Coronavirus Doesn’t Care About Your Marital Status

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Our friend Jill Salzman of The Founding Moms wrote a great piece for Medium on the extra parenting challenges that come with being sheltered-in-place when you are co-parenting.  “It’s abundantly clear that being stuck in a house day in and day out with kids can be taxing. But to those of us who are divorced, it sounds like a dream,” writes Salzman.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

It’s been one of the greatest challenges I’ve been met with to date. My daily practice is in accepting that I have no control over what’s happening at my ex’s house. If you’re someone currently shuffling the most beloved people in your world to and from your ex’s house on a regular basis, you probably have as many questions as I do.

  • Are they washing their hands over there?
  • Are they going out to public places?
  • Do they wear masks when they go out?
  • What will they do if someone gets sick?
  • How are they handling discussions about the virus?

It’s hard not to come up with the worst possibilities imaginable in an environment like this.

I also have to deal with the fact that anyone who is a carrier or who is sick at my ex’s house can infect my children. I can’t protect them. There are no words to describe how difficult a mental challenge it is to just “let go,” unknowing what danger my kids are in and that I can’t do anything about it.

When your kids aren’t quarantined with you, it’s heartbreaking. You can’t comfort them in the middle of the night. You can’t answer their questions or calm their anxieties. It was already a challenge pre-COVID to be without my little ones half the week. But now? I’ve had to learn to sit idly by and make myself busy so that I don’t focus on feeding my anxieties about my kids in this new world. I have to learn to trust that they’re safe and sound.

Is there a silver lining?

There are upsides to all of this, but they’re hard to see. Despite the difficulties of breaking social distancing norms and the mental gymnastics that go along with it, the kids do get to experience life in two different houses, avoiding the monotony of being stuck in only one home 24/7.

We divorcees also get a “break” from the kids, but the physical break doesn’t trump the mental one that you’re left with when your kids leave your house. I’m fortunate enough to have an ex that works with me amicably when it comes to making or rearranging schedules, but I know that it’s not the case for many divorced adults in the world right now.

The biggest upside to all of this? Since we only get to see each other half of the week, it makes the time I have with my kids that much more precious. We relish our time together, even if the days are dotted with virtual meetings, school work, and meal prep. Epic dance parties and bake-a-thons help to reinforce that my kids are doing just fine. We’ll get through this thing together, as much as we can be together.

Read the entire article here.

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