with my own family members that it struck me the hardest that there are so many people in denial of the danger and suffering this virus brings to our great nation, as well as our entire World. How anyone could choose a political stand over the science of this sickness is beyond my comprehension and concerns me a great deal.
No Assumptions: Fact Based Concern
When the news came that the COVID-19 virus was spreading quickly (throughout our world), I paid attention. For me, It was easy to see that this illness was something different in the way that the professionals began to hold regularly televised conferences, warning us all to be prepared for, “disruption in our everyday lives". My time spent learning new info about COVID stems mainly from science journals and medical responses, as well as first hand accounts from connections I have made via social media (over the past few years with this blog). One of the first things that happened in our community was a teacher collapsing during instruction and rushed to the hospital by ambulance. Shortly after this, school districts throughout the State of GA were closed. This set off the alarm bells in my mind because as a former teacher, I understood that in order to close down all districts within an entire State, something very serious/unprecedented was happening. While watching the stock market plummet, I began to have conversations with my husband in anticipation of job loss for the both of us.
Disruption Thus Far
Just as I began to grasp the early signs of infection for this invisible killer, my own health was in question. A week after a weekend shift at my part time gig, I noticed that there was a tickle in my throat. As the evening progressed, muscle pain and chills were present. The symptoms that followed and lingered for a bit (about 10 days) were tightness in my chest, which resulted in shortness of breath, extreme sore throat, a wicked mucus that seemed to block my airways, low grade fever on and off, waking up drenched in sweat a few nights, along with heavy exhaustion. I will add that the mucus was not like anything I had ever experienced before. I actually felt as though the phlegm was creeping to my nasal passage and coating my esophagus in a way that was making it very difficult to breathe. In order to deplete enough of the mucus (to breathe comfortably) I began gargling aggressively with hot water, salt and white vinegar throughout the day as well as upon waking in the middle of the night. Under advisement of my PCP I was screened by Emory Hospital (spoke with a COVID screening nurse) and was ensured that I would be scheduled for testing. That call never came. While waiting for that call, I slowly realized that I was not a testing priority. Our Governor set guidelines (just a few days after my screening) restricting testing to seniors and medical staff, unless symptoms were life threatening. During this time of illness and concern, I lost employment. Just a short time later my husband was furloughed. We were denied unemployment (repeatedly), until the month of May. Thankfully a bit of financial relief with the Pandemic Emergency Funding eventually arrived (mid May). I am also very grateful that my children are small enough to remain oblivious to what is going on in this world, as long as mommy and daddy seem to be in good spirits. We push through the stress with silliness and smiles, at least until the little ones have been put down to rest.
Fortunately, our routine stays relatively the same even while in quarantine. The main difference is that my husband has been home with us during the day. I have been a SAHM for the past three years and our children are small, so I am generally limited with what I can do alone including our three children. What I have found is that my level of exhaustion is much higher and my irritability has jumped up a bit with all the added stress of the pandemic and my pregnancy (expecting our fourth child this Christmas). I have found that one of the best stress relievers in the moments when I am about to break is offering something special, as a meal option. Have you thought to serve pancakes for dinner? Homemade muffins for lunch? I have found that choosing to offer a bit of a mix up with meal options has proven to be one of the best moments of relief and spontaneity to offer in this uncharted territory of parenting in a pandemic.
As we continue to push the boundaries of what is "safe behavior" while living together on this planet, I do wish you all well. I hope you all will wear a mask not only in buildings but also outdoors in open spaces. Please be safe and think of keeping others safe, not as a burden but as a virtue. We are all at risk of passing this virus on and/or attracting and bringing it to our loved ones. All it takes is contact with one person who may or may not be aware that they are carrying the virus. ALL IT TAKES IS ONE PERSON.