We have to stay home for the virus crisis. Your family has two homes. Those homes may or may not see the world in different ways, may or may not have cooperated well, may have unfinished business and different goals for their futures. This crisis as a family is very difficult. My family is getting through it and yours will get through it and grow from the experience. Here are my recommendations.
We’re all in the same lifeboat. We have to depend on each other; it’s not a choice. Some families that struggled in peaceful times might thrive in this crisis. There are good reasons for that. Appreciate it and go for it. Any unfinished business, old hurts, political differences, wish to control each other, all of those truly have to wait. Everyone’s egos have to rest as long as this lasts. Not every partner gets it yet and hopefully they will soon. Try.to remember we are all in the same lifeboat. Do your best to cooperate. Do your best to stick to best health practices and care for all members of the family for the next few months.
Maybe your family has decided to shelter children in one home. If so kids must stay in close touch with their other parent; it’s not a choice. If a parent and child don’t see each other for 2 or 3 more months that’s very stressful. Using screen devices to stay in touch will help the whole family. Please be encouraging, respectful and generous about communication time. Our family has allowed screen devices at meals for the duration of the crisis, to stay in closer touch w family. Since the crisis our whole family has sat together at meals as much as since splitting in to two homes. The parent out of the home could come over often for walks together and/or picnic time outside. When outside, keep distance, wear masks and make careful choices is essential and also tough to control. Your family may decide to balance ideal physical safety with the emotional safety and comfort those visits. Consider shared experiences by viewing tv shows and movies together, facetiming during school, play and homework, a family journal.
Every parent that encourages a good relationship with the other parent gets a parent win for their child and the whole family.
Maybe your family has decided to continue traveling between homes. That’s what we chose. It’s a necessary choice to balance pure physical safety with normalcy and family routine. Some basic expectations have to apply. Everyone has to wash hands constantly, cover faces out of the house, keep 6 foot distance (extend an adult’s arms. “this far” That’s around 6 feet). Stoics and naysayers are wrong, no debate. This is deadly real. Screen devices might be used a bit more to keep both parents and child in touch in this worrisome time. More comfort from both parents is always a win. Together or apart, your family should agree on their plan for what to do if one parent gets sick. A go kit keys, chargers, passwords, papers or necessary information should be at hand. It could be a good choice to agree that if someone falls ill, the other parent is the back up as long as they’re well. They see that the sick home is fed and called on the phone, has clothing, medicine and frequent check ins. They’re probably the one who would get the ill parent and child to the ER if necessary.
We are in a figurative lifeboat together. We have a chance to choose how we will be, how we will act in a time of crisis. The emotional and physical consequences of how we act are very serious. We should strive to be the people we would admire in a crisis. If we survive this physically but deeply emotional wound each other at the same time we will regret it.
Me and mine offer you and yours our deepest hopes that you stay well if you’re well, heal if you’re ill, and find comfort if you’re grieving now and after this.