When Tim and I first got married, I had an identity crisis of sorts. I was not quite sure who this new married woman was and what it meant to have a life partner. I struggled with where he ended and I began and if I would be ok with becoming a unit.
You can imagine, I went through something similar – only 10 fold – when I became a mom. I cannot even put into words the challenge it was/is to understand our new family roles and accept all of our needs and changes.
What I do know is something that my mom has told me since we first got married, “It’s not 50/50, it’s 100/100.”
My gut reaction to those two huge life events was, “Quick, stake a claim for what’s yours, make it super clear and defend it to the hilt!” While this sorta works for a little while and knowing your needs and boundaries is important, only giving 50 percent and expecting your partner to bring the other 50 percent is a recipe for frustration.
I found myself drawing lines of demarcation all over our marriage and family to make sure everything was fair. We must have Ava the same amount of time each day. We must be allowed the same amount of play time or money or coffee. It was really silly looking back, but a very challenging thing to see clearly at the time.
Tim was extremely patient with me and all these new rules of engagement. He followed each new one carefully when navigating this Meredith in motherhood. Now that we are coming out of the fog of having an infant, and I can listen to reason again, my mom’s all important advice is ringing in my ears, “It’s not 50/50, it’s 100/100.” I realized that I have to give all of myself all of the time – 100 percent.
I have leaned in and started giving 100 percent of myself to my family. Realizing that it’s not me vs. time stealers, it is us. We are all one family unit working together to achieve our goals as a group. Once I realized this and moved into 100 percent mode, it is a life changer and saver! Little fights that would have been, never are. Tim wants to offer more help and do more things for me without my even asking. We are both much nicer to be around. Things still take work and lots of intentionality, but we are operating on a much more solid foundation.
So when you are in doubt, find a way to happily give more of yourself. It has to be from an authentic, ready-to-change place. Blooming into your own happiness can be the hardest and best thing you might do.