Mornings. The family rushes around eating breakfast, getting ready for the school or workday, and barely a word is spoken. Everyone goes their separate ways for the bulk of the day only to reappear at the dinner table promptly at 6:30. Conversations float over what happened over the course of the day, activities that are coming up this week, and the funny meme someone saw that day. Then an after-dinner drink (for mom + dad), maybe one TV show, and it is off to bed because 4 am comes early, y’all.
This is the way of many American families. We live our lives in parallel rather truly together. And days slip into weeks slip into months where we don’t talk about the REALLY important topics. After all, when you’ve survived a full day of work and school activities, who has the energy at the end of the day for a serious discussion on how you are FEELING?
This was certainly the case in our house where impromptu discussions, when there wasn’t quite enough time and a big build-up of crud, would lead to hurried conversations, tears too often, and a general dissatisfaction that anything was actually being accomplished.
Enter “Coffee Talk”. In an effort to both bound the time but also make it more consistent, my husband and I started having a scheduled morning meeting together to do the heavy work and it has really been a game-changer. This meeting, scheduled sometime after the first cup of coffee of the day and heading out to work, is a 30-60 minute opportunity each day to talk about the challenges we are facing, areas where we could use a little help, and a celebration of our little victories. Topics range widely from work-related items to discussions on how to handle parenting, to the general “how are you feeling” type discussions.
For most of the summer we had the meeting early at 6am but now that the kids are back in school we start after they head out for the schoolbus at 7am. Knowing we have protected this time to talk has really opened up the lines of communication. And made it easier to have a chance to have challenging discussions without the distraction of thinking of the 10 other things you also need to get done in that time.
What techniques do you have for talking to your partner about really important topics?