Kristen Howerton isn't just a mom raising two teenage boys amid a pandemic. She's also a psychotherapist. Meaning, she gets it, she writes in a New York Times op-ed. She gets the struggles her teens are facing in these weird times, largely isolated from their friends and school routines. And she gets the importance of giving a little here and there, of allowing more screen time, letting them dye their hair, or allowing them to hit the skate park provided they promise to wear their masks. She gets all of that. "Which is how I found myself a couple of Thursdays ago, stealthily driving to the skatepark to see if my boys were, in fact, wearing their masks … and then screaming at them in front of their friends because they weren’t," she writes. "I don't want to be a mom who spies on her kids. I don’t want to be a mom who yells in public. And yet, here I am."
Howerton notes that she herself is asthmatic and has a "wonky immune system," and thus is maybe more fearful than most of contracting the virus. She also wants to make sure her kids aren't the ones who infect somebody else. Still, she's not thrilled about running her home like it's a "police state" and about her current parenting in general. She's even apologized to her boys over it. "(N)ot because I’ve done something wrong, but because even if I feel that I’m doing the right thing to protect them and our community, I can acknowledge that this year has been extremely hard for them." At this point, she's mainly looking forward to the end of COVID and the return to normalcy, "where I am once again the mom encouraging their social life instead of hindering it." (Read the full column.)