There Is No Good Choice

good choice

We frequently talk with our kids about making good choices. Evaluate the pros and cons, and make the good choice. But what if there isn’t one? What if all the choices just suck?

Welcome to pandemic parenting.

Right now, it’s about schools. I could send my kids to school for the sake of their mental health. I could keep them home to do virtual school for the sake of their physical health. If I send them to school, I get to have my job. I get my alone time back and my mental health. If I keep them home, we can still see our grandparents. I can reduce their exposure and, therefore, my anxiety. If I send them to school, we get to keep our community and whatever is left of the school activities we love. If they stay home, we are minimizing the effect on our family when schools are inevitably closed for weeks due to an exposure.

There is no good choice.

But it feels like this plays out in everything I do. My mind is flooded with options, and at the end of the list, there is no winner.

If I get a babysitter for a few hours, I can catch up on what is left of my job. If I get a babysitter, I can’t guarantee she isn’t exposing our family.

There is no good choice.

If I make the trip to Costco, I am adding another possible point of exposure. If I order Costco through Instacart, I am paying so much more for the same items.

There is no good choice.

If I let him go to the class birthday party, I am adding more risk of exposure. If I don’t let him go to the party, he misses out on quality time with new friends yet again.

There is no good choice.

If we take a planned beach vacation with safety precautions including masks and extreme distancing, we get to make memories during a season of endless disappointments. But then we have to quarantine for 14 days when we return and stay isolated from our friends.

There is no good choice.

If I keep all of our regular dentist, doctor, and therapy appointments, we are keeping up on important aspects of our health. But, we’re also adding more points of exposure.

There is no good choice.

If we play at the park, we get some much needed play time outside of our house. If we play at the playground and some kid gets too close, is it worth the risk?

There is no good choice.

COVID-19 has stripped me of my confidence as a parent. I question every decision, every potential risk and then sit with the guilt of the choice I made, wondering if the next 14 days will make me regret it. We are being asked to be socially responsible and community-focused, while still protecting our own kids’ physical and mental health. And don’t forget about your marriage. Oh, and take care of yourself, too.

All choices come with benefits and risks. But during pandemic parenting, the risks could mean a breakdown in mental health, serious financial consequences, or exposure to a virus that has killed more than half a million people worldwide.

We’re told to make the best decision for our family.

But what if there is no good choice?

***

This piece originally appeared at Kansas City Mom Collective, published with permission.

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Sarah McGinnity
Sarah is a Kansas City mama to three, Enneagram 1 and owner of Kansas City Mom Collective, www.kansascitymomcollective.com. She frequently finds herself in charge of things she doesn't remember signing up for like the school auction, Cub Scout leader, camp volunteer and neighborhood party coordinator. She loves running, sweet tea and traveling, but never to the same place twice. You can follow her on Instagram at @Sarah_mcginnity.