My husband doesn’t really like when I write about him here. (Hi, Tom! And… sorry!) But sometimes, in order to keep it real, I have to! We just celebrated our seventh anniversary with some wine and a family meeting. Romantic! To be clear, we do have spectacular actual celebratory plans in two weeks, but this was still pretty awesome to me.

“Can you believe they let us DO THIS???”

You see, lately we’ve been like… bumping into each other. Off our game. Drowning in the responsibility of paying a mortgage, keeping reliable vehicles on the road, and the care and raising of two small feisty ladies. It’s easy during this time — the time during which you are still relatively new at this entire parenting thing — to get snippy. To get frustrated. To feel like your partner neither understands your efforts nor appreciates your sacrifices for the family. And this goes both ways, people, of course, but it’s hard to see past your own shit and notice that hey, maybe my spouse is feeling similarly? Or feeling anything? Who knows? All I know is TAKE OUT THE DAMNED GARBAGE IF YOU’RE GOING OUTSIDE ANYWAY. See what I mean? Gah. That can’t be fun for anyone.

So. My brilliant husband proposed we have a meeting. Complete with note taking and task assignments. I rolled my eyes (I’m sure that doesn’t annoy him AT ALL) and reluctantly agreed. Glass half empty is my stage name, it seems.

But, you guys. It was THE BEST IDEA. We started off tackling an area of our lives that has been a mess for months — the morning routine. And for months, we bark at each other and the kids behave like lunatics and nobody is happy and it sucks because hi, I love these people. So, we backed out from the time we need to leave in the morning and allotted time for each activity that needs to happen before we leave. Tooth brushing = 10 minutes. The wrestling on of shoes = 10 minutes. Preparing breakfast, getting them dressed, doing their hair, washing up. Waking the girls = 20 minutes. Neither of them are morning people so we are embracing that and giving them 20 minutes to just… wake up. Does that mean we have to start waking them earlier? Yes. Does that, in turn, mean we need to wake earlier? Sadly, yes. But, it has been SO. WORTH. IT. We get up even earlier than we need to (and I promise you, I am not a morning person) so we can have quiet time to do whatever — work out, read, play Bubble Witch Saga 2 (just me? OK, fine.), or just sit in silence enjoying coffee — knowing that we have to be ready by a certain time to keep to our schedule. It’s been glorious. He is a genius.

We also tackled the nighttime routine. Assigned nights for switching up bedtime and bath duties so not one person feels the brunt of one particular task. Whoever isn’t on bedtime duty cleans up from dinner and gets lunches ready for the next day. Is this kind of thing obvious to most parents? I mean, I guess in theory, it SEEMS obvious, but in practice, it always sounded even more overwhelming and complicated than just bitching and keeping on with whatever busted way we were doing things. How dumb, right?

I’m thrilled to report that all four of us are a lot happier! The kids aren’t being rushed, we aren’t feeling rushed or overloaded and we feel much more like a team. Which feels pretty damned awesome. Happy Anniversary indeed.

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