Quarantine Chronicles: Shaming

If you had told me that I would be getting shamed for simply bringing my kids to a grocery store this year. I would have said you were nuts. 

People need to eat. That’s just common sense. When you aren’t allowed to have a babysitter and don’t have a partner in your life, what is a single parent going to do during a health pandemic? You might say the simple answer would be to order groceries. Truth is, I would too. I also have been. I have gone out a total of three times since I’ve been in self isolation with my children for almost two months now. I’ve had to go to the grocery store twice and I had to run to the pharmacy once. I don’t think any of that is unreasonable. I don’t see family or friends, I don’t go out. I even try not to go in the back of my building so the kids can run around. Simply because I don’t want them touching everything on the way down. It’s nerve wracking. I love my kids, I do nothing but try to do what is best for them. Coincidentally, what is best for them is being able to eat.

I have been doing grocery orders. Suddenly, the service never has delivery dates for my postal code. I suspect because it is a building. As the people close by in houses do have delivery options. I have found a workaround for now by using another address but I shouldn’t have to and it makes things more difficult. There was a couple of weeks in between figuring that out and not being able to get groceries unless I physically went to the store. Trust me, two growing bored boys eat a lot. 

We went early and I had my youngest in the stroller. He normally won’t sit in one anymore but I wanted to ensure he stayed safe and away from people. I didn’t want him to be touching things and I knew I needed to concentrate. I wanted to be in and out as fast as I could with as minimal contact as I could manage. My youngest sat nicely in the stroller for the trip, my oldest stayed with me. I was impressed with the way the outing was going. 

Despite all my precautions and good intentions I was told by someone in the store that I shouldn’t be bringing the kids in. I have no doubt that she had good intentions. I have no doubt she said it out of care and concern.Truthfully, I appreciate her care and the fact that she wants us to stay healthy. I’m happy that she seems to be taking this health pandemic seriously. What she failed to realize is, I am too. What I’m not happy about is that it wasn’t any of her business. I had no other option to get the food I needed ( and I can’t carry much with myself, two kids, and a stroller) so that my children and myself can eat and stay healthy. Dealing with all of this alone, with no reprieve or help, on top of all the stress of going out, and from everything else going on in my life and the world… it isn’t easy. It isn’t fun. 

I can tell you I didn’t appreciate the way her comments made me feel.  I knew I was doing the right thing. I was also doing it to the best of my ability. Her comments still added a ton of stress to me, they upset me. They confused my oldest and upset him a little. I know that it should be easy to brush aside but it isn’t. It made me not want to go back in there even if I had to. I haven’t been back since because I’ve luckily figured out a way to get groceries brought to me. Which is obviously better than having 3 people go out for them. At a time like this, making people feel bad for doing something they have to do is just wrong.   

The last thing I want to be doing right now is leaving the safety of my home. Not because I am an over anxious mess but because I want to ensure our safety and keep those vulnerable around me safe. I want to be able to have a normal Christmas. I want to be able to have a break and breathe. I won’t be able to do that until this is over. I worry about those people in my life who are at risk. It happens that most of the people I am close with in my life are people that wouldn’t do well if they caught covid. I’m not even sure I would do well, although I am young I do have health issues. That is a little scary.

I think it is important for us to recognize that this is a hard time for people. As humans, we aren’t made to be isolated. Humans are social creatures. We thrive with others. Our mental health deteriorates without human contact.  Not only is there isolation happening, there are so many layers to the stress that this is bringing everyone. Financially, emotionally, medically, physically, and even spiritually. The quote, “ We are all in this together” that has been a trending message during quarantine seems perfectly fitting. We really are. What we all do now, and always but it is more readily evident right now, affects everyone. When you decide to break a quarantine to visit family for Easter or whatever else, you’re risking other people’s and your lives. Not only in a health related manner but you’re potentially adding on to the amount of time we need to be in isolation. You’re adding to the stress of everyone else. 

With that being said we do have to be mindful that not everyone is in the same situation. People like me who don’t have other options for childcare right now might have to bring their children out to grab some groceries. Food is essential. We need to be more mindful that people may not be handling this well. Check in on those around you. Whether that is a phone call, video call, text, email, or even leaving a note on their door (if you happen to be taking a walk or out doing something essential). For Easter my neighbour left some chocolate at my door for the kids. It was a nice gesture. Shortly, when we go to throw the garbage out, since her apartment is on the way to do that, I’m going to get the kids to leave a little treat and thank you note and picture at her door. I know it will brighten her day.

For those of you struggling right now, my heart is with you. I think in the coming days I will keep up with the quarantine related posts. There is so much that can be said and there are so many avenues to tackle this from. Today, I just wanted to tell you all something that happened and speak to it because it felt like an important message to get out. Stay strong, safe, healthy, and be kind. 

How are you handling quarantine with your little ones? Comment below and let me know!

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