With both of us working full time, while also juggling three kids, it can sometimes feel like Even Steven and I see each other approximately two times per week.
If we're lucky.
Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean.
Trying to have a conversation while also trying to sign school notes, find a missing sock and remember whether or not I made a dentist appointment for the kids is not exactly easy. Or meaningful.
And it's inevitable that as soon as Even Steven gets home from work, the kids want to spend time with him. Which is awesome.
But by the time they go to bed, and we do our nightly chores, neither one of us feels like talking or doing much of anything other than falling into bed.
Which means we try to cram conversations into the chaos that surrounds us every day. And I'm not talking about important, meaning of life conversations. I'm talking about things like:
- Who is taking the kids to the dentist appointment that I may or may not have scheduled?
- Who RSVPd for the wedding in September? And did we buy a gift?
- Did you remember that we have house guests coming this weekend?
Even Steven LOVES surprise house guests!
These are the little things in life that are part of raising a family. They're also the little things that used to just magically happen before little people invaded our lives and added at least 18 million other tasks and distractions to the list.
A year ago, it was starting to feel like we were drowning in a constant to-do list where nothing ever got checked off. Bills went missing. Dentist appointments were forgotten. And wedding gifts were sent more than a year late. It was driving us crazy.
So Even Steven and I made a big change that made a HUGE difference in our lives!
Yes, we started having weekly meetings.
No, I'm not talking about weekly date nights. Or any other weekly "task" that married couples might schedule.
I'm talking about weekly MEETINGS.
Why We Love Weekly Meetings
This may surprise you, but Even Steven works best when things are super organized and in order. I know, try not to fall out of your chair in shock.
And with a degree in Technical Writing, I'm no stranger to a solid documentation plan. (Yes, I said technical writing. I have a college degree in writing instruction manuals.)
So when we decided that we wanted our family to be fun and loving and as spontaneous as possible, we also decided that in order to have that flexibility, there were certain things we needed to treat like a business. (Or like work.)
Every Wednesday night, we have a 60-minute meeting. One of us is responsible for creating the agenda, and the other is responsible for taking notes.
Yes, there is an agenda and there are notes. This is serious, people!
There are some things we need to talk about every single week and other things get added to the agenda as needed. We bring a laptop so that we can quickly make decisions and get things done right away.
What to Discuss In Your Weekly Meeting
We sync our google calendars and go over the schedule for the upcoming week. This is when we decide who is running which kid to practice and who is tackling that dentist appointment.
This is also when Even Steven is reminded of dinner plans or house guests or a week-long stay from my mom.
I despise this portion of the meeting, but Even Steven swears it's necessary. We quickly cover anything that needs to be talked about. We pay bills online (if necessary), go over any savings goals or talk about possible big purchases that are coming up. This is also when Even Steven asks me how I managed to make 18 gazillion trips to Target in one week. And it's usually when I cry a little bit. Luckily, it never lasts long.
We talk about plans for upcoming vacations - including who needs to do what in order to make it happen. I might be responsible for bringing some rental house options to our next meeting while Even Steven researches flight pricing. Neither one of us are very good at planning ahead, so forcing ourselves to do it with these meetings is pretty much the only reason we ever take family vacations.
This can be anything from cleaning out the garage, starting a new job, planning a party, or buying or renovating a house. We're in the process of planning a kitchen renovation, and this is a great time for us to make sure we're both keeping things moving so we can (finally) get started. (Also, see BUDGET.)
You know how you have date night and wind up talking about the kids the entire time? Now you won't have to because you'll be talking about them during your weekly meeting. This is when we talk about teachers, general concerns, doctors appointments, how to remove that booger wall and anything else that needs to be shared or covered.
I already mentioned it, but when we think of something that needs to be discussed throughout the week, we add it to the agenda right away so we don't forget. (We use a shared google doc, but you could just as easily keep a list on the fridge.)
How the Weekly Meeting Makes Our Weeks Better
This weekly meeting is about a whole lot more than just making progress on the not-fun parts of being an adult.
It also creates time and space for more laid back fun and conversation with our kids.
When we're sitting at dinner, and something "adult" comes up that we need to talk about, we just add it to the weekly agenda (instead of trying to talk about it while also talking to the kids.)
Putting our family and our kids first is why we have our weekly meetings - so that we are not constantly distracted by the little things that feel like big things because there are so many of them.
We're more likely to play a board game after dinner (rather than shoo the kids out of the kitchen so we can talk.) We're more likely to take a walk or bake cookies or be goofy because we're not trying to rush everyone off to bed so that we have 10 minutes to get things done before we fall asleep.
Things always seem easier in the summer, and we can go several weeks without a meeting. But once school starts up, and sports, we ease back into our weekly routine.
Actually, first we go an entire month feeling like we're going crazy and then we remember that we used to have weekly meetings and then we spend another week feeling like we're going crazy and THEN we get back on track.
If you want to be really smart, just skip that five weeks of feeling crazy and start your weekly meetings this week. ♥