Hi. It’s me again. Yeah, I’ve been busy since my last post. When I foolishly assumed I could just “power through” and try to balance working from home with my husband and two young kids during a pandemic.
The kids are wearing pajamas during the day a lot more. My 4 year old tried cutting her bangs with the “kiddie scissors”. We’ve basically got PBS Kids and Disney+ playing on the TV nonstop.
And again, I have to remind myself how lucky we are at the moment. We’re healthy. We both still have our jobs and we’re both able to work from home. I know I’ll have to go back on site “at some point” to get back into the lab for some research, but my employer is encouraging most of us to work from home if at all possible.
Daycare sent us an email letting us know they’d be “reopening” at the end of August, with a re-enrollment starting at the beginning of August, with “first come first served” priority as well as a priority for full-time care, since they will have fewer spots available due to the new requirements imposed on childcare centers.
And I have no idea what we should do.
These past few months have been exhausting. Physically, emotionally. We’re both taking care of the kids, but my husband keeps getting invited to one work call after another, and so my somewhat flexible work schedule means I’m doing a lot more of the parenting during the day.
My prime working hours end up being after the kids are in bed, when I finally get some quiet time where I can focus. I can still get some work done during the day, but if there’s any work that needs lots of concentration, it will have to wait until then (unless my husband lucks out and can get out of hours of meetings so he can be with the kids while I find a quiet place to work in the house. But the kids still try to seek me out.)
But I’m not really okay with sending my kids to daycare. For every article claiming that “the kids will be fine”, I see plenty more pointing out how much we still don’t know about this disease, and its long term effects. We can’t guarantee that the kids will be fine, and we definitely can’t guarantee that they won’t transmit the virus to each other, the teachers and staff, or family members when they get back home.
I’m afraid for all my family and friends who are teachers, who may be forced to go back to working in the schools before it’s safe. I’m afraid for everyone who could be exposed to this virus unnecessarily because “we have to send them to school no matter what”.
And I completely understand that so many parents are trying to figure out what to do, and may have no choice but to send their kids to school. They need to work, the kids need care and teaching.
And many of you who have followed me for awhile know how pro-daycare I am. When we had our second kid, we still felt it was the right choice to send them to daycare, after considering the financial, emotional, and social impacts.
But right now I’m still trying to figure out how we can continue to “power through”. I know it’s not sustainable, and I’ve been finding myself burning out. In “normal times” I’d be sending them to daycare. But these are not normal times. There’s a highly contagious virus out there that we could catch. It could make us very sick. Or worse. Or we could transmit it to others who could fare worse than us.
So, what’s our plan when they send out the “welcome back!” email?
I have no idea.