In this episode, Lisa is joined by her husband Nick for a conversation about the importance of recognition; of seeing and appreciating what they each contribute to keep a busy household running. They talk about the emotions and situations that cause us to reach out for recognition, and how we can learn to ask for that without resentment or anger.
This episode is brought to you by Small Steps to Wholefoods – open for registration for one week only, starting today (Thursday 23rd February). Learn more at http://smallstepsliving.com/SSTW
Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:
Lisa: Hey guys, welcome to another episode of the podcast. I have my lovely husband, Nick, here tonight. Before we start and kick off our conversation, which, you know, neither one of us really knows where this is going to go. I just wanted to say that this episode of the podcast is brought to you by Small Steps to Wholefoods, my eight-week online program that has helped thousands of women change their relationship with food, and change the food that they feed their family. Small Steps to Wholefoods is open for enrolment for one week only. So, if you want more information, please head to smallstepsliving.com and you’ll find out more there. Right, that was kind of official and fun. Now, we’re going to get into a conversation. First, say, ‘Hi,’ Nick.
Nick: Hello Lisa, how are you?
Lisa: It’s still full novelty factor, the both of us doing this podcast together, but the last two episodes that Nick has done have been super, super popular. So, we thought we’d do another episode, and today we were jamming on what we might actually talk about. Because I’ve been away, I was in America for a week, or six days, and Nick was here with the kids, holding the fort, doing an amazing job. I thought let’s talk about, maybe, what you’ve realised about what it takes to run the household, or something.
Nick: And then what happened.
Lisa: And then things went very pear shaped.
Nick: It was an all-out brawl.
Lisa: It was. It was pretty bad. You know, you can imagine that that was quite a trigger-worthy conversation, because we just went straight down that path of, ‘Well, you know, you don’t understand what I do.’ ‘Yeah, no wonder you’re knackered by the end of the day. That’s my life.’
Nick: Can I have a right of reply, or just a chance to-,
Lisa: Yes, go forth.
Nick: I think the word was, I was abandoned, first of all.
Lisa: Hmm, get out of town. Abandoned!
Nick: I’ve had abandonment issues, all through childhood.
Lisa: Stop it!
Nick: There you go, just up and away, to the USA, knowing my issues.
Lisa: Oh God, he’s so dramatic. Like, you think I’m dramatic. But yes, it ended up pretty gross. So, it made us think, ‘What’s actually really going on here? Why, to have a conversation about the roles within our house, did people get their backs up?’ And it was actually Nick that came back from having a bit of time out, and said, what did you say?
Nick: Yes, I certainly had a tantrum, because, yes, you were trying to make me say, ‘Holy shit, it’s a hard slog.’ But of course I knew that, because I’m aware of the routine. Not that I play the routine every day, I pop in and out of the routine during the week, but not wholly in it. I could, sort of, sense that you wanted me to come to the party and go, ‘Lisa, I don’t know how you do it.’ Right?
Lisa: Yes, I wanted that, very, very, very much.
Nick: So, I kind of said that, but then there was a conversation behind the conversation, and that’s where the fight got out of hand. So, when I came back from my tantrum, I realised that the conversation behind the conversation was probably more about our roles, currently, and the way recognition plays out in our relationship.
Lisa: Yes, so, you know, Nick has this ability to see beyond the issue at hand, whereas I’m totally emotionally caught up in that. When he said, ‘You know, it’s about recognition,’ I thought, ‘Yes. That’s exactly what it’s about.’ Because we can go into the ins and outs, and the tit for tats of, you know, ‘You don’t understand this,’ or, ‘You never have to put up with this,’ or, ‘You never see that this is what I do. You don’t understand.’ We could go down that rabbit hole, but at the end of the day, all that it comes down to is this idea that we’re not recognised for the work that we’re doing within our home, and our life, and really, what it takes to keep this ship afloat.
Nick: Yes, and I don’t agree that we’re not recognised. I think, you know, any good relationship does have recognition, but the recognition can get lost in the routine, and the kids around your neck, etc., etc.
Lisa: And you know when I’m feeling unrecognised. Like, it’s obvious, because I do things.
Nick: Yes, that’s right. And I know that I’ve completely missed the mark, or it’s gotten way out of hand, when you will say things sarcastically, like, ‘Thanks Lisa for cooking another amazing meal.’ And then, what that does, in my mind, is it sets off a chain of negative events in my head, because it’s gotten to that point where you’ve had to say it. And I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve stuffed up again. I’m a bad husband.’ So then, I have this feeling of guilt, and, sort of, this negative energy starts to flow. But then I get resentful, because I’m like, ‘Well, two thirds of the day, hang on a sec, I was out working for the man, and I don’t get any recognition.’
Lisa: It’s a rabbit warren.
Nick: Yes. So, it’s easily, easily done to crawl down that rabbit hole, and it’s a dark place.
Lisa: When we were thinking about this, and, sort of, talking about this whole idea of recognition, I realised that it’s really in the moments when I’m in full overwhelm. Like, I am not in a good place myself. So, I might be really stressed, with some deadlines. Maybe a kid has been sick, maybe I’m unwell. Or, something’s kind of tipped the balance, and I don’t have the balance. So, all the effort that I’m going to, to just get through each day, suddenly becomes harder in those moments. Then, I want someone to tell me I’m amazing, and I’m a warrior, and I’m doing these great things. That’s when I’m like, ‘You know, thanks Lisa for getting the kids bathed before I came home.’
And it’s so petty, but I’m trying to reach out, and force something that, number one, I should kind of know, within myself. And I think a lot of it does come down to that poor self-worth, sometimes. I just need to be able to recognise in myself that I’m doing a good job, and also think that if I’m getting to that place, it’s up to me to talk, without anger or pointing any arrows, about what it is that I do need, if I am starting to feel resentful and not being recognised. Well, in a lot of ways, it’s my responsibility to air that, and either change things for myself to take a load off, or communicate better with Nick about what it is that I need, instead of just throwing around sarcastic comments.
Nick: Yes, I think that’s a good point. I’d like to add, as well, that you deserve recognition. So, you know, when we’re skating on thin ice because a kid is sick, or you’re feeling unwell, recognition is deserved. It is. And I deserve recognition as well.
Lisa: You’re amazing.
Nick: But it’s not just like Valentine’s Day, where once a year, you know, roses appear at the front door. Recognition has to be more than if a kid gets sick, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. I remember reading this really cool quote that, for me, really hit the nail on the head, is that when you are alive there is an expectation that you matter. ‘When you’re alive, there’s an expectation that you matter.’ And I think that goes right to the heart of recognition, because it’s human nature to want to feel validated. So, you’re not wrong to want to feel that, and you shouldn’t have to wait until a kid gets sick to go, ‘Hey, you know, I’m here, and validate me.’ And I do agree with you that if you’re not feeling validated, you need to be mature enough not to shoot arrows, and actually tell me, you know, in a respectful manner.
Lisa: And same goes.
Nick: Yes, absolutely.
Lisa: I love that, ‘When you are alive, the expectation is that you matter.’ And it’s freaking true, everyone does matter. And I guess that external validation, or that external recognition, helps that along.
Nick: Yes, that’s right. You know, if we want to get deep and meaningful, we are social creatures, and we don’t live in isolation. We need other people to validate us, because that’s what makes life worth living. I remember also reading a blog by this guy called Mark Manson, I think his name is. He wrote this really cool book, and it’s just come out, maybe a year ago, called ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving an F.’
Lisa: You can say ‘fuck,’ it’s our podcast.
Nick: Oh, okay. Yes, ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.’ And, you know, it’s a grabbing title.
Lisa: I bought it for you for Christmas.
Nick: Yes, thank you. I loved it. Anyway, so, he has a lot of readers of his blog, and he reached out to his readers and said, ‘Hey, what’s the secret to a successful marriage?’ And he got an overwhelming response, and he could divide the responses up between people that had marriages that had failed, and had marriages that are still very successful. What he noticed was, the people that had marriages that had failed, they said the secret to a successful marriage is communication, because our marriages had a lack of communication. So, they thought communication was key. Yet, the people who currently have long-lasting marriages that are still very successful, they said, ‘No, communication’s bullshit. It’s all about respect. You have to respect one another enough to understand that you’re going to get communication wrong, you’re going to get a lot of other shit wrong, but as long as you respect each other enough, you can let that stuff be water under the bridge.’ And I think recognition and respect, and validity, they’re all, kind of, the different sides of the same coin, in some respects. You know, you put all that together, and I think that really works for a strong, and robust, kind of relationship.
Lisa: Yes. There are so many different moving parts to a relationship, and I think what we’re working out is that it’s actually kind of easy to keep the love there, if that’s what you’re committed to doing. It can be as small a thing as saying, ‘Thank you. I appreciate that.’ That goes so far for me, like, a ridiculous way. And I think that for us, when we were talking before about, ‘Well, how could we do this better?’ When we get into that zone of feeling like what we’re doing is going unrecognised. Well, we could just commit to just putting a little love bomb out each day. You know, just letting that other person know, in a really simple way, that you’re there. ‘I see you, I appreciate you. You’re doing great.’ Whatever form that takes, and you know, considering that we spoke about love languages in the last podcast, that’s a great place to start. I hope everyone went and downloaded that off book depository, or hired it from your local library, or at least Googled it, and got a sense of that a little bit more. You know, that’s an easy way to just make sure.
You know, I love that quote that you just said, and that it’s not wrong for us to want to feel recognised, and sometimes even rewarded. Like, I need to get better at patting myself on the back for what it is that I achieve, on a day-to-day basis. Just, you know, keeping those three little kids ticking along, getting to where we need to go. It is actually an achievement, and you said you were buggered by the end of the days, just because it was stretching your brain in different ways, and it’s what I do, as a mother. But it still is quite an achievement for, you know, all of the mothers listening now. We juggle a lot, and I will recognise you, and tell you that you’re doing a great job.
Nick: Is this the part where I go, ‘I recognise you too’? Or not?
Lisa: Recognise you, love you, adore you. Anything, anything in that, kind of, vein works.
Nick: Thanks, Lees. Is that good enough?
Lisa: Yes, that’s good enough.
Nick: That’s a shortcut.
Lisa: Yes, that’s totally a shortcut. So I guess we just wanted to share, in this podcast. It’s not a super-long podcast today, but just what happened for us when we were going down that rabbit hole. And if you feel unrecognised, a few ideas of what you could do to have a conversation. A reasonable, and rational, conversation, they’re usually the best, because no-one likes feeling attacked. And you know what? This is probably an episode that partners would have to listen to.
Nick: Yes, I mean, if you’re a fly on the wall, and heard of the argument before this podcast came to fruition. Holy moly.
Lisa: You would not think we had it together.
Nick: No. But, it’s all a fun and adventurous time.
Lisa: Well, this is what I think. This is what I think, now, is that when those moments blow up, there is a big, huge lesson. Or there’s something big, fat, and hairy that we’re not dealing with, that needs to be dealt with. I want to, kind of, fall faster, and harder, and then get back on our feet. Instead of just letting stuff simmer away, have our moment, and then reflect on it a little, and then come back stronger, having faced whatever it is. You know, there’s no point sweeping stuff under the carpet all the time. That’s when the bad stuff starts to happen. Yes, so we just thought that it might be valuable to share.
Nick: I guess that’s another good lesson there. Fail fast, fail quickly. You know, so you can pick yourself up and move on.
Lisa: Yes. If we’re going to do this, if we’re going to have this conversation, let’s just really have it, and let’s get somewhere at the end of the conversation. Because repeating patterns of negative behaviour aren’t particularly healthy.
Nick: Oh well they’re not. They’re not going to get you where you need to go.
Lisa: Oh yes. I think we’ve got a podcast episode coming up on something to do with that.
Nick: Yes, okay. Well, we’ll wrap it up now, and thank you very much for listening. It’s almost been twenty minutes, Lisa. Jeez, you can bang on.
Lisa: What? You bang on. Far out, shut up. Hope you’re enjoyed it guys. Please feel free to leave us a review on iTunes, or pop a comment below this if you’re listening to it on the blog. I would love to see some of you in the next round of Small Steps to Wholefoods, kicking off very soon. Head to smallstepsliving.com to find out more details. See you soon, guys.
Nick: Okay, bye now. Ciao.