Quarantining with adult children…Who ever thought you’d have to use those words in daily life? But this pandemic has turned the world upside down and so, we find ourselves under strange living arrangements. Somehow our family is learning how to make it work. It’s not a picnic everyday, but we’re surviving quite well. So, I thought I’d share what we’re doing in case you need some ideas…
Like many people, I was an empty nester. My twins were out in the real world, working their tails off in New York City and Chicago. Then, Corona Virus hit…
The cities became hot spots and everyone was sent home to work. The twins, along with their significant others, high tailed it out and came to the farm. As soon as they knew this was going to be the way for life for the long haul, this is where they wanted to be.
For many adult children, this tragedy can be a major disruptor to their lives depending on where they’re at. They may have had a dream job that has gone away or had just started interviews that are now on hold. If they’ve lost their job, they may be frightened over how they will pay their rent. You need to be appreciative of what they may be going through and any anxiety.
That said, you could be going through a difficult time, too. There are many people being laid off, furloughed or fired from their jobs and others that still have to leave to go to work each day. No matter your situation, I hope what I have learned helps you a little. I also know we all have different stresses during this time and I hope I can provide a bit of inspiration.
A couple of notes…We’ve lived on a 70 acre farm for the past two years. Prior to C-19, we were all set to open our lodge houses to guests on May 1 to enjoy an eco-tourism or agro-tourism stay. But construction slowed to a snails pace and our farm crew all went to shelter at home. Needless-to-say our business is not opening.
My hubby is working from home in the food production world and is busy all the time. So, all of the daily farm, garden, and lodge work, along with the housework, cooking, and my brand and client work fall on me.
Just to give you a sense of what I deal with on a daily basis…We have over 90 animals, including 2 baby goats who are bottle fed. Construction on our kitchen got put on hold, so we have no dishwasher and no oven… Now, in walks 4 more bodies. And remember, I am a nurturer and control freak who runs a real foods organic kitchen. We live in the country and there is no delivery or Amazon Prime. We only have shipments via UPS and Fed Ex.
The other important note is that we are in true quarantine. Only one person is allowed to leave once in a great while to do a feed store or market pick up. So, add everything up and the level of stress to make sure everyone is okay is high on me, not because of them…because of me. I had to find ways to adapt to this new situation and here’s what I did.
How to Survive Quarantining With Adult Children
Here are 6 tips for making it work no matter what size space you have.
Lay Down Some Rules
I mean, come on. We are locked in. There is no curfew. There are 6 adults. You need some rules. We set aside quiet times and meal times. Each person is responsible for keeping their space neat and clean and cleaning their own messes. In addition, they are expected to help where they can with tasks like laundry, cleaning, washing the dishes, and taking the pups for a walk.
We haven’t had to resort to assigning chores and I’m confident we won’t!
Keep Expectations Low
First, and most importantly, you must remember they are not living your life. Your adult children have their own lives. Do not have expectations. Yes, it is great if they participate in family life, but in reality, everyone has different work and home lives.
I personally am so happy they are here and I want them to enjoy what I enjoy. But they have been living their own lives for years and now, find themselves uprooted from their city apartments without their “stuff” to live in our world. For me, this part has been the hardest.
My work is my home, the lodge, and the farm. I cannot expect that these four bodies are here to help me. This is my life and whether they were here or not, I would need to figure things out. Yes, I have added pressures, but pretty much of my own doing. I do not have to cook for everyone nor do extra things. But, of course, I do…All on me.
Ask for Help
Feel free to ask for help, just do not be disappointed if everyone is too busy with work to help. Set yourself up for success, not disappointment. You, too, have had a big change from empty nest to full nest. You do have additional responsibilities and the feeling of stress is real.
Ask each “child” when they might have time to help a little. Ask in the morning if anyone has time to walk a dog and give them the specific time. Set one meal a week for each adult child to cook. For us, one couple is able to prepare a meal midweek and the other has to focus on a weekend meal. For this mama who loves to cook, having these two meals a week taken care of is wonderful!
Last night at dinner I announced “Tomorrow I have major planting to do. Anyone who would like to help I would love it”. Now, when I choose to plant they could all be on calls or taking a nap, because they have late night calls on the other coast. But, we ask for help when needed and accept if they cannot. The farm is our life not theirs.
Give Everyone Some Privacy
This is really, and I mean really, important. We all need our privacy and some alone time. It doesn’t take long to start getting on each other’s nerves quarantining with adult children 24/7, especially when you’re under stress or duress. Plus, my kids live by themselves, so they’re not used to sharing space with others anymore. We fortunately have tons of space for all of us to have some alone time, but not everyone is so lucky.
Designate a Work Space for Everyone
Even if you are in a one bedroom apartment and have extra bodies, designate a space for everyone. It can be the same spot each day at the kitchen table, but make it consistent. Everyone needs to feel as though they have a space.
Adult children who are laid off or current graduates need space to keep up on their LinkedIn, industry readings and trends, job searching and other things to focus on their next steps. So, no matter how large or small the space, find a spot for everyone.
Be Honest and Communicate
Everyone should be told it is okay to talk about how they are feeling. It is a safe space and none of this is easy. It is okay to feel stressed, upset, and/or frustrated. Tell everyone you need time together at a meal. Tell everyone you would love for someone to help you if for no other reason than to spend time together.
As the mom, tell them when you ask if they have say filled up their water bottle yet, it is not out of hovering. It is from knowing this is not easy for them either and you want to make sure they are taking care of themselves. Be honest and open.
Set up a group text or on What’s App. We call ours “house”. It is used for meal times, asking for help, funny little things, announcing yoga time, pictures of what is happening, and more. This has been the best ever!
We would love to hear your tips to make quarantining with adult children work.
I am a home cook that does things my way. In my kitchen, I make breakfast, pack lunches, prepare snacks, and cook dinner. During the week, we eat real food that is homemade, organic, and local. On the weekends we do explore more of our local restaurants. I bake my own bread, juice fresh oranges every other day, and make my own kombucha and other weekly favorites.