Are Parents of Littles Ever Going to Get a Break?
With the vaccine for kids under 5 delayed again, where do we go from here?
Without even noticing, it seems that a few weeks have gone by since the last Pandemic Mama newsletter. Did you notice? I certainly didn’t.
If you’re a parent in 2022, especially a parent of young kids, you’ve likely been overloaded by worries about the Omicron variant spreading, daycare and school shutdowns, and even sick kids for some of us.
That’s what happened to me. After a major exposure at my son’s daycare in early January, he went back to school after a week of isolation and testing negative… and came home with a slight fever a week later. It was COVID.
It finally got us, I thought.
Funnily enough, the day that my toddler tested positive is the same day that Pfizer announced another delay in the COVID vaccine for kids under 5 years old. Ironic, no?
I actually wrote about this bizarre experience for HuffPost, and even created an Instagram Reel trying to laugh off this ironic set of circumstances.
The weirdest part of all of this for me was, honestly, that I felt a bit relieved when he got sick. I had been so terrified of my baby catching COVID for the last 22 months that I saw almost no one and went almost nowhere. With the latest variant, we buckled down again but kept him in daycare because it is what is best for all of our mental health.
After he tested negative earlier in the month, I thought we were safe. But I was still terrified.
And now that he’s gotten COVID, and thankfully only had a mild fever for a few days with no other symptoms, I actually feel safe.
I did not want to feel a sense of safety because my son got a coronavirus that has killed almost 6 million people worldwide. I wanted to feel safe because the vaccine for our youngest had finally arrived, but it has been delayed yet again.
Despite my own relief, I felt extremely frustrated at Pfizer’s announcement. So many parents I know (myself included) have been waiting with bated breath for this vaccine. I don’t know anyone who has ever found comfort in the phrase “but little kids don’t get as sick!”. We’re all scared. We’re all terrified. We’re all suffering here.
It can’t be that the only respite we get from this anxiety is to get sick with the very thing we have been fearing and avoiding, is it?
So I ask you: Will we parents of little kids ever get a break?
I don’t know about you but the start of 2022 has been really difficult for my family. As Omicron hit everywhere, not only were we more anxious but we also had to deal with various daycare closures and work stress.
When my son’s initial exposure happened, we were on lockdown for a week. And then another week when he actually got Omicron a few weeks later.
Then, last week, he came home with yet another fever. Now what?
Turns out he had a double ear infection, likely caused by some sort of cold or virus. We don’t really know what exactly but it was hard to have him be out of school yet again. I love him so much but I’ve been dealing with some serious depression lately, and really needed some time to myself to try to heal. Having my son home every other week since the year began hasn’t really allowed me to have that time.
Plus, of course, my husband and I caught our son’s cold… which I find incredibly ironic since we somehow avoided getting COVID from him. Seriously, how did we not get COVID and yet get a simple cold that knocked us both out?
I’m still extra tired and coughing a bunch a week later.
But yet, after several PCR tests and at-home tests, we know it’s not COVID. It’s just a cold. But this cold after two years of extreme stress and a couple of months of even more worries and craziness has really impacted me.
Sure, I’m surviving. We always survive. But at this point, I also just need a break. Not a break from parenting or life but a break in the sense that something good needs to happen to and for us overwhelmed and exhausted parents.
Will it ever come? I don’t know. But I guess I have to keep hoping.