By Dr. Kim Logan-Nowlin & Arthur E. Nowlin, LMSW, CAADC
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This article was written by Dr. Kim and Arthur Nowlin for Message Magazine : Drama Files
And other tips for overworked and under-rested parents
Paul and Katlin have been been married for ten years. Katlin reached out to our office because Paul has a very demanding profession. He is a truck driver and is required to be away from home five days a week. Katlin is a stay at home parent. She feels that his schedule is causing conflict and continues to place a great amount of pressure on her.
The couple has three small children and Katlin is overwhelmed by the care of their home and children. Another concern is that when Paul is home on the weekend he is asleep and offers no support. Katlin is at a point where she feels she is in a role of being a single parent and she is becoming very angry. She has made several attempts to express her concerns to Paul, but he is too tired to even listen to Katlin. Further, as the major financial contributor of the home, he wonders why there should not be any problems between them anyway.
Come To The Table
We asked Katlin to write down three concerns that she would be comfortable presenting to Paul during the therapy session.
1. Do you realize Paul that I am the primary caregiver for the home and children?
2. I would like to work on a schedule so when you return home I can have some time for me.
3. Please share with me how we can incorporate quality time for us and as a family?
At the onset of therapy Paul was hesitant. Sessions were scheduled on one of the only two days off and he needed to sleep. We were very sensitive to that fact, but if the concerns of the marriage were not met, it could cause more problems. The silence of not addressing the problems within the family structure does not make them disappear it is only on hold and unspoken. Paul was able to relax and listen to Katlin and her concerns during the session. She was very understanding regarding his needs for sleep and wanting to be with his family. But the question of “how” continued to be raised by Paul.
Katlin stated “it cannot be business as usual and we need a shift or we won’t make it.” Paul hung his head and didn’t know what to say.
We recommended that they utilize the grandparents once a month so that it would give them some quality time together, if possible. Also, Katlin needed to become little more organized with the home structure to help her reduce the stress levels in her life.
Compromise Is The Key
In marriage you have to be willing to compromise to save your relationship. It is vital that you pay attention to the small details and implement wisdom in family life. The couple has implemented the “Grandparent assistance program” once a month, rotating between the two sets of grandparents. It has proven to be a wonderful plan and the grandparents are enjoying the children. Also, Katlin has taken the time to organize the home and when Paul recognized Katlin’s efforts, he took her out on a date and brought her flowers and perfume. She was speechless and hugged Paul and thanked him.
Paul stated he did not realize the responsibilities Katlin had with three small children and he had taken that for granted. They are both pleased with the progress in their counseling process and they want to continue counseling and strive towards being one unit and a support to each other and their children.
We are happy to report from Kaitlin that “it is no longer business as usual but a marriage and home filled with forgiveness, prayer, and positive transformation.”
The names have been changed to protect the innocent.