Our oldest has a big interest in all-things-family.
I spent the weekend getting her on-side with some family adjustments.
Many families keep the kids in the dark about family finances – with our oldest coming into her teens, I’ve started the process of educating her about how to run a household.
I’m hoping improved disclosure will result in her supporting shifting some of my wife’s time back to me!
Do you know how much money it takes to run the family? No idea.
Why don’t you guess. $1 million
No, no that much but I did work for a guy that was close to that. Big spending creates big pressure.
We iterated until she got close enough.
OK, I need to come up with that much cash every year. That’s my main financial job and I enjoy it.
Now, how many days do I get each month in exchange for coming up with that cash?
What do you want to do?
Well, I’d like to do something other than hang around the house, alone, and do housework.
This time she answered bang on => two days per month.
June, July and August => How many days are you away with Mom? Ten each month.
Let’s convert that to a nice round number for the year. 100 days.
Take those 100 days, are they going to make my marriage stronger, or create stress?
Panic (!) on her behalf as the penny drops… I talk her down and reassure her that our marriage is “great”.
She did not need any encouragement to want to strengthen her parent’s marriage.
She did need to calmly, slowly, be led through where her desire to constantly take her mother away might lead.
She immediately came up with a useful idea => alternate chaperones with her best-swim-friend. A win-win-win for all of us.
On to cleaning => Earlier, she’d been slamming the vacuum around because she didn’t want to do her weekly chores.
She gets this from me, I’ve been known to toss furniture when frustrated. I’m trying to cut back on acting-out frustration. Out of all of us, I’m the one who needs to improve the most!
Sweetie, did you notice that I spent the last two days cleaning the entire house?
Yeah, but you had nothing to do.
Sweetie, how do you think that statement makes me feel?
Actually, not that bad, the house does look great and that makes me happy. Do you think that there is something else I might rather be doing than staying home alone and cleaning?
That led us into a discussion about relative contributions.
Human happiness is a relative metric.
Is it fair that I’m handling all the cash generation, and doing most of the housework?
What would you like me to do?
I’d like you to help me spend more time with your mother. She’s my favorite person in the world.