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The New Normal: Kids in The Masked World

3 min read

Melbourne, Victoria. We’re in a pretty dark place and for once it’s not because of the constant grey clouds, black clothed marketing graduates or our bars being in tiny black alleys but because we’re in an avoidable State of Emergency. Political blame aside, we’re elbow deep in a cluster fuck and our kids are with us.

We probably have a myriad of emotions from this disaster; anger, frustration, depression and that’s just from watching the substandard sport being dished up, but our kids have suddenly seen the world mask up around them and that has to be a little confronting.

We probably have a myriad of emotions from this disaster; anger, frustration, depression and that’s just from watching the substandard sport being dished up

Depending how old your kids are, you may be able to tell them something along the lines of ‘the world has a cold’ but my son is too young and hasn’t quite kicked up to that level cognitive ability just yet. My wife and I decided we needed to take some sort of action once our kid looked a little rattled and was saying ‘scary’ when we had to get our masks on to go outside. My wife went out and bought a bunch of coloured material and ow we have a fairly wide selection including owls, bright spots, clowns and lions so when we head out during the day, he gets to choose what we wear. We also try to get him to guess the colour of other people’s masks in the street. We figure by addressing it we aren’t ignoring the issues and, to him, it’s seems as if we’re OK with it all. If we can double up and have him learn colours while no longer freaking out, that’s a big win. I just worry we’ll end up raising an artist.

We’ve since found that we get in extreme trouble if we now leave the house without a mask. Our small blonde dictator demands that it cover our mouth and nose, so, Victoria police do not worry, you can deputise this toddler.

This is a pretty big challenge to try and steel our child from too much terror but we’re going to run with this as an opportunity to turn this into a game or at the very least make it a little more fun than it already is. At 2 years old he’ll barely remember this period of history, but if we can limit the impact and fear this kid has from seeing every face suddenly covered, then that’s a fairly fundamental job of a parent.

It’s a freakish time and all you can do is keep an eye on your kids and see how they’re reacting. If they’re old enough to understand then it’s definitely worth having a chat. Letting them know that it’s only temporary and soon we’ll all be able to go to parks, friends’ birthdays or that Dad is coming home from work a little later on Friday, but we have to wait until everyone gets better.

Something that may be slipping by the wayside is a little self-care. I don’t necessarily mean the locked bathroom door type, but just carving out a few moments for ourselves to go and read a book, reorganise a garage, watch fails on YouTube for half an hour. Something that isn’t family or work. Take the time to talk your bosses too. It’s A LOT that we’re going through and no one could begrudge you asking for help for your workloads – don’t let this societal collapse take up your entire bandwidth, your kids need a bit of that space.

So does Netflix. It won’t watch itself.

Cam Mann

Written by Cam Mann

Cam has been attempting to write anything anyone would want to read for a few years now. Trying his hand at small film scripts and sports articles, but once his son, Billy, was born he found his niche writing about the ridiculousness of Fatherhood. As he watches his kid enter each Developmental Leap (and Developmental Face Plant) he will look to avoid the ever-present terror we all know and wring out inappropriate laughs wherever he can.

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