The good news is mask mandates are lifting and the world may finally be on its way to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This means schools, daycares, and camps will begin opening their doors, and kids will finally be able to interact with others in their peer groups. Perhaps more difficult to grapple with, the return to regular custody agreements may mean a return to the tension that accompanied negotiating and maintaining those arrangements pre-pandemic.
May we suggest using this time as a jumping off point for a new beginning? We have all been cut off from so many things in everyday life that we took for granted before 2020. Grandparents have not seen their grandkids for entire growth cycles, at this point-which for some means those beloved faces have been rendered unrecognizable by the passage of time! These relationships will consequently have to be rebuilt from scratch.
Similarly, everyone’s friendships have been strained by enforced distancing. Even with web meetings and video calling, adults and kids alike are missing the reinforcement of face to face, real life interactions. These relationships foster our feelings of connection, as well as reinforce our image of ourselves.
The benefits of re-establishing a set, yet flexible routine going forward far outweigh any lingering resentments that might have existed when the agreements on custody we first hammered out. This does not just benefit the children, but both parents will also profit emotionally from being able to schedule times away from offspring. These benefits include:
A lot of discussion has been going on since the start of the pandemic as to the importance of self-care. Being trapped in a house with young kids without a break makes that idea something of a pipedream. Mental health issues have been on a pronounced increase during prolonged quarantine, weight has been gained as families eat for comfort, not to mention the riot of exposed roots and bushy beards that have cropped up on all those Zoom meetings. Celebrate your reinstated alone time by getting a haircut, massage, or pedicure. You will feel like yourself again, and that’s going to be better for your relationship with your kids in the long run,
For everyone in the family, the end of COVID restrictions means a chance to strengthen familial relationships and important friendships. If you didn’t see as much of your kids in the past year, it is finally time to make new great memories in person! This means hugs for kids, hugs for mom and dad, and hugs for Grandma and Grandpa! So much affection is conveyed by a simple touch, and so much connection is forged by shared experiences- there really is no substitute for either. If the 2020/21 years have taught us anything, it is to get those embraces in while you can as much as you can. You never know what will happen down the road.
This has truly been a harrowing time for most people in the U.S. and around the world. Whether loved ones were infected, deaths suffered, or families merely kept apart, we now find ourselves living in an altered reality. When so much has been endured, many will take this opportunity to reevaluate what is important for the happy, successful life of the family. This can mean putting aside past grievances with a former spouse in favor of keeping the kids physically and mentally healthy. Whether those past gripes still have baring or not, how they effect you can change when faced with these other issues that are in fact life altering. Kids need this routine, both as a return to normalcy and to be able to put these previous trials behind them. That custody/visitation promises are being adhered to again will be a clear green light to children to relax a little as the world goes on. Remember, cordial participation to those legal accords benefit the overall health of your offspring and you. If you really believe that is not the case, it may be time to consult with your attorney.