Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Teen Son Hangs Out With Older Crowd

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a stay-at-home mother, and my husband works from home now. We have three kids and two dogs, a full house. We start our day early and end in the late evening. My husband is in his office most of this time. We have tried to create work and personal life balance with boundaries. He does not work outside of his office, and he keeps work between certain hours.

Even though we have found our rhythm, I feel so alone and programmed without a break. My kids need attention every second, and my husband is close but not here most hours of the days. When I do get a break, I feel exhausted and don’t know how to relax. My home is supposed to be my sanctuary, but being home and never needing to go anywhere, I’m not enjoying my breaks. What can help in this situation to put my mind at ease? -- Stir Crazy

DEAR STIR CRAZY: Step back, take a breath and reassess the situation. Yes, it is stressful. But much of it is likely similar to life before COVID-19. Think about what you managed then and what is different now. Assign your children specific responsibilities that give you a bit of flexibility.

Let your husband know that you desperately need his help. Even if it’s one hour each day after work, you need him to engage the children so that you can have an hour off. Don’t complain when you talk to him about this. Explain that this is what you need in order to keep the family in check.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)