Pandemic Parenting and Inequality

We now have 3 children. The third came over a year ago. All the males in the Taylor household were born within a week of each other in late August, and all the females were born within a week of each other in mid-May. What does this mean? Hard to derive much meaning in anything these days, except to say it’s a strange coincidence (and perhaps there is something about tryptophan that creates XY chromosomes and the dog-days-of-summer that creates XX).

Pandemic Summer Roadtrip to California. Ventura, Ca 2020.

I feel guilty because now all 3 of them are able to go in-person to something. Most friends and colleagues have their kids at home full-time while they work. We kept the boys out of daycare for the first 2 months of the pandemic, and AT (now 10 and in 5th grade) has been out of in-person school since March. We brought the boys back to daycare after 2 months because it was impossible to have them at home. They are monsters.

AT is going to an after-school program that was previously unavailable to us because we didn’t sign her up in time. She used to go the Boys & Girls Club and complain about it mightily. They have expanded hours (now all-day), very limited enrollment (10 kids max per grade per day), and a much higher price than before ($775 per week for 3 days, $975 for 5). Dropping her off the first day really drove home how unfair the ‘demic is.

We split the cost with ATs mom to make it more affordable and daycare is more expensive than our mortgage, but everyone knows kids ain’t cheap. We can afford this luxury, and in turn our kids get to be with other living, breathing humans that are their age. AT basically has access to most of her public school, when everyone else is stuck at home. That doesn’t seem right, but we take advantage none-the-less.

Daycare has been weird about the whole pandemic and the state hasn’t helped clarify. When the stay-at-home stuff happened, the Governor proclaimed all K-12 and colleges had to go remote, regardless if it was public or private. I know that California only allowed essential workers to bring their kids to daycare. But in Washington, they never explicitily closed daycares or mandated it was for essential worker childcare only. It was weird.

There was a period of time where I thought the daycare was going to go insolvent, so we were going to pour money in month after month without sending the kids, only to have them go bankrupt. This was unfounded, as they have done a good job thus far with limiting exposure, and many of the families never held their kids out. Again, this is a luxury and we are fortunate to take advantage.

My hope is the ‘demic will force us as a society to hit rock bottom, so we can start taking care of each other. The social safety net of my wife’s native Denmark is something America should take a serious look at. Yes, they have high taxes, but everyone gets an education, no one goes bankrupt from medical expenses, and they basically take the months of July and August off every year. I know that’s over simplification, and we are much much bigger, dispersed, and libertarian by nature, but I’d trade my cheap gas and groceries tomorrow.

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