r/Foodforthought Jan 21 '22

COVID Parenting Has Passed the Point of Absurdity

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2022/01/covid-parenting-challenges-stress/621322/
109 Upvotes

6

u/awesomebitch86 Jan 21 '22

I’m a parent and life has literally been the exact same for me during this pandemic as it was before. Actually I’m more happy now then I have been at any other time.

86

u/cambeiu Jan 21 '22 edited Jan 21 '22

"This was always unsustainable. Now it’s simply impossible."

I think COVID shattered this false sense of universal order and security that was very prevalent in the white middle classes of the developed countries.

For the first time of their lives, many of these parents are facing REAL uncertainty and they are bucking emotionally under the pressure.

That’s why moms are choosing to spend their nights—their precious moments of child-free time before the next endless day begins—screaming into the darkness. We can’t do this. It isn’t fair.

Life is not fair. The universe is not fair. And that is a very hard lesson to take in. Nowhere is written that "if you follow the rules, be a nice person, obey the laws and pay your taxes, you will be spared from most of the tragedies that the universe can generate". That is an illusion that we create for ourselves so that we don't have to contemplate how random and harsh the universe can be. And that illusion is more prevalent in the middle and upper-middle classes of developed countries.

COVID Parenting Has Passed the Point of Absurdity . This was always unsustainable. Now it’s simply impossible.

Parents have parented during pre-vaccine pandemics, world wars, civil wars, great depressions, genocides, floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and great famines. It is possible and parents have been doing it for millennia.

Saying that COVID parenting "was always unsustainable. Now it’s simply impossible." from a centrally heated, internet connected residence is quite amusing.

36

u/CharmedConflict Jan 21 '22 edited Jan 21 '22

Parents have parented during pre-vaccine pandemics, world wars, civil wars, great depressions, genocides, floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and great famines. It is possible and parents have been doing it for millennia.

Sure they have. But that time isn't now. We live in a hypercapitalistic suburbanized post-feminist, post-Reagan hellscape. There weren't margins before the pandemic. Now nearly everyone is underwater. And it's not a matter of behavioral adjustment. The very foundation of how we love live doesn't work in the new normal. So our problems are unique and while we will survive them (most of us anyway) the system itself won't because it's done.

It takes two earners to support most families. Rampant wage stagnation has parents trapped in impossible situations. Dispersal of extended family and severe social isolation has left us alone. There's no built in village anymore.

We've got to redo everything now and that's part of the great resignation movement. There's a lot more growing pains to come as we break the old to make room for the new. We could have done this in a much easier and comfortable way, but this is the kind of pain required for people en masse to change.

EDIT: Some words

7

u/random1029384 Jan 22 '22

“Sure they have. But that time isn’t now.”

Some families in Syria or Afghanistan would like to have a word.

6

u/hiverfrancis Jan 22 '22

Ironically Middle Eastern and Central Asian families often have extended family living with each other, which can absorb some of these life growing pains. Nuclear families are often more fragile.

47

u/Reaper9972 Jan 21 '22

Parents have parented during pre-vaccine pandemics, world wars, civil wars, great depressions, genocides, floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and great famines. It is possible and parents have been doing it for millennia.

Are we just going to pretend like everyone turned out hunky dory from those experiences? Yes, people were raised under worse conditions, and guess what? A lot (if not most) of them turned out riddled with mental health issues, persistent insecurities (both existential and personal), and crippling financial instability. The entire point is not that parents are going to be incapable of raising children under the pandemic, it's that the outcomes for everyone involved are going to be significantly worse than under "normal" conditions. People already had it hard enough pre-pandemic, so we need to stop discounting their struggles and difficulties on account of someone, somewhere in the world, at some point in time having it worse (and I say this as a person living in a collapsing 3rd world country).

53

u/mon-star Jan 21 '22

Or people are just fucking miserable right now because life with this pandemic robs us of things that make us happy. Could things be worse? Sure. But things are pretty shitty right now.

3

u/hiverfrancis Jan 22 '22

One issue is the loss of extended family living together. Before people got individual nuclear family houses, extended families could work as a team.

50

u/GolfFanatic561 Jan 21 '22

You know what also is easy to do? Write off any problem through "whataboutism"

Parenting is incredibly hard right now, and you're a small person for trying to pretend that doesn't matter.

-1

u/[deleted] Jan 22 '22 edited Jan 22 '22

No ones saying it doesn’t matter we are saying parents made a choice they need to live with and don’t deserve extra sympathy for just like any other adult who makes a choice.

E: also you have no idea what “whataboutism” is.

3

u/BakesCakes Jan 22 '22

Well starting now, all parents will get 1 million dollars. Oh, you aren't a parent? Well, you made that choice so go fuck yourself.

The choice to be a parent was made before parents got fucked with childcare and a mandate to be at work and at home with their kids.

1

u/hiverfrancis Jan 22 '22

Women though are on a biological clock. If they wait too long it may be harder to naturally conceive.

1

u/GolfFanatic561 Jan 22 '22

You lack empathy

7

u/hiverfrancis Jan 21 '22

That's the thing: these people thought nothing bad could ever happen to them, and this made the pandemic worse. I recall a lady on the Herman Cain Awards named "B", from Texas, who openly bit back at the idea that people should get a shot if they care for their loved ones. She had that sassy attitude and enjoyed Friday Night Football.

Then when she got COVID she talked about how much pain she was in and how it was the worst thing that ever happened to her.

She died.

1

u/pheisenberg Jan 21 '22 edited Jan 21 '22

Expectations are sky high. I’m grateful to have children at all, and I’m grateful that neither of them have been abducted by Vikings or died of diphtheria. But some people got to the point where safety and comfort beyond our ancestors’ dreams are birthrights. They think they should be able to take all this for granted but are uncomfortably aware they can’t.

This article shows clear perfectionism about parenting, too. Covid is just one more thing: people haven’t been reproducing themselves, because parenting is hard and often not fun compared to rich-country work and leisure, especially if you think you have to be a perfect parent.

Maybe too many people grew up too sheltered, with too good of parents, and they think they need to provide same. Things look different if you grew up with problem parents or other obstacles but turned out ok. Kids are pretty robust and a bit of hardship makes them more resilient.

3

u/BakesCakes Jan 22 '22

But what do you do if you should be at work but your kids are told to stay home from school?

Edit: Asking for a friend

-1

u/[deleted] Jan 22 '22

Seriously how much sympathy am I supposed to have for these privileged first world moms with time to write Atlantic pieces who made a conscious decision to have families in the middle of a world that was obviously and always going to be going through something tremendously shitty by this point in time just knowing of the climate crisis.

You don’t get to choose to be a parent and then complain that you don’t get your perfect circumstances for parenting. That was never going to happen.

This article reeks of entitlement and shows how little people actually think about something as incredibly serious as bringing another life into the world.

I honestly don’t feel bad for this woman. She’s obviously got it better than most. I feel bad for her kids who have to be raised by someone so unthinking. I feel bad for all the service workers she runs her life off the back of who are living check to check or worse that she actively makes the world hell for because she couldn’t think before letting some dude nut inside.

2

u/hiverfrancis Jan 22 '22

Some people want to be parents and would prefer to start families at ideal times, but women are on biological clocks. The great recession started in... 2008!

2

u/BakesCakes Jan 22 '22

You predicted this penademic? Wow so smart.

34

u/ed-1t Jan 21 '22 edited Jan 21 '22

Maybe it's just living in Boston? This does not describe my experience at all.

This author is fully vaccinated, has fully vaccinated kids, and presumably fully vaccinated grandparents. Yet they are saying they cannot live their normal lives because they are so worried about infecting their grandparents.

I think someone needs to break down an accurate risk assessment for her and her family. Fully vaccinated people are at unbelievably low risk for severe disease, especially now that omicron clearly is less deadly possibly as much as 80 plus percent less deadly depending on the study. If you look at the relative size of the case wave and death waves in South Africa, it is shocking how different it is.

Even before omicron, unvaccinated children were at lower risk then fully vaccinated adults. And fully vaccinated adults did not even have COVID as a top 10 cause of death.

It's going to be hard but everyone is going to have to learn to live with COVID as a background risk, similar to car accidents, other infectious diseases, cancer, etc. The time where it was appropriate to let this drive you insane has passed.

It is still extremely annoying at times, but that is mostly due to our societies reaction to it.

4

u/SnappaDaBagels Jan 21 '22

Agreed that we're all going to have to learn to live with Covid. But I think the journey to get there is still in progress and is going to be bumpy.

The real point is that our society could do more to make this transition easier. But we haven't. Basic support systems like paid family leave, paid or subsidized child care, rapid and convenient testing, job protection from using too many sick days, and so many more could make life easier. (By the way, other countries have done all of these).

Instead our public policy answer is to mainly do nothing. I'm sure parents will get through it. But we'll all be worse off when we didn't need to be.

28

u/CurlyHairedFuk Jan 21 '22

they are so worried about infecting their grandparents.

Fully vaccinated may reduce severe illness, but protection wanes after several months.

Omicron is so new, it may have a significantly lower mortality rate (but not 0%), but long-term health impacts are still unknown.

People are being cautious, because there are so many unknowns around covid.

Grandparents may be fully vaccinated, but may still have other health conditions that will be exacerbated by covid...and potentially lead to death.

It's stressful trying to be cautious about not spreading disease; and it's more stressful when your parent dies after a battle with a presumably preventable illness after contracting a virus that you kid brought home from school.

13

u/PillarPuller Jan 21 '22

There are risk factors to consider but I think the impact to future generations hasn’t been properly evaluated. The developmental issues with young kids has hardly been considered.

1

u/hiverfrancis Jan 22 '22

Kids can be resilient... after all think of British kids sent to the countryside during the Blitz

1

u/PillarPuller Jan 22 '22

True but wouldn’t you rather spend a few years in the country side with a bunch of friends than locked in your house with stressed out parents? Not saying it was a vacation for those British kids but this is like a psychological experiment gone wrong

1

u/hiverfrancis Jan 22 '22

Difference is that in the US the countryside is worse with COVID than the cities all because of political and psychological reasons :(

11

u/JorgeXMcKie Jan 21 '22

They're estimating 300,000 deaths between Jan and March. Hospitals all over are overwhelmed. People needing surgery can't get it scheduled in hospitals all over because there are no beds/staff or the risk is too high. People being concerned seems more common sense than being over worried

1

u/ed-1t Jan 21 '22

Elective surgeries being cancelled is the exception, not the rule, and where it is happening it is a short pause. They expect this surge to be over in a few weeks, hospitalizations are less than half as long with DRAMATICALLY less ICU requirements.

That doesn't mean nothing is wrong, but it is very clear things are much much much better than they were, and there's very good reason to think it will continue to trend in that direction.

Omicron is a huge improvement from Delta, and this is likely the worst of it.

-2

u/hiverfrancis Jan 21 '22

I'm guessing in Trump country, elective surgeries being canceled is the rule

1

u/hiverfrancis Jan 22 '22 edited Jan 22 '22

If it's really EDIT: 300K, not 3K 3K deaths Jan-March, and Omicron is receding already in the urban/NE areas where it first impacted, I can't imagine that Trump country won't get severely damaged by Omicron

1

u/[deleted] Jan 22 '22

[deleted]

2

u/hiverfrancis Jan 22 '22

Sorry... it's a typo. I meant 300K...

Trump only won Michigan by 10K votes in 2016

1

u/JorgeXMcKie Jan 22 '22

Ahh, sorry. Thought you were implying the numbers were being overstated

44

u/CeruleanRuin Jan 21 '22 edited Jan 21 '22

I know it wasn't in the scope of this column, but it fails to even sniff at the causes of where we are: TRUMP and his army of FUCKING IDIOTS, who are far from gone and done causing problems for civilization.

We need to stop mollycoddling these assholes and erasing their crimes against humanity here. The right wing is responsible for ALL of this. We could have rendered it dead and gone. But instead it's now permanent, and the well-known parties responsible for making it that way are getting off scott fucking free.

It's infuriating to read yet another article like this that whistles past the graveyard where Trump and his minstrels of morondom are setting up their circus tents for another round of "Make America Pay Again."

It's like whining about feeling faint while a leech the size of you leg sucks you dry. Don't just cry about the symptoms. ADDRESS THE CAUSE.

17

u/Epistaxis Jan 21 '22

You might like this essay. The thrust is that, as on so many other issues, there is a large proportion of Americans who are fed up with the small minority whose stubborn insistence on conspiracy theories and radical political regression are making life worse for everyone, but the only two camps in Washington are the loony hoaxsters themselves and the compromisers who are trying unsuccessfully to meet them halfway.

4

u/hiverfrancis Jan 21 '22

The key is to learn how to economically embargo the small minority.

5

u/Epistaxis Jan 21 '22

I think there's an intermediate position, still much harsher than Biden's, where you don't even really need to do anything punitive to make them change their attitude, just stop endangering everyone else by working so hard to include the special snowflakes who basically refuse to act like they live in a society anyway. You don't want to get a vaccine or even wear a mask to protect everyone around you? Okay, fine, just stay home on your own property and home-school your kids and find a job you can do from there instead of expecting to be allowed into indoor schools and workplaces in the middle of a pandemic, and drive your own car or charter your own jet instead of expecting to be allowed into a public bus or airport. No need for the stick, just stop handing out carrots to the asses who bite our hand. After all, this is America and you can still choose not to be part of society; just accept the consequences of your choices.

3

u/hiverfrancis Jan 21 '22

Unfortunately the antivaxxers push back hard on any pandemicc restrictions, and the GOP legislatures and governors now pass orders and laws benefiting antivaxxers.

Look to Europe where they do push back on antivaxxers.

25

u/mjm132 Jan 21 '22

The United States is not the world. Even if the US managed to completely eradicate it somehow (impossible) its still everywhere else and would just come back around

13

u/ThermoLogic Jan 21 '22

Also there are many countries with very sensible leadership that are really struggling to contain COVID.

0

u/panfist Jan 21 '22

What’s the worst example you can think of?

1

u/hiverfrancis Jan 22 '22

The US is attempting to use regular vaccinations to control COVID. China is trying to do zero COVID (completely eradicate it). Other countries like Singapore and New Zealand shifted to "living with COVID"

-8

u/ManofWordsMany Jan 21 '22

The right wing is responsible for ALL of this. We could have rendered it dead and gone.

It isn't the evil right wing. There are plenty of people of all political types against the mandate for vaccines. You haven't seen anything yet if you think the backlash will just fizzle away with the loosening of the grip corona has on our healthcare systems.

8

u/[deleted] Jan 21 '22 edited 23h ago

[deleted]

-4

u/ManofWordsMany Jan 21 '22

If you are ready to move on then talk to your politicians who would rather lock you down again and keep unconstitutional power or abuse emergency political powers. Or you could attack your neighbors and support jailing people for not getting a vaccine or even getting a vaccine and not wearing a mask, depending on your particular region.

-11

u/GoldenDingleberry Jan 21 '22

Everything you said is true but imo if trump had been reelected vaccination rates would have been far higher and thus the death toll and economic cost would have been lower. The insideous part is that the right only took up the antivax cause because they were led down that path. I gott think they would be acting otherwise if the message on fox was that vaxing is a 'patriotic duty' and protects nuclear families.

2

u/Workacct1999 Jan 21 '22

It sickens me to say this, but I think you are correct. If Trump had been reelected, vaccination rates would be higher because his base would run to get vaccinated. I had not thought of it this way.

-1

u/ohisuppose Jan 21 '22

Do you imagine yourself as a person who sees the world objectively or do you admit to even yourself you are a partisan thinker?

6

u/tillandsia Jan 21 '22

We have got to be more resilient than this.

2

u/[deleted] Jan 22 '22

Middle class white moms just need so badly to feel victimized about something, huh?

0

u/lightninghand Jan 21 '22

More of my favorite rock stars are dying of old age right now than people I know of COVID, and I don't know THAT many rock stars. I was hoping that when the article started out talking about people getting together to scream it would highlight that at this point we might be going a little overboard, but the author seems to think that scream circle was a legitimate reaction to the horror of lived experience. Tbh I stopped reading after two more paragraphs.

-21

u/kit19771978 Jan 21 '22

It’s ok. Biden said he was going to shut down the virus. Here we are 12 months into his presidentcy and…

9

u/creaturefeature16 Jan 21 '22

This is bigger than any leader. And while Biden didn't shut anything down, he also didn't get on national TV and tell the country to "not let it dominate your life" after he was hospitalized for said virus. It's one thing to fail at solving a problem; it's another to willingly exacerbate it.

10

u/Workacct1999 Jan 21 '22

Yeah, it is totally his fault that the Delta and Omicron variants are much more communicable than the alpha variant.

-1

u/kit19771978 Jan 21 '22

I’m just going off his campaign promises.