The pandemic months have brought something back to us: Family.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Why is that?
When we became a mobile society we began to disconnect from our extended family. No more cousins, uncles, aunts, and grandparents to keep us aligned. We became independent. We grew up and moved out. In many cases, we moved away.
When mothers had to join the workforce because dad couldn’t bring home the bacon by himself, because they had to as single parents or because the desire for career was greater than being a homemaker, kids learned to be alone.
I will always remember when my young son told me that his favorite day of the week was the day I worked from home. Even though I had a sitter in the house and even though my door would be closed when I couldn’t be interrupted unless we had an emergency, even with that, the knowing that I was there was enough to provide security and comfort to a young child.
It made me realize how important it was that I grew up with a stay-at home mother. We thrived in the understanding that we were valued and not alone. I’m sure it was an economic sacrifice and a professional suspension for mother but we had the assurance that whatever happened, mother was there to provide comfort and solutions.
For those who were fortunate enough to be able to work from home, the challenge of juggling kids, spouses, and work in one space was challenging, and for those who lost their jobs even more so.
In this period of time we rediscovered our children, our partners, our pets, and so did they. We learned to enjoy our home, our garden, and our neighborhood in a whole new way.
More importantly, we have rediscovered ourselves.
We now have a better idea of who we are. We are not the worker. We are us: the parent, the partner, the human being. In a way, the winding road of quarantine has given us the opportunity to face ourselves, our life. We have reconnected with our goals and objectives and reassessed where we want to go and how.
With the approaching end of quarantine and social distancing, the return to work will once again present us with the decision to leave our children and our pets. Our children, having rediscovered what family life really is, will be faced with the return to having 6pm to 7am parents. Those pets who have grown accustomed to laying at our feet while we worked will once again pass the day in snooze mode until our return.
It is amazing what 15 months of lockdown will help us find. Let’s hope we can make the best of this Act 2 because it takes a village and a family (whether traditional or nontraditional) to enrich a human being.
Lilibeth André is a traditional naturopath who applies transpersonal psychology and other natural therapies to support emotional, physical and spiritual wellness to achieve holistic health.