Baggage Check: Back to work; food fight
Q: I’ve been home with our twins since their birth, and they’re about to start kindergarten. My husband is pressuring me to go back to work full time, and I’m not ready. I need time to figure out if I want to return to the same field, and I don’t want to have too many transitions in our household at once. But I might feel like I’m slacking if I’m home while they’re at school.
A: Has he explained why he’s so antsy for you to go back to professional work? Is there a financial, logistical or other reason why it must happen so soon? He may need to know more about how important it is for you to do this transition mindfully, and you may need to know more about why he’s so averse to your remaining at home for a while.
You’ve got to find a way to quantify each of your stances and work toward a compromise. So he wants you in an office on Day One, you’re imagining Day 365, and then you go from there. Or he imagines you’ll work full time, you’re thinking quarter time, and you go from there. Once you agree, quantify how you’ll handle the job search, whether it’s in résumés sent or time spent on LinkedIn versus Pinterest.
Q: My girlfriend is constantly going on all these fad diets. She is not overweight but is always doing some cleanse or going gluten-free or trying veganism or whatever. It is really tiresome. And it limits where we can eat out, which is something I enjoy doing. Is it fair for me to expect her to chill out and eat at Five Guys every once in a while?
A: I don’t know. How often have you chilled out at vegan restaurants with her?
I think you’ve got to be honest with yourself about your motivations here. Are you just missing your ground beef, or are you put off by what you secretly consider to be frivolous or flighty behavior? Either perspective is understandable, but the latter might have serious implications for your compatibility, whereas the former might be a more realistic fix. If this is absolutely, truly, solely about food – no small thing, of course – then it looks like separate-takeout-consumed-together will be the Rule of the Day, or perhaps a hot, steamy affair with mall food courts.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t suggest trying out new recipes together.
(Andrea Bonior, a Washington-area clinical psychologist, is author of “The Friendship Fix.” For more information, visit drandreabonior.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @drandreabonior.)