This coronavirus has pushed me into the sandwich generation earlier than anticipated.
My parents, aunts and uncles had to be convinced to return from a trip they’d taken on March 1st, before the full force of the pandemic hit.
But once out of quarantine back home, they were running unnecessary errands through late winter/spring.
They then got into a groove during the summer, socializing only outside.
They still had to be reminded, though, that generous invitations to a friend’s cottage meant NOT sticking within their own safe bubble.
Now, with Fall’s increased infection numbers, I’m constantly urging them to take more precautions.
My cousins and I have school-aged children. This already puts our parents at some risk even from family contact.
We’re being as diligent as possible ourselves. But we’re overwhelmed by having to parent our children and beg our parents to protect themselves.
Going Grey Without A Colourist
You make a good case for why “we’re all in this together.”
Sadly, seniors who were the majority of COVID-19 victims early in its rage through nursing and long-term-care homes, were kept isolated from caring family like yourself during strict lockdowns.
The concern you show for your parents/relatives is a natural part of the cycle of life: Caring about/advising the older generation are lessons you’re also teaching your children, albeit urgent ones during a pandemic.
Hopefully, they’ll be as concerned about your well-being in the future.
Maintain concern without being overbearing. It’s too hard on both sides.
If your senior relatives don’t have serious health risks, are mobile and energetic, they have similar needs and desires as you have for maintaining some “normalcy.”
Encourage their positive outlook and whatever socializing among their “safe” circle, within the procedures advised - masks, handwashing, social distancing and meeting outdoors.
They’re lucky to have you caring about them.
My wife of 15 years and I have a son, 14, a daughter, 12.
Years ago, we were both smokers, me more heavily, having started at age 15 to look “cool.”
My wife only smoked then when we socialized. We both dismissed any evidence on bad-health effects... until a persistent harsh cough interfered with my sales job. I quit smoking.
But worrying about my reduced salary made my wife nervous. She smoked more, “to calm herself.”
She’s now fully addicted.
I’m worrying about the effects on our kids, the eldest already following whatever his friends are doing.
How can I get my wife onside to curb her smoking, at least for the kids’ sake?
Not Coughing Now
It’s a challenge yet shouldn’t be.
Even a few facts from the World Health Organization (February 2020) about “smoking cessation:”
Within 2-12 weeks, your circulation improves, and your lung function increases. In 1-9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Within 1 year, risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker's... huge health benefits during the risks of a respiratory virus that’s primarily a lung disease.
Yet your wife’s unlikely to quit to reassure you.
Tell her anyway, that quitting decreases the excess risk of many diseases related to second-hand smoke in children, such as respiratory diseases (e.g. asthma) and ear infections.
Then, back off. She has to come to the decision herself.
Various smoking cessation approaches do work, especially when the smoker seeks them on her/his own.
Approaches range from laser clinics, to hypnosis, to Cognitive Behaviour Quitting (CBQ) to Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking. (The late author also wrote about giving up alcohol addiction).
FEEDBACK Regarding the husband who resented that his wife didn’t contribute to their household finances (October 19):
Reader – “You didn’t point out to the husband that he should consider the message his wife was giving to their children by remaining at home instead of leaving them to earn money.
“The wife clearly didn’t feel the need for more money. She could see for herself what their financial situation was and must’ve felt it was adequate.
“When my granddaughter asked her mother why she left her to go to work, my daughter answered that it was to be able to purchase things.
“My granddaughter, then a toddler, answered that it was not worth it to her.
“A parent staying at home sends the message that the children - and her/his time with them - are more important than money from another job.”
Ellie - Both mother and now-older daughter might find it interesting to try that conversation again, now.
Tip of the day:
Adult children’s watch on their senior-generation’s pandemic response, should feel natural and respectful.