Dear Jeanne,

My family is upside-down! I mean it. I accepted a position with a huge raise which requires me to travel monthly and my household is now CRAZY!

Background: my husband encouraged me to take the job (loved the significant increase in our household budget) and said that he would be able to carry things while I was away for the week each month.

Why am I not seeing this happening?

It’s been 4 months and I cannot believe the amount of work that I come home to each month. I actually D R E A D going out of town next week, because I know what I am coming back to …. He says he’s trying, but I am angry a lot and am really becoming resentful of him. Our sex-life has died and even my relationship with each of my three kids (12, 10, 7) is marginal.

Help Me Figure This Out

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Dear Help Me Figure This Out,

Deep breath – and let it out. Now take another one. One more … and smile.

Calming is your first line of defense. It is everything in a situation like this.

Let’s start with acknowledging that every person in your household (your husband, your children, and even your pets if you have them) is going through a significant adjustment period with your new career demands. On a mental, logical level you both looked at the money and looked at the exchange for it and agreed that it was worth it. The real-life, emotional side of things is shoring up a bit differently.

So, to keep this as succinct an answer as possible, I am going to offer you a structure of thinking and actions that you can implement:

*Acceptance is key – How you thought these new travel and home arrangements would work out and the actual reality of them is quite different. (Resentment is held at bay with acceptance, as resentment reveals suppressed anger at expectations not being met.)

*Play to the vision – Get really clear on what the ideal scene is for your relationship and family life and revisit it regularly. (Taking the time to write out your vision will be worth every minute. Reading it regularly sets the internal compass to align with the wife/mother/person who will show up at that level.)

*Planning is everything – What systems have you implemented that carries the household more seamlessly, even when you are out of town? (Laundry, dishes, cleaning, homework, meals – all of these things can be systematized while you are out of town. Even better, implementing new systems that regularly operate all of the time will create less of a gap or a challenge of doing things a new way, when you are gone.)

*Systems are golden – In business and home-life, systems are a friend to time and contribute to a “well-oiled machine” at home. (Regular times for homework, regular days for cleaning, regular schedule for kitchen-duty for your children, regular processes for laundry, regular meal-planning and cooking, regular grocery shopping days – all of these add up to prediction and less time figuring things out and being unhappy with the resistance that life can often create. A cleaning person or crew twice a month, a mowing crew, and a grocery delivery service are all examples of systems that can be hired to bring you more quality time.)

*”Buy-in” is crucial – After working through your new plan for home-management, it will be essential to lay out the perceived solutions to your husband and get his inputs. (There must be “buy-in” to this new plan for it to take life and bring you the ease and flow your are desiring.)

*Guard against unrealistic expectations – Life is messy and unpredictable, and having less rigid expectations will be a friendlier energy to occupy right now. (You have emotions and all 4 of those living with you have their varying emotions and moments of non-inspiration that all have a right to exist. )

*Go slow to go fast – Pushing your new agenda will not create the flow that you are desiring. (The old adage “Rome was not built in a day.” applies here … patience with persistence in pursuing your new plan is the path.)

*Get creative in the process – Your relationships with your husband and children can be ENHANCED by your time away with some creativity on your part. (Video conferencing or face-timing dates with each of them individually can be a great part of those nights that you are in your hotel room. They can give the boost of focus and conversation to your relationships with your children and husband. It can be a very special time that they and you look forward to when you are away.)

*How can this be fun? – Looking for fun and enjoyment throughout the month is a perspective that will bring vitality to your life and relationships. (With more systems in place, friction is reduced and more time and energy are available for creative fun times like game nights, walks in nature, visits to an area park, basketball “tournaments”, vacation planning together … you get the idea.)

*Appreciation should be practiced daily – A daily practice of appreciation is one of the keys to happiness. (Whether it’s gratitude journaling, writing out a daily list, or just speaking out loud what you appreciate about your life and the people in your life, make appreciation a daily practice. A spirit of appreciation shifts the perspective and invites harmony and solutions.)

*Stay creative and make adjustments – Give your plan some time. (Tweaking things might be necessary as your plan gets implemented. Staying in the creative zone will give you the fresh perspective for solutions.)

*Love everyone in their growth curve – Your children have different temperaments and will respond to this change differently, based on their age, their needs, and their maturity. (Love them where they are at – and bring them Grace in their process of adjusting – and that includes your husband, too!)

*Prioritize your husband – Give him what he needs and he will be much more giving in return. (Know his love language and keep his tank full and he will naturally show up more.)

*Pause and breathe – Your breath is your life-energy and breathwork can open up your energy and clarity portals. (Regular pausing and breathing might require you to set your phone timer for several times throughout your day. Doing this will and taking the time for deeper breathing will create a habit of calming your central nervous system that will benefit you tremendously.)

And, as always, ask me any questions for clarification!

Much love to you,