I thought I lived my life with an intentional awareness of balance in our home life—not too many extracurricular activities for the kids and not too many commitments outside of the home for my husband and me.
Sure, there were some days that I wished baseball practice was cancelled or would call upon my mother-in-law to take our daughter to musical theatre class. But I thought it was because I was just sleep-deprived and needed a little break from the routine, not because we had a lot going on. I would tell myself, “one extracurricular for each kid is doable.” But that didn’t include the commitments my husband or I had or the ones we shared.
A New Version of Home Life
As our routines came to a screeching halt, we were thrust into a new(er) version of home life.
At first, I felt the void for my children not being able to physically go to school. And then, little by little, their extracurricular activities fell away. I felt slightly relieved that I didn’t have to take the kids anywhere.
During the week, days always felt like a mad dash to get the homework done, initial that we had completed the assigned reading, sign the homework to confirm that we did it, make dinner, eat dinner, start the bedtime routine…and don’t forget it’s also spirit week!
I really felt like that pace was taking away from the enjoyment of the time I spent with my family.
Suddenly, I didn’t have to be a homework cop or try to plan ahead and think about what everyone’s needs outside of the home were. I could just focus on my family.
The Most We’ve Lived at Home
For many of us, this is as much as we have ever lived at home. We’re eating at home, enjoying entertainment at home (like movies, board games, and cooking shows), and enjoying a live stream from the Cincinnati Zoo (I have learned so much about hippos with the kids).
Our homes have become the front and center of everything we do. Grocery and retail shopping are now done from the couch. All outside distractions have been eliminated.
Maybe we needed this time to return to each other, to return to the people for whom we do all these things.
Keeping Family as a Priority
Our families are at the center of the vocation given to us by God. We attempt to find balance when we feel our lives becoming too busy. We plan a vacation because we think it is the antidote that will rejuvenate us to get back into the reality of the routine.
The theme parks, European vacations, summer beach trips, camping and all other outside experiences are good in and of themselves. But sometimes simply making those plans takes us away from each other. With many places in a state of pause right now, we are reminded that we aren’t required to go somewhere to make memories as a family. The world isn’t where we find time to be together. It is home.
A Firm Foundation
Those wonderful trips may pass us by, but the foundation of family life doesn’t.
Children may have an opportunity to catch a glimpse of authentic marriage as spouses adjust to working from home and new dynamics. These circumstances create opportunities for healthy conflict resolution, which is a normal part of family life.
Siblings may express opinions about one another and attempt to parent each other. As frustrating as those sibling squabbles or parental disagreements may be, they strengthen the family unit.
While everything remains on pause, we have been presented with an opportunity for the whole family to reconnect in new and meaningful ways. We may not know what lies ahead, but everything we do within our homes will help us rediscover what we value, who we love, and how we love them. This helps us recommit ourselves to each other once reentry into the outside world occurs.
Enjoying One Another
Lately, our family has been trimming our rose bushes, making blueberry pancakes on Sundays, doing laundry together, and immersing ourselves in the very ordinary things of what it takes to run a household.
For the first time in a long time, it’s not just resting on my shoulders as a wife and mother.
My husband can come downstairs from working from home and take out the trash or pop in to see how homeschooling is going.
The kids can share the artwork they are so proud of in the middle of the day with their Dad, rather than waiting until he gets home from work.
Suddenly, the world stopped. But it has allowed us to be home and to know what home is and that family is always at the center of everything we do.
How has this time reframed your family life?
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