COVID parenting has passed the point of absurdity

Parents in the United States are living through a universally terrible moment. For two years, we’ve been spending each and every day navigating an ever-changing virus that’s threatening not only our well-being but our livelihoods. The situation has reached a fever pitch during this wave, when we’re expected to function normally even though nothing is normal and none of the puzzle pieces in front of us fit together.

How do we send our kids back to school when no one can find COVID tests and so many students and teachers are out sick? How do we keep our kids home from school when we’re expected to be back at work? How can we be good parents when we are also required to be employees, teachers, nurses, playmates, chefs, therapists, and spouses? As I write this sentence, Netflix is babysitting my daughter, who is home sick with a fever and runny nose that might be COVID—should I feel guilty that I’m not attending to her every need, or is guilt now a luxury parents cannot afford?

Parents were defeated long before Omicron. Now we’ve reached a stage of the pandemic where finding the right words to describe our lot is simply an exercise in absurdity. We are broken. We have nothing left in us but screams of anger and pain.