This week I got covid. After bragging about my big fancy conference last week, I came home with coronavirus - I’m surprisingly the first member of my family to get it.

I’ve been very lucky and have had super mild symptoms. A relentless headache and hay fever vibes but that's about it. What I wasn’t prepared for is the moral and ethical whirlwind I was stepping into. The current Victorain rules are as follows… you don't have to do anything. If you work at a high risk job like health care or education you have to be isolated for 5 day but for everyone else you can pretty much do what you want.

It's obviously highly recommended that you isolate yourself but now that the government isn’t supporting people who have to isolate, it's come down to the individual to decide if they can or can’t afford to take the five days off work. If you're self-employed like me, there is no sick leave. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid.

The most frustrating thing in this whole ordeal is the kids. They’ve been testing negative but they’re basically extensions of us. We almost have to assume that they have covid, even if they don’t. This morning (Wednesday) I drove Alice to daycare and didn’t take her in. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. She is negative. Has been all week. She’s had a snotty nose for weeks now, because she’s 5, but knowing that I have just passed the 5 days isolation period I couldn’t bear the idea that she’d come back positive tomorrow after spending the day at daycare with all her little under 5, unvaxxed buddies.

This is now the fifth day in a row that the kids have done ABSOLUTELY nothing. The weather has been super shitty in Ballarat, and most of Victoria by the sounds of it. So my whole household has been living on top of each other trying not to get each other sick. A truly impossible task.

I spoke to a friend the other day who said that their Covid experience was fine because they just lived in the other end of their house and their partner brought them meals. God, the idea of being left alone in the house for five days AND having meals brought to you is way outside of my realm of reality.

My reality was trying to get the kids to stop licking each other and making all meals while trying not to breathe. Matt turned positive on Monday but due to work commitments has had to barricade himself in the office at the factory to keep the TinyOffices moving. I’ve had to keep working through which has just meant that kids have had more device time over the last 5 days than they have over the last 5 weeks. Things are starting to get feral.

The most distressing thing of all was I’m meant to be spending this weekend in Melbourne with my sister. I haven't seen her since March 2020. It has been incredibly difficult to decide what the best course of action is. What if I’m still testing positive when she gets here? What if the kids turn to positives and Matt has to look after everyone while I’m away? Our Covid has been mild, but my sister's family got slammed so does she want to risk taking it back with her?

After nearly three years I thought these conversations around Covid would be getting easier but I’ve found the last couple of days pretty stressful. At one stage we nearly called it off, just because it was too hard. It's too hard to get Matt support when I’m not there and everyone has Covid. Too hard to anticipate if the kids will become positive or not. But at the end of the day, the hardest thing was not seeing my sister if I had the opportunity to do so.

I whole-heartly appreciate that each and every person has to take responsibility for protecting themselves and those around them. This is the ‘covid-normal’ everyone was talking about. Still lots of Covid but without all the rules. As people get back into the swing of living with things like travel we have to accept that it might not always go to plan. I think people are more forgiving of last minute changes to plans but it doesn’t make them any easier.

A wise and dear friend made a very good point that we all got vaccinated for a reason - so we could protect those who are vulnerable and live as close to normal (covid-normal) as possible. This week was an example that even though the news has stopped reporting figures and death rates, we are still very much at the mercy of the invisible beast.

It’s like running straight into a glass door. In my case I had a killer headache (from the point of impact) but then I could see everything before me but couldn’t move forward to grab it. I missed out on some really special events this weekend all because at some stage last week, I shook hands with someone who had covid.

I guess that's the point, right. This person may or may not have known they had Covid and when it jumped from them to me it started a chain of events that meant I almost cancelled a weekend away with my sweet sister who I miss so badly that I'm tearing up right now at the thought of being with her this time tomorrow evening. Imagine being responsible for cancelling such a joyous event! What kind of monster would do that!

Me. I’m that kind of monster. I’m the parent who is whipping their kids' noses in the car outside daycare and telling them to try not to cough when I drop them off. Not for covid obviously but for anything that is not covid we have a ‘your going to daycare/school/kinda’ policy. Modern families don’t have time to look after kids as much as kids are sick.

Especially if the parents are self-employed. I’ve always struggled with doing the right thing when it comes to losing a precious day of work or keeping a mildly sick kid home from school. This is when local grandparents would come in handy (or carer leave) and I see why a number of families move back to their hometowns in inorder to start families. That support network is perfect for picking up the slack. Although in saying that when you have Covid the grandparents are the first people you stop seeing. No ones winning I guess.

The good news is that I am no longer testing positive for covid and my sister is due this afternoon! Our weekend of much needed hanging out and refuelling each other's sister stash can continue. Frank now has covid and couldn’t be more excited that he has the rest of the week off school. Alice is still negative and proudly so, claiming she is the family super star! Matt is still positive but feeling better so is looking forward to having the kids all to himself this weekend. Dad-only weekends are the best from the kids' reports. Dad-only weekends also work out pretty well for me!

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