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As things get back to “normal” (until they aren’t again, right?!), we are a family that has been extremely cautious throughout the pandemic because of a wave of changes our family experienced over the past two years (pregnancy then baby). A lot of unknowns left us sitting at home with just each other – A LOT. And I’m sure a lot of families were in the same boat.
Now, things are opening up, mandates are being lifted, there’s a lot more information, and Covid numbers are receding. My kids want to do more and mama wants to do more! I’m pretty confident in the safety of us doing “normal” things but there are so many emotions tied to them.
Sometimes I feel guilty about doing things I haven’t been able to do the past few years. Our bubble was a safe space, but it’s time for us to venture out more. It’s important for all of our mental health. But I feel a wave of emotions with each step towards normalcy. I’d love to know any coping techniques as other parents and caregivers move forward, too.
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The Covid pandemic has made us hyper aware of the potential for unseen danger and so it's completely understandable that the idea of returning to any kind of normalcy comes with a multitude of emotion. In many places, the virus and the protections against it have been politicized which can make re-establishing social interactions nerve wracking.
I have experienced this same hesitancy in resuming pre-pandemic activities and so I empathise with how you feel. What helped me was to remember that as humans, we are a resilient and adaptable species. As we learn new things, we are able to change our behavior. In the same way that we were able to do the things required to protect us during the pandemic, we will make the changes required to live in a world where Covid is present. I acknowledged that not everyone perceives things in the same way and so people may have different views as to what precautions or protections are still required. I make my decisions based on what I believe is in the best interests of my family. I assess the risks and benefits of each activity and then do what feels comfortable for me.
Rather than feeling guilty, I think we should all take a moment to acknowledge that we have lived through a collective trauma (which is still not completely over) and that having conflicting emotions is perfectly normal in a time like this.
I think each family needs to approach this in the best way they feel comfortable. For us, we are still not going out to pubs or clubs to socialise but are instead preferring to have more smaller events at home or friends houses. This way we can keep it small and control who is there. Some people are more at risk than others so I think its a very individual thing but over time it will get more comfortable as well.
It's easy to get caught up in the politics behind what has been happening in the whole world. I agree that you should go at your own pace, and make the decisions which will be the best for your family.
There are places where we still prefer to wear a mask, like the grocery store or medical office. But if we are going to spend time at a park or a farmer's market, we will usually not wear one. Hanging out with like-minded friends, where we know vaccine status and precautions like ours are the same, we are comfortable without masks.
I think it's important to remember that every family is different and has their own ideals. Don't feel stigmatized for continuing to wear a mask, and don't feel guilty if you choose not to. I think, as a whole, we are becoming better educated and respectful of each other's choices.
COVID 19 has changed our perspectives, emotions and feelings. We have become more cautious, careful (rather fearful) and anxious. At the same time, it has made us more grateful, mindful and caring.
Last two years were difficult for all of us. We have tried our best to protect our dear ones with utmost responsibility. In return, we have cherished countless happy moments with our family.
Staying at home, limiting our social activities, working from home, home schooling our little one,, all this was unimaginable before pandemic, but we adapted according to the circumstances.
Similarly, now that things are going back to normal, don’t worry or feel guilty. Just go with the flow and make a gradual transition. Start going to places where there are less people and you feel safer. Gradually, go back to your pre-pandemic routine in a step-by-step manner.
You have done the right things in the most difficult days of pandemic for your family. Go gradually, trust me you will do just RIGHT this time too.
My only advice is to move at your pace. Don't be afraid to say yes or no to a social engagement for whatever reason you may have. It's ok. We all feel weird. Some days I don't feel like my kid is safe in Ikea even though I went out to a bar with some friends the night before. There's no rhyme or reason to our emotions right now, but the bottom line is, we have been practicing safe behavior for 2 years now. We know how to stay safe. It's ok to test the waters around that. Just don't put yourself or your family in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable and don't be afraid to be open and honest with the people on whom you frequently have to cancel. The last thing we need right now is guilt.