The Great Debate
I need a moment. This weekend has been overwhelming with COVID-19 and the changes it has brought with it, and you cannot escape the discussions around it. We all know the great parent debates: breast or formula, public or private school, allowing social media or not, and now social distancing. Are you going on complete and total lock down with your family? No playdates, no venturing outside the backyard, you have enough supplies and food to last at least 3 weeks? Or are you being cautious and allowing playdates with a small group of friends, dinner at a local restaurant, heading to the park, making a Target run? What is the right answer … or is there one?
The hardest part about this virus is the unknown, because we are literally learning as we go. We have statistics from other countries, but in reality they’re only about one month ahead of us. We don’t know long term. What does it mean for schools? We are closed now, but for how long? What about the kids who depend on those hot meals? What about jobs? Our favorite local coffee shops, small businesses, and restaurants, will they survive this? With so many unknowns, for a lot of us, trying to maintain some kind of normalcy is key to our mental health.
When it was announced on Friday that all schools in Louisiana would be closing until April 13th, the stores were filled with families prepping for this month of children being home. Do we have enough toilet paper? What about snacks, juice, art activities? Others questioning what they would do for child care. I mean if you work full time, this is a huge challenge. And then came the weekend. A lot of us were still in this social distancing limbo … where was an appropriate place to go? We had all just been together at Trader Joe’s and Target not 24 hours earlier, so what difference does it really make if we meet up for a quick happy hour or have some friends over to grill? Honestly, we are still in flu, RSV, and strep season, and we should have been aware of hand washing, disinfecting, avoiding large crowds long before COVID-19 showed up, especially if you’re in contact with someone of a vulnerable population.
The interpretations of social distancing are widespread: you have someone who went to 5 or 6 stores on Saturday to get supplies for the month the kids will be home, but she shames the person who chose to meet at a local restaurant for a quick brunch with friends. The family that won’t be going anywhere, shaming the family that chose to go for a bike ride on the lakefront. Shaming the mom who is still taking her child to daycare because she has to go to work. I have read and listened to some pretty horrible name calling by grown adults this weekend in regards to what it means to be socially distanced and how people aren’t doing it right (okay, I think we can all agree that Bourbon was not the best social distancing/viral pandemic choice). With all the reports out, the visuals and numbers that show that “flattening the curve” and avoiding unnecessary crowds, reduces the spread of the virus dramatically, it is the responsible thing to try and practice, but let’s not shame and name call those that aren’t doing it the same as you. We are all in a place of uncertainty, of fear, of the unknown, and now more than ever, it is time to show kindness, to show compassion, and to show support for each other.