When you become a parent everyone tells you things change, and you "get it," but truth be told, you don't. Until you have gone through the looking glass and are firmly on the other side with that baby in hand, you just can't. If you are a parent and reading this, you know that becoming a parent and building a family is one of the most fundamentally life altering experiences and you have to live it to fully understand it.
Nothing is the same. Your brain literally rewires. Your past isn't even the same, because you will now revisit every past memory with the lens and perspective of a parent. You don't just change once either, every time you add a new family member there is always a period of adjustment and recalibration.
It is challenging enough making sense of our own personal evolution, but when we are in a partnership with another, we must also take into account the evolution of our partner. Add into the mix that you are getting a lot less time together as partners and it is no wonder these early family building years are rife with miscommunication and frustration.
After having three kids, my husband and I have experienced it all, including a run of couples therapy 8 months into the life of our first son. It wasn't until half way through our second son's first year that we began a practice that would fundamentally change not just the way we organized our week, but our marriage as well.
In late 2017, we were in the weeds. Adjusting to life with two kids was our most difficult transition. I was also adjusting to being a business owner and working from home while my husband was transitioning between jobs and juggling consulting clients. Life as we had known it for the last three years was once again turned on its head. We were tired, stressed, and often working against each other instead of together. I still vividly remember sitting in a Starbucks drive thru when I listened to the podcast episode that would be the catalyst for a breakthrough in our family management and our relationship. While I can't remember the podcast, I do remember the conversation. It was about utilizing business management practices in your home management, specifically I came away from that episode ready to implement the concept of a weekly family meeting.
Much like a weekly team meeting for work, the weekly family meeting is a 30 - 60 minute meeting between you and your partner to sit down and get on the same page regarding the week ahead, discuss what is on deck, what needs to happen, and the best way to make it ALL happen.
In addition to the logistical benefits of previewing the week, this meeting includes personal agenda items as well, including a "partner rating," weekly wins, and goals. These agenda items encourage and support:
You know, the stuff you probably talked about all the time before the conversation was dominated by kid stuff.
The partner rating in particular is a powerful exercise. I will warn you, it is awkward at first. It took my husband and I about three weekly meetings before it felt natural. Fast forward and now we LOVE the parter rating and work hard each week to receive a good rating. On the flip side, we know when we are walking into a subpar rating and greet constructive feedback with much more acceptance than in years past. This practice has supported our personal and emotional growth in a very direct way.
The weekly family meeting has made such a positive impact on our family, marriage and productivity that I had to add it to the Presence and Productivity Method. When your partner understands your needs, your goals, and your priorities, you are no longer fighting upstream alone, you have a second set of hands holding you up and making sure you are staying on track and taking more of the load. When you work from home or for yourself this is all the more important, because it is so much easier to get off track and to fall pray to the demands of your home.
Together is always better than alone and we can't wait to give you the step by step guide to setting up your own weekly family meeting in The Presence and Productivity Method.
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