Pan­demic cre­at­ing strange bed­fel­lows

Orlando Sentinel - - Local & State -

Dear Amy: Be­cause COVID-19 has caused uni­ver­si­ties to close, my boyfriend’s sis­ter, “C,” has moved into the house with us un­til fur­ther no­tice (per­haps un­til the univer­sity re­opens in the fall).

C is a very picky eater and eats mostly bread, cheese and fruit. My boyfriend and I are mostly veg­e­tar­ian and ve­gan, but we’ve been able to find at least one meal a week we can all share to­gether. We tend to do this on Sun­days.

My is­sue is with the other days of the week. More of­ten than not, C seems to take an adult­sized por­tion of food (at least a few spoon­fuls, per­haps to be po­lite) picks at the food we’ve pre­pared, and then de­clares she’s not in­ter­ested in eat­ing it and throws it away. This amounts to bowls of food go­ing into the trash.

I don’t want C to feel like she has to ap­pease us, and I’ve of­fered “feel free to make your­self a sand­wich” sev­eral times.

How do I pre­vent this waste from hap­pen­ing?

Dear Meal­mates: This pan­demic — and the ne­ces­sity to iso­late — has cre­ated un­usual and un­fore­seen co­hab­it­ing groups, strange (and stranger) bed­fel­lows and oc­ca­sional dis­com­fort around the ta­ble. In my house­hold, this dis­com­fort is caused by var­i­ous fam­ily mem­bers ex­per­i­ment­ing with new dishes, and serv­ing up the oc­ca­sional dud (I plead guilty).

Most of the is­sues that arise can be dealt with

(and solved) through sim­ple com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

You say that you don’t want for “C” to feel like she has to ap­pease you, but she should feel that she has to ap­pease you, by mak­ing an ef­fort to be a re­spon­si­ble mem­ber of the house­hold.

You are mak­ing the ef­fort to ap­pease her by pro­vid­ing hous­ing for the fore­see­able fu­ture and by not pass­ing judg­ment on her lim­ited diet.

“Feel free to make your­self a sand­wich” is ob­vi­ously a too sub­tle state­ment for C to dis­cern what you are re­ally get­ting at.

You and your boyfriend (C’s brother) should have a “fam­ily meet­ing” once a week. You should all review var­i­ous as­pects of your co­hab­i­ta­tion, es­pe­cially your ex­pe­ri­ences at meal­time. Say to her, “We all like to eat different things, and that’s fine. But you of­ten serve your­self a larger por­tion of the food we pre­pare, even when it seems that you won’t like it — or wouldn’t eat it — and then we end up throw­ing it away. If you want to try some­thing, it would be help­ful if you served your­self a small spoon­ful or two, and if you like it, dive in! We just can’t af­ford to dis­pose of left­over food.”

Dear Amy: Due to the COVID-19 cri­sis, both my spouse and teen have been idle at home, but I have been work­ing full time (from home).

I had to have a talk with them. I said, ba­si­cally, if you’re not go­ing to your job/school but I am, you must step up. Do not ex­pect me to work and then plan and make din­ner and do the laun­dry, etc.

They got the mes­sage. Women, es­pe­cially, have the ex­pec­ta­tion of manag­ing the fam­ily, the house and their job.

I hope this sit­u­a­tion will be the event that helps those who don’t man­age the house­hold see and step into full part­ner­ships with the “house man­ager.”

Dear Op­ti­mistic: In my house­hold, I fi­nally reached my limit and dealt with this is­sue by ask­ing each fam­ily mem­ber to “take a night.” This seems to have worked out well and has been some­thing of a re­lief for all of us.

Dear Amy: “Over­worked” com­plained about the state of her house with her adult chil­dren quar­an­tined at home.

This mom ob­vi­ously raised th­ese kids to be de­pen­dent and to act help­less when at home. It is ab­so­lutely un­ac­cept­able that any young adult would not au­to­mat­i­cally pitch in and be use­ful.

Now par­ents get a se­cond chance at suc­cess­ful par­ent­ing. One of the par­ents of my sixth grade stu­dents con­fided in me that, in prepa­ra­tion for cancer surgery, she took her school age boys aside and ex­plained how to do laun­dry, pack a lunch, etc.

She came out of the surgery fine, and the boys kept up with tak­ing care of th­ese chores. She said, “Why did it take cancer to teach me that kids can be so in­de­pen­dent?”

Dear Teacher: Some par­ents are late to this valu­able les­son.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.