We are so grateful to Stefanie, of mostefinitely, for partnering with us to share the importance of vaccination to her family. Read more here.
This fall marked a momentous occasion in the Pohl house: our youngest started kindergarten. We officially made it to the full-day school stage, a milestone I remember dreaming about on days where the hours felt like they dragged on and yet dreaded as the big day approached.
I became a stay-at-home mom after she was born, and while her big sister was at school, we had a lot of time together. Her world was relatively small. And as the baby of the family, her firsts were the last firsts.
While the moment of dropping both girls off at school together had the celebration and bittersweetness I anticipated, it was also marked with a particular sense of worry. After a couple of years of virtual learning, reduced school hours, exposure scares, and plenty of at-home nasal swabs, the road to get to this big milestone was especially bumpy. Well, if that isn’t the understatement of the world.
Parenting through COVID was and has been one of the most challenging things I’ve faced as a mom. Living through it has also challenged me as a daughter, a friend, and a human. Calculating the risks, making tough decisions, and having uncomfortable conversations surrounded every move. It was like a complicated game of chess, and I’m not good at chess. Ultimately it came down to the fundamentals of being a mom: protecting my kids, and also protecting myself.
During this time, the biggest moments of relief came when my husband and I were able to get vaccinated, and then when our girls were eligible for their vaccines. We know that vaccines are safe, effective and help protect everyone. Getting vaccinated didn’t only mean protecting ourselves, but others around us – whether that’s our family, friends, or school community.
Having both girls in school now, staying up to date on all of their vaccines has been especially important. I appreciate resources like IVaccinate.org, which provides information and tools – including Michigan school and child care immunization requirements – based on real medical science and research to help Michigan parents protect their kids.
As the old adage says, the best defense is a good offense. Making the conscious and proactive choice to vaccinate our kids will protect them and their communities as their worlds expand beyond the protective layers of our home.
In preparing for flu shots this month, our youngest is expressing the same kind of concerns that her sister had at the same age. She worries that the shot is going to hurt, or that she’ll have a sore leg, or that it’s scary. It’s been a good opportunity to have a conversation with her about why we get shots, how they help protect us and our family, and even that it’s okay to be scared.
What’s been especially heartwarming is how our older daughter has helped to calm her little sister’s fears about getting her flu shot. When I hear her explain why shots are important and that they will help protect her from getting sick, it is one of those proud parent moments.
In raising our girls, we’re trying to not only show that we care about them, but that we care about others – being a part of a community, helping one another, and looking out for each other.
As their worlds continue to expand and grow, there is only so much I can control. I Vaccinate my girls to protect them and others.