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Archive for the ‘family’ Category

I've Had Enough!

Monday, November 9th, 2009

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Our nurturing instinct can sometimes go on overdrive. We become a walking caretaker, unable to let anyone need anything.  This works fine until you run out of patience, energy or become downright resentful.

“I’ve had it!” Angela said. “I am so busy taking care of everyone else’s needs that I neglect my own.”

Angela is married to Brent and has two kids, one in middle school and one in high school. Although trained as a paralegal, she has not worked outside of the home since her youngest was in Kindergarten. Angela’s full time job is managing her family. Her husband’s career requires long hours and some travel, which gives Angela even more responsibility with the family.

She continued, “The other day Brent came home and wondered why dinner wasn’t on the table; Sue wanted help with her homework and Sam needed help finding his book report form. My temper was up that day. Sue had called from school; she had forgotten her science project. It took me 45 minutes to take it to her.”

“Then I raced home because Sam’s uniform was in the wash and he needed it for a game that night. And, to top it all off, I needed to stop by the place my mom is living to sign some paperwork. Just when I think I can’t do one more thing, each member of my family needs something more from me!”

Usually even-tempered, I could see Angela was at her boiling point.

“As I do more for them, they expect more. Just because I don’t work outside of the home, people assume that I have an open schedule. I’d like to challenge them to live in my shoes for a day. I guarantee they would change their tunes.”

“You sound frustrated and unappreciated,” I said.

“If it doesn’t change, I’m moving to Mexico and they can all fend for themselves!” she joked.

“What would their lives be like if they did fend for themselves? What are some tasks that you are performing that they could do themselves?” I asked.

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She immediately listed duties that she had been doing that they could easily assume. “Brent could make lunches. Each of them could collect their own laundry.” The list easily came together. It even included people outside of her family, situations where Angela’s tendency to say “yes” had gotten her over-committed.

“How will you communicate this shift of responsibility to the people who need to know?” I asked.

“I will talk to my husband and ask for his support. At our next family dinner, I will talk to the kids about how the household responsibilities are changing.” Angela added, “For people outside of the family, I will call to let them know. I’ll give enough notice so they can find someone else.”

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“That sounds great!” I said. “Is there anything else that will make this situation better?”

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“Since I have given up a lot of my time, I will add in two hours a week to do something for me.”

“Let’s check in at our next coaching session to see how the conversations go and how well you are doing taking time for yourself,” I suggested.

“Maybe now I’ll have time to get in my workouts and finally lose the extra ten pounds I’ve been carrying.”

“Perhaps once you release all of this extra responsibility, you will feel as though you’ve lost ten pounds,” I said smiling.

Coaching Challenge:  If you are overwhelmed by tasks you do for other people, make a list of your major responsibilities. Review the list to see what you are doing that someone else could do. If he/she is unable to complete the entire task, possibly he/she can do part of it. For example, a young son may not be able to do laundry, but he can get the clothes to the laundry room. Once you have created your list, communicate to each person which tasks you are giving back. Explain why you have made this decision and be open to teaching them about how to complete the task.  Enjoy your new freedom!

She Loves Me But Not My Kids

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Being divorced with young kids offers many challenges. One of the most difficult situations is balancing parenting with dating. At first the two can be separate, but at some point, they are bound to come together.

Cole has been divorced for three years. His kids are six and eight years old and they are with him every other week. He is a dedicated father and supports his kids in their activities.

For the past six months he has been dating Marie who has two high school-aged daughters. Cole and Marie’s time together is concentrated during the weeks Cole doesn’t have his children.

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At our last appointment, Cole explained that their relationship had blossomed and Cole and Marie were planning to spend more time together by including their kids in more activities. As they integrated family time, however, Cole and Marie began to argue.

“Marie doesn’t like the way the kids behave and they act out when she is around. She has a different style of parenting and is critical about how I handle my kids,” he explained. “Since Marie and I get along better when it is just the two of us, I decided to separate the activities again and spend time with Marie apart from the kids. Now I feel pulled between the two and find there isn’t enough time or energy to be in both places.”

“What options do you have?” I asked.

He responded, “As much as I love Marie, I relish my role as a father. But running in between the two is wearing me out.  He said, “I could quit seeing Marie, but I don’t want that either. Other than the kids, we get along great!” He paused, realizing what he had said. “But I don’t come without kids, do I? I am a father.” голова болит секс

“You are a good, dedicated father,” I added. I had heard many stories of his interactions with his kids.

“If we can’t resolve this, I fear I will need to make a decision. Although I love Marie, I won’t give up my family responsibilities.”

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“It sounds like giving up or compromising your role as a father to stay in the relationship is non-negotiable. You are unwilling to make that decision. If that is true, what is your next step?” голова болит секс

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“I will talk with Marie to explain how important my kids are to me. If she can’t accept my role as a father, maybe we need to break-up.”

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I could tell how painful this was for him, but also recognized how firm he was in his conviction. “You are courageous to stand up for what you believe, even if it is painful.” I paused letting him take in the truth of my statement.

“I hope we can resolve this, but I’m not willing to compromise my responsibility as a father.”

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“What is your next step?” I asked, prompting him to take his conviction outside of my office and take action.

“I will talk to Marie this weekend,” he said. “I’m worried that I will cave-in or put it off. I enjoy being with her and don’t want to start over.”

“What is something tangible you could find to capture how you are feeling right now, something that reinforces your commitment to being a father?”

“When I look at my kids, I know exactly where my commitment lies,” he said. “To remind me of my priorities, I will look at a photo of my kids.”

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As Cole left, he said he would email to let me know that he had talked with Marie. We could then follow-up with the details at our next coaching session.

Coaching Challenge: If your time is pulled between two areas of your life, make a list of negotiable and non-negotiable items in each of these areas. This list will help you prioritize areas of your life and allow you to review what is important. When you feel pulled between two areas, it could mean two of your non-negotiable items are battling for first place. If so, list the non-negotiable items in order of priority. This can help you sort through confusing feelings and take a course of action that is in line with your top priorities.

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