A number of years ago I was a homemaker with a preschooler and a husband who was newly self-employed. John had a part-time evening/weekend job to bring in a little regular income while getting started and was gone a lot. I believed in him and what he was doing but I was lonely and frustrated. Then one day it hit me. He is home all the time, just not at the traditional times I expect him. That is the day our life changed and we truly became a self-employed family. That is the day I threw out all the rules.
In my mind daytime was for work and evenings and weekends were for family. Those were the rules so even though he was often home during the day I never engaged with him or expected anything from him during that time. After my big revelation I started engaging more in the times he was home and available during the day. He would occasionally come to the zoo with us when Jake was little, was available for every school conference, went on field trips, met us for long lunches. I might still be home alone watching tv at night but I no longer felt left alone.
Every time I read an article on date night it gives a list of ridiculous rules. Don’t talk about money, don’t talk about the kids, don’t talk about household issues. As if somehow your relationship is at risk if you can’t or don’t think of anything else to talk about. But we don’t have time to regularly have a separate meeting to discuss our business, one for the budget, another to talk about our kids, their needs and schedules and a fourth just to shore up our marriage relationship talking about random life stuff. We barely have time for the one night out. It has to do everything. And what we realized when we decided we could talk money, work and kids on our date nights is…we love our life. We love talking about the business. If we didn’t we probably shouldn’t be in the business. We love talking about our money because keeping on budget is what leads us to our goals and dreams. We love talking about our wonderful kids. And somewhere in there we talk about new dreams and goals, politics, relationships, stories of our day and more.
We tossed out the rules on everything else too and decided to make decisions based on what worked best for our family. As a result we have had many wonderfully unexpected adventures.
When I went back to work I forgot our “break the rules” attitude and got a traditional job. Unfortunately it didn’t work well with our non-traditional lifestyle. We tried going back but after a couple years I knew it was time for me to become self-employed and return to our wonderfully non-traditional lifestyle.
Even if you and your husband have a traditional work situation I bet you could still find a few rules to break with your family that would free you to embrace your family’s current lifestyle and draw you all together.
Go ahead, break the rules.