This past summer has seemed so long and so busy! School ended early, so my kids have been around the house for the past three months! Our family has so many relatives wanting to come a stay, too. I love that, but it’s a lot of work and costly. I’m feeling guilty for wanting some peace and quiet. It’s been too much. I need help figuring out how to find time for just me and how to be comfortable with having frequent houseguests. Any suggestions?
(Response by Carolyn Howard)
You are so right that it has been an extra long time with kids not in school, and, for many, it has been a busy summer.
We live in such an amazing place, so friends and relatives have extra motivation to come and visit. There is quite an art to comfortably handling houseguests.
Clear communication is key. It’s very important to be able to express your needs and boundaries. Finding ways of welcoming offers of help such as cooking and cleaning can be wonderful, if you are open to it.
Sometimes we benefit by letting go of our own expectations for a while. Having our routine disrupted can be hard on us. I get that! But, try and remember that summer is relatively short.
September, which is often seen as a new beginning, the start of a “new” year, comes ever so quickly. Normally, with the start of the school year, we view the fall as a wonderful time to get back to routine.
Routine allows us to structure in time to be alone, time for exercise and/or for creative outlets; whatever nourishes and feeds you, personally.
Routine can be helpful during every phase of the year, whether or not your children are at home or visitors are staying.
Routine enables one to have some structure and organization within the ever-changing day full of human variables. We all need time to feel settled within ourselves. Time to reflect, time to just be. Getting away from the house, from the on-going domestic chores can be extremely therapeutic. This can give us a new perspective on what’s important today.
In regard to your guilt, please let that go. Everyone has some reaction of their own to their home (personal space) being altered by guests. There is a huge range of possibilities here.
There is the thrill of seeing and spending time with these people and there’s the necessity for clear communication of personal space requirements.
This can be done subtly or directly; it depends on personalities.
Keeping yourself aware and attuned will help.
A clear mind and an open heart, i.e. having compassion and being caring of others and of yourself is key.
Fall is just about on our doorstep. The routines that you’ve chosen to add in or back in to your lives can get going. Make time for all the important aspects of your life.
The more you care for yourself, the more benefit will come to your relationships with others. Cherish your memories of summer and embrace the “new” year this fall.
To ask a question of the counsellors, for a response in future columns, e-mail email@example.com. Consult a Counsellor is provided by registered clinical counsellors Nancy Bock, Diane Davies Leslie Wells, Andrew Lochhead, Sara-Lynn Kang and Carolyn Howard at Pacific Therapy & Consulting inc. It appears every second Thursday in the Record.