I Live in a Constant State of Hypocrisy, With No End in Sight

Despite phrases I catch myself saying like “pre-pandemic” or “before the pandemic” — we are still very much in said pandemic. It’s more like “before I was vaccinated” and while I’m grateful for my shot and continued scientific advancements, I can’t help but feel completely disenchanted with the state of the world as I watch COVID-19 cases climb. I shake my head in constant confusion as the public health messaging between the federal, state, and local authorities remains consistently inconsistent.

Amid the chaos, I am in the frustrating situation of trying to evaluate the inherent risk in every activity our family considers. Like so many other families, we have two small children who are unvaccinated — and as the pandemic rages among those who can’t (and those who choose not to) be inoculated, we obviously worry about their safety and our role in continuing to spread the disease among the vulnerable in our community.

mother putting mask on child

Some decisions are beyond my control. We have to go to work. Our kids have to go to daycare. Others . . . are more subjective. I obviously don’t have to enroll my children in extracurricular activities, attend events, or plan vacations. That’s where my hypocrisy in my decision-making really shows itself.

For example, I have arguments like this in my head:

  • It feels “low risk” to go to this birthday party because masks are required and we see this particular family at daycare every day — yet it feels “unreasonably risky” to eat inside at a restaurant with my young kids.
  • It feels “low risk” to have my four-year-old participate in extracurricular activities like dance class and swimming lessons, yet it feels “unreasonably risky” to take my child to an indoor movie theater.
  • It feels “low risk” to fly on an airplane later this fall for a family trip we booked months ago because masks are required, yet it feels “unreasonably risky” to take my young kids to a crowded, no-mask or shots required stadium for a live sporting event.

These decisions make some sense in my mind . . . but do they really? I’m sure you have an opinion. As do I on your choices.

And that’s when it dawned on me that it’s pretty much impossible to make a perfect decision in this stage of the pandemic. This is a completely imperfect situation caused by a disappointing series of events. Each of us must evaluate and review the risk our individual behaviors cause to our families and our communities day-by-day and week-by-week — and deal with the collective consequences of said decisions.

I’m so tired of balancing the risk-reward of every decision our family makes, but this is how it will continue to be for the foreseeable future. I live in a constant state of hypocrisy with no real end in sight.

All I can do is use my best judgment and allow others and myself the flexibility to change our minds as the situation evolves — trying to spark some kind of reasonable balance between doing what we enjoy, spending time with those we love, and being cautious and safe.

I am thinking of you as you evaluate the risk in all you do with your family this fall. You aren’t alone in feeling hypocritical in your decision-making.


Katie is a spouse, mother, and professional communicator. She became acquainted with Iowa City as a student at the University of Iowa, earning degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and most recently her MA in Strategic Communication. Katie and her husband met and fell in love in Iowa City, deciding to never leave. Their family can often be found eating their way through downtown, walking their dog in City Park, or cheering on their beloved Hawkeyes at live sporting events.


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