On the eve of forced closures for the COVID-19 Pandemic, no-one could imagine the challenges ahead. For me one such challenge would be how to negotiate a new peace when my home became my workplace. The tensions of many were starting to mount and the ‘peace at home’ issue became a topic of discussion for groups at the Thurgoona Community Centre.
Our wonderful Mates Morning Tea group gathered for what was to be their last group for quite some time. There was much discussion by the men who set up the room as to how it would look allowing for the set 1.5m between people. A table and chair arrangement was organised. They were able to sit a distance apart and still chat. The group was half of its normal size, but one man decided to push his chair right back and sat away from the group. To help the men and to introduce talk about the restrictions on shared food, I brought a builder’s tape measure to ‘judge’ their gapped measurements. They tried to hide the tape measure from me, but I managed to ‘grab’ it with us all laughing. What a tease.
Then came the verdict, only Wally, was the designated 1.5 metres away from others, he was awarded top of the bunch.
The men had a wonderful discussion about whether to continue the group. There were very strong opinions expressed on both sides, with great concern for their oldest member Digger. A vote decided for the group to continue with Digger’s full support, but that was sadly overturned with the PMs announcement that weekend to close non-essential gatherings.
During the discussions, some of the men expressed their essential need to have some space from their wives at home. Mates Morning Tea was their once a week wonderful escape which was mutually appreciated by the wives left blissfully at home. One man playfully said, “I think women were born annoying,” to which I replied, “I don’t know, you will have to ask my husband”!
Now that I’m having to work remotely from home, where my husband has so wonderfully retired, there will be new demands on our relationship with our confinement with one another. I thought I’d share some of my thoughts at how this will be a peaceful coexistence. However, all of you seasoned home-stayers might laugh at what I think I can achieve. I think that this will be a character and patience developing experience for both my husband and me to say the least, even with 32 years of marriage behind us.
Mates Morning Tea photo by Peter Smith TCC
3 Gems for my peace at home
- Some great advice for myself is remembering that being ‘right’ is overrated. In reality why would any of us not think that our thoughts are not right? This I’m afraid is my challenge. I know that expressing differences of opinions is a healthy sign that partners can share what they really think in a relationship and that no one person is dominating over the other. When I can’t agree its better to back off from differing ideas that are getting a little heated and try again later to discuss it, when we both have had time to digest what the other person has said. Everyone needs to feel heard and I intend to work at taking time when we differ and not pressing for a decision. Great on paper – lets see how I go with this gem!
- I will commit to an atmosphere of peace. This of course doesn’t mean giving in all the time to ‘keep the peace’ but it will mean giving my husband space when he may be feeling a little ‘grumpy’. Many people aren’t aware of their own moods, whilst some are extremely aware, maybe this is a male/female thing? We all have our ups and downs, and no-one can be 100% a darling all the time – including myself!
- Finding my ‘happy place’ at home and allowing my husband to have his ‘happy place’. Actually, my husband has many such places. He really loves to laugh and will watch YouTube video gags. I am one of those A-type driven personalities always thinking of work that needs to be done. I joke with him that we are yin and yang – completely opposite – in fact that was one of the qualities that attracted me to him when we were dating. I will give myself permission to go to my ‘happy place’ at home which I have yet to really find. At night when I can’t sleep its sitting on the front porch and admiring the starry night. Sadly, I will have to program being in my new ‘happy place’ into my day – yes, I’m that bad!
So, there we have it. You might be thinking this poor husband has such a challenge ahead with his wife coming home and I would heartily agree.
What are your gems for staying at peace at home as we isolate from others because of COVID-19 and our home becomes our haven?
Here’s a quote I like: “Great marriages don’t just happen, they are made.” Dave Willis
Find ways… to stay at peace
Sherylyne Moran – Coordinator
Thurgoona Community Centre
For Fun: Watch this uplifting viral YouTube couple who accidentally recorded themselves. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyd9wPhB1hA
For Ideas: Psychologist Ann Gold Buscho Ph.D. has put together some tips for people in difficult or trying relationships. She has great insights at https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/better-divorce/202004/relationships-in-quarantine-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly
For Help: If you are really suffering during this time, contact your GP for help. For Abusive situations: https://www.whiteribbon.org.au/find-help/domestic-violence-hotlines/
For Crisis support please call LifeLine on 13 11 14
If you are in immediate danger call 000