Corona Virus is sweeping across the world without a care. It seems unstoppable. One minute I was traveling back from one of my Uganda trips and wondering why so many people were wearing masks in the Dubai airport, then within weeks I find myself self quarantined at home, with my last child doing online schooling and wondering if he will have a Senior Prom and graduation?
My daughter had made what we believed at the time to be a permanent move out of mom and dad’s house but Corona changed that and she is now home & finishing her 3rd year of college online.
I have 3 adult children living their own lives in different parts of the country & trying to figure things out. It is a lot. It is uncertain. I would love to have all my kids home right now and be able to enjoy this crazy time together as a family–even the arguing during board games.
I have also been on social media far more than I usually am. I am intrigued. I feel for the moms that suddenly have multiple kids home and are supposed to be ”teaching” them and are feeling ill-equipped to do so. And at the same time, I’m dumbfounded by some that are stressed about “homeschooling” their 3 yr old and panicking about working from home while kids are there as well. While I realize there are far too many families out there who are deeply impacted by this virus & I do not want to minimize that in any way, much of what is being posted, tweeted, etc. is concerning.
Instead of focusing on the negative of the upheaval, how about we readjust our energy to be more positive?
As one with grown children, I cannot express to you enough the value of taking a breath, stepping back and enjoying the little lives you chose to bring into this world. Many of you have spent far too many years with kids in school, then ferrying them around to a variety of classes and practices and consumed with ‘busyness”. Now suddenly you are looking for ways to “entertain” them.
Children are not empty vessels that we are responsible to fill but rather they are treasures we are to help unlock. Kids have amazing imaginations. . . let them use them. Don’t be afraid to let them climb a tree, invent things, make a mess in the kitchen cooking or baking, play games and read. Embrace this time to really get to know your kids and connect with them. This won’t last forever and your kids will fill in any gaps that may exist when they return to school.
Additionally, don’t let your kids hear you talking negatively about them being home. They are listening. How do you think that makes them feel? I know many of you are having to work from home with kids who need you. I get it and my hope is that corporations will now see that this is not a big deal and from what I have seen, this is beginning to happen as this week I saw a post where someone showed their computer screen with their team members and everyone was introducing kids and pets and had 20 minutes of fun and laughter. I hope when this is all over we continue to embrace our shared humanity. My guess is that the team got to know more about each other during that break more than any other time together.
Your spouse is probably home as well. How is that going? Are you connecting? Talking? Playing games? Listening? What a great time to re-evaluate things; to talk about the things that are really important to you and your family. My hope is that in all of this we slow down, that we realize it’s OK to do so. That our kids are happy and don’t “need” all the things we believe they do.
If this had happened 5 years ago, I would not be able to write any of this. The schooling would have been ok but only because my kids were old enough to manage it themselves. A little motivation and the occasional “threat” would have been required, but they would have muddled through. However, at that time my marriage was a mess. Carlos and I were simply living our own lives under the same roof; so being with each other 24/7 would not have been fun and in no way connected. It would have merely been survival.
I am happy to say that now it truly has been enjoyable. Actually it is not that different for us than every other day. We already both work from home and have worked hard over the years to establish good work/life boundaries which has allowed us to take a step back from the usual grind and forge an even deeper connection.
During this time be intentional in communicating with your partner kindly and clearly. Three years ago when we started our new company, our original intent was to share office space in our home but I found that Carlos speaks loudly on the phone and it was too distracting to me. He really needs the structure of the office and rather than try and get him to change his approach, I found that I am just as productive working at our kitchen table. Find what works for you and communicate it. In full transparency, I have also worked from my couch and bed, much more comfortable to be sure, and the work still gets done.
Lastly, if it is possible for you, find a way to volunteer in your community. I have been working at a local food bank; something I had always intended to “get around to doing” and I cannot tell you what a difference it has made. During one shift an employee walked through thanking the volunteers and casually said, “People will eat today because you are here”. Wow! I had not really given much thought beyond my own desire to help and get out of my house for a while.
I have asked myself, “Who do you want to be during this crisis?” “How are you planning to show up”? Ask yourself those questions when it comes to your kids, spouse, work, free time, your community, etc. and be the best version of yourself.
What’s holding you back?