Here’s a parenting challenge we’ve been dealing with for a few years.
If we don’t get her out of the house, 90-minutes after she wakes up, then our daughter gradually becomes anti-social. She doesn’t like to putter around. We’ve been muddling through for years. and it is why I used a ton of sitters => to get her engaged and into her day.
As I’ve phased out help we’ve been forced to deal with things we’ve been avoiding (article here).
I’m certain every marriage has repeating conflicts not between spouses => conflicts that give rise to frustration between spouses.
The conflict is never all that big.
Easy to endure for a little while.
But it repeats.
As it repeats, frustration morphs into bitterness towards the other spouse.
There is a simple fix.
Make it crystal clear who owns the situation.
- Saturday mornings => down to me
- Organize a swim meet => down to my wife
- Get the kids to gymnastics, ski team or water polo => down to me
- Sunday mornings => down to my wife
So when conflict arises, I know who’s in charge.
This helps me:
- let go from outcome when I don’t own; and
- own my frustration within my domain => instead of sliding into blaming… fix it, or grind it out.
With ownership assigned, we need a process for assessing if the job is getting done.
This can be tricky!
With babies and toddlers in the house, I could not reconcile my leadership principles with my marriage principles.
#1 being => I will never ask my spouse to do something I am not willing to do myself.
I do not like spending time with toddlers. So I used a lot of childcare, preschool and after school activities (~50,000 hours). It was a difficult, but temporary, time.
These days, I chuckle and remind my wife that the kids will start moving out “soon.”
Soon being eight years.
Increasing My Capacity To Own
Over the last two years, I have put the key elements of “my life” into the time before my family wakes up, or when the kids are in school.
Going back five years, I made my daily schedule visible to my spouse.
These two changes created the capacity to own more of my family life.
I also changed my attitude. I am willing to take on, or eliminate, anything. I’ll either do it, or eliminate it.
Own the predawn, live an open life and fix repeating pain points.
In this case, better is better.