Being a mom is hard. I knew it would be challenging, but the reward was worth the risk. But what no one knew was how hard it would be to be a mom during a pandemic.
Thought your decisions were judged before this? These days, you literally cannot win.
The convos go a little something like this:
Don’t even think about sending your kid back to school this fall. Are you trying to spread this even more? You’re not sending your kid back to school? Are you crazy? You know this is all a hoax, right? If you send your kid to school, you must make them wear a mask. Why would you ever make your child suffer with a mask on for seven hours a day? What kind of mom are you?
Oh, I get it. You need school for childcare. Why don’t you just quit your job and stay home with your kids? You are perfectly capable of teaching them yourself. Bills will always be there, but this time in their school life is crucial. You better not quit your job. You can work all day and teach all evening — it’s fine, you will be fine, everything is fine.
You let your kids play with the neighborhood kids? You do know how risky that is, right? Oh come on, why are you keeping your kids locked up still? No one is. One little play date will not hurt.
You left your kids overnight with a sitter? And where did you go? How many people were you around? Did you wear a mask? You know you have to quarantine now for 14 days. You guys seriously have not done anything for months. Sometimes, parents need breaks too. Just come for one evening away.
Wait, you took your kid out to eat at a restaurant? I hope they wore a mask the whole time — even while they were eating. You haven’t even let your kids have a Happy Meal in months — let loose a little bit, you aren’t going to get it from the wrapper.
You must have your kid strip down and bathe every single night to wash all the COVID off of them. This is the only way to make sure everyone is safe. Your kids have gone swimming three days in a row — that’s like three baths — they don’t even need to get in the tub with soap.
Public pool? Do you know how many germs are there? You are part of the problem. When are you going to loosen up a bit — they sanitize constantly. Really, it is fine to enjoy your summer a little bit.
I cannot believe you are going to the gym. You do know that fitness centers are like the worst place for this, right? How dare you risk your family’s health for your fitness and mental well-being. You know, if you get in better shape, you are less likely to have complications with COVID-19 — you really should make time to work out.
You let your child go back to extracurriculars? It’s way too soon. You have no idea what those other kids or their parents have been exposed to. I can’t believe you won’t let her go back to gymnastics — I mean, they check temperatures and keep the class sizes down. You are surely overreacting.
You have been out of antibacterial wipes for weeks now? What are you wiping everything down with? How do you even bring your groceries in? If you don’t stop wiping everything down and getting out a bit, you will have absolutely no immune system when all of this is over and will easily get every virus under the sun — especially COVID-19 — probably more than once.
There has never before been a time where I absolutely had no idea what to do as a mother.
Regardless of what decisions I make, there are several insisting that I am making the wrong one. I am actually convinced that there is no worse time to be a mother.
Each parental decision we make right now is exceptionally hard — and one that we as mothers have to live with. I don’t know the right answer. But, honestly, neither do you.
Before COVID-19, parenting was already hard. And now, it seems almost impossible. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just respect each other’s fears or lack thereof during this time and support one another? I could use a lot more of that.
Maybe our opinions and decisions don’t align on all things, but that’s OK. This is a judge-free zone. I will love you regardless. You do you, Mama. And I will do me. And, God willing, one day, we will get back to where being a mother isn’t quite this hard.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.