Dear Readers - I’m reaching out for your reflections that go beyond New Years’ Resolutions. Let’s look together at what’s inspired your personal wants/needs from now on.
We all want the pandemic to be over. But what else have we each learned about our important relationships, during this time? Write me your “2021 And Beyond” thoughts, ideas, and problems and I’ll answer, keeping you anonymous.
As always, we learn from each other.
I recently moved in with my sister and her son after selling my house. We’re buying a house together once she sells hers, so we decided it wasn’t worth selling and buying in this market. Meantime, I’d move in with her.
I was very cognizant of Covid in my own house. Along with two of my 20-year-old kids, I was constantly aware of the importance of hand-washing, masks, disinfectant spray/wipes and hand sanitizer.
My kids were also careful as well and I didn’t encourage socializing. Or they would stay with their father for a period of ten days.
Unlike our normal behaviour, we didn’t hug and we maintained physical distancing although living in the same house. I have an autoimmune disease which makes me high risk.
The problem: My sister and nephew aren’t as careful as I am. Although I try to maintain my habits, it’s hard to do when living in someone else’s house.
What should I do? The opportunity she’s provided me to live with her is appreciated. Any other time there would be no issue.
I don’t want to affect our relationship as we get along so well. I don’t want to be seen as telling her how to live.
Please don’t tell me to just speak to her because she should understand all this due to my health, because I think she’d say, “then it’s best if you leave,” with underlying feelings of thinking I’m ungrateful.
Should I leave on my own?
There’s a guiding principle for everyone during this time of COVID-19, which is even more urgent for anyone with compromised health: Stay Safe.
That mantra covers all the precautions you were taking when living in your own home, dealing with your own children. Even if you overdid it in someone else’s eyes, those routines kept you more comfortable and less anxious.
Now, living with your sister, you’re not only uncomfortable about how she’ll take discussion of her less strict routines. But worse, you have underlying fear for your own well-being.
Yes, you must find another solution to where you live.
Think it through, perhaps with the help of your children who care about your health, of your financial advisor, and perhaps whomever helped you sell your house and knows the current market.
Consider options before you talk this out with your sister: e.g. Should you move into a short-term rental with an option to stay longer before you two buy a home together?
Should you think beyond the pandemic and consider buying a duplex home, so living space is personal, not always shared?
Once you have a clearer idea of what you think will work best for you, then start the discussion with your sister with the gratitude you feel for her help, rather than any problem with her pandemic practices.
She may also have alternate ideas for the future and may already be aware of your lifestyle differences.
The essential thing you simply cannot compromise on, is your health.
FEEDBACK Regarding the letter from Very Frustrated Mom (December 21):
Reader – “One of my sons and I could push each other’s buttons. I felt that we sometimes both behaved like we were age three.
“A wonderful book with which I used to teach communication strategies to nursing students is:
How To Talk So Kids Will Lsten & Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, originally written in 1980.
“It has great, simple strategies that are useful in any communication with others. My son’s now a dad of two, ages 15 and 10 1/2. He appears to have great communication with them.”
Ellie - It’s been called the ultimate “parenting bible” by The Boston Globe and is available as an e-book. It includes innovative ways to: 1) Cope with your child's negative feelings, such as frustration, anger, and disappointment;
2) Express your strong feelings without being hurtful;
3) Engage your child's willing cooperation.
Tip of the day:
The COVID-19 pandemic carries one inescapable message: Your health and safety are precious and we ARE all in this together.