Break Some Rules
It's official, we've been in lockdown for just over 2 months. I'm wondering, just like many of you, how I'm going to keep doing this. The start to my weekday mornings creeps a bit later each Monday. Any enthusiasm I had in the first 2 weeks for various home projects has become a quiet fizzle. Our parenting decision to eliminate cow's milk from our kids' diet faded when they refused to eat cereal. Even this blog, initially intended to publish daily tips for parents, has now morphed into a weekly venture.
I already wrote about the need for adaptability and I could argue that this is exactly what we've been doing to make things work. And, while I think that's partially true, I also think that the restrictions under which we've been existing generate defiance. While, hopefully, we are adhering to our respective local governments' (and CDC) guidelines, we may be itching to rebel in other ways. It's a bit like we're caged animals and we're getting a little testy.
So, break some rules. Or at least relax them. Eat cupcakes for breakfast. Don't change out of your pajamas. Leave the dirty dishes by the sink and go to bed. Have dinner in reverse order, starting with dessert. Plan a family movie marathon for 6 (or more!) solid hours. Dye their hair. Skip bath night. Create your own school half day or 3-day weekend. Bend or break the rules that are inconsequential. Let go where you can at least some of the time to ease the pressure to break the ones that really do matter.
Here's a great example: My husband tells this story of a long-ago colleague raising teenagers. The colleague, the teenagers' father, established an ingenious plan early on to have an arbitrary rule about make-up. The plan was this: by honing in on what kind, how much, and when make-up could be worn he hoped his teen would focus her rebellion on that rule while sidestepping more consequential guidelines about drinking or academics. It worked. Unbeknownst to her, he delighted in his daughter's maneuvers to put on her make-up in the family garden after leaving the house to go out with friends or discovering a rogue shade of lipstick in her coat pocket. The BIG rules weren't even up for debate.
Safe rebellion is still rebellion. When we're feeling the pressure of being under COVID's thumb, the satisfaction of breaking a few rules might be the release valve we all need.