Wollies (2)

An invitation to a family meeting

I am amazed at the interaction in my house after our family meeting.

Once the dark grey emotions (to the point of wanting to vomit) disappeared, post the Lockdown announcement, I went over to action.  I was experiencing physical symptoms of anxiety.  Naming my emotion helped me to deal with it and I decided to put the energy behind the emotion to good use.

I was thinking about what we needed and how much thereof?  Ouma helped to compile a shopping list.   I was a responsible shopper, thinking about taking only what was needed as the shop will remain open.  No problem.

On the day before day 1, our family had a family meeting where we focused on the following:

  • Describing how we want to engage with one another to create a conducive and safe emotional space for all to connect and re-connect.
  • We need to agree on common routines to make life easier for all.
  • Breakfasts will on somedays be hot and other days cereal. On cereal days everyone will help themselves. 
  • Everyone takes their lunch.
  • We agreed on a time for supper when we will dine together as a family and phone the inlaws.
  • Everyone will put dishes in the dishwasher.
  • The kids will be doing some chores: Putting dishes in the cupboards, mopping the floors, cleaning the driveway and helping with the preparation of meals.
  • Negotiations were needed to determine screentime and place.
  • I will be doing the buying for the twenty-one days (Lock in Faith period).
  • If someone tests positive, that person would remain in the main bedroom.
  • We will limit time on social media platforms to check the “people in a positive relationship with COVID-19”.

Moving onto Day 3, we realised that we need to re-affirm the ways of engagement as experiences of frustration emerged. 

  • The children had to re-negotiate screentime and place, as the value of fairness was being compromised.
  • The children engaged us to chat and play.

On reflection I’ve noticed the following:

  • In the process, we are all more aware of our emotional reactions and stress responses, as well as a sense of loss.
  • By keeping the communication channels open we do try to listen to one another and respond with more grace than usual.
  • Children are getting tired of screentime and want to play.
  • Wollies, our Maltese, is the reason why the plants refuse to grow.
Elna Esterhuizen

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