‘My son grabs my hand and cheers, ‘I had a good day!’ I look back at his teacher and I can tell, behind her mask, she is smiling too.’: Pandemic mom says ‘we had to choose between two wrongs’

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“I’m a pandemic mom and I’m just barely hanging on.

It’s 2:15 P.M. and I’m currently using my lunch break to pick up my son from school. Week two of school has been eventless, by some miracle, but as I’m sitting in the car waiting for the school bell to ring, I feel panic rise in me. My heart is beating right out of my chest and my leg starts to tremble.

‘Why am I panicked?’ I think to myself. Is it because my son’s about to walk out of the school door and I’m nervously excited to hear about his day? Or is it because I scrolled the local news this morning and four more local schools reported confirmed cases of COVID today?

My friend Liz described it as ‘people choosing between keeping their kids safe by staying home with them and keeping their kids safe by earning an income to feed and house them,’ and I’ve never felt so seen.

I get out of the car and walk to the school to wait for my son’s classroom door to open. I stand by other parents scattered across the lawn. Some look at their phones while others look around to try to recognize friends with faces half covered by masks.

The door opens and my son comes out, looking around eagerly. Our eyes lock and he comes bolting for me with eyes gleaming. He grabs my hand and uses my free hand to take his lunchbox.

‘I had a good day,’ he cheers as he starts walking, gently pulling me along without even a pausing breath.

I look back at the teacher who waves at me and I can tell behind her mask she is smiling too. And I think, just for a moment, or maybe even for today, I made the right choice.

And I remember to hang on to this moment. Because this feeling ebbs and flows as fast as the weather in my town: ‘If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.’ Because, like every parent, I had to make a choice this school year between two wrongs. And this is the very essence of pandemic parenting. Having to choose between two wrongs. And waiting…wondering when the weather will change.” 

Courtesy of Celeste Yvonne

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Celeste Yvonne of The Ultimate Mom Challenge. You can follow her journey on InstagramSubmit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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