Will you need a break after the lockdown lifts?
Now all of you who're parents stuck in the lockdown with their kids, I'm sure you can see what I mean by this😆. Mine are stuck away from me and I still worry and do some theoretical mommying over Whatsapp.
Well, the other months we're normally (stuck?) sharing a 700 sqft flat between 2 adults and 2 teens so I wouldn't be wrong in saying I know what you're going through.
Every Home Is Different. This is not a post to judge any parenting or family styles. This is just a personal perspective on an area that you might be struggling with or hoping to do differently.
We're all in the same sea, but in different boats.
Back to the topic: why're we finding so many families struggling?
Story set A:
1. I have a girlfriend who's workload on a regular day going out to work, is lesser than now that she's stuck home with the full family in and no maid. So she's cleaning, washing, doing the dishes, cooking, doing the laundry, and did I mention the online classes she still has to teach at?
2. I heard of another mom who's finding it hard to keep her adolescent kids occupied.
3. Another man who's taken to drinking, because he can't handle the kids being in all day.
4. A wife who's in the kitchen all the time because her hungry husband needs a snack every hour on the hour.
5. Cousins still not talking to each other because of the " what you said to me last time we met"...
And speaking of stories: Set B:
1. I'm reading stories of a mom whose husband has chosen to sit out the quarantine with his girlfriend and her kids.
2. A woman between jobs with 2 teenagers and no external financial support.
3. Another is a mom with abusive teenagers.
4. A grandmom with a family that doesn't even call to check up on her.
5. A man whose wife is having an affair and so she's in the same house but not talking to him.
6. A single woman, stuck alone at home, struggling with suicidal thoughts, and too tired to pray for herself.
What am I trying to say?
Story set B is real problems.
All the families in Set B are in a situation that they cannot fix either immediately nor by themselves. It's going to take a battle bigger than just a change of perspective.
Don't get me wrong. All the stories in Set A are problems too.
And they're very real to the ones they're happening to.
But they're avoidable and very easily fixable.
In all of those issues, the simplest solution is that everyone pitches in. Whether it is to hold out an olive branch or to divide the chores around the house and no one is overtaxed.
And therein is the crux.
Most of us are in a stupid mindset that needs to break:
Women alone are not Housekeepers.
Dads are not scary deities that cannot be disturbed.
Kids are not fragile pieces nor storms to be endured.
Now re-read the situations mentioned in Set A.
See the problem? There isn't one😐.
All those ads and videos about using this time learn a new skill/language/topic.. all great! Sign up for one, and manage your time in a way that it's helping you as a bonus, not instead of, helping out at home.
My husband tried his hand at cooking just cos he was bored. Turns out he's a natural at it. He's enjoying it and he's so good at it, that honestly, while I'm a lil bit worried he might be better at it than I am, its a major load handled. Apart from his worship sessions and online course.
My daughter Michthefish found something online, made her own temporary "hair dye" with home ingredients, and got some purple in her hair. And she washed the dishes she used along with the ones used for food. This is apart from the cleaning up and making Dalgona coffee which her dad swears is yum.
My ex got addicted to and super good at, Pubg. He plays between his WFH and washing his and kid's clothes and other chores.
My son Davethebrave has been doing IG LIVE fun sessions with his friends. After checking on his grandmom, and cleaning after the pets.
I've been doing some cooking, some studying and dressing up of course. And I wear an apron to do the dishes or the sweeping.
We're all also binge-watching Netflix or Prime or both😜.
See what I'm trying to say?
My girlfriend Manisha's husband and 12-year-old twin girls have been handling the kitchen entirely because her WFH timings clash with food duties.
Another girlfriend says that they're enjoying having dad WFH because he's helping with kids during the day, a very welcome abnormality because he's usually at work and can't be involved in fun daytime activities.
A guy friend has been catching up on messaging all the people he usually can't because of their work timings or his, and he's using this time to just refresh some relationships. And it's not at the cost of his home chores either.
Davethebrave has adopted a stray to feed. The dog has adopted him too, going by the sweet pictures🐶.
There's fun stuff to do individually and as a family to not get bored.
Break out those Board games from the attic. And if you don't have those, there are online games that cost nothing but your existing internet connection.
I've curated a Pinterest Board for ideas to keep kids engaged. By themselves or with a parent. It's not exhaustive, but I keep adding interesting links as I go.
Find it here for more ideas to add to your current activities:
Or maybe your new skillset is that for the first time in your life you behave like a fully functioning member of the household with your own responsibilities and not just someone who lives there. This rule is for kids too. They might get mad for a bit, but it works.
Chore charts are a good starting point.
I have one in my home, sweetly adhered to. Has room for swapping but not shirking.
Some jobs are monetized too.
Every home will have different needs and hence different systems. The key is TO HAVE A SYSTEM.
If you need motivation, plenty of templates and age-wise samples available for download online. Or message me for a link.
Take some "me time" space. Maybe bathe a lil longer and enjoy the water, or go to a different room to pray alone or dust off that hobby you had to give up because of office commute time...It'll help you feel and be nicer.
This is the time to partner with your wife, your husband, your kids. There are actually more memories to be made that way. Let no one be so caught up working alone to keep the house going that this lockdown becomes their prison.
If you're reading this and nothing else works, you know how to get in touch with me. I can pray with you and I'm available to have a "chat" with your peeps if need be😋.
More importantly, if you're reading this and you have real situations of physical abuse or mental health issues, PLEASE get in touch. We will find a way to help!
I hope I've offered some perspective and a smile.
Please let me know me what your family lockdown time looks like, it'll be fun to get some more ideas for our own.
I keep telling my kids: we're actually living in historic times.
Let our lockdown stories be those of courage, faith, rest, laughter, good food, family partnership, taking space for some 'me time', resilience.
Let our lockdown stories above all else, be about intentional Love.