The appearance of the Omicron variant has come at the worst possible time for families and businesses across the country.
While some feel confident that they are protected against the worst of the virus this Christmas, others are filled with trepidation, amid warnings about the transmissibility of the strain, and mixed messages about its strength and vaccine resistance.
As news that cases are rising fast is throwing businesses, workplaces, and families’ Christmas plans in disarray, a social media debate has highlighted how anxiety about Omicron is forcing people to balance priorities and opening up divides between loved ones.
In the debate, a woman describes how she has been left ‘fuming’ after her mother banned her family from Christmas lunch following a dispute over an unvaccinated friend visiting them the night before.
The woman, who is a keyworker and mixes with the general public on a daily basis, has called her mum a ‘controlling narcissist’ after refusing to see her and her own grandchildren.
Posting under the pseudonym of BloodyC19Xmas on parenting forum Mumsnet, the daughter explained that she and her husband are catering for a friend on Christmas Eve because it’s their first Christmas since a ‘nasty divorce’, and so were ‘dreading’ waking up on Christmas morning alone without their kids.
The mum-of-two says her clinically vulnerable mother has now given her an ultimatum, where she must decide between seeing her unjabbed friend or seeing her on Christmas Day, as otherwise she’s ‘convinced she’s going to die’ amid the rapid spread of Omicron.
She asked users on the platform if she was the one being unreasonable for allowing the visit, which has seen split opinions.
BloodyC19Xmas wrote: “Ok Xmas day is meant to be at my mums house. She’s technically clinically vulnerable but she’s not got anything life ending like cancer etc but does affect the quality of her life.
“My friend was going to visit Xmas Eve as it’s their first year after a nasty divorce and were dreading xmas waking up without their kids, missing the fun of santa etc and so I invited to spend Xmas with my dh (husband) and kids.
“My mum discovered my friend is unvaxxed and absolutely fair enough she said they couldn’t go to her house so we changed plans so friend could come to us overnight on Xmas eve and we could go to my mums house Xmas lunchtime after friend went home to pick up their kids.
“Now with omicron accelerating, mum has lost it, she’s completely paranoid and convinced she’s going to die if she gets it. In spite of her having three vaccines already…
“And she’s said if my friend comes to visit that we can’t go to visit them on Xmas day cos she doesn’t want to risk it.
“My kids are young and they will be gutted to miss Xmas with their grandparents. This is the main issue for me here.
“I’m fuming cos hubby and I are around unvaxxed people all the time as we both work in public sector key worker jobs but that’s not bothered her before.
“My friend said they’d have a Covid test before they came to visit and we said we’d have one before we went to mums so I really can’t see the huge issue. (Besides a narcissist trying to control the narrative)
“Aibu (Am I being unreasonable)?”
User breakingthebank responded saying they think the family should have Christmas at home, adding: “It would be cruel to drop your friend now after inviting her IMO.”
Commenter SickAndTiredAgain highlighted how the unvaccinated schoolchildren will be mixing with the grandma anyway, writing: “Surely there’s far more chance of her catching it from them than from you after you meet with someone the day before (would you be contagious that quickly anyway?)”
Many others told the woman to stick with her plans of having her friend around, with MrsDSalvatore saying: “I’d tell her it’s fine you will stay home with your friend, see how quickly she changes her tune.. As above, you can still transmit it vaxxed or not”.
However soapboxqueen asked people to be more understanding of the grandmother’s fear, and suggested the family visit her later in the week after testing.
She wrote: “If your mum is uncomfortable, your mum is uncomfortable, she’s not being unreasonable. You’ve said yourself she is clinically vulnerable.
“I have various family members, some vulnerable some not, some hyper-vigilant some not so fussed. I respect each one’s comfort level.
“Yes you may be in contact with the public every day but maybe she can cope with that due to it being your job and not this extra situation.
“If you don’t want to rescind your friend’s invite, just say to your mum that you’ll give it a few days, test and then visit. Yes your dc (children) might be upset but that’s the situation we are in right now.
“Whether she is being controlling or is genuinely scared is irrelevant to your course of action.”
Meanwhile, others urged the mum to put her children first.
IgneousRock said: “Personally I’d be putting my kids first here – Christmas is really for children.
“If they’d be gutted to miss Christmas with their grandparents I would reluctantly cancel friend.”
While OnTheBoardwalk said: “Will your mum be on her own Christmas Day if you don’t go round? What do your children think?
“I’ve made my own risk assessment… and I’m prioritising family over friends at the moment but will be catching up with them in the new year”.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
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