COVID-19 is hard on our marriage and family. So much.
Before I begin, I need to point out that these are my personal thoughts and experiences. I know COVID-19 has effected everyone in some way. If you are in need of anyone to talk to, please remember to take care of your mental health. Reach out to a counselor, connect with friends, or find other forms of self-care.
Our “New Normal”
I’m tired and so burnt out, mentally and emotionally. COVID-19 is seeming to go up and down like a rollercoaster we didn’t want to join and can’t get off. My husband is a medical field professional. He is constantly in contact with COVID-19 positive patients. While he usually tries not to speak about work too much at home, when the pandemic started we HAD to change our conversations.
There is no “off switch” when it comes to precautions regarding COVID-19. I rush home from work before my husband returns to get everything set up for him. What does that set up mean? I get home with our children from a full day of daycare and work, scurry the kids upstairs, place a new, clean towel and clothing into the guest bathroom where we have a designated “COVID” shower. Then my husband comes home, drops everything at the front door, grabs the Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer, and with barely a hello he’ll go and take a shower and change.
Once that is complete he will come up and say hello. This is what we do EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. This has become such a routine our daughter has figured out where to grab all of daddy’s clothes and supplies and will carry it all with me to the guest shower. I feel tears well up every time she places everything on the counter on her tippy toes, barely able to reach.
Longing for Normalcy
Tensions are high. We both know why the tension is high, but can’t find any resolution to help lessen it. When we find out someone we know got COVID-19, we worry that we transmitted it. We try to have fun with at-home dates, play in the backyard, and do video calls, but none of it is the same. I desperately wish we could hug our grandmother in the nursing home, take our children to the park, or run around at the splash pad during the summer heat.
We want to go out on a much-needed, child-free date, but we don’t let anyone come into our home for fear of exposing them. Other families with family members in the medical field think, “If we already work together in the same wing, why not just hang out at one person’s house?” A part of me says YES! Get me out of our 4 walls that are closing in on me. But then the other part of me says we can’t because if one of those medical professionals gets COVID-19, the whole team has to be tested and quarantined for 14 days and use their own PTO days. There is no hazard pay; we use our own vacation time for a virus we tried to protect everyone from. And then we feel it’s our fault.
And it’s not just my husband staying home, it’s me and the kids as well. With finances tight, losing out on those 14 days of PTO and keeping your children at home (while still paying for daycare) isn’t easy. If I get a phone call from my husband saying he’s getting tested, I have to notify my employer, be sent home ASAP, and pick up the girls from daycare. Even a potential positive test causes me to lose a day’s worth of work and plan for the potential of being quarantined.
No End in Sight
I’m tired of the worry that I have a high risk of exposing you and your family. It’s always on my mind that being around anyone means I could expose you.
But I remember that my husband is feeling it more.
I’m tired of having to remind myself to put my mask on. Our grocery shopping trips originally started out to be only him on the weekends. We were trying to limit even more exposure and we cannot take our children out. Now I grocery shop alone (which gives me some much-needed alone time).
But I remember that my husband cannot forget to put his mask on and cannot take it off. You can see the marks across his cheeks when he comes home from work and after the shower.
I’m tired of not being able to go on a date or be social in general. I am an extrovert. I thrive in social settings. We still have yet to go out and do anything social. I know that once fall and winter come around it will be worse. As the world begins to open up, we have to lock ourselves in more. We can’t do anything. I go to church for the spiritual comfort I crave, but feel that God is not hearing me.
Thankfully our children are too young to understand what is going on and we don’t tell them all the things we could be doing. I don’t even battle a mask with my daughter, who is under 2, since she’ll only tug and pull at it. And then I worry I will be judged for not providing a mask for her. But since we take our daughters to daycare, they could be exposed anyway, right? It’s a constant internal battle to do the right thing.
I don’t know how to write the end this, because I honestly don’t feel there is an end in sight. COVID-19 is hard on our marriage, and we feel challenged now more than ever before. I may look happy and stay positive, but inside I’m worried about everything and not sure when it’s too much.
Right now, I feel it’s all too much.