How To Maintain Harmony When A Spouse Goes Back To Work
There are plenty of reasons a spouse might return to work after being at home. Money is a common reason, but job satisfaction and even mental stimulation are contributing factors as well.
But whatever the reason, one thing is certain: There will be an adjustment period. Here are a few suggestions from us at Stenzel Clinical to ensure a smoother transition.
1. Communicate your expectations.
The key word here is compromise. The spouse going back to work will not have the time to complete as many of the duties they performed at home, so the other spouse may have to chip in more around the house. Make sure each of you understands the other’s expectations.
TIP: Take a few minutes together and put the plan you develop in writing. Agreeing on the duties that each spouse will take on (or give up) ahead of time can save a lot of confusion later. You may both find out that what is on the written page is not what you thought you heard.
2. Embrace the change in family dynamics.
No matter how well a couple communicates, the common factor for both partners at first is exhaustion. Instead of relaxing, one parent now takes over more childcare, while the other goes out to put in hours away from home. Time as a family unit will probably decrease, and new couple and parenting dynamics will develop.
TIP: Be purposeful with family time and marriage time as it will now be more limited. Again, create a written schedule as a guideline. Don’t forget to write in time for dating each other, even if it’s just a board game after the kids go to sleep. Quality time together with the children is vitally important as well, so schedule regular time for that.
3. Stay positive.
If you complete every action on your lists but do it resentfully and frequently complain, it will cause friction. Remember the 100%-25% Rule, which is: You see 100% of the work you do and 25% of the work your spouse does. You are both working hard, but a large portion is unseen by the other.
TIP: Make an effort to notice the work your partner is doing and compliment them for it. And if they don’t always notice the work you did, try to cut them some slack and simply let them know what you’ve been up to.
4. Talk finances.
With a spouse returning to work, there will be a bit more cash coming in. Make sure you determine in your planning phase where the extra money will go.
So, all you have to do is follow the tips in this article and you’re all going to be just fine. Hooray!
Actually, it will probably still be difficult at first. Even with excellent communication, thorough schedules and a good attitude, your lives will turned upside down for a bit until everyone adjusts to the new routine.
TIP: The good news is you will get used to it. Stay positive. Many couples come to enjoy their role reversals. One spouse gets to interact more with their kids and the other feels refreshed by contact with actual adults.
Remember, if you find the going a little tough, our counselors at Stenzel Clinical have the expertise to help you navigate life’s speed bumps. Give us a call whenever you could use someone to talk to.