I am going to start by telling you that I had Covid. My physical symptoms weren’t bad. However, I mentally completely exhausted myself. It all came crashing down on me Saturday night.
Saturday night the exhaustion was real. I had a parking lot date with a couple friends earlier that day and we sat in the trunks of our SUV’s. I highly recommend getting creative and seeing people. We are starved for people. We went through the Starbucks drive thru, got our drinks, and sat in the parking lot far apart with masks on, in our trunks. Yay to us for being creative, but boo to me not being able to warm up the rest of the day. I admit that I am a winter wimp. I am not a fan of the cold weather. I will however bundle up to see people outside.
I can’t tell you what I did the rest of the day. The days are a whirlwind and completely fly by. My kids ask me for things all day and before I blink it is dinner time. My plan was to order food because I couldn’t even begin to wrap my mind around making and cleaning up dinner. I was crashing big time. Moms, we don’t have to cook every night. My goal is to cook 4-5 nights a week. The other 2 or 3 nights we order food. In fact, I should be recruiting my 13 and 11 year-old to start cooking some dinners. I will get on that!
Lillie begged me to make a Hanukkah house with her that night and I was so tired. I just wanted to curl up on the couch and watch a movie, but I pushed myself to make the house with her. It’s a gingerbread house with Hanukkah decorations. Why do we push ourselves so much? Why don’t we say no? I will tell you that I hadn’t spent time with her Saturday, so I felt compelled to go do something with her and spend some quality time together. However, when I am exhausted, I am not the best mother. I tried so hard to be patient and sweet with her, but I was fading fast.
I laid down on the couch and cried. Seth held me and I told him I was just so exhausted and stressed. It had been such a hard month and sometimes I crash. I laid on the couch and relaxed and told Seth that I was checking out for the day. He had to take over parenting and I desperately needed a time out.
I’m usually the energizer bunny. On a normal day in a normal time, I got up early and didn’t stop until bedtime. I take after my mom in so many ways. I don’t even have her amount of energy. None of us knows what normal is anymore as normal left us in March. It has been a stressful nine months. December was particularly rough for me mentally and I am going to explain much more to you.
I did get Covid as I mentioned. I know you are reading that over again. My family was shocked too. I tend to be healthy. I tend not to catch things. However, my stress levels were particularly high, and I left myself open to it. I had been really struggling with Lillie and then I caught it. I knew that I had done it to myself being so stressed and of course I beat myself up. I hadn’t been handling parenting stress well and I wasn’t taking good care of myself. I can’t tell you if I wasn’t so stressed if I would have avoided catching it. We will never know. I can’t tell you enough how much you all need to take care of yourselves. A well taken care of mama (and dad) is a healthy happy mama. Our kids just want us to be happy! I have learned through the years that a good parent is not a perfect parent. A good parent is a happy parent!
Do I know where I caught it you are all thinking? Probably yes. I had a few calls with our county workers and they truly believe you can catch it anywhere. I have a few places that I definitely could have caught it.
What were my symptoms is your next question? My main symptom was a little sniffle inside my nose. I felt it high up in my nose. Thankfully I had been taking a ton of supplements from my awesome parents. My parents own Marlene and Phil’s Vitamin and Herb Center in Depew, NY. Their store has been hopping. Their customers are all buying stuff to help stay healthy. It is the perfect place for people to buy vitamins and herbs right now during a crazy Pandemic. I am not making any declarations, but my intuition tells me that all the supplements helped my case be super mild and short. Maybe it wasn’t the supplements, but I am so glad that I have been taking them. I am so very thankful. I am shoving supplements at my family and I am telling all of you to go get some. Go talk to my parents. Call them if you are long distance and they will ship stuff to you. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to them. I know we don’t know anything for sure, but I will continue to try to protect myself and my family with supplements.
I am telling you about my case of Covid because I have so much that I want to share with you to hopefully be helpful. First, I want you to know that people are walking around with Covid and they have no clue that they have it. I know you already know this, but I need to say it anyway. My symptoms were so tiny and mild that I barely noticed them. I had a little tiny sniffle. I didn’t even need to blow my nose. The county worker asked me, “Did you feel tired?” Aren’t mothers usually tired? That was actually my response to her, and she laughed. Yes, I felt a little tired. “Did I have a headache she asked me?” Yes, maybe a little one for like one day. My husband said I sounded a little congested for a couple days.
Why did I get tested for Covid? For a few reasons, I decided to go get tested. First, my husband wanted to shut me up as he really believed I didn’t have it. That’s how normal I seemed. However, my taste and smell began to dull. It was hard to notice at first, but it was gone for a couple days. I also knew that I had colds before where it inhibited my ability to taste and smell. I had also seen a friend who developed a fever, and I was guessing that she had Covid before I even went for my test. I also am completely paranoid of being a spreader and wanted to contain myself and my family if I had it.
What transpired next is what I really want to share. I went to a drive thru test and they gave me my positive results while I was there. I went home in total shock and ran to my bedroom. I sat on the bed in such despair that I had been around my family ALL the time. I was making their meals, cleaning and around them every day all day. We were always home together. The damage was done. I hid in my bedroom and fought back the tears as my 8-year-old was already scared.
I was upstairs for a while on my bed when Seth came upstairs and told me I had to come downstairs. “I need you. You have to come help me. I can’t do this by myself for the next X number of days.” Who was I kidding? The walls were already closing in on me. I tend to get claustrophobic and the thought of staying in my room was mentally messing with me already. I could have done it. I could have done it to protect my family. My 8-year-old was already at my bedroom door crying asking me if I was just going to stay in there?
I went downstairs with a mask and gloves on and started to take care of them. The mask and gloves lasted one day. I decided I would stay downstairs and take care of everyone, but I would keep my distance and I would wash my hands 100 times a day. My hands were raw.
I spoke to a county worker who explained that my quarantine was 10 days and my family’s quarantine was for 14 days. They told me that symptoms can develop for 14-15 days after exposure. The county worker was so sweet and told me how thankful she was that I had such a mild case while other people were on ventilators. I hung up the phone crying and said a prayer. I am very, very, very thankful for my super mild case. I have heard of so many mild cases and I also have heard of not so mild cases at all.
I continued to take care of my family. Seth was annoyed to have to stay home from work and miss his martial arts classes, but thankfully he can work anywhere. Max and Lillie were being so sweet about it and Ella was royally pissed at me. I kept telling her I was sorry and that I didn’t do this on purpose. Ella is 11 and being with her family all the time is too much for her. Her greatest escape was going to theater and I took it away from her.
The second county worker called to track where I could have gotten it and who I could have exposed to it. She told me they know very little about this virus and are doing their best with what they know. They called me to track who could have been exposed and where I got it after my quarantine had already ended. They were obviously overwhelmed and short staffed. The third county worker was the most helpful. I called her to get clarifying assistance as to when my kids could return to school and activities. Here comes the information that you truly need to know if you don’t already know this. Due to the fact that my husband and children saw me on my 10th day of quarantine, they then had to stay home and quarantine for the next 14 days. My family’s quarantine was a total of 24 days because I didn’t isolate myself from them. What exactly is isolation? I would have had to stay in my bedroom (or a designated room) with my own bathroom and had stayed away from them for my ten days of quarantine to consider them safe from me. It would have been nice for the first county worker to explain this to me.
The next question that people have asked me is am I protected from Covid now? According to the county, they don’t have a definite answer for this question. The average protection is for three months and then the antibodies tend to fade. Some people are protected longer than that and some are protected shorter but 3 months is the average amount of time.
You heard about my mild symptoms, but you have not heard about the mental distress. Forget about the physical symptoms. The mental and emotional stress was so much greater. I woke up every day worried that a family member would get it. I gave them a ton of supplements. I prayed hard. I cringed every time someone sneezed. Mentally I was completely exhausted and worried. It was a very long 24 days.
I also had to tell Ella that she couldn’t go back to school or theater yet. That was really hard. She was really upset. There were some tears and some anger all directed at me. It was my fault, and her anger tends to be directed at me. I am the mom. I am her safest place. I get it. I did the same thing as a child. I just kept apologizing and telling her how sorry I was. I told her we would get through this and to please just stay healthy. I dealt with her nightly anger or tears and I really felt so badly for what I was putting my family through. I may have had the sniffles, but the sniffles were leading to a 24-day quarantine! When the school tells you that your child has to have a Covid test because they have the sniffles, now you know why! I am not minimizing Covid. I want to make this very clear. As the county worker told me, I had the sniffles but someone else was laying in a hospital bed on a ventilator with Covid.
We got through the 24-day quarantine. I am beyond thankful and grateful that my family stayed healthy. I was more than willing to keep them home to prevent the spread. I didn’t want to pass this on to my family or anyone.
Between going strong the 8 nights for the Hanukkah marathon, prepping for Hanukkah and Covid, you can see why I crashed Saturday night. That wasn’t the only time I felt the exhaustion, but it was the biggest hit. Mentally and emotionally, I put myself through a lot. I did it to myself. I could have had a much better attitude through all of that. Seth was so calm and cool through it all. I am so thankful for his stable force in my life. He calms my storms. What did blaming myself really accomplish? I just drained myself and caused myself distress. Did I learn from all of this? Absolutely. However, blaming myself only tends to make the situation worse. My kids just wanted me to be okay and that was the bottom line. Lillie asked me every single day if I was okay. Physically I was okay.
Moms tend to carry so much guilt. The guilt for what I put my family through was weighing on me. I completely and totally exhausted myself. The way we talk to ourselves and the way we think is part of what hugely drains us. My self-talk was brutal. Max and Lillie helped me. Max kept telling me it was fine. He is thankfully so happy being home. Lillie kept telling me that she was fine and wasn’t mad that she was missing stuff. I know Covid has messed with Lillie and has made her clingy to me. She was happy home with her family and was calling all her friends regularly.
Ella is going to theater today. It is an in-person day for her group. My hands are tingling as I type this as I know she is beyond excited to go. She doesn’t know this yet, but she also gets to leave tonight with gifts for her and Lillie from my brother and sister-in-law. They bought them theater sweatshirts for Hanukkah that the girls are going to love and wear all the time. It is going to be a good night! She even got a surprise visit from one of her bestest friends tonight. It turned out to be a really good night and I’m loving how big Ella’s smile is as I type this.
This is a time for appreciation. I appreciate my kid’s schools more than ever. I appreciate their teachers and their flexibility and ability to teach our kids no matter what is going on. I appreciate my kids being able to go to their activities such as theater. I appreciate being able to run errands. I appreciate when we are allowed to get our hair done, our nails done or go to a restaurant. I most appreciate getting to see my family members and my friends.
We have all been through so much. Our kids are learning so many skills. My kids have all learned amazing technology skills. They are learning to be resilient and flexible. They are learning about disappointments. They are learning not to take things for granted. They have learned so much and so have I.
I am so grateful for my mild and short case of Covid. I am so thankful for ALL the amazing supplements my parents gave me. They take such good care of us.
I hope that you were able to take something away from this blog. I am okay. My family is okay. I wanted to share this with you so that you could learn some of the things that I didn’t know. I wanted to share this because women are TOO HARD on themselves. As I just texted my friend, “We are human, and we will make more mistakes.” I just try to keep learning and growing every day. Be easier on yourself and know that you are doing your best. Your kids don’t need you to be perfect. They just need you to be happy. They are learning about how to treat themselves by how we treat ourselves. They are taking mental notes. Remember that they are watching. I don’t want my kids to beat themselves up the way that I do so I have work to do on myself.
Please remember that you are not alone. I am happy to be a part of your village. We are in this together. I see all you mama’s (and dads) and how hard you are working. I know that our parental superpowers are overextended right now. I hope that you will go do something that is just for you. I also hope that you and I will be easier on ourselves. I mentally exhausted myself and realize I really need to work on how I treat myself.
Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R