Moving Past the Pandemic: 4 Years with Covid-19


It is now, unbelievably, four years since our lives changed forever because of the global Covid-19 pandemic. I remember hearing the initial news reports and anxiously waiting to see what was going to happen. Many of us will remember forever the eerie feeling of seeing all the schools closed, professional sports stopped playing, and bars and restaurants closed. The world as we knew it had completely changed. The pandemic changed how we learned, how we socialized, how we celebrated holidays, welcomed new babies, and said good-bye to those who passed. Looking back now, it was a really strange time when we had to go back to basics: our access to the staples we needed was limited, we had to get creative in most areas of our lives, and our relationships were boiled down to the support of our immediate circle. 

Since March of 2020, we have witnessed an evolution in the way we are able to socialize: from absolutely no in person social interactions to outdoor-only meet-ups; then small groups indoors (with or without masks) to large, indoor social gatherings without masks. In those early shutdown days, I managed to care for and entertain a three-year-old and a nine-month-old day after day with limited help from or interaction with other adults. 

During the 2020-2021 school year, I co-taught a homeschool pre-school for my daughter and our neighbor with the neighbor’s mother. In the fall of 2021, I spent a lot of time outside wearing multiple layers (and often, still cold!) in order to socialize safely. The memory of all these things makes us even more grateful for all the ways life was gone back to “normal.” We live in a world post-pandemic, with only the sharp memory of how things were to make us appreciate the way we live now. 

While we are no longer living in a public health emergency, Covid-19 and the effects of the pandemic continue to echo on in many ways – some good, some bad.

Post-Pandemic Positives

Hard though it was to live through life with Covid, there have been a few lasting positives from the initial pandemic shut-down in March 2020. For example, curbside service became more widely available – or available in certain places for the first time – which is such a huge asset for mothers. Before the pandemic shutdown, I had already been using Target Drive-Up on a regular basis. It worked great, and suddenly every place had it (albeit, minus the app!).

For moms, curbside service means you don’t need to unbuckle two kids from their car seats just to run into a store for one or two items – only to re-buckle them, protesting, again 15 minutes later. I’m glad a lot of places still offer these services because they make life so much easier for many people – new moms, seasoned moms, the elderly, and anyone who finds themselves unwell without the basics necessary to get better.

We can also thank the pandemic for the fact that people now can more readily stay at home when they are sick – and still be a part of society. Before Covid-19, people frequently went into offices, schools, to parties, and other public places when they had a bad cold or cough. This was the norm and the expectation, but it spread viruses like flu and RSV far and wide. We can thank the pandemic for the fact that people are more willing and able to stop themselves from spreading germs to everyone by saying: “Hey, I’m sick, so I’m going to stay home. See you when I get better.” It’s really been an amazing, compassionate change – and for moms with young children, it makes a huge difference. 

Continued Lessons from Covid

The many ups and downs of life under the Covid pandemic were the perfect demonstration that we need to continue to vigilantly protect our health and the health of others. This past winter brought with it a surge in cases of Covid, as well an increase in cold, flu, and RSV cases. I don’t know about you, but it felt like we sick with something or other for months

Just after new year 2024, I was infected with Covid for the second time. Like many others, I socialized a little too much over the holidays without paying attention to the news of soaring cases. Of course, all the social gatherings were indoors with lots of food and drink – super spreaders, if you will. When I woke up with a sore throat on New Year’s Eve Day, I thought I’d finally succumbed to the cough my daughter had had all of the holiday break. So when I took a Covid test on January 2, I had to take another one to be sure it was actually positive!

A positive test meant that my preschool-age son couldn’t go to childcare. I work part-time so I rely on my mother, my mother-in-law, and a baby-sitter who also has a young child. None of them can risk getting sick or carrying Covid into their homes, so my son was home with me – even though he was well, and really could have gone to preschool. He refused to go to school, fake coughed and said he was sick – and I was too tired to argue so we rested together. It was a reminder of a time, 4 years ago, when our options were even more limited and moms just had to keep on going, sick or well. 

A New Season

Thankfully, I was the only one in my home affected by Covid in January. I wore a mask around the house, ate six feet away from my family members, and generally tried to keep my distance. Of course the kids didn’t keep their distance from me! But we got through it, just as we got through the many other illnesses we had this winter – from pink eye to ear infections; norovirus and bad colds. The number of illness young children bring home from school or childcare is exhausting and seldom talked about, and a cause of real post-pandemic solidarity among moms.

Our experience with Covid means that now, post-pandemic, we know that life can – and does – go on when we’re sick, but that we need to keep our distance. We also know that sickness and social isolation won’t last forever. Now a new season is upon us! It’s Spring (at least, according to the calendar on my wall) and the whole family can look forward to spending more time outdoors in the fresh air – with less fear of us getting sick. That is, until the next cold and flu season starts!

A mother and daughter playing dress-up
Playing dress-up was one way to keep my daughter entertained in the spring of 2020!


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