The Koepke Family Quarantine Rules

Over the past few days Tyler and I have been attempting to wrap our minds around the uncertainty of what's happening with the COVID 19 virus and to talk with our kids about it.

I personally have been through the denial phase.

The sadness phase.

The irritation phase.

The frustration phase.

My first response was to flee...Who can watch my kids? I've got work to do! Can they go to their grandparents? Parenting is hard for me. I'm pretty sure it's hard for everyone, but for some people it seems like they are really "in their zone" with it. My "in the zone" place is my work and while I love and care for my kids to pieces and do a decent job at it, parenting is not necessarily my strongest suit.

Now, I am in a new phase. It's the curiosity phase. It's the "what happens when rather than running away from parenting, I lean in to it? phase. It's the "how are we going to use this time and space to better ourselves as a family?" phase. Because make no mistake about it, we could stand to spend more quality time together as a family. Plus we've got plenty of internal work to do and some old habits we could stand to break in the Koepke collective! 

What I know for sure is that leaders bring certainty to uncertainty. And if you're a're also a leader! Knowing this, Tyler and I collected our thoughts, typed them out, and then called the kids in for a family meeting.

We went over:

  • The "Koepke Family Quarantine Rules" and why we need to have them in place right now. We allowed the kids to comment on them and add any to the list that we had missed.
  • The activities that we CAN still do like biking, hiking, jumping on the trampoline, walking our dog, etc.
  • The fact that the kids need to make their own schedules everyday just like they do at their Montessori school. They need to show us what they've come up with in the morning and then implement them as independently and responsibly as possible because Tyler and I will also need to be doing work from home for much of the day.
  • I made a list of "deep clean" projects that we can do while we're all home. I'm not sure anyone else was thrilled about this, but I've seen the accomplishment that they feel once they've undertaken such tasks.
  • I pointed to our shelf of board games and puzzles and said, "Look, we've got an opportunity to engage more with the fun stuff we've got around here. If by the end of this quarantine period, we find that we aren't using it, then let's get rid of it and make room for what actually brings us joy."
  • We talked about this not only being an opportunity, but a necessity for us to learn how to co-exist more peacefully and cooperatively as a family. During this time, we're going to have to up our game in terms of listening and communicating better with each other, of cleaning up our own messes, and washing our hands more consistently. 

I don't know about you, but a decade + into parenting, it's become easier to get sloppy and slack on some of the basics. That has resulted in more sass and less class out of our kids than we prefer. In some respects the kids have just worn us down and at a certain point you realize that this parenting thing is a marathon, so you've got to learn to pace yourself. The quarantine experience seems like it's an opportunity for our family to reset, get our act together about halfway through the marathon, and hopefully catch a second wind. 

We shall see how it plays, but what gives me hope is that in every other area of my life, every time I have been willing to go inward and do the deeper work that I've put off, the reward has been more clarity, more joy, more peace, and more fulfillment. Contraction is a tried and true pathway to expansion. And the good news is....we are about to enter into a big old collective contraction! The most important question now will you choose to use this time and space?


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