Yesterday Paul and I suggested that we needed a family meeting. We had in mind reminding the kids that the dishwasher doesn’t magically unload itself like a modern version of Fantasia, and that all four people walking past a finished yoghurt pot does not make for a tidy house. And maybe a group hug at the end.
Two hours after we floated this idea, our eldest came downstairs, having put together an agenda. I had a sinking feeling that this was changing from it’s original direction.
Ultimately the meeting had a number of massive positives. Firstly it wasn’t on Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams, which meant people could talk over each other and still work out what was going on. Plus we broke in the middle to eat scones and put pyjamas on.
Anyway, it turned out that she had a number of agenda items that thankfully did include the dishwasher (although understandably also pocket money). We talked about daily exercise because we aren’t getting it as the idea of going for a walk 7 times a week is getting a bit old. So we decided not to beat ourselves up and to say if we do anything from a workout, a run, a walk, to half an hour of weeding or painting that counts.
We then moved into the zone where she was effectively parenting us by covering topics including screen time and fruit intake. I’ve been tasked with buying nuts and hummus as well as the biscuits. Everyone seems happy to continue baking and eating cake thankfully.
The most difficult bit was about achievements and aspirations. I scrabbled around in my brain for something I’d actually achieved so far and thankfully came up with all sorts from decorating to genealogy and growing stuff. There was something nice about realising that although I haven’t written a screen play or made sushi I have gone back to writing and grown some radishes. Oh and we make it through most days having eaten, slept and hugged which is frankly way more important.
Aspirations were harder. I’m old enough to realise now that any self improvements are likely to be small. And anyway my aspirations, I’ve come to realise, now include different things. Like staying in touch with people better. And getting through all episodes of The Crown before lockdown ends and I can’t legitimately watch as much TV. Still valid I think. P wants to focus on some art projects and for the weeks to pass as quickly as possible so it’s her birthday. T’s aspirations now appear to include learning Latin and sign language. I used to have dreams once.
Then we got to AOB and there wasn’t any. That’s what I call an efficient meeting.
Anyway it turned out that not only was all this incredibly useful as it made us look at how we were getting through this crazy time and gave us the chance to say how we all felt – it seemed to help us regroup somehow. Well in any case it spurred everyone on to put the bin out.
The result? We have a living room mirror covered in Postit notes and at least for a few days a positive attitude maybe?