So, our family needs meeting went really well. We are pretty used to a very open and equal dialogue in our home, so everyone knew what to expect and how to participate. We share a lot in our home and encourage our children to share their truest feelings by sharing ours. So this meeting was really just one of many.
The differences between needs
There are the non-negotiable needs that are out of our control. I.e. the need to stay indoors & distance ourselves socially, or Shane’s need to be in his office working (mostly undistracted) from 9-5.
Then we addressed our personal needs
The things we have started to notice are non-negotiable in terms of how we feel day by day in this new and unfamiliar time. I talked about needing the house to be tidy between activity changes, and everyone giving me a little me-time daily.
Zinnia shared her need to play with mom and dad, and have a little bit of mommy time to herself (and due to Ash’s need for a nap, we get everyday). Zinnia also expressed a strong need to get outside, no matter the weather, and that is something Ash and I can work at making sure happens for her (as much as him and I don’t enjoy the cold).
Ash’s non-negotiable need was to watch Cars, everyday and due to the times, that isn’t much of an ask.
Shane’s non-negotiable (personal) need was to continue to organize the house and invest in proper storage furniture for our smaller spaces. This just happens to also be a big win for me!
Overall I learned a few things, namely, that all our needs are very different
I noticed that Ash and Zinnia, for the most part, are totally loving all this home time. And of course they do. It was a complete projection on my part assuming that being cooped up was affecting everyone in the same way that it was affecting me. A good day to them is playing all day. And since they play super well together, there is no shortage of that! Zinnia does mention missing her friends, but facetiming with them has proven to be enough to feed that need. At least for now.
The New Routine
I now start my day with some morning me-time. I sit at the dining table where the sun shines in all morning long. I drink my water, then smoothie, then tea. I get work done (writing or illustrating; working on a new children’s book series I am super excited about) and then just like that, my self-need bucket is full for the day. From there I move into playing and creating with the kids. We make time to stretch everyday, lay down and listen to the singing bowls together for a little stillness and peace and read lots of books. I think my next blog will be a deeper dive into how we have been homeschooling. I have been getting questions from parents who are now thrown into it, and if it can help anyone navigate this very new time, consider it done!
Time to Reflect
Switching gears a little bit here, I am fully addicted to self-reflection. I always spend time with my wandering mind at the end of the day reflecting. What worked, what didn’t, and why. I like to look for the lessons I maybe didn’t see or get curious about what didn’t work so well. Which is what lead me to the family meeting to begin with.
Recently, I saw this post from a wonderful woman discussing her (and the rest of society's) obsession with being productive. This simple sentence sort of stopped me in my tracks for a minute. I wanted to dance around the idea from all angles and figure out how I personally felt about it. Once I realized that my feeling of frustration over the quarantine came from a lack of being productive, I knew this related to me personally, but how.
What is it about being human that makes us feel like we need to be productive all the time?
When I think back to humans first walking the planet, I feel like productivity was an obvious survival technique that advanced humans to the place we find ourselves in now. Literally having to use the time given by the sun to get the days work done before night fell and all things had to wait until tomorrow. While on the flip-side feeling like today’s modern society is certainly where people feel a constant need to level up to each other and be the best, most productive person ever.
Is this something we should unwind from?
Should I (we) try to focus on this gift we have been forced to receive by slowing down and learning to move through any discomfort or boredom it might bring? Should it be ok to be unproductive and find happiness in the not-doing, at least for now?
Or, is the desire for productivity a part of the human gift (more specifically the animalistic gift). Animals of course, overall, are very productive. Think, salmon swimming upstream or ants building entire colonies while farming aphids. Maybe productivity is our survival instinct that continues to allow us to evolve, or have we taken this to an extreme in today's society? After all, this pandemic speaks volumes for our complete inability to simply STAY HOME. Maybe we need those instincts more than ever and need to adapt to being more productive from our homes facing the times.
Either way, I was grateful for the thought prompt by the post, and wondered if anyone else out there might join me in this point of reflection. What is your current relationship with productivity? Does it stress you out? Do you feel excited to embrace the slow right now? Can it be different for everyone? Should we fight against those feelings and slow down or adapt and find a new relationship with productivity?