Togetherness is a good thing. But as many couples and families around the nation are finding out, there is such a thing as too much togetherness. With a nation-wide mandate to “Stay home, stay safe”, many employers are sending their employees back to the confines of their own homes under directives to work remotely for the next foreseeable future. And while it seemed novel and fun at first, couples all over the country are learning they’re married to “Just one more question” on conference calls, and things are getting dicey. Let us just say this: We recognize the ability to work remotely is a privilege. But it can also raise challenges to work-life balance, childcare, and the overall family dynamic.
To ensure a stable marriage post Covid-19, we’ve come up with a few suggestions for maintaining the love in a time of quarantine.
Working from home is awesome because you can literally work from home. But it can also lead to feeling like you’re working, all the time. Enter: the boundary talk. We’re talking physical and mental boundaries here. If space permits, dedicate a portion of your home to be your office for the next few weeks. Take your housemates into consideration when setting up your remote office, and think about what your work requires. Are you on video meetings or conference calls frequently? You may want to set up space away from your children or in a quiet, more remote section of the house. Set mental boundaries and stop times. If you were working 9-5 pre-Corona, try and stick to that same schedule to give yourself time to reset. And if needs be, have a conversation with your partner or kids to make it clear when you’re available versus unavailable.
Accept A New Normal… For Now
Part of the reason everyone is on edge is because routines are disturbed; kids aren’t going to school, stay at home parents are suddenly charged to become a constant playmate, school teacher, coach and more, and people’s work lives are disrupted. Times of crises, you know… like a global pandemic, call for lowered expectations across the board. Remember, this isn’t forever. When your toddler runs into your video-all-company meeting in their diaper, just remember that this will not last forever. And forgive your partner, because they’re doing the best they can, too.
Keep Date Nights Alive
Date nights might look a little different, and if you have children, they might involve the whole family. But don’t let that stop you. Get takeout from your favorite restaurant and take it to an empty field for an impromptu picnic. Or eat out of the back of your car. Try a new hike, or create your own drive-in movie experience with a projector and some popcorn.
Look for the Silver Linings
We are among the first to admit, quarantine and social-distancing are hard, and not every moment is pleasant. But there are some upsides. Maybe you can join your partner or family for lunch every day now. Or without a long commute after work, you’re able to pick up a new hobby. Maybe you’re able to work out more freely in the morning since you aren’t rushing to get to work on time. Many of these things wouldn’t happen if our worlds weren’t flipped upside down, so let’s appreciate the small wins where we can.
Seeing your family every day isn’t the same as connecting with them. Turn off the news, put your laptop away and take a few minutes to enjoy this forced time together. Interact with extended family members by hosting a virtual talent show or game night. Call grandparents. Deliver treats or activity packets to friends. We may be required to stay physically distant, but we’re still able to connect.
What tricks or tips do you have for happily enduring the quarantine? Let us know if the comments below!