Chances are, you’re already more than a little sick of whoever you’re quarantined with — whether it’s a Craigslist roommate or your nearest and dearest. Gwyneth Paltrow is known for taking a proactive approach to relationship problem-solving, starting with her famous decision to consciously uncouple from ex-husband Chris Martin. Now, Paltrow and husband Brad Falchuk are consulting an intimacy coach to get through quarantine, and you’re going to want to listen very carefully to these tips.
Paltrow and Falchuk posted their nearly hour-long exchange with Michaela Boehm, intimacy and sexuality expert, to YouTube to help out fans with similar questions. Currently, Paltrow and her kids, 15-year-old daughter Apple and 13-year-old son Moses, are quarantined with Falchuk, and they’re having a tough time keeping spirits high and routines on track.
“We’re really lucky we have a really solid relationship, but we’re also in the house with the kids and it’s pretty close quarters,” Paltrow tells Boehm. “And you know, I think we all feel, especially my teenagers right now, are feeling really pent in — especially Apple, who is a really social creature. We’re really following the strict guidelines so she’s not able to see people that she wants to see.”
“There’s definitely tension within the household and we have the added dynamic of step-parent, and I think there is quite a lot of stress that comes from trying to recalibrate to this new normal and new level of proximity,” Paltrow adds. “As a couple it’s sort of like, where do you go as a couple when you’re all in the house and you’ve got dogs, and work, and work from home? It’s like, ‘What are you supposed to do?'”
If Paltrow’s questions are sounding all-too-familiar to you, don’t worry — Boehm has some sound advice.
“One of the things that’s really useful in a situation like this is compartments,” Boehm advises. “You have to have areas of engagement that have time frames attached to them…For instance, ideally, in the morning you have a meeting that says what’s happening today for everyone. And you come up with a few things that are the mainstay of that day.”
“Then, what I’ve suggested to a lot of people in the last week is you have a list,” she continues. “A list of potential activities that you would like to engage in, ideally creative things or movement things. It could be anything that is out of the ordinary…You pick from that list of activities for yourself, for your children, and for the household.”
It’s true that one of the biggest challenges of working from home (especially with kids around) is that the areas of your life bleed together — and it can start to feel like you’re being pulled in a million different directions at once. So we love the idea of having a universally agreed-upon “play” time and a list of activities the whole family’s excited about to pick from, even if we know it won’t play out perfectly every day.
The main takeaway? Do your best, and don’t be too hard on yourself. We’re in quarantine, and even Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t know how to handle it. We’re all in this together.
Before you go, check out these activities to keep your kids busy during school closures.