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Parenting In The Age Of COVID-19

Written by Brian Green. Husband of Jennifer, our VP (goddess) of Marketing.

Hey dad, can I go with Cayla to the beach if she and I wear masks?

Parenting in the BC (Before COVID-19) era was never easy.  But parenting in the DC (During COVID-19) days is even more difficult.

The DC days are keeping us at home more than we would like — even our dogs wish we weren’t around so much — but this is an especially difficult time for kids. I think all of our kids would have said YES if they were asked in February if they wanted to stay home from March through June instead of going to school. (I won’t get into the politics of whether schools should be open this fall.)

But along with no school came no activities — no dance class, no lacrosse, no football, no cheerleading, no anything — and the DC days have resulted in kids staying home and missing in-person socializing. Some of our kids may have started to knit, cook or garden, but those are activities … things to do at home. 

So when Ella (names have been changed to protect the masked) asked me in July if she could go to the beach with her friend Cayla (both wearing masks), I did not immediately know how to respond. I am divorced, and Ella said that her mom “approved.” Did that mean I should approve as well? It was not an easy decision — did I want to be the dad who wouldn’t let his daughter out of the house after she had sat at home (bored) for three months?

I had many more questions: Would it be safe on the beach? Would Ella be OK in Cayla’s mother’s car? Has Cayla’s entire family been COVID-savvy? These are novel questions that we didn’t had to think about BC (other than for a few days here and there when the flu is going around). Of the nine articles I read, four said beaches were safe; four said beaches were not safe; and one only discussed whether we should eat acai bowls and ice cream cones at the beach (both please!).  

My decision (yes, she could go) was not arrived at easily, but Ella did have a great tan for her TikTok videos the next day. Since July, there have been other similar questions. Ella’s sister, Laura, wanted to play tennis instead of lacrosse because tennis is a no-contact sport. I told her that I was OK with it. Laura also wanted to swim in her friend’s pool, but we had to discuss what would happen if she had to go to the bathroom (peeing in the pool, especially in someone else’s pool, is never a good option). Ella asked me if she could invite Cayla over, and I said that would be fine but I wanted to discuss with Cayla’s mother what we would do about eating dinner.  

I hope I made the right decisions in allowing Ella and Laura some opportunities to socialize. They know they need to use hand sanitizer before and after they touch anything; they always wear masks; and I always speak to the other parents. Now that fall approaches, school is starting (mix of in-class and remote), the weather will begin to get colder, and I expect a whole new set of questions to answer as things move (even more) indoors. Few of the DC questions have easy answers. We just have to try to make the best decisions we can, trying to balance the health concerns with the social and boredom concerns, so that we have healthy and happy kids. 

A bit more about our guest author Brian: When he is not working in the insurance industry and pondering life, he is trying to offset his unhealthy (and unnatural) eating habits (potato chips and sour candies are among his vices) with Starling's natural skin products. Even though he didn't discover Starling until after he started shaving his head, he is grateful that he has more exposed skin surface area to use the skin products now. Brian is a proud father of two girls (ages 13 & 16), and two rescue dogs.