Family Time by Stephanie of the O’Fallon Public Library Staff

As I sit down to write this post I realize it has been ten days since I was last at work. I miss the library. I also cannot believe that it has only been ten days, since it feels like forty. How can that be? How many times have I wished to have more time at home? More time to get through my to do list, spend time with the kids, get caught up on hobbies, and to just get ahead.

Now, we all have the time.

In my “regular” life I often feel like I am not getting to spend quality time with my children. In between school obligations, sporting events, and homework, it’s hard to create a quality moment, since quality usually needs some quantity to bring it out. I would love to say that we are filled with meaningful moments here at our house, of course that is not true. What I will say is that this experience that we are having as a family is meaningful in it’s own way.

The first few days we were home, I pretty much let everyone do what they wanted. I cooked, cleaned, and sewed. My children ages 19, 17, 15, and 13 watched Netflix, talked with friends, played games, and generally made a mess. Around day four I knew I would have to get our ship in order. So I sat everyone down and told them I was not sure how long we would be home but we needed to set up a plan. After all the groans, I directed them all to create an ambitious project, a medium project, and a fun project. I got this idea from Gretchen Rubin, known for the book, The Happiness Project.

The ambitious project would be something that would take the most time and effort. For this one you would think big. Examples would be; learn to type, learn a language, make a souffle. A medium project, which could be a list of things such as; organizing a closet, meditate, knit a blanket, fill a photo album. A fun project would be anything you truly enjoy, like watching a television or movie series, reading, writing, baking, gardening. We also came up with a few family fun projects. We decided to take a retro photo, teach our dog a new trick, and watch all the Harry Potter movies (something we still have never done).

Here was one of your attempts at a retro photo:

After we all came up with our lists I created a rough schedule that we would follow:

  • 8:30-All dressed and ready for the day.
  • 9:00-1:00-School time
  • 1:00-3:00 Personal time to do what you want.
  • 3:00-5:00-Outside time/exercise, dinner prep
  • 5:00-7:00-Clean up, family time, reading
  • 10:00-All devices off, quiet time/bedtime

The schedule has helped us stay focused. I call it a rough schedule because if it’s going to be clear in the morning then rain all day, we will spend that time outside and start school later. I have learned to use the schedule as guide but not be a slave to it. I would urge you to try out your own rough schedule and see if that helps any of the boredom.

I don’t know how long we will be home, what I do know is that staying focused on gratitude has helped me to feel more content. In these ten days I have been bored and have had moments of discontent, but then I remind myself that we are all doing our best and that is more than I could ask for.

What are you all doing to make your stay in shelter time work for you and your family?

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