This is what I do not understand about this country at all. Alleged pro-lifers (you are just pro-birthers really) scream and shout about saving a child’s life! Don’t let harm come to an innocent! But there is no support system in place in this godforsaken country AFTER you give birth to support you as a parent. None. You are on your own 100% of the time, and any support you do find, you will pay through the damn nose for.
Both my ex and I work in Corporate America, and even though the pandemic rages on, most corporations have discontinued any kind of pandemic support. Neither of us has any paid sick time if one of us or our daughter gets sick. Well, guess what happened last week? Our daughter tested positive for Covid. While thankfully she appears to have had a mild case, my ex had to eat the daycare money he had already pre-paid for the week ($300+), while simultaneously trying to work with a kid at home. While his boss was flexible, if you are not a parent, you cannot possibly understand how completely and utterly exhausting this is. Trying to still get shit done with a kid at home is next to impossible. But still, you try because you do not have the time or ability to take off from work. The work will be piling up if you ARE fortunate enough to have the paid time to take off. Add to that trying not to get sick FROM her as a result, and that only adds to the anxiety. I do recognize our privilege here in that we even CAN stay home with our child; many, MANY parents in this country do not even have this option available to them.
Since we live in a city with no family, we have no built-in support structure in place. No grandparents or other relatives to be able to help out with our kid in times like these. His only support system is me and I am his. Today is technically day #8 and she is STILL testing positive on an antigen test. I want to do the right thing, in case she still is contagious, by keeping her home with me today. I would feel horrible intentionally exposing other children at our daycare. Again, I recognize my privilege as a lot of parents cannot even do this, even if they really wanted to. So that means she is home with me today.
Last week, I felt completely overwhelmed with the sheer volume of work that was on my plate. Having her home with me does not help that feeling of overwhelm. In fact, my boss wrote back to ask if there was anything she could help with and my snarky reply was: Can you help with the impending mental breakdown? As you can imagine, she hasn’t replied. How do you even reply to that? Even though I was one million percent serious, there is little to no help she can offer me, because I work in a technical field that she does not have any skills. Again, whatever I cannot get done in terms of work will be piling up and waiting for me. It doesn’t go away. The workload, the overwhelm, the worry, the constant struggle to be everything to everyone all the time…it doesn’t go away ever as a parent. This feeling that if you are kicking ass in your career that somehow means you are neglecting your duties as a mother or vice versa. This persistent feeling of failing in at least one major area of your life at all times.
I sit at my work laptop, attempting to tackle the pile of work, and being unable to summon the energy or focus needed to get started right now. In all reality, with my mental health right now, I could stand to take about a month off of work….but I can’t because almost no one in this country can afford to take unpaid leave of any kind, even if they desperately need it. I feel almost panicky, since I know whatever gets put aside today will just be added to the pile for tomorrow. This cycle of feeling buried, with no support or relief in sight, is so very depressing. I fucking hate this country so much at times.