Did you know today, May 15th, is International Day of Families? To mark this special day, we asked Hannah, our communications manager, to reflect on family life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Musings of a Social Distanced Mum
Here’s to International Day of Families! I want to start out by honouring yours with you, whatever it looks like and whatever state you feel like you are currently in; whether you are experiencing lockdown nirvana or barely hanging on by a thread, we know you are doing your best.
In the most ‘normal’ of circumstances, family life is already all kinds of messy and marvellous, wonderful and weird, full of joy and sorrow. It’s courageous, creative and challenging, and this lockdown has magnified the very best and the very worst of who we are. For most of us, this season has given us more time together than ever before and there will be as many differences in our experience as conversations we have about it.
I am one of the lucky ones.
In our house, where both parents have been working throughout; one from home and one on the road, and where three children have been knuckling down to some form of schoolwork every day, the routines and the expectations have had to adapt. We’ve certainly had our fair share of tears and tantrums, as well as moments called “I always want it to be this way!” Haven’t you?
We live in an isolated spot and I’ve never been so grateful to have hills and valleys and green on every side. Collectively, (adhering to government advice) we’ve walked the dog twice a day, every day, because the only life form we’re in danger of bumping into is sheep.
I count my ‘location’ blessings every single day. I am one of the lucky ones.
But I’m also keenly aware that this is pretty unique and for countless thousands, there is no green space on the doorstep or garden to play in and so you’re doing your best to entertain your kids, you’re patient with your restless teenagers, and you’re soothing with your toddlers who can’t roam around like they normally would….
…..We want you to know, this International Day of Families, we see your struggle and frustrations and we honour you.
I can’t wait for my husband to come home at the end of his day, and sometimes I wish he was home all the time. When he calls; “I’m back!” my heart leaps, like when we were dating teenagers and the dog wags her tail and the kids holler back, “Hi Dad!”
I count my ‘partner’ blessing every day. I am one of the lucky ones.
But I also know so many people are alone right now. Single parents caring for children without a break, desperate for someone to share the load. People living on their own, now completely isolated, who might even settle for an argument if it meant having some company.
And then there are women and men for whom an argument is dangerous, quickly escalating into so much more. For you, this time is peculiarly cruel, and even riskier than usual. Your senses are heightened and you’re even more tired than usual, doing your best to calm and soothe and anticipate the triggers….
…..We want you to know, this International Day of Families, we see you and our hearts ache for you.
I love my kids, albeit, they can still push my buttons. I’m a mum for whom the school holidays can’t come quickly enough, and when they’re here, they’re over too soon. I’ve relished every stage of their development, always saying that ‘this’ phase is definitely the best.
I count my ‘kid’ blessings every day. I am one of the lucky ones.
But I also know that kids can be tough and they don’t always play ball. I know that life shapes our kids just as much as it does us and sometimes we don’t have the answers to their questions, the patience for their tantrums, the money for their needs and the resolution to their challenges. And it’s exhausting. And sometimes it’s overwhelming…
….. We want you to know, this International Day of Families, we see you hanging by a thread, we see your exhaustion and we want to reassure you - your “good, really is good enough.”
One of the things I’m really missing in this strange and unusual time, is my parents and siblings, nephews and nieces, even the in-laws! We’re a relatively large clan and I’m so grateful that, (most of the time,) we really get on!
I count my family (and online video-conferencing) blessings every day. I am one of the lucky ones.
But I also know families can be war zones or at least, no-fly zones. Some of us don’t love the ones we speak to or speak to the ones we love, and some of us are just trying to track down the ones we think might be out there.
….. We want you to know, this International Day of Families, we see you wishing things were different, we see your wondering and your pain.
Finally, from my 95-year old grandparents, to my 12-week old niece, I can be very grateful that we are all healthy and well.
….But we are very aware, this International Day of Families, that some of you are mourning the death of a loved one. We want you to know we see you. We grieve with you.
Whatever family life looks like this International Day of Families; whether you are alone, or surrounded; biological, fostered or adopted; blended, extended or befriended we take this opportunity to honour you.
It’s certainly a good time to reflect isn’t it? And when the dust settles and the world begins to move again, we can choose to take some things we’ve learned and appreciated into our future, and perhaps leave some other things “locked-down.”
Maybe, as a community, we can open our eyes and look about us to be the encouragement we ourselves, might one day need.
Over to you!
What lessons are you learning from being at home together? Or from being on your own?
What strategies are you discovering for peaceful family living?
What, if anything, will you do anything differently when all this is over?
Feel free to comment below or send us an email