What's Going On: September 2022
Selfish and honest thoughts on pandemic parenting
It’s been a year since my last post here. In the meantime, I am up to 5 Moderna shots (for the immunocompromised series) and got Covid for the first time a month ago when my husband caught it from getting our car serviced at the dealership. He remained masked in an N95 inside, so we assume it was the result of an infected worker driving or working inside our car unmasked. When Matt returned to the car and unmasked, he was infected.
I’ve also had my second pandemic baby. Now I can refer to my February 2020 (Wuhan strain) pandemic baby and my December 2021 (OG Omicron) pandemic baby. Thankfully, they were both fully vaccinated just before we all caught Covid last month, as the 6-month to 6-years Moderna vaccine was finally approved in June 2022.
Since we’re all recently infected and boosted, we’ve been venturing out of the house more, which has been great for my mental health. I had postpartum depression and anxiety after both my children were born, but this time it was more severe after 2 years of lockdown and no end to the pandemic in sight.
Pandemic parenting has sucked.
I don’t know what non-pandemic parenting was like, and I’ll never get to redo these first three years of parenthood. People tell me it was also lonely in the Before Times, and I do believe that, but I also have to roll my eyes internally, thinking about how I’ve not even been able to take my children grocery shopping or to the library to get out of the house until recently. In 2020, we weren’t even sure that outdoor activities were truly safe, and once Delta and Omicron arrived on the scene, we were hesitant to bring my toddler to playground if too many people were there.
I envision a future where one of my children has their own children and asks for advice about the transition to parenthood. I can see me getting a faraway look in my eye as I tell them to prepare to lockdown indefinitely, give up on minimizing screentime goals, and invest in lots of fun activities you can do from home that you’ll tire of within a few months but have to keep doing because there’s nothing else available.
On the other hand, *being* a parent has been great, which is why we had two under two. Kids are awesome and funny and sweet, or at least ours are I guess, even when it’s overwhelming. And we’re in a privileged position of both of us working from home and making decent money, even though working from home with a baby and toddler around is…a lot. My parents moved nearby to help, another luxury most people don’t have.
Like many people, my health has declined over the last few years. On top of three pregnancies (one that I lost) close together, I have rheumatoid arthritis and other general health issues. I’ve fallen out of an exercise routine and our go-to dinners are either take-out or not super good-for-you. Food has been one of the only things we have still been able to enjoy in lockdown, as traveling has been off the table. I don’t want to pass on my eating disorder to my children, but it’s hard to work on yourself, meal plan, raise children, work, meditate, go to therapy, spend time with your spouse, manage anxiety/depression/chronic illness, and like, just exist as a human from time to time.
This is not my usual style of post, but I have not had the energy to pull together topics and sources recently (hence the year between posts!). I know I’m not alone, based on the Twitter chatter from other parents (and pandemic baby parents) over the past few years. So forgive the self-involved rant that is disconnected from the wider world, because that’s exactly how everything feels right now.