Simon Holland, a dad in quarantine recently tweeted, “So we don’t go to restaurants, kids aren’t signed up for anything, and we are just staying home during spring break? Sounds like my childhood.”
This made me think of a conversation that a close friend and I had a while ago about what weekends were like when we were growing up. “We did what the adults did. Plain and simple, we went with mom and dad. We ran errands, went to shops, ran into neighbors, saw extended family and friends. Maybe we had a friend over or went to call for a friend on the block or played outside, but we followed the adult’s lead. Now, it seems parents follow what the kids do…plays, sports, activities all rule the family weekend.” Adrienne is right.
With what Simon and Adrienne have both pointed out, are we still following our children’s lead? Are we still living with the dis-ease of busyness with a side order of a culture of complaint? Many of us wear that as a badge, pridefully boasting of all the things we have to do…between the lines rolling our eyes with of all these constraints. Are we jumping hoops trying to be parent/teacher/artist/philanthropist/baker/chef/IT support/coach/quarantine specialist of the year? Sorry, there is no award.
While yes, our children need guidance and supervision, can we allow them unstructured time? Quiet time? Playing on their own, doing a puzzle, reading in their room? Where is the time to just be and perhaps be – uh oh – you guessed it – a little bit bored for the moment? Why boredom? It is in this quiet time, quiet place, the safety of the home you have already put in place that a child can process, can work out thoughts on their own, can imagine, can build capacity, can relax mentally, can manage anxieties. Or are we filling every moment like a cruise director? When did it go from fun to a list of have-to’s?
And how about you, exhausted mom, overwhelmed dad, ever-present grandparent? What are you doing for yourself? Have you taken the time to sit and enjoy watching an episode of a favorite show? Stepped away to speak to a close friend? Sat quietly at the window? Have you and felt guilty or were made to feel guilty by others in your home?
Try it – fifteen minutes even – for quiet time or time to self for each one. While there is, again, no award, you may see the reward eventually. Eyes on the prize, fam!