I have OCD, and sending my kids back to school scares me.


Quarantine log: Sol 131. Yes, I’ve been with my kids continuously for 131 days. No sitters. No school. Just us. I miss other humans.

Earlier this week, my children’s school released their reopening plan for the fall.

It’s well thought out and reasonably comprehensive. For the most part, it is everything I would have hoped for. In-person instruction, masks required, increased cleaning, social distancing. More handwashing. Water bottles instead of drinking fountains. Virtual school for those who want or need to quarantine. Temperatures and health checks.

Still, I’m terrified.

My kids are still really young. They’ll be 5 and 7 next month. I can’t get my seven-year-old to keep his pants on all the time at home, so how can I trust that he will keep a mask on when I’m not around? How can I be sure that my kids will avoid friends who aren’t wearing masks at recess or wash their hands properly? How can I protect them if I have no control over their interactions?

The short, slightly uncomfortable answer is: I can’t.  

There are many things in my life I can control. Sadly, this virus is not one of them. I can follow the best practices and recommendations of the medical community. Still, I can’t control the actions of others, and I’ll never be able to completely eliminate the risk.

OCD hates that kind of uncertainty.

Dropping my kids off will still be a fairly significant exposure for me.

I’m going to have to resist the compulsion to keep them home.

I’m going to have to resist the compulsion to scrub everything the second they walk in the door.

I’ll need to find a way to seem confident enough at drop off so that my fears do not become theirs.

I will probably cry in the car as I pull away.

I’m not ready to send my kids back, but damn it, I’m going to.


Be kind in the comments, friends. I’m choosing from a bunch of really sucky options here.


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