Since the beginning of this pandemic, I've been very vocal about how hard this is for working parents. I got to a point last week where I thought I might break. I just don't know how anyone is managing to continue to do this and stay sane. The most frustrating part of this entire thing is just how fortunate my situation really is. My husband and I are still fully employed with no income loss, which is starting to put us in the minority of Americans. We have ample outside space which we utilize constantly, and our neighborhood is sparsely populated enough that we feel comfortable going on walks. We even live close enough to a large distribution center for Amazon and haven't had to go to the grocery store once. We haven't even had anyone in our family become sick with the virus. We're so lucky. This is still really hard.
I was talking to my mother about this last week. She is a constant source of support for me, and we seem to be riding the ups and downs of this whole experience together. She was experiencing the same guilt that I was. Her situation is different, but she feels that same guilt. I know hers is amplified because she sees me struggling to balance all of this and can't physically help. I've been telling her and myself what I would tell anyone in this situation: Your privileged does not negate your struggle. You can be having a hard time and still be so utterly grateful for the work that everyone is doing to allow you that comfort and safety.
The thing I want to have most this week is empathy. I spent a lot of last week being furious at the idea that people were going back out into the world. That anger did nothing for me. It just amplified the feelings of fatigue and stress that have been building over the past two months. I think we as young parents need to have empathy for those in my parents' generation. While we may fear for our parents' lives, I know it must be so difficult for the baby boomers whose parents are still alive, because not only are they at an immense risk, most of the country seems to find their lives expendable. When this virus first began, it seemed as though many in America, especially those in my age group, did not give this situation the gravity it deserved because we thought it only affected elderly people. I admit I was guilty of this, and the longer this has gone on, the more I see that it was an ignorant and incorrect way of thinking. Of course, we know now that this virus spreads and affects the bodies in ways we don't understand, and it affects all age groups in varying degrees.
The elderly in our country are not a dispensable generation, and we should never think of them in that way. Every life in this country is a precious one, and we shouldn't pay less heed to this situation just because we don't think our age group can be affected. Because my age range has high levels of asymptomatic carriers, I'm acutely aware that while my direct actions may not result in hospitalization for me, it might hurt someone else. So, again, stay home.