Embracing family time during the pandemic

For many people, the pandemic and its restrictions has had a big effect on families. But the change for me isn’t as drastic as it is for many others because I already live many miles away from a lot of my family. WhatsApp video calls and Facebook messaging were already familiar territory.

Nonetheless, I am involved with church activities which are like family gatherings for me. Most Saturdays, I would leave my house around 9:30 am and off I would go to worship with my church family. My children are also involved in activities and they looked forward to seeing their friends at church.

Now we gather virtually through Zoom meetings. We use Zoom for Bible studies, kids activities, and fellowship meetings. We use YouTube for church services.

Of course, my social life outside of church has also changed while the deadly virus penetrates every corner of this earth. I attended three birthday parties via Zoom last year and I am looking forward to more this year. I do enjoy these Zoom gatherings; I get to have fun with my friends and family without leaving my house. Some days I actually feel like I could get used to this new way of life.

With less moving around, I have more time to spend with my immediate family, which is indeed a blessing. With more time at home, I get to really know my kids. I feel like they are growing so fast and pre-pandemic, I didn’t have that same opportunity to get to know them as well.

Before the pandemic, my family would wake up to the sound of the alarm very early in the morning. We’d hurriedly leave the house, drop the children off at school and daycare, and then pick them up after school. I’d rush through the evening routine as fast as I could and shove them into bed. Then, I’d repeat the same process five days per week. 

Now I work from home. As difficult as it is sometimes with the distractions, I get to learn more about my children. I am able to see the changes in their development rather than waking up one day and wondering where my 4 year-old son or 2 year-old daughter went. Well, they are now 6 and 3 years old, but that just proves how quickly they get to another age without me noticing some specific details.

I get to cuddle with them on the couch at lunch time. I realize how much the time spent with them is precious when 1 pm draws close and my 3 year old daughter goes to block the doorway so that I can’t go back to my workspace. Sometimes my son keeps checking the time and asking if it is 5 pm yet.

Whenever I have to go to the campus to work they say, “Mommy, are you going to outside work today?’’ When I say yes, they reply, “I am going to miss you mommy, you take so long to come back.’’

I also get to strengthen the connection with my husband because with fewer outside engagements, we have more time for good conversations. The hustle and bustle that comes with too many things to do and too many places to go reduces the quality time we have with our spouses. 

These realities gave me the realization that regardless of the havoc the virus has created in society, there is a silver lining. We can spend more time with our immediate family at home and may even have more time to pick up the telephone and connect through conversations or bridge the distance with video calls.

Feature Image: Sharee Aluko has discovered different ways to keep in contact with her family during COVID-19. | Supplied