Community//

How to avoid a Working from Home Divorce

or what to do when your entire family is home all of the time

Is anyone else worried about a Coronavirus divorce? Or is it just me? I typically spend just three full weeks a year living in the same house as my husband.

That’s a week over Christmas, and two weeks during the Summer. Obviously there’s the odd long weekend here and there, but typically my dear husband is away for a minimum of two nights every week because of work. This leaves me home with our three teenaged children, dog, cat and puppy.

Divorce lawyers note that January means that their phones start to ring following the December holidays. Typically families are out of routine, spending lots of time together and are financially stretched by all of the seasonal bonhomie. Last year I managed to book a Christmas delivery from a supermarket for the first time ever. I booked it in October (I think). British supermarkets have already stated that the coronavirus has created more bookings for grocery deliveries than during the festive season which is typically their busiest period.

The uncertainty of coronavirus is creating low-level stress for families even though they might not be impacted by actually being ill. In the UK we’re looking at a lack of food on the supermarket shelves, don’t even mention toilet paper or hand sanitiser.

What do we do about elderly parents who live in areas with no shops, and fall very much into the vulnerable category? Our children have just completed the first week of studying-at-home. We’re effectively in lockdown in all but name, and unlike the US which will have COVID-19 sorted by Easter we have no end in sight.

Add the constant presence of a spouse who’s usually away into the mix and you can see that tensions may start to rise. Last week my husband asked what I’d been doing in the morning, and I told him that after taking the children to school I walked the dog and went foraging for wild garlic. He just looked at me. That’s not my normal morning, but the wild garlic won’t be around for much longer.

So what can you do to manage this potentially turbulent time with your significant other, when both are working from home?

  • Be considerate. If you’re making a coffee for yourself, check in with the other person too!
  • Get outside. It’s important for your health to step into sunlight, and catch your breath.
  • Take regular breaks, and maybe coincide with your spouse to take that coffee outside.
  • Agree on what you’ll eat for lunch and perhaps more importantly who’s going to make it.
  • Know who’s working/studying in which room, and when this needs to be altered to guarantee quiet time.
  • Be clear about when you absolutely can’t be disturbed, and make sure that everyone knows when that is.
  • Take time for yourself, you don’t have to spend every break with your spouse.
  • Connect with friends via phone or social media.
  • Exercise, even a simple 5 minute walk can help to restore a more positive attitude.
  • Figure out how to have a date night in your house. It could be having a takeaway delivered, or a BBQ in the garden.
  • Everyone is in a new routine which means that it’s a good time to establish fresh ground rules with regards to household chores. This can help to prevent your home from degenerating into a frat house (this is aimed at my sons rather than husband!)
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