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Saturday March 21, 2020 stacysue

Confined, Yet Intertwined at Heart: Family Occupations


At this time of disruption in life, defining family occupations makes sense. With the loss of previous family occupations, we can easily identify them because our day-to-day lives have changed and our habitual practices are noticeably missing. What constitutes daily family life? Family occupations are the central organizers of nearly every person’s existence. Our relationships bind them together creating the constant dynamic interplay between “doing” and “being.” Family occupations encompass the daily experiences that we are now reshaping from many “usual” activities. We huddle together at home, making the “unusual” the new norm.


During this time, routines such as a morning breakfast, the scurrying of the children out of the door with backpacks, lunches and school projects have gone by the wayside. Rituals such as a birthday party celebration or going to a worship service are changed to immediate family only using odd, clunky 2-D teleconference platforms to stream in others. Family vacations are put on hold with no rescheduling in sight. Concerts, ballet performances, sporting events, so many places where we as families join to watch our children or congregate to share an experience, are canceled.  Having a special dinner or family outing to a museum to “be” together are immediately halted.


The disruption on family life is a great inconvenience and anxiety provoking…downright scary. Stressful, yes. Heavy, yes. It is most likely, nearly unbearable at times for many, especially our families that care for a child or a relative with many needs. We think of families who are on the frontlines serving others as they care for the sick in hospitals, make sure that we have our groceries or protect us and keep us safe. I pray that you all stay strong and stay well. We are under enormous stress, yet at the same time, are we able to experience a greater calm in ourselves? Can we take the time to embrace the togetherness and quality in relationships that perhaps many have not had the time to examine as closely as we are able to now? Let us not use this time to our detriment.


Family occupations or those which typically guide our days are now transforming because of worldwide unexpected upheaval and seclusion. Yet on the other hand, perhaps we are, in a sense, more family focused? And even more, life has truly become family-centered. While unable to take a “quick run” for whatever it might be or rush the children to gatherings or events, we are now, like it or not, confined and intertwined.


This closeness is palpable and is more than many of us have experienced, even more than the long-awaited summer vacation. We are renewing the meaning of our families, redefining and reconceptualizing our family occupations. Let us during this time reweave the fabric of our family occupations. Create new family routines and meaningful rituals. Redefine the meaning of family bonds because our relationships remain even though our environments are more confined. Treasure the gift of peace, even if for just a brief glimpse to linger together amidst the turmoil. No doubt, this too shall pass at some point. Let’s reflect on how we can maintain the richness and togetherness when the hustle returns. And, most of all, remember to slow down in every moment of your daily family lives and hold your loved ones close at heart.



Author: Stacy Sue Rosello, MA, OTR/L

Founder, Embrace the Child, ® Ltd.

Editor: Grace Anne Rosello

Copyright © 2020 Stacy Sue Rosello

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