When I last posted, I shared my concerns about daycare and school in general. I hadn’t yet made a decision about daycare.
Starting late in August, my kids were back at daycare.
I’m still a bit nervous. In our setup for those first 5+ months, we’d been keeping ourselves incredibly isolated. No visits with anyone, only me going to the grocery store once every 2 weeks, husband doing weekly contactless pickup at the local farm when our CSA started up. So our potential exposure to the virus has been kept quite low. With daycare, there’s an increased risk, but the center has instituted a lot of protocols that have been working at their other locations that they had kept open for frontline workers’ kids. With any interaction, especially with kids, there’s some risk of exposure.
And with the kids going back to daycare, my husband and I are going to work (masked and social distanced), so that’s another potential risk being taken. We’re both working from home as much as possible, but I’ve especially needed to go on site for research tasks in lab. I’m not happy at how much we’ve expanded our “bubble” with daycare and work, but we’re still limiting our other activities to avoid any additional risk.
Interestingly enough, their safety protocols ended up impacting us after just a week of school. I came down with a sore throat over the weekend, and that is one of the symptoms you have to report when you check in. So, kids couldn’t go to daycare until I could prove I didn’t have Covid-19 or until a set number of days had passed. I ended up getting tested for both Covid-19 and strep due to the sore throat. Luckily both came back negative, but the doctor wasn’t able to fully rule out covid in case of a false negative. Frustrating, because that meant the kids still needed to stay out of daycare longer, but I understand the risk they’d be taking (both doctor for signing a waiver and daycare for allowing our kids back). Luckily my throat got better, so the kids went back after the requisite time passed.
It’s good to know that they’re being extra careful, and I’m hoping all parents own up to their and their kids’ symptoms so that we can ensure a safer environment.
Of course I’m still worried. But I realized that the risks are lower with these health checks and smaller class sizes, and lots of cleaning, hand washing, and social distancing.
I know my kids are enjoying their time there and learning new things, even if there are some limits on what sort of interactions they can have with their peers and teachers.
I’ve already gotten plenty of feedback in the past from strangers on the internet that I’m a “bad mom” or a “selfish mom” for “paying someone to raise my kids for me”. I’ve acknowledged before and have seen again during this pandemic that the kids need more than just their parents in order to learn, develop social skills, and play. And I was struggling so much trying to balance the parenting with the working, and felt like I was failing at both. And yes, my husband was also doing parenting; we both felt overwhelmed and exhausted every day.
With kids back at daycare, my husband and I are able to focus on our work during the day and then be fully present with our kids mornings, evenings, and weekends. We’re still tired after a full day of work. I’ve found being on-site for work extra exhausting since I’m in a “high alert” mode trying to keep my mask on, stay distanced, and wash my hands enough while also doing work. Plus I end up not eating or drinking enough because it’s a bit trickier to do.
I fully acknowledge how fortunate we are to be able to find and afford childcare during this time. So many parents are not as lucky. And I very much appreciate our kids’ teachers and the risks they are taking. Gifts for the teachers are going to be bigger this Christmas!
What’s your current working and/or childcare situation? Still working from home? Never able to work from home? Homeschooling? What has helped you the most during all of this?