I wouldn’t say that I was a pushover prior to becoming a parent, but I was good for letting things slide. I wasn’t super quick to assert myself and I could smile and nod through a lot of situations because I wanted to avoid drama and didn’t want to make waves. That, of course, changed once I had a kid.
During my daughter’s first few weeks of life, I would tell myself over and over that I may not always feel motivated to speak up for myself in certain instances, but it was my responsibility to always advocate for her because she was not yet able to speak up for herself. And thus, the uncomfortable conversations began and some people weren’t necessarily happy about it. I suppose that by establishing certain boundaries, I no longer gave people that warm and fuzzy feeling that I did pre-baby. Not even adults like hearing the word “no.” But I was okay with that. I would tell myself that it’s silly for any parent to put their child’s comfort, needs, or safety in the backseat to spare the feelings of another adult. I’m thankful that I started strengthening those muscles one year prior to this whole COVID-19 pandemic because they’ve been absolutely necessary during this time.
We’d be fooling ourselves to believe that all of our family and friends are practicing social distancing with the same fidelity that we are. People have interpreted the guidelines issued by the government to mean many different things. As a result, I have found myself in more than a few uncomfortable situations involving loved ones since the beginning of March. One involved a cousin who stopped by my house unannounced and wanted to leave her kids here for a few hours while she went out to run errands. Under normal circumstances, this would not be an issue. I love my cousin and her kids dearly and I love spending time with them. However, her actions make it evident she has barely missed a beat since social distancing orders were issued. She has joked about making unnecessary store runs, went out to get her hair done, and even hosted multiple get-togethers at her home. She’s a grown woman, so it’s her prerogative how she chooses to conduct herself during this pandemic, but I could not allow her poor decisions to waltz into my house potentially making myself and my family sick. So I asked her to leave and let her know that I wouldn’t be able to keep the kids.
I tried to be tactful about it and told her that I hoped she understood. She was upset and shocked, probably more shocked than anything. It wasn’t my proudest moment either, but I did what I felt I needed to do to keep my family safe. All of our precautionary efforts would be futile if we are just going to turn around and let someone who is engaging in unsafe practices pop up at our house and put us all at risk. I can only hope that our bond as cousins will be able to survive this and that our friendship can be reconciled once this all blows over, but in the meantime, I have to prioritize and the safety of my family is paramount.