My 3-year-old recently stopped taking naps.
It’s been torture.
Now she spends that hour and a half pestering us for attention. We’re trying to show her how to play quietly by herself. Like everything else people imagine about kids, they don’t magically learn how to do this stuff by themselves. You have to train them how to be humans.
It takes a lot of work, and patience.
Meanwhile, the disappearance of nap time makes our lives even harder. It’s about two more hours a day of emotional labor, or 14 hours a week. That’s practically a part time job, and it doesn’t pay.
That time was crucial for us. We used it to get work done, to rest, or to be with each other (if you know what I mean). Now it’s gone, and once again we’re scrambling to remake our routines.
Quarantine parenthood continues for millions of us. We’re the ones with kids still too young to get vaccinated, or too vulnerable even for a “milder” variant like Omicron. We’re the ones America forgot about in their quest to get back to normal. They’re talking about everyone “living with the virus.” I wish I could say they left us behind. At least then it might mean they’d leave us alone, but no. They’re dragging us along with them, expecting us to pretend the pandemic is over, even when all of the stress and danger remains. When we speak up, they roll their eyes.
Elon Musk spouts off about how nobody’s having kids anymore, and how it’s going to ruin civilization. News reports about our sluggish population growth, calling it the “slowest since the nation’s founding.”
I’ll tell you why.
America doesn’t care about parents.
Last year, parents were finally getting a little bit of help with the child tax credit. It was a couple of hundred bucks each month that could go toward daycare, clothes, or food. Now, that’s expired. Joe Manchin recently said he thought it was “too generous.”
This is what America, especially its politicians, really thinks about parents. They want to use us in their campaign ads and commercials. We’re useful in swinging…