As my job became more and more demanding (and I started to feel the pressure to prove myself), I began to take my husband of 10 years for granted. He works from home (so the pandemic life was really no different for him). He has been with me for my whole professional life. He was the one who got me to go back to school when I was 25, and allowed me the opportunity to be a full-time student for a while. He really is quite wonderful, so why was I treating him like he was and adversary?
The short answer is, stress. I treated him poorly because I was under a tremendous amount of stress. Pandemic stress, imposter syndrome stress, not feeling like I was being a good wife and mother stress, etc. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that he was willing to share some of my stress burden with me. He was willing and able to understand some of my struggles. My problem was not really allowing him to be there for me, and more importantly, with me.
Something I learned in graduate school was to make your partner your partner, and this stuck with me. Sheryl Sandberg discusses this in her book Lean In. She describes the importance of having open and transparent communication, making decisions as a team, and modeling gender equality. Having such a steadfast partner at home was something that I was taking for granted. I could have been leaning in to his sound advice all along.
I have since learned to make my relationship a priority., At times it can be exhausting to always be “on”, but recognizing the reasons why it is important is a valid motivator. If you are giving your best at work and then shutting it off at home, you are wrong. There is no more deserving audience of your greatness than your spouse and your family.
I just took a mini break from work and completely unplugged, with my husband. There was no internet so we were just with ourselves. I used this opportunity to reconnect and reestablish a precious relationship that is really my home base. This simple realization gave me a tremendous sense of gratitude.
Being married to someone who is similarly driven is challenging, but the rewards are huge. I am grateful to have such a worthy sounding board in my favorite place. When my work life gets crazy, I have a very safe place to go to recharge. I have a wonderfully exciting job, but nothing beats really sharing my life, and its challenges with someone I trust so completely.
I found this article from a reliable source as particularly helpful for providing prospective can help with balancing your work with your relationship. If anyone is struggling with bringing their partner into the fold of their (sometimes) professional chaos, I encourage you to take a look. Having a stable baseline from which you can launch your brilliant career is essential for success.