how to set boundaries with family during pandemic

Editor's note: Sometimes you just need input from an experienced mama who *gets* it. Ask Motherly is a new advice column by Motherly's co-founders, Liz Tenety and Jill Koziol. Have a question for Liz and Jill? Email it to us at [email protected].

How do I deal with family who wants to see us during the pandemic but also goes to bars?

One word: B-O-U-N-D-A-R-I-E-S.

COVID-19 fatigue is real, and we totally understand that so many of us are tired of the isolation and boredom of life at home.

That said, mama, you have every right to create rules for your own nuclear family, and hold your extended family to them, without apologies.

Dealing with family members who don't follow CDC guidelines can be incredibly stressful, especially if they believe they also have a right to see you or your kids.

The good news? There is a lot of it. First, news out this week suggests that COVID-19 vaccines could be available as early as this winter, so we only might need to hang on a little bit longer. Plus, with new technologies like Facebook's Portal TV and Apple FaceTime, it's easy to stay close emotionally while keeping socially distant.

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Mama, your voice is important.

Treetops Collective

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The other thing to keep in mind is that family members who struggle with respecting your boundaries around COVID-19 are probably also family members who struggle with keeping and respecting your boundaries in other areas of life. Look at this situation as an opportunity to calmly practice boundary setting, without apologies. You might build a new muscle that serves you and your little family for the long haul.

Struggling with how to communicate your boundaries around COVID-19? Family therapist Stacie Pozdol, M.S., LMHC, shared seriously invaluable advice in a recent article for Motherly about how to share your VALUES with family members who see things differently. According to Pozdol, difficult conversations flow best when structured this way: Validate, Agree, Let them know, find the Upside, Everyone wins, Stand firm. Her advice is seriously game-changing, and you can read it here.

Happy Holidays and socially-distanced cheers,

Liz + Jill

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