Tonight, Bruno and I have a meeting. It’s not a work meeting and it’s certainly not coffee with a friend. We sit down at the table, calendar and planner in hand and hash out the week. Bruno likes highlighters, I prefer a new lead in a mechanical pencil. At this meeting, we go over any upcoming scheduling events, we delegate tasks , check on activity attendance (he does taekwondo and soccer, I take swimming) and establish some broad strokes concerning our renovations. We started these meetings eons ago, when I had the store… having both of our families around, these meetings were our lifeline to sanity, with three kids under four, both of us working full time… it’s a miracle we survived that.
In an ideal setting, we do this twice a week (Sundays and Thursdays) and repeat it every week. Sometimes when we get really crazy, we look at the six months ahead. We sometimes also have thematic meetings (Reno RoadMap; Financial Review, LifeGoal List)… I kind of want to barf as I read this, but it’s for us, a tool for better communication.
As proof, we have gone months without meetings and it’s not pretty. So we view this practice as a preventative care. They are not always easy, they sometimes lead to arguments, but we’ve agreed on a creed that at the beginning of each meeting, we hang up our past resentments at the door and talk only of what needs to happen. It’s hard, but it works.
Also, can I just add that someone needs to address this in popular culture. Mariage and motherhood is HAAAAAAAAAARD work, which is never really discussed- mainly because it’s really boring. YET…. Mark Ruffalo x Naomi Watts ? I see them sitting at a kitchen table pouring over calendars and evening meetings, nit picking about laundry and hanging up jackets? I’d watch that. Talking about how really, all she needs is for someone to give her permission to take a long bath and check out for an hour while he makes lunches? Take my money and let me look at beautiful people talk about which activities their kids should enroll in.
So far we know that these meetings don’t always happen, they are often time consuming and sometimes lead to an argument. YET, I can claim with assurance and confidence that our weeks work better when we have them. These work for us and maybe you already do it and have a great tip (please share it!) or maybe you’ve never sat down for one of these and you feel like you’ll unravel and throw a vase against the wall (maybe), but honestly, it beats the resentment of rolling out of bed when all you wanted was to sleep in. We’ve all angrily made pancakes that no one ends up eating.
Because I’m a nerd, I’ve put together a loose agenda and some tips to get through these meetings so that you don’t end up throwing out Christmas Brunch, pyrex and all because you thought X was going to happen when he thought Y was totally fine:
As a recap, I mean the meetings doesn’t solve everything, but it’s a neutral opportunity to put your stuff on the table in order to prevent it from festering. I’m always down for ways to prevent that inner monologue from taking over!
And you know, this particular meeting is with a spouse, but I find it useful to sometimes have a meeting with myself- I’m fun to have at meetings. I go over the things that I need to do for my own work, for my own health and creative self. And I’ll even stretch and say that it’s sometimes good to have that meeting with yourself before the family meeting, just so that you’re on top of your own stuff.
Gawd, being a grown up is so much work!