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: How do you handle pandemic playdates when your mom friends won’t make their kids wear masks around your kid? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Scary Mommy,
I have a small group of mom friends I’ve been close with since our kids were first in daycare together five years ago. We’ve seen each other through plenty of ups and downs, and I’ve considered them to be some of my closest friends. The pandemic has made me question that lately, though. They’re all totally fine with indoor playdates (they don’t have a super-secure “bubble,” no matter what they say) at all times, and I’m not unless everyone wears masks and we keep it brief and distant. They give me so much sh*t for it, acting like I’m accusing them of being “dirty” or having the plague. They’re offended. I’ve been trying to suggest outdoor activities because winter has been pretty mild so far, and they’re even bigger jerks about masks because they think outside = no risk. This is causing so much stress and anxiety, and I don’t know how to talk to them about it.
If the past 11 months have been good for anything, it’s that they’ve opened our eyes. To ourselves, to others, and to the world at large. What’s good to know isn’t always easy to know, of course, and that’s a pill that’s hard to swallow. I’m sorry your friends are being petulant about mask-wearing when it’s literally the simplest way to stay safe and keep others safe, too. Mask-wearing isn’t anyone’s “Get out of COVID free” card, but it sure as heck helps us go about our daily lives and essential activities in a way that decreases risk for everyone.
A lot of people have been feeling defensive about their pandemic-related activities and decisions, which tells you all you need to know about those activities and decisions. To be fair, it’s been difficult for everyone to mitigate the risk of something vs. the benefit of something — because we’ve never had to live through anything like this before. But to scoff at the notion of having your five-year-old child wear a mask in order to safely play with a friend is really, really shitty and immature. Not to mention entitled.
I’d say “I know how you guys feel about it, but I want little Bobby to be able to play with their friends for a bit and the safest way to make that happen is to have everyone wear masks.”
If they can wear it to Target, AND SCHOOL, they can wear it while taking turns on the slide. Period. If your friends aren’t willing to compromise and still give you shit, or insist on taking mask-wearing during a pandemic that’s already killed 38,000 people IN JUST THE FIRST TWO WEEKS OF 2021 ALONE, then I’m sorry to say you might need to look for support and friendship elsewhere.
It sucks. Trust me, I know. But you’ve got the right idea here.