Mother Daughter Diaries: COVID-19 | Empty Nesters & Their "Children"

Interview by
Diane Danvers Simmons
Natalie Simmons
Published on
April 9, 2020

In this episode...

This is the first episode of Mothers & Daughters Unfiltered’s timely series, Mother Daughter Diaries: COVID19. This collection interviews mother-daughter duos across the country and world to gain perspective on how the pandemic is affecting all of us. In the first installment, Diane and Natalie talk with Connecticut-based, Pamela (mother) and Charlotte (daughter), about the realities of returning home as a young adult - for both sides. The group gets real about boundaries and mental health and laughs about new hobbies and our fur family.


Charlotte Massey

Charlotte is a bartender based out of Connecticut and Nantucket, MA. When not working in Nantucket, Charlotte is studying (and tasting) the world of wine, attempting to cook, and enjoying the connection of her loved ones.

Pamela Massey

Pamela is a mother of two daughters (24 and 29), living in CT with her husband and 2 yellow labs. She works as a psychotherapist in private practice and primarily focuses on women, mindfulness and mood disorders. When not in the office you can find Pamela anywhere near the ocean.


Diane & Natalie interview mother-daughter duo, Pamela & Charlotte Massey in the first installment of Mother Daughter Diaries: COVID-19. The group gets real about the adjustments that come with grown children returning home, mental health challenges and our jobs. But, they also laugh about living together, new hobbies and silver linings that are coming out of this challenging time.

Key Points

1:20 - Natalie introduces the Mother Daughter Diaries: COVID-19 Series, a collection of interviews with mother-daughter duos about how we as individuals, professionals and families are dealing with the global pandemic. 

3:09 - Diane shares a relevant quote about coping with change from a book focused on daily meditations and sayings called Offerings: Moments of Mindfulness from the Masters of Tibetan Buddhism.1 The quote is “Nothing is permanent: the sun and the moon rise and then set, the bright, clear day is followed by the deep dark night. From hour to hour, everything changes.” Kale Rinpoche 

5:16 - Natalie assures listeners that they are not alone. That we are all facing challenges in this time and have to take things day-by-day, but things will get better.

6:17 - Natalie & Diane welcome Charlotte & Pam Massey to the podcast. The group group laughs about the now heavy question “how are you doing?"

7:40 - Pam introduces herself as a mother of two, Connecticut resident and psychotherapist by trade. She shares some of the experiences, boundaries, routines and challenges she and her clients are facing.

9:53 - Charlotte introduces herself - at long last - sharing that she is a 24-year-old millennial who works seasonally as a bartender on Nantucket. Though she is currently living at home and concerned about the prospects of her job on the island returning in early May.

10:22 - Charlotte talks about the struggles the restaurant industry is facing, sharing personal anecdotes and reflects on the fortunate spot she is in to have the personal safety net of her parents.

13:16 - Pam talks about the shift in caring for her patients virtually and the types of challenges they are facing falling into two major camps - those whose grown children are back home and are recalibrating how to find personal space and time; and, those who are concerned for their livelihood.

15:28 - Pam imparts words of wisdom that “we can only control what we can control” and that by focusing on this we can work to keep ourselves at a distance from existential anxieties. 

16:35 - Natalie shares how this time has forced her to learn the lesson of acceptance. 

17:15 - Diane brings up that it is not only millennials who are having to adjust, but their parents too. The group discusses the challenges for both empty nesters and adult children learning to live together.

18:30 - Charlotte gets vulnerable about the challenges that have come with distance from her “chosen family” and other loved ones.

19:50 - The group discusses the universal implications and feelings we are all sharing around COVID-19 and laughs about the persistence of FOMO even when no one can physically be together.

22:05 - Pam shares what has given her hope from finding a gentle balance in the consumption of the news to focusing on the positive stories coming out of the pandemic. She ponders, “they share the number of people who died, but they don’t share how many people have recovered.” Think about how that statistic might positively affect us?

24:38 - Natalie and Charlotte reflect on how the pandemic has given our planet a chance to recuperate and how beautiful it’s been to see our natural environment responding positively.

28:00 - The group shares funny stories about their time together in quarantine from (almost) completing puzzles, drinking too much tea and laughing at their dogs.

30:00 - The daughters laugh about a shared mishap with their attempt at new hobbies - building bikes and baking bread... 

33:52 Pam and Charlotte close with their mantra for this time, inspired by a fellow therapist: “WIN” which stands for “what’s important now.” They encourage listeners to focus on those things that are most critical in this moment. One thing at a time. 


1 | Offerings: Moments of Mindfulness from the Masters of Tibetan Buddhism, Danielle Follmi & Olivier Follmi, April 5, 2016 (Buy it on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Offerings-Moments-Mindfulness-Masters-Buddhism/dp/1419719734)

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