Three Months Into The Pandemic, My Family Is Falling Apart

The pandemic was not bad at first. We had our "zones": I wrote on the veranda all day. My husband did teaching and hung out in his wood shop. The children ran through the rest of the house. But I got the feeling that I wasn't spending enough time with everyone as if I was missing something. We have also set up our above ground pool. To relieve my husband of childcare, I said I'd stay in the back yard with the kids instead.
But three months nowhere to go and mostly no one to be seen? It wears us down bit by bit, bit by bit, one day at a time. Now we're starting to fall apart at the seams. It doesn't matter. We don't think the pandemic will be over soon, especially since we live in the south, and I'm too scared to let my kids out without a vaccine because I know the extreme ways that COVID-19 can do them. You won't have Halloween or probably Christmas. It chokes me.
We are all slowly losing it and there is nothing we can do.
The pandemic is melting me
I have enough mental illnesses to live with on a decent day. Right now, my ability to deal with it is very, very thin. I can no longer stand noise. I cannot deal with the children who make noise. I can't handle the TV making noise. I cannot cope with the barking of the puppy that we adopted shortly before the pandemic, which turned out not to be a German Shepherd mix, but part of a Yippy-Ass terrier. I can only deal with the calm that I find in the back yard when nobody is around, or with the calm in the morning when no one else is awake.
I can't wake myself up to do anything other than write. I don't have the patience to read. I try to give up after just a few pages, even favorite books: On the Road, Pat Conroys Beach Music, Barbara Kingsolvers The Bean Trees. I look at the latest novel by E. Lockhart, which I love, and I cannot pick it up. The last books I managed were Andre Aciman's Call Me By Your Name and Find Me. It was a pandemic.
Make art, I tell myself. Do something. Other people are using the pandemic for self-improvement, why not you? I try to tinker with the children. My middle and oldest will sometimes take part. My youngest is sitting on the couch and crying because he is not sitting on his tablet, and it is just so disheartening that I don't like to try anymore.
On some days I don't want to get up at all. I want to lie there and sleep and sleep and sleep. But I get up and pour coffee and I put on my make-up because I sometimes go to the mailbox.
My husband is angry all the time
He has cabin fever. He shouts at the children. He shouts at the dogs. He snaps at me. Sometimes I clap my hands over my ears and sometimes I just look bad and sometimes cry. I sobbed on the bed for an hour this week and told him how angry he was with a large part of the pandemic. "I can't stand it," I told him. "It reminds me of this poem about" the chronic fears of this house ". I grew up in such a house. Now you're screaming all the time and I can't get away. I can't go anywhere."
It doesn't help that the rest of his family calls him about any problem and complains for hours or asks for a solution. He is expected to bear the psychological burden for us (because I can't fucking do it) - plus a few other people in another state. It's spread out so thin that I don't blame him for yelling at everyone right now.
Oh, and the house is a wreck. He thinks it's his fault. I try to tell him: No, honey. There are five people in a house during a pandemic who have trouble keeping things clean on a good day.
He still blames himself and goes to bed every night and feels like a failure: because of the dishes, because of the clothes on the floor, because of a messy bathroom or kitchen table.
I am now afraid for my children and after the pandemic
laflor / Getty
My eldest got moody and angry all the time. He talks back. He snaps. He rolls his eyes and sneaks away from us, shouting that he wants to see his friends. If you make him talk, he stops short of tears and says he is afraid that we don't even have a Halloween. He says he hates the pandemic, that this is the worst year of his life, that it is ruining everything and that he is so fed up.
Me too, boy. Me too. I have nothing else to offer but "I'm sorry, baby. I know it's tough."
My middle son throws screaming tantrums. Bedtime is a nightmare: he actually ran into the back yard the other day. He is fighting with his brothers. He refuses to cuddle with me. He generally won't come to kiss me good night when I'm anywhere other than on his face when I ask.
My youngest takes it worst. He cries about everything. My husband says: It's age. The others cried so much when they were six years old. But they didn't cry like that. In the last month of the pandemic, he refused to play alone. I saw him lying on the couch for more than an hour and did nothing because he didn't feel like doing anything else, and every suggestion came to tears. He cuddles with me in the morning when he wakes up. I think it's a small victory, these five minutes.
I don't know how they will get out of the pandemic. Maybe they're stronger. I am concerned that they are anxious and mentally ill. My youngest almost goes into tears in the rare cases when one of us leaves home to buy food or medicine.
He is afraid we will die.
It doesn't help that friends slacken
People I know seem to have made a decision, okay, enough is enough, I don't care that the numbers are increasing, we weren't worried about anything and that's done. A woman I know gave my son's lost backpack to us at home. I let her leave it at the end of the driveway and explained that we would keep a strict quarantine. She informed me that the number of cases only increased due to better tests and that they see "safe" friends all the time.
My mother decided to hang out with her beast that sees everyone. Now we cannot see the other person we were able to visit. She is angry with us for refusing to see her, for breaking the quarantine. She won't even call to speak to the kids. You ask about her. I can only shrug my shoulders.
We live in our one-story house with three bedrooms, our gratefully decent garden, our three children and our dogs. My husband feels like a pitiful failure. I cry all the time where nobody can see My children cry and fight and scream.
The pandemic is making us fall apart at the seams. We can not do anything about it.
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