Have it inside, outside, on the couch or around the table--just have it!
As a busy working woman, with enormous responsibilities at work and at home, we need a partner (and kids) who are willing to pitch in and alleviate the burden. But how do you go about bringing up the fact that you feel like your six feet underwater with no life jacket? How do you say it without making the other person feel blamed or defensive?
When we're at the end of our mental and physical rope, it's EASY to start the blame game and that never leads to resolving the problem. We've got to go for the gentle start up and that's why I love the once a week family meeting.
I can't remember when it started for us, but I'm sure it was early on. We like schedule and predictability and having a designated time and place to discuss it just seemed natural. It started with schedules, but has evolved into whatever needs to be discussed that week.
What's one thing you never feel like you can bring up because it's never the right time or mood? Use the Family Meeting model to bring that hard stuff to the table. I really don't like talking finances. I don't get excited talking numbers, investments, or even saving for retirement. Some people love spreadsheets and all the numbers. I'm lucky enough that my partner is all over it. And rightly so--he wants me to know our numbers. Do you know your numbers? I've never liked it, but it's something we discuss openly because I don't want to be in the dark.
What is a Family Meeting?
It's a dedicated safe space to talk openly about what the logistics of the week. Who is going where? Who's got what responsibilities this week? Essentially what do I need to know so that everything in this house with these people runs smoothly? When we're all going in separate directions, it's easy to drop the ball. When one person thinks--- "Mom's got that." But Mom doesn't have it, things get dropped, people get angry, and the emotional temperature of the house can sky rocket.
The Family Meeting is a safe space to bring up long/short term goals, and how the family plans to get there. When everyone is on the same page with all the little micro actions that need to happen, it's a well oiled machine.
Keeping the Peace
Family meetings help you to keep the peace. It's not only a time of logistics, but a time to share gratitude and excitement for what's to come. It's not meant to be strictly "business." Start your Family Meeting with gratitude. What are the things you really appreciated from the week before? Who did what and for whom? End the meeting with what you're looking forward to in the week ahead. I love to these meetings on a Sunday. It's the perfect time to look ahead at the week to come.
What Should be Discussed?
This is completely up to you! You decide what makes most sense for your day-to-day household. As a busy working mom, there's so many moving pieces to the puzzle. The grocery shopping, the laundry, the chores, the finances, the college kid stuff, the big projects that require my time and energy away from the family. These are just a few things that get brought up in our family meetings. I don't believe in holding back! If you've been sweeping some hurt feelings under the rug, now may be the perfect time to bring them up (make sure things are kid appropriate or excuse the kids for this one).
Strong relationship (friends, romantic relationships, family) are built on friendship. This means there's mutual respect, love, gratitude, and admiration. If your relationship has gotten a bit off track, you may need to consider some ground rules before implementing the Family Meeting Model. Get in touch if you'd like more on setting some ground rules.
Check out the YouTube channel for more on having crucial conversation with my Mental Load: Awareness and Conversations video.
You can do this friend! The Family Meeting will lighten your Mental Load and enrich your relationships with weekly connection. It's definitely a way to put deposits into your Life Accounts!