Where I live, we’ve just gone into another lockdown. Different regions are seeing different things – schools closed, restaurants shut down, physical distancing in place. This is hard. It has been going on a long time and parents are exhausted and frustrated.
We have a lot to be upset and stressed about, but with the risk of sounding toxically positive, I want to reflect on a few things that have been good lessons learned for my family. This doesn’t take away from the many struggles we’ve all faced, but there have been a few silver linings and I think it’s OK to embrace and feel gratitude about some of those lessons.
I have learned to set better boundaries.
With kids at home studying alongside me working, I have learned to stop jumping in to rescue them – I don’t drop everything to grab them a snack, I don’t hop in and save them at the first sign of an academic struggle, and if they need to wait and be patient – so be it. This has been positive on two fronts – I have set boundaries that allow me to be more productive, and they have become better problem-solvers.
Our family has worked better as a team.
My older children, who are away at College, got sent home this time last year when the first lockdown happened. My youngest child was 10 at the time and has a complicated learning profile. I assigned each of his five older siblings as his coach for one subject each. Many hands make light work. Watching the siblings rally around their little brother was not only extremely helpful as I tried to do my job at Mabel’s Labels, but it also taught them great lessons about supporting each other.
We have learned to let go of the small stuff.
These are trying times. Kids are probably on screens a little more than we like, and we all might be bickering a bit more as we share space and WIFI! We are ordering take-out more often and the house is a bit of disaster. Letting go of caring about that has been liberating. Families are learning to accept that things don’t have to be perfect – sometimes being OK is good enough!
We’ve slowed down.
I’m used to rushing six kids to hockey arenas, dance lessons, and music classes. Now they play Minecraft and Dungeons and Dragons together, swim and play in the back yard and hike in the ravine. We are much more relaxed and have learned we don’t have to do all the “things” to be happy and active!
Has your family enjoyed any silver linings during these crazy times?