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I’m a single parent. I got covid. Here’s what I learned.

Getting sick with Covid as a single parent… Not my favorite experience.  

After two years and my kids and I fully vaccinated, Covid entered our home in early January 2022. I tested positive and immediately quarantined in my room, hoping my kids didn’t get it. My son has a lung condition that we’re still trying to figure out. The doctors told us that if he came down with Covid, he would most likely be in the hospital on a ventilator. We’ve tried our best to be careful. 

Despite all efforts, he tested positive a few days after I did. 

Panic.  

Kidding. No panic, but I was worried. Really worried. I projected, imagining him in the hospital (again) and on a ventilator. What would this do to his lungs? The virus hit me hard, what would it do to him? 

Time passed and he kept popping his head into my room to check on me, looking chipper. It surprised all of us that he had limited symptoms. He even joked that he thought it was funny that I was much sicker than he was.  “It’s ‘cause you’re old and I’m young, mooooom.” 

Such a jokester. 

Truly, I felt relieved that I could focus on my own healing. I’m grateful that my kids are teens and relatively self-sufficient because I was not able to do much of anything for a good five days. I was like a puddle in my hammock bed (yes, I sleep in a hammock). I had soul-depleting fatigue, the sorest throat, no voice, a cough and fever – a whole cocktail of not-so-fun symptoms. 

Yea, it was rough. Here’s what I learned through this experience.  

  1. Ask for help – even if it means feeling uncomfortable. I managed to make a pot of chicken noodle soup but other than that, I had no choice but to ask for help. I had to put my ego aside in order to get done what needed to get done. Thank goodness for the creative geniuses who invented apps like Doordash and Instacart. I was able to restock my fridge and feed my kids, even if it ate up a bigger chunk of my budget. #worthit 
  2. Accept my powerlessness. When I ventured out to make that pot of chicken noodle soup I walked into the land of teens. You know the place – day-old dirty dishes gracing the tables, crumbs littering the countertops, and the trash overflowing. I had an abundance of mess and no energy to clean up.  I had a moment where I yelled and lost my patience. It felt like a load on my shoulders to be so sick and unable to do anything but rest. Did it warrant the way I reacted in that moment? No. Was I able to allow the mess to happen with grace? Also, no. But, after taking time to process, I was able to accept that I had no power in the moment, that the situation would be temporary, it would pass. Begrudgingly, I accepted it. It’s been about two weeks since I had Covid and the laundry list of things on my to-do list is outright laughable. Luckily, I don’t have to do it all today.  
  3. Extend compassion and grace to myself. I’ve become increasingly aware of my inner critic. That voice can be so automatic that it takes me time to realize I’m doing it – if I realize it at all. I have to literally say to myself: “Hey Beth, quick question. Would you talk like this to your kids or would you be a little more loving and kind?” Yea… I noticed this past week my anxiety has been getting the best of me. I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself to get everything done. Having a week where I was “out” made me believe I was “behind” (whatever that means). Having a little compassion for myself has been the key to taking these moments in stride.  

Doing nothing for a week showed me how much I do in a day… turns out, it’s a lot. Coming back into the world and being able to do things again made me feel like a superhero. Doing laundry, making dinner, putting dishes in the sink = winning!  

It took me about a week and a half to sit at my desk for a work day. I can work from anywhere that has Wi-Fi so I handled matters from my hammock (bed) until I could feel “normal” again. I would rate that a 10/10. I’m sure my chiropractor doesn’t agree, but it made me happy.  

Quarantining is a lonely experience and I appreciated my people checking in on me. They were my lifeline. Even though I knew the kids were in the house, it was different. I had heard others say this when they had Covid, but I didn’t understand the depths until I experienced it.  

I’m still struggling with the lingering symptoms of cracking voice and fatigue. There’s a long list of things I would like to do around the house but ultimately, I’m grateful. I’m grateful that my son was ok, I’m grateful that my daughter never got it, and I’m grateful that things are back to normal.  

In sharing these experiences, I invite you into my world. I’m grateful to those of you reading these stories. I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute to Central Penn Parent. It’s an honor to be here with you.  

 

 

Beth Montgomery
Beth Montgomery is a single mom of teens and is a Jill of all trades who lives in the Harrisburg area. While she wasn't born anywhere near here (or even in this country), she calls Central PA home (for now) and writes about her journeys through adulting... with kids. Visit her online at www.singleparentproject.com or connect with her on the socials.

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