Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.
This week: What do you do when your parents are fully vaccinated, but you’re still afraid to have them over to your home? Have your own question? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Scary Mommy,
My parents are both over the age of 60 and are both fully vaccinated — yay! We’ve been pretty strict about not having them in our house during the pandemic, and sticking to outdoor things only. This has been difficult during the winter, so it’s a relief that they’ve received the vaccine. But my issue is that I’m still nervous about having them over, even though science and the CDC say it’s okay. My kids aren’t vaccinated yet, obviously. My parents also watch my siblings’ children regularly, and my nieces and nephews are all in school and daycare. My children are not because they’re very little. After a year of being rigorous and sticking to safety measures, I still don’t feel 100% confident in letting my parents come over.
It’s been a doozy of a year when it comes to absorbing new information and data. All of our heads are collectively spinning every time a new piece of information comes through the CDC. It’s true that it’s considered safe for a fully vaccinated grandparent to visit an unvaccinated grandchild if that grandchild isn’t at a higher risk of contracting COVID. There is always a risk, however, at least until it’s officially determined that fully vaccinated people cannot transmit the disease. The CDC has gone back and forth on this issue this week.
That being said, we need to allow ourselves some grace when it comes to our fears and anxieties moving forward. The pandemic is still very much ongoing and devastating many lives as we speak. Talk to your parents and explain how you feel. Brainstorm together different ways they can visit without sending you into an anxiety spiral. You could stick to outdoor visits as the weather grows milder, or ask that they still wear masks while inside your home. It’s going to be a long time before we all feel confident in our risk mitigation and decision-making, so you need to do whatever helps you feel comfortable and maintain your safety precautions and boundaries.
What we do know, according to public health experts, is that vaccines are very effective against infection and transmission. But nothing is 100%, and experts will be learning about this pandemic and the vaccines for a while yet.
Bottom line: work with your family to figure out what makes sense for all of you to do while also keeping safety precautions in mind. Arm yourself with the correct information (read official sites like cdc.gov and keep track of what trustworthy media outlets are reporting) before making any major decisions, and weigh the pros and cons if that helps your anxiety.
Give yourself some grace, above all. You’re doing great.