Then came omicron. In December, her older son’s school abruptly returned to virtual learning. Her younger son was already home — he’d come down with an ear infection, which required antibiotics, which he did not tolerate well, which meant he couldn’t attend daycare for 10 days. Then his older brother tested positive for covid, and the whole family had to begin a lengthy quarantine, and their holiday travel plans to visit family were canceled. (And of course, in the midst of all this, their refrigerator broke.) For 33 days in December and January, Hayes-Birchler found herself home alone with her boys, and unable to work. Again.