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The pandemic agony of parents with kids under 5

This is about claustrophobia, and monotony, and how the little things in the world that help parents stay sane—a library, a play date, running errands and dragging him along—are off the table when you’ve been exposed.

(Jaime Green/ Slate) — Sometimes I wake up to texts sent at 2 a.m. Sometimes they’re from Meg, who lives in Scotland and is several time zones ahead, telling us her 4-year-old woke up with a fever. Sometimes Kea, who lives in Maine, was up overnight with her 2-year-old.

More texts come through the day in trickles and floods, in the group chat that’s been our support group since we were all pregnant at the same time. How’s your back? How’s your kid’s earache? How long did they tantrum for today? Make sure to swab their throat!

I get up, I make my own toddler breakfast. My husband drives him to day care. I text my friends back, I try to get to work. And I wait. (…)