We are all 11 weeks into the isolation restrictions that have meant we are spending 24 hours a day together. How is everybody doing? I hope you are all staying as sane as possible and are finding ways to create your own headspace and allowing your family to also manage their mental health.
Some days I have truly embraced it and loved it, yet other days I have felt this impending feeling that this is how it will be for a lot longer and I can’t see a future without it. I must say those days are few and far between and I am trying to maximise the time we are spending together. I miss seeing friends, I miss going out for a meal and I miss seeing loved ones and family. Some days my heart pangs for this to resume, other days a FaceTime or Zoom will suffice to just allow them to know they are loved and missed.
It’s the same for our children. They have been forced into this ‘unnatural’ situation which suddenly meant they could not see friends, could not go to the park, cinema, restaurants or school. We have to remember and focus on the mental health impact this has on them. Limit exposure to news but still allow open discussion on the virus, help them process it in their heads and support them when they are having ‘wobble’ days.
We have found such positivity in the situation and are focusing on family connection, fun and deepening our already connected family. As per my previous post isolation has definitely increased our connection and we see it everyday. Hands are held and cuddles made without prompting, laughter roars and giggles ensue. Don’t get me wrong we have had bad days when either the adult or child is just not feeling it and it’s important to recognise those days will happen and to repair and rebuild.
The kids have been having zoom meetings with mates, I’ve been running a weekly Zoom bingo for all their classmates, plus other parents have done zoom quizzes. We have allowed social distanced iPad gaming through the window and have arranged cycling drive-by to their friends houses to say hello. We have also started encouraging more independence at home whether this be picking up clothes off the floor, helping with cooking, making your own breakfasts or helping me make pizzas or cooking on the BBQ. All of a sudden our boys have grown up. They know what they need each day or want to do and we talk about plans for each day. The weather of course has been a bonus as it has meant lots and lots of garden time and cycling or walking, exploring the local area.
So here we are carrying on as we have been for the last 11 weeks. No dates yet as to when school will return and even if we do get them we are not sure if we will have them go back before September, mainly due to the fact that I am more vulnerable. Each day has got more relaxed as we go along. Lazy starts, some school work, then fun or screen time, combined with some outdoor exercise. It could be the new norm for a while, something which I struggle with on the odd day but overall something I and we need to all embrace. Making sure each member of the household is happy and feels safe and cared for is paramount.
I have spoken to a few parents who are either working from home or are on furlough and they have also shared how much more connection there has been in their family. Some have even expressed an interest to go back to work on more reduced hours, where this is financially possible, in order to continue this additional time together when things return to the nearest state of normal that they can. What about you? How is isolation affecting you and your family? Are you also considering reduced hours in the future? I’d love to hear your thoughts.