Mending Fences with Family Members


Family Members, an Excerpt from Chapter Six: Mending Fences, from our upcoming Ask Linda e-Book
April 7,
Dear Linda
I used to get compliments all the time about how I’m able to fit in work, family, community, everything. But lately the family dynamics is really getting to me, and I’m feeling both sore and all alone. I don’t know if it’s my own work schedule, my husband’s job demands, the needs of our growing children, or just something in the air. There’s a rift between myself and my husband which started with a conversation about how to support his aging parents and has escalated into everything from who has what household roles to how the kids should be more independent and take on more responsibility. I’m tired of the battles and want to go back to a time when we were more in synch, more aligned, more on the same page. Any suggestions?
Thanks, She-Who-Feels-Alone
Dear She, I feel your pain and the great burden of responsibility of the sandwich generation overall – the need to care for aging parents and parents-in-law while raising children and managing career goals and maintaining a deep connection with your spouse. Here are some ideas on how to regain the balance you miss, how to mend and tend fences and find a path to go forward together.
1. In reviewing the situation and strategizing your actions, consider each relationship individually: husband and wife, mother and child, mother and in-laws, etc and consider separately how the dynamics work together.
2. Be clear on what needs to be fixed and how not-fixing it is impacting your happiness and that of your family.
3. What changes in your life or that of your other family members have led to the new stresses in your life? How can you minimize the negative impact of these changes?
4. Strategize how to communicate this need to your spouse (or other family member).
5. Enlist their input and help in coming up with a plan that would support both your interests.
6. Focus on changing the small stuff, which helps the bigger stuff happen.
7. Create boundaries on roles, responsibilities, communications, etc. Work with each other to maintain these boundaries.
8. Have a realistic view of what it used to be like, and a new and realistic view of where you want to be, and celebrate as you make progress towards these goals.
9. Remember that it’s more about how you make the other person feel than about being right.
10. There is no more important relationship than that with your family. Invest in making it all work together. Learn from growing these relationships. Consider how friction in relationships at home may be lessons about other parts of your life, including your business life.
This is not easy stuff, and not a small issue. This is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the interactions, and invite more learnings and knowledge and deeper conversations through the process.
Best of Luck,

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