Getting Things Done

Who does more work - you or your spouse?

A huge source of tension is the division of labor between married partners.  It's probably the most-cited source of marital conflict I encounter when I deliver marriage counseling in my private practice. 

What's also interesting is that many women who book a counseling visit with me to talk about marriage problems actually find that the main source of their stress is anxiety about housework and domestic chores.

In essence, we often find that it's not the spouse's lack of help that is the problem... it's unmanaged stress reactions. 

who does more work you or your spouse

Picture this: you come home from work and kick off your shoes, walking straight to preheat the oven for dinner. Your kids' backpacks are everywhere and the sink is full of dishes, but your husband sits on the sofa scrolling through social media. TRIGGER! You feel yourself becoming more and more irate, feeling as though no one is pulling their weight at home. You're suddenly keeping a mental tally of all the work you've done around the house, and you're jotting a big fat zero in the column for your husband's support. You make a few passive aggressive comments to your kids loudly enough for your man to overhear: "Sorry, sweetie. Mommy can't help you with that puzzle because Mommy always has to come home and fix dinner before I can rest." Your husband hears this, of course, and responds with resentment... resentment that causes him to want to help LESS... thus fulfilling the prophecy you'd spoken about him in your mind moments earlier.

Perhaps if the mom mentioned above had managed her stress reactions a bit more carefully, she would have felt less resentment.  She may have, in turn, behaved differently and elicited a different response from her husband.

 
marriage counseling anxiety
 

Picture the same scenario played out with a different reaction:  

You come home from work and notice immediately that the kids' backpacks are strewn everywhere, and everyone is watching TV in the den.  You know that dinner has to be started soon, but you're exhausted.  You kick off your shoes and notice, to your irritation, that your husband is glued to his phone.  Knowing that hunger cues even more irritation in your family, you decide to reach in the fridge for a little snack to tide you and your family over, then graciously hand the goodies out to everyone in the den.  You kick off your own shoes and plop down beside your man, who thanks you for the snack and asks about your day.  After fifteen minutes of peaceful conversation and more stabilized blood sugar, you feel refreshed enough to start dinner and ask your husband, "Would tackle those dishes while I get the chicken going?"  He agrees, now that he's had a few moments to relax after work and reconnect with you.

See how those scenarios play out differently with different reactions?  

 

Let me say that I realize you're probably whining a little bit in your head right now:

"But Celeeeeeste... it's sooo unfair that I have to manage myyyy reactions.  Can't everybody just do what I want them to do without me having to ask?"

 

Darling, what you just described is a robot.  Until we find out a way to clone that metal maid from The Jetsons, the answer is an unfortunate no. (Side note:  why have we made such technological advancements and still don't have robotic maids?)

Here's my challenge to that: scientific studies show that people almost always overestimate the amount of work they personally do, and almost always underestimate the amount of work anyone else does. It's true at work, in marriages, and in friendships. 

 

I designed my Division of Labor chart for families to sit down honestly take stock of who does what around the house.

 

You may find that your partner is doing lots of little things you don't really remember in the heat of the moment. Or you may realize that your spouse does a lot to help... but he does it in his own time (which maybe drives you crazy). OR, you may realize that your spouse really doesn't help at all and it's time to have an open conversation about the support you need (either from him or in the form of a housekeeper, meal service, etc.). 

 

Here's the Dropbox link to my Division of Labor Worksheet:   https://www.dropbox.com/…/Division%20of%20Labor%20Chart.pdf…

 

I hope it helps!


If you found this article and the Division of Labor Worksheet helpful, you'd really love my 90 Day Comeback.  It includes all sorts of practical resources like just like this one.

Give me 90 days and I'll help you transform your schedule, renew your thinking and refresh your life.  

3 Practices to Calm New Mom Anxiety

Sleepless nights. Early morning feedings. And fatigue you just can’t sleep off! Welcome to life with a newborn!

As mothers we love our children dearly, but getting through those first few months of motherhood can make even the most prepared and organized woman, feel stressed out and overwhelmed. As a mom of three crazy kids I’ve learned that doing a few simple strategies can make a huge difference in a new mom’s health and happiness.

Here are three simple strategies!

newborn mom anxiety

Breath

With a new baby you might feel like you don’t have time to do anything for yourself. However, yogic breathing practices (pranayama) relieve anxiety quickly and you can do it anytime and anywhere.

Here’s how it works:

While your baby is napping or feeding, sit still and close your eyes. Settle into your body and turn your awareness to your breath. As you inhale count slowly to 4 (in your head). As you exhale count slowly to 6. This uneven breath emphases the exhalation, which calms the nervous system and brings your mind and body into a more peaceful state.

 

Sing it out

Babies love to hear beautiful sounds. And as a new mom, singing to your little one can help calm her and YOU at the same time.

Here’s how it works:

This stress relieving strategy is similar to yogic chanting. Sing your favorite lullaby or ballad. This type of song will force you to take a deep inhale, then slowly release the exhale in the form of beautiful sounding notes. Hence calming your nervous system.

 

Strike a (yoga) pose

Newborns love to get face time with their mommy. This practice is a great way to entertain her and fit in some stress releasing yoga postures at the same time.

Here’s how it works:

Folding your body forward at the hips in a seated forward fold helps to calm your nerves by increasing your exhale and turning your focus inward. To do this mommy and me version of seated forward fold, sit down on the floor, with your legs extended. Place your baby on your legs laying on his back. Inhale as you sit up tall, then exhale folding at your hips to bring your face close to your baby’s face. Hold this posture for a few breaths. (Bonus points if you sing and apply kisses to your little one’s cheeks). Do this as many times as you like.

 

Having a newborn in the house is enough to make any woman feel like she’s going just a bit crazy. But with some simple yoga-based tweaks you can make it through survival mode and look forward to sunnier days with your new little bundle!

 

yoga for new mothers

Keya Williams is a Yoga Lifestyle Consultant, teaching busy moms how to use yoga to juggle life and kids without burning out! Could you use more simple ways to bring more peace to your mom life? Check out Keya’s FREE video and learn her 3-step system to help you do motherhood with more ease and joy! www.Nourished-Motherhood/video


Are you a mom struggling to get it all done?  Check out our freebie to help you take charge of your schedule!

As a new mom, I struggled with anxiety over everything! Was my baby breathing? What if she rolls onto her stomach in the night? Is she going to get enough sleep tonight so that I can rest, too? WOW! I’m so glad Keya Williams of Nourished Motherhood could guest post for me today here on the blog.
— Celeste

Productivity Anxiety: Are we doing too much?

As I sit down to my laptop, I’ve intended to watch a really beautifully done training video designed to help me master a hip, new task management system. I’m elated. Organization and productivity tools are my drug of choice; I geek out on To Do list printable and daily goal-setting manifestos.  

However, also as I sit, I’m reminded of the enormous pile of laundry parked only a few feet away. I also have my trusty paper planner (sorry - I just can’t go digital) stuffed with neon flags of sticky notes flipping between every page. Should I watch the video? Or start the laundry instead? Or is there something on my planner I’ve forgotten? I compulsively check.

There’s always something.

Task management tools and productivity courses are definitely advantages of living in this decade. We have more resources for organizing and power for achieving goals in the palms of our hands than women for centuries before us, and yet we still struggle to keep up. Am I the only one?

Can I take a moment to just state the obvious: It’s not the task management apps that need to improve, it’s our lives. When will we hold off for a second and say, “Whoa, girl, the issue is that you’ve got too much.” It’s not about getting organized, it’s about being realistic about our demands.

A few decades ago, a woman with moxie worked a full-time job while also maintaining a family household. She was praised for it and felt fulfilled, purposeful. However, insanity slowly crept in.

 

 

The 2017 mom needs to not only work an outside job, but it also has to be relevant and creative and fulfilling to her calling. In her free time she needs to take this or that “Challenge” of the week, or squeeze in a fat-blasting workout. All the while she feels she must be in constant task management mode planning a 6 year old’s birthday party that would rival Colin Cowie’s parties for Oprah.

It’s all just too much.

I urge you to take a moment and slow the heck down. Consider what you’ve placed on your list as “urgent” and ask yourself if the descriptor is overused in your life. It certainly is in mine.  

So now, I practice what I preach. I’m going to take a break for an Oreo dunked in a glass of milk. I won’t disregard my planner entirely, but I vow to take a look over it an decide what really isn’t worth doing. I vow not to feel ashamed that we give up ballet, or say no to one of the endless birthday invitations, or eat fast food because I couldn’t make it to the grocery store before work.  

Let it be.


Struggling to get it all done?  Try our free Priorities Mini-Course to find out where you're losing time in the day.

30 Minutes to a More Organized Life

When my daughter began walking really well, I quickly noticed that my neat and organized life was going to change.  

Suddenly every waking moment (and lots of moments when we all should have been sleeping!), I was consumed with the constant chores that come with motherhood.  How would I ever be able to work full-time, care for my child, clean the house, and even think about having a minute to myself again?

The idea of a time study isn’t a new one, but I found it to be most helpful when explained by Crystal Paine in “Say Goodbye to Survival Mode.”  Crystal explains a surefire method for evaluating where you’re losing hours during the day:  set your cell phone timer to ring every 30 minutes for a whole day, taking a second to briefly note what you did with your time during each 30 minute increment.

For example, I might wake at 6:00am and then set my timer to ring in 30 minutes.  At 6:30, I’d take a second to jot down what I had done with my time:  wake up, wash my face, check Facebook, make the coffee, etc.  Then I’d reset the timer to ring in another 30 minutes.

You won’t believe how eye-opening this exercise is.

When I completed my time study, I found that I got so much more done than I was giving myself credit for.  But unfortunately I also found pockets of time where I’d wasted my minutes foolishly.  (What?!  30 minutes ago I was on Pinterest looking for a recipe and now I’m checking out 30 Hilarious Celebrity Wardrobe Fails?!)


Want our free time study worksheet and Priorities Mini-Course?  Have at it!

 

5 Easy Steps to End Morning Madness

It was such an honor to be featured on Two Little Rippers this week sharing my expertise on ending the chaos that comes with mornings.  I share tips like:

1  - How to use music to get your gang out the door on time

2 - The single solution that ends most morning drama

3 - What you need to accomplish the night before in order to have a stress-free morning

Nobody likes to start their day on the wrong foot, feeling frazzled. But if you make a solid plan, allow yourself some margin, and make things fun you can end the morning madness in just a few easy steps.
— Celeste

Whew!  Mama, you've got a lot to do.  Try out our free Priorities Mini-Course to help you see the gaps in  your schedule where you can get more done.