I just turned it off one day. It was too much. I could no longer consume, react, and mourn the rancorous dissension filling up my social media feeds and nightly newscasts. To mask or not to mask, to reopen restaurants and bars or not, to social distance or stay quarantined – it was all taking its toll. And then I read an article that by turning it all off I was exercising again my white privilege – leading to more helplessness.
Now it is back-to-school time. I read posts like “Kids. Need. School,” and I want to engage. Who is saying kids don’t need school??? I crave going point and counterpoint to flush out my frustrations and ignore the hard, real life decisions I am faced with.
How will I keep my high schoolers healthy when even half of the alphabet in-school still means more kids than my entire high school held at full capacity? How will I continue to combat the “but so and so’s parents are letting them?” How will I stay corona free so I can continue managing my small business with a new potential risk every time my kids come home?
I know from Facebook that I am not alone in this fatigue. But I have an added layer causing me stress. I do not share a household with my children’s father where they transition to half of their time. Not only do I not share a household, but I do not share a relationship with him either – thereby creating a whole host of additional unknowns about what my children are being exposed to on a regular basis.
My co-parent and I have minimal communication on COVID issues at best. I am faced with their father who doesn’t find it necessary to engage in conversations about consistency within our households and he will do it his way and I can do it my way. And that ends with a period.
Co-parents across the country are dealing with identical struggles:
- One parent requiring masks, while the other parent disparages the practice;
- One parent gung-ho about baseball opening up and the other distressed every time the team huddles close together with their faces inches apart;
- One parent wanting a test with every sniffle and the other waiting for other signs of symptoms.
These are but a few examples of what divorced or separated parents are experiencing with no real end in sight. Courts are refusing to weigh in and are leaving the parenting to the parents.
The only remedy truly available to all parents is to focus on that which is within their control and surrender to the rest. Focus on what you can control and surrender to the rest. This has become a morning mantra for me. These words are used to soothe my ruffled spirits and angry hot spots when they flare up. COVID is teaching us all a lesson about what we cannot control. But we have a choice to focus on what we can control. I hope in this multiple-choice test of life I am making the right one.