Dear Barb—Refilling the Nest

Dear Barb:

My wife and myself and our two kids recently had to move back in with my parents.  Because of the pandemic, we both lost our jobs and couldn’t afford our rent.  We feel bad about having to do this.  My parents are retired and have good pensions so finances are not an issue for them.  They have been retired for several years, so they are well into their routines.  Our children are 4 and 6 and fairly active and I think it is rough on my parents.  We try to keep them occupied, but they are just kids and need to have the freedom to be themselves. 

My parents haven’t come right out and said the kids are wearing on them, but I can see it in their demeanor.  We cannot afford to move out, and I don’t think my parents would actually suggest that, so I need to find a way to work this situation out to everyone’s benefit.  Do you have suggestions that would be helpful, so we can all live together in peace until things get back to normal? Thanks for your help, Gary. 

Hi Gary:

Times are tough no doubt about it.  You are fortunate to have parents who can accommodate you and your family.  I’m sure this is not something you wanted to do, but if managed properly it can be a bonding and satisfying experience for you and your family.

The main thing is to respect your parent’s space.  Do whatever you can to help in the home with cooking, laundry, and other household chores.  Your parents, as well as your family, need to have their own time and space.  I am sure your parents have TV shows or movies that they like to watch and during these times it is important that you keep your children occupied, either in their rooms, or doing an outside activity.  This also applies to hobbies your parents may be involved in.  As well don’t leave all the cooking to your mother.  I am sure she would like to prepare some meals, but it is a lot of work to have to do a huge meal every night for six people.  Take turns preparing dinner and cleaning up after.  Do your own laundry.  Also have a games night with your parents, where everybody can relax and have some fun.

Remember this is a temporary situation and everyone has had to give up something during the pandemic, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, as the vaccine becomes available to all.

A book that you may find helpful, although it was written prior to the pandemic is Under One Roof Again, All Grown Up and Relearning to Live Happily Together; many parts of it are still relevant.  It’s available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Thanks for writing Gary.

Email your questions to voice@voicemagazine.org. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.
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