When your toddler schools you in communication AKA the importance of having support for your relationship life
The other day Erwan, Aeden and I were hanging out in the living room. Erwan and I were discussing a few topics related to work, and it was going from a light chat to a more intense discussion, with increasingly opposing viewpoints!
For Erwan and me, navigating our business relationship is by far our biggest challenge. We adore teaching together and discussing our students’ goals and challenges and what will make the difference for them, designing events and class sessions ….all of that is really fun. The day to day running of things, getting things done, making decisions, deadlines, etc all takes an enormous amount of discipline not to get ridiculously triggered by each other.
So there we were, talking, with increasing tension, increasing interrupting, increased huffing and eye-rolling (on my part)…we were nearing that point where we usually decide to take a break from the conversation so things don’t turn into an actual argument.
We were both frustrated and wanting the conversation to be light and fun, but it was clear we were losing our light and fun vibe.
Aeden was (seemingly) in his own world, constructing his “marble run” we got at a garage sale over the weekend, sending the marbles down the obstacle course, enjoying himself. But at a certain point, he looked at us (obviously had been listening to us, not missing a word nor an intonation). He said, “Mama, what are you talking about?” I said, “Daddy and I are discussing work stuff, and we are having a hard time agreeing on some things.”
He said, “OK”, and went back to what he was doing while we continued. Then a few minutes later, he gets up, and walks up to Erwan and takes his hand and sits next to him on the couch and says, “Dada, I am going to help you. You need to listen to Mama. You aren’t listening.”
(WHAT! HE IS 3)
We both involuntarily popped out of our “discussion” for a second and our faces broke into a smile. Especially mine, since ha! This means I was right!
Erwan said, “Uh…ok, thanks, buddy. I will listen. Go ahead, Alicia”
Me (feeling totally righteous): “RIGHT! SO AS I WAS SAYING…..!!!”
Aeden: “Mama, you are yelling. You need to stop yelling. Don’t be mad with Dada. Please speak in a normal voice”.
Aeden: “Dada, are you thirsty? Would you like some water?”
(WHAT! WHO IS THIS KID????)
Long story short, we realized that one, we were not likely to actually get through all these topics right now, not wanting to give our referee too much work in one day, but also two, that there is so much we don’t see about our own behavior when we are relating with others.
Erwan and I are huge proponents of having support in the areas of life that really matter- romantic relationship being one of the most important areas to us and other people. Having eyes outside of our heads is critical. In the conversation Erwan and I were having, we were both SURE we were right, and we were basically waiting (or not waiting) for the other person to stop talking so we could keep showing how right we were. The eyes outside of us accurately reflected how we were actually being with each other, and no wonder the conversation wasn’t going well 💡
We have our own support for our relationship and we recommend that to everyone – whether things are in a really challenging place or whether they are fine but you want to keep it that way and keep it getting better. We so love providing that and being the eyes outside of the head for so many people. Our door is always open- reply here if you’d like some eyes outside of your head on the relationship front- we all need it.