It seems just when you have the family status quo you desire or you’ve got it to work something new comes in to throw a little chaos. Change is often hard in families because we all love routine so much, and rightly so.
But most parents will find themselves at a crossroads sometime in their parenting journey around work commitments and family time.
What happens if I go back to work part time or full time?
What happens if I go for that promotion or follow my passion?
….how will these impact my family is a question that many of us play over and over again in our minds.
Mastering that change?
As a way of getting unstuck and moving through to making a choice, I’m sharing three ways to negotiate this type of unsettling change so that you can make choices that fit your family.
Talk about it
It’s easy to go to that guilt based place and dwell.
Find friends that you trust to talk through your feelings. This is a good topic for your regular family spouse meeting. The meeting is a non threatening time to share your hopes, dreams and your timetables with each other. We can’t change what we don’t know. Keep your dreams nurtured and watered by keeping them out in the open. Remain open to new ideas and solutions.
2. Outline it.
As you’ve come to an idea about a direction with your partner and you are feeling better about the choices you’re making it is time for to share with the family.
Family problem solving is key to making sure these things work within the family like change. If you’re going back to school and need to study there’s going to be changes in the household- talk it through. It’s the time to hear from both points of view. It’s amazing how flexible we all can be when we know what we as a family are trying to achieve.
Change is inevitable and children learn from us how to negotiate changes successfully. Mealtimes is a good time to bring up major family changes or your usual family roundtable time.
3. Make it so.
With any change we make mistakes, forget and even have to backtrack. Not everything will run smoothly and if everyone in the family is prepared for a little flux that helps.
One area that often gets overlooked is when one of us takes on more outside the home but is expected to continue with their same commitments inside the home. Often it is just not possible to continue in the same way as before. We must consider changing and adapting to the best situation going forward.
- Negotiating a temporary transfer of some of our commitments to a partner, child or paying for someone to come in.
- Negotiating a change in how things run at home ( who takes the kid’s to school ?, how the kid’s get to clubs?, how the general repairs around the house and car are maintained? who buys the food for tea? who is on call for the sick call from school? who cooks the meals? what the children do after school? Do we need more family downtime? etc)
- Changing the contributions for the family to reflect the new situation. If you’ve never done a redistribution of contributions I would recommend it. Not as a time to count who has the most but to understand where the time goes and adjust to the new blend of family activities.
I’ve always had the toughest time with no.1. I have all the conversations in my head and try to work things through right there. It really is much easier if you talk with trusted sources and your partner. I can’t promise you plain sailing but together you can work on your family atmosphere and negotiate this together as a family.
As your schedules change try some ideas for simple rhythms
and find other ideas for improving family atmosphere