YOUR DREAMS MATTER. HERE’S HOW TO TALK TO YOUR PARTNER ABOUT INVESTING IN THEM.
My husband and I were both raised in very traditional families. Our dads worked, and, with the exception of a few small jobs on the side, our moms stayed at home and raised the children. Really early on in our marriage we both realized, it probably wasn’t going to be like that for us. But despite making the decision to have more equal roles in finances and baby-raising, it’s been a really long journey for both of us to really come to terms with what that means. (who does the laundry? who figures out childcare? bills? dinner?) I wanted to share more about the process because I know a lot of you are struggling with the same thing. So I wrote down my best advice, and asked my husband to share his, too. Here’s what we came up with…
HAVE THE HARD CONVERSATIONS
IMHO, most men are good men. They won’t look you in the face and say, “no, you can’t invest in a new business. I don’t believe you have it in you. It’s really hard and you’re not going to make it, sorry, don’t even try.” It might be easier if they did. Because when you meet resistance that looks like resistance, it’s a lot easier to throw up your middle finger and say “f you. watch me.”
In my experience, I would hear things like, “I love your idea, but I don’t know how we could afford that right now, maybe in a few years.” or “I support you, but we don’t have any money to invest, do what you can but just know we can’t invest any money…” or “you should do it! you have a couple of hours a day during naptime…”
These conversations suuuuck. They suck because you can’t really be mad at this, it’s support. Kind of. What we both learned is that when you give each other support with a “yes, but” or “yes, when”, then it’s not reallly support.
WHAT SUPPORT IS VS. WHAT IT ISN’T
There’s a big difference between saying you support someone and acting like you support someone. When your partner says, “I support you” but then doesn’t make any sacrifices to have more equal responsibilities around the house, that’s not support. When your partner says, “You should see what you can create during naptime!” that’s not encouragement. It’s pointing out that your dreams are only okay to pursue if it doesn’t disrupt your current lifestyle. Let’s just, for kicks and giggles, try this one on in reverse. Would you ever say, “you should absolutely go for that promotion! just work really hard every day during naptime.” hahahahahahahahaha. Imma answer that for you. No, you wouldn’t.
One of the most powerful things we started to do was ask ourselves, “okay, what would we do if the situation was in reverse?” Would we spend this money on investing in your career? Would we get childcare? Would we get help around the house or split the housework differently? The answer was almost always, yes. We would. So why wouldn’t we make the same decisions for me and my career? This helped both of us so much–me to have the confidence to take more risks, and my husband to see those risks as “less risky”.
Especially if you’re like us, and you’ve grown up seeing more traditional roles, it can be really hard to push back against the norm. But that doesn’t mean you have to just accept that “this is the way it is.” And most importantly, if you want it to change, it’s up to you to push back.
HOW TO PUSH BACK
These are hard conversations to have. They’re really hard. Trust me, I know. I’ve spent the past 4 years having these hard conversations. It’s not something you talk about once and then everything changes. It’s constantly checking in with yourself, and asking questions like, “are we acting like my dreams are just as important as yours?” “what would we do differently if the situation were in reverse?” “if it was just me, or just you, how would we approach this situation? is one of us holding the other back?”
It’s not wrong or bad if you choose more traditional roles, but if you want something different, or you find yourself in a situation like I did–you have to be the main breadwinner, but are still taking on all the caregiver roles–I want you to know: THIS IS NOT OKAY. It’s not a partnership. It’s a dependent relationship. And it’s a recipe for an unhappy relationship and a whole lotta resentment.
YOU’RE NOT SELFISH FOR WANTING MORE
If this is where you’re at, I want you to know: You’re not selfish for wanting more. You’re not selfish for challenging your partner to see you as equal. You’re not greedy for wanting a job or power-hungry for wanting a career. You’re a human person, just like your partner, with hopes and dreams and visions you want to fulfill.
Raising kids is a beautiful, rewarding job–and if you truly believe that, then you also believe you’re not selfish for wanting to share that job more evenly with your partner–for letting them experience those same magical moments with your children by having more equal work and home life responsibilities. It’s okay to want more, you’re supposed to want more for yourself.
My husband and I have talked a lot about this (clearly!) and we’ve both come so far. We were recently on a roadtrip chatting about this topic and I was really curious what has helped him to change his perspective the most, so like any good Instagrammer, I whipped out my phone and recorded his answers for you. Sharing here for you to watch. Hope this is helpful!
FEMALE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & MARRIAGE