Hey Fort Mill!
We at New South Family Medicine hope all of you are staying safe and getting outside during these beautiful fall months. I wanted to write a little about getting out of the house during COVID-19. If you are anything like our family, we are ready to get outside, spend time with the people we care about, and experience the social parts of life that we have been missing. But how do we socialize now and do it safely???
It’s a hard battle to take that first step outside your comfort zone, and is important to weigh the pros and cons of doing so. Is it okay to be in public if wearing a mask and appropriately social distancing? Is it possible for most of us to do this? Even with both Dave and I being primary care doctors, we have struggled with how to re-emerge responsibly into the world. We want to get out, but have been hesitant to do so because of our work.
Truth be told, at my family practice I can control the situation. At NSFM we require masks in the office, disinfect our office throughout the day and wash our hands regularly. In public there’s less control, which can lead to more anxiety (and spread).
We have kept our children home this year from school. This was a difficult decision due to the social implications, but have found ways to be social with friends at minimal risk. Our children are so much happier with friends and family, so we have had to modify our strict quarantine measures and have multiple conversations about boundaries and balance. I have seen them much happier and we have remained healthy, which give me hope.
We have started allowing our son to socialize with a few of his friends. We monitor their distance and if they are going to be close, he wears a mask. We have asked his friends and their parents to do the same. Are they 100%? No. Are we? No. I wish I could say I am the strictest, but I am also navigating the balance between safety and sanity. I’ve definitely broken down during this. I’ve let my guard down as a provider and a mother. Not going to lie or hide about it. It's hard. None of us want to be wearing masks and keeping distanced from those we love, but I am reminded everyday of why I am doing this when I look at Henry’s surgical scars.
Wearing masks and keeping our distance will allow us to socialize responsibly. And now that we as a family have been out a little more, we know it is possible to enjoy other’s company while still being diligent about reducing spread.
This is a new phase for our family. But, wow, the mental health improvement is tremendous both for our children and us as parents. Balancing responsibility with socialization is possible – distance yourselves 6 feet. When you can’t, wear your masks. Wash your hands and surfaces and stay home if you are sick. Seems pretty simple. We are in this together and, if we can collectively take care of each other, we will get through this.