How Disruptions Have Led to Relational Innovations

Marriages and Families Are Creating Something New During the Pandemic

Just as disruption in the supply chain creates opportunities for innovation in the business world, the disruptive nature of the pandemic has prompted adaptation and innovation in our marriages and families.

As academic institutions shut down or went remote, parents’ responsibilities expanded exponentially. Single-parent households, parents who lacked the option of working from home, and families with special needs children felt the shift most acutely.

Regina and Jua Robinson have four children between the ages of eight and fourteen, one of whom has Down syndrome. The five education specialists who normally support their son’s education all went virtual requiring both parents to reorganize their job schedules so they could fill in the gaps and accommodate his many needs.

She admits, “I spent many days juggling work crises as a dean of student affairs while wrestling with feelings of anxiety and helplessness regarding my son’s cognitive delays. Check-ins and hand-offs between me and Jua were critical during this time.”

Michelle Swaim had nine children at home during the early months of the pandemic. She recalls, “The first phase was bedlam. Imagine trying to keep track of nine different sets of passwords for Zoom classes and homework portals. Not to mention having enough computers for each kid. My husband and I were stressed to the max.”

Despite the massive disruption of the past year, one of the most common comments I keep hearing from families is, “I don’t want to go back to normal.” Which begs the question: what would a new, healthier normal look like?

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Header photo by Larry Crayton, Unsplash.