Updated: May 1, 2020
Adaptability demands compassion for self and others, reevaluation of priorities, and acceptance of difference.
I heard a frontline physician quoted yesterday as saying something to the effect of, "We all came into this [pandemic] with our way of doing things as physicians and nurses. Those ways of doing things don't work now. We have to adapt. We have to be flexible and willing to find new ways of working in this new environment." While this recognition of the current need for adaptability isn't a revelation, it struck me that regardless of our role in this pandemic, we are all being asked, and even demanded, to change our way of operating.
In that spirit, while taking some time last week to recharge my batteries, I realized that my initial goal to blog every weekday of lockdown was ambitious. And while I accomplished that task for the first 5 weeks, I am reconsidering my goal. In order to provide meaningful tips for those of us parenting through this pandemic, starting this week, I intend to write a weekly blog, as well as to use regular social media posts as a medium for inspiration and info sharing.
And now, what does "adaptable" mean to you? What does it mean as a parent? I first would ask you to consider the myriad of ways we are asking our kids to adapt. From remote learning, to being their own playmates, to eating what can be made from the pantry scraps, they are being asked to adapt with little to no control over the conditions. They are bending and stretching and growing every day right along side of us. Having compassion for their efforts to rise to these challenges is as crucial as the compassion you give yourself for doing the same.
Second, reconsider your priorities. At this point, you probably already have negotiated and renegotiated the terms of engagement. As the foundation continues to rumble underneath us, it's not a bad idea to continue to reevaluate your priorities. What are your family values? How are the current rules of the house maximizing those values? Are your kids safe, emotionally secure, and connected? Yes? Stay the course. No? What changes would help them feel more safe, more secure or more connected? Following the rules because "it's the way we've always done it" might make sense if we're talking about basic hygiene but veers into the territory of rigidity if we're considering no phone use during "school hours," as an example.
Third, accept the difference. Maybe part of your family's reorganization under coronavirus has involved a redistribution of responsibility. In my house, our tween is doing her own laundry for the first time. Spoiler alert, it takes her 2 days to do 2 loads. When I commented on it, she rolled her eyes. And when I backed off, natural consequences aided the process: ie she ran out of underwear. Guess what? She took care of it.
When you are tempted to criticize or correct and you have the self-awareness to pause, ask yourself: "Is this stylistic, personal preference, or actual advice?" Chances are HIGH that whatever you have to say falls into one of the first two categories. Delegation only works when we accept that others are not going to do things exactly the way we do them. Period. Oh, and that includes delegation to our parenting partners, by the way.