With most people around the world locked away in their homes due to Covid-19, a pressing question that a lot of us are asking is “How do you deal with your family while stuck at home?”.
All of us have different home family dynamics, you may be a husband or wife sitting at home with your significant other and children, or you can be like me who’s trapped inside with a mother and sister, but no matter what that dynamic is, we’re all trying to figure out this new landscape.
My Ordinary Routine
Generally speaking, when the world isn’t falling apart due to pandemic, I spend very little time at home, some days it’s as limited to waking up and then coming back to fall asleep, so this quarantined state has started off as a bit of a shock. And it’s not that I don’t like my house, it’s just that between work, seeing movies, sitting at coffee shops writing, and hanging out with friends, dwelling in my living room or bedroom aren’t exactly the most appealing activities. Beyond that I find it harder to be productive at home, I don’t have my own office, and hearing my sister and mother chatting while I’m trying to be creative isn’t exactly the most ideal circumstance, it actually tends to feel discouraging.
How To Recreate It At Home
Learning to deal with your family is just like any other lifestyle change though, you either adapt or drown. I can’t put everything in my life on hold just because sitting in the house with my family isn’t part of my ritual, and even though my OCD has turned me into a total creature of habit, I must form new ones in this situation. Part of what is making this transition run smoothly is that right away a majority of my out of the house activities were slashed, there is no movie theater open, I’m now working from home, coffee shops are closed, and most of my friends are at home learning to deal with their own families. I’m sure most of you have seen similar changes with schools, gyms, bars, and malls all being closed down. What this means is that in order to not go insane you must come up with new activities right away. I’m now replacing going to the movies with Netflix, writing on my back patio as opposed to coffee shops (because I still need to feel the sun at least once a day), and replacing my friends with video games for hours on end.
Appreciating Home Life
And as much as I’m enjoying rekindling my relationship with video games, we have to venture beyond keeping our private/personal lives intact only in a new form, and also figure out the methods to learning to deal with your family. I’m sure there are people out there who already spend a good chunk of quality time at home with their family, and for those people this time stuck inside might be an opportunity to appreciate the things they are missing outside of their home. But for people like me, or at least me personally, this isolation is actually doing the opposite. While homebodies are sitting around and thinking about how they wish they could go out shopping or for lunch, I’m remembering how great it is to sit on the couch and watch reruns of 90-Day Fiance.
Incorporating Your Family
But the real highlight of sitting on the couch and watching endless reality TV is doing it with my family. My mom and sister who I usually keep at a distance and don’t socialize with much, are now sitting in the living room with me and we are bonding over making fun of people who make fools of themselves on national television. In the middle of a hearty group laugh it’s hard not to realize that this common activity is something I’ve taken for granted, and while it sucks that it took a nation pandemic to realize this, it’s nice to know that learning to deal with your family doesn’t have to be a negative experience.
Rediscovering Old Traditions
Another thing that I feel like is taken for granted is family dinner, I rarely eat with my family when it’s not the obligatory lunch at the grandparents house. And again it’s times like this that remind us of how important family bonding is. Not only was it fun to stand in the kitchen and make a big sunday dinner with my mom and sister for the first time in what felt like years, it was even more eye opening to sit down with them and hear their views of the world in this trying time and to talk through everything that each of us is feeling. And while there are people who consider this tradition commonplace, for those of us who are less connected to our loved ones, taking this opportunity to deal with our family in a positive manner is definitely a refreshing change of pace.
I’m also realizing that a lot of times a lack of something causes a need to overcompensate, so of course when interaction with family is sparse, it’s easy for me at least, to find it smothering when it’s being pushed on me. But with these last couple days of bonding on the couch, or at the dinner table, or on a short walk around the block, I’ve noticed that those close to me don’t really need that much attention. So while I initially thought that figuring out how to deal with your family while stuck at home was going to be an annoying non stop task, I’m seeing that my family doesn’t necessarily want to deal with me all the time either. After eating lunch together and getting in that quality time, each of us still have our own lives to tend to. I retreat out to the patio to do work or write, my mom works on her puzzle, and my sister has schoolwork to keep up with. Nobody wants to be down each other’s neck all the time, and there is really no need for it when your needs are being met.
Learning to deal with your family while stuck at home is like tending to a garden, if you give it the little bit of care and attention that it needs, it will flourish and you can’t be bothered by it, but if you leave it unattended it will wither away, and it’s always going to be an eyesore or something you want to avoid. We should all learn from this intense moment in time that our loved ones are important to us, and a small amount of quality time each day can go a long way.