What It Means to Be a Pandemic Parent

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Here’s a quick quiz for you.

  1. Do you avoid indoor dining?
  2. Do you race through grocery stores or opt for grocery delivery?
  3. Do you mask up to go indoors?
  4. Do you sanitize your hands after a public outing?
  5. Do you avoid parties, crowds, concerts, shows, and sporting events?

If you answered yes to all of the questions above, then you’re a Pandemic Parent. 

In a world where it feels like everyone is “business as usual,” social media feeds are swarming with flight photos and cruise ship trips, and organizations have scrapped virtual options altogether, it can feel pretty lonely as a Pandemic Parent. Belonging feels farther away than ever. Feeling like the odd woman out becomes the norm.

Well, you’re not alone.

My son would thrive in swim lessons.

My daughter would welcome an afternoon at the trampoline park.

My husband would love to jump on a plane to anywhere – for a celebratory trip or couples getaway.

I would enjoy a local workout class with a girlfriend or catching a new movie at The Nickelodeon Theater.

My family is missing out on children’s museums, seeing out-of-state family members, music and dance lessons, and so much more.  

The reality is, we’ve been this safe for this long, and I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if something happened to either of my children due to a situation that could have been avoided. My own desire to “get back out there” is less important than my responsibility to keep them safe.

Some things are non-negotiable, like attending school or going to work; we’re at the will of the board of directors, superintendents, CEOs, and presidents there. Most other things are just privileges that we currently have to live without.

Both children have had all their age-appropriate vaccinations necessary to attend school. Unfortunately, that does not include the COVID-19 vaccine. Even if it did, my baby boy doesn’t qualify … yet. He’s also at an age where he is unable to wear a mask (below the age of 2). These sorts of limitations make me think often about immunocompromised individuals and their families. 

In years past, I would have skipped the flu shot. Wrote it off as a hassle. This year was different when my best friend (a nurse out of Florida) put it this way: “You’re not going to die from the flu but the cancer patient you come in contact with could.”

Boom. Click. Switch. I get it. Now more than ever, I get it.

I put my family first. Wearing a mask, getting vaccinated, and avoiding public activities. Well, that someone else has a family also. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child (or in this case, children). Doesn’t that also apply to COVID? It takes all of us to look outside ourselves, we think of others and do what we can to help keep everyone’s family members safe during these trying times.

Pandemic Parent, you’re not alone. You’re doing a great job and we’re still all in this together.

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Heather is a Florida girl with New York tendencies. She values honesty and authenticity, while not being a huge fan of small talk and surface-level friendships. As a Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, you can usually find her exercising and exploring the great outdoors. Her love for everything local truly flourished after moving to Columbia in 2015. Heather maintains a strong interest in community-building while balancing work as a Social Media Strategist and life as a dedicated Wife and Mama (by marriage and by birth). Likes: Coffee shops, travel, reality tv, singing (in and out of the shower), dancing (even when the music stops), sunshine, photos, and advocacy. Dislikes: Cartoons, scary movies, laundry, chain restaurants, disorganization, and gossip

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