April 13th. Seriously, it was a Friday the 13th that felt like the last day of normal in my world. I work for a nursing home so we had already started restricting a lot of visitation and had begun screening employees as they came in, but that was the day that we announced the end of visitation from families. It sucked! We were fortunate that most of our families were understanding, but when I walked around the building to inform people that it was time for them to leave, I felt like a horrible person. That was probably the moment the weight of being essential really hit me.
I have a very conflicted relationship with being labeled essential. Yes, I work in a nursing home, but I do not provide care to the residents. I have an administrative role, which usually has me out and about in the community and bouncing around hospitals and medical clinics. I have not been doing any of that since April 13th. My role has become a helper in all sorts of different spots in the building. I work a smart phone so my residents can do video chats with loved ones, I sit at the front and screen all employees coming in and leaving work, I help with employee appreciation events to keep morale up, and I still make some visits to medical offices, but only to drop things off and run away.
So how does this translate to being a bad mom? It means I'm doing about the same as I was before this all started. I still get up and come to work every day, then I get home and try to have some quality time with my guy. The differences are that I go straight to the shower when I get home and do not allow my son near me until I've done that, and that I try to take over all of the parenting for the evening because my husband has been being all the parent all day. I am so fortunate to have a parenting and life partner that is as amazing as my husband is. His world changed about the same time mine did when his classes all went online. Unfortunately our son's schoolwork did the exact same thing, so the amazing dad in the house has navigated his work and kept our son engaged, educated, and emotionally balanced. This is not easy on any of us, but he makes it look effortless. Since being at home my little guy has excelled in all of his school work and my husband deserves all of the credit.
I feel a lot of emotions around not being there to help with the day to day. I've stayed home a few days to help take the burden off of my husband when he has a project that needs a little more attention than he can easily split with our son's work. On those days I'm even more in awe of how much the guys are getting done. They have worked out a good mix of screen education, physical activity, and outdoor adventure. When I help, we break out a little more art and craft, but that is more my interest than anything. I wish I could be home with them more, but a lot of my work needs me to be in the facility for now. The highlight of my day is hugs from the guys as we wind down for the evening.
Even as the restrictions relax a bit, my guys are holding steady at home. Soon we will celebrate the end of my son's Kindergarten career, but he will launch straight into first grade because he needs the structure for his mental well-being, plus that kid is a sponge who just sucks up new information with amazing eagerness. I am hopeful that he will be able to attend some sort of summer camp in the coming months, but only time will tell. For all the parents out there navigating this, you are doing a good job no matter what your role is. This sucks! It will continue to suck for a while, but we will survive.
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