Parenthood, Covid-19, and guilt.

I'm an introvert. I prefer animals to humans. I like staying at home. Don't call me when you can email me. Leave the parcel at the front door.

Those were common phrases I said over and over again as I created my little cocoon. Little did I know how important it is to have people in your life, and how much I'd miss them if it all got taken away.

The virus. Well, that was unexpected. 2020 is a year I'll never forget. I miss people. I miss restaurants. I miss hugs. I miss help.

Tyler is almost 9 months now, and is crawling his way to his first birthday in August. Things were going well. He went to daycare once a week (with the idea of making it twice a week by the time he got to about 9 months), and he went to his grandparents every Saturday for a few hours. With both myself and Warren working from home, we needed daycare and grandparent days to cram in as much work as possible.

Then came the virus.

We took him out of daycare. We self-isolated despite no lock down in Australia. We followed the rules. I didn't realise how difficult this would be, and how much we needed the people around us. Tyler, despite how little he is, loves people. Now suddenly he's not seeing anyone but us. I love the little guy. He's happy, he's funny, and he's fun to be around. But he's still hard work. I love this age the most so far, but it doesn't mix well with working from home. He's not yet content to play on his own, and we have to watch him every minute he's awake.

The world might have told us all to STOP what we're doing, but it hasn't stopped the bills from coming in. We have to make money. We need to pay for rent, electricity, petrol, food. We have to work.

It's hard. All of this is hard. In Australia we've still been able to go out for walks and runs, and I've made the most of that. I feel awful for my South African friends who haven't been able to leave the house. I understand why it's being done, but it must be hard on people's mental state. We're not meant to be cooped up inside.

Anyone else feel guilty about complaining? Every day I go through varying states of emotions. I move through happiness, sadness, and fear as the day goes on. Sometimes everything feels so normal, but I know it's not. I'm struggling to find focus, and working has become difficult in so many ways. I want the virus to go away and I want my life back. And every single time I find myself complaining, I'm struck down with guilt about it. I know I'm so much better off than a lot of people. I have a home. I can go for walks. I'm healthy. I have a beautiful husband and baby. We might not get to see other people, but I'm not alone. I know all this. But despite it all, there's an underlying sense of dread throughout my day when I remember what the world is going through and how quickly all of this can be taken away from me.

That's the main fear. Life is short and precious. The virus has made that clear.

I know I shouldn't complain. But I'm probably going to every now and again. And it's okay if you do, too. This sense of unease that you're feeling is normal. Your lack of focus is only natural. Be kind to yourself. And when all this is over, let's not forget how wonderful it is to explore the world, have picnics with friends, and hug your family.

For now, send wine and virtual hugs.

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