Jan 162014
 

a caring question pin

When I was a mama of three very tiny, very messy, very beautiful rug rats, we had DAYS THAT WENT ON FOR LIFETIMES. Craig left at 6:00 am every morning and as I watched his showered, ironed self leave the house I felt incredibly blessed and thrilled to have so much time alone with my babies and incredibly terrified and bitter to have so much time alone with my babies. If you don’t believe that all of those feelings can exist at once- well, you’ve never been a parent to many tiny, messy, beautiful rug rats.

When Craig returned each day at 6:00 pm (he actually returned at 5:50 but took a STUNNINGLY LONG TIME TO GET THE MAIL) he’d walk through the door, smile, and say– “So! How was your day?”

This question was like a spotlight pointed directly at the  chasm between his experience of a “DAY” and my experience of a “DAY.”  How was my day?

The question would linger in the air for a moment while I stared at Craig and the baby shoved her hand in my mouth like they do –  while the oldest screamed MOMMY I NEED HELP POOING from the bathroom and the middle one cried in the corner because I NEVER EVER EVER let her drink the dishwasher detergent. NOT EVER EVEN ONCE, MOMMY!!! And I’d look down at my spaghetti stained pajama top, unwashed hair, and gorgeous baby on my hip – and my eyes would wander around the room, pausing to notice the toys peppering the floor and the kids’ stunning new art on the fridge . . .

And I’d want to say:

How was my day? Today has been a lifetime. It was the best of times and the worst of times. There were moments when my heart was so full I thought I might explode, and there were other moments when my senses were under such intense assault that I was CERTAIN I’d explode. I was both lonely and absolutely desperate to be alone. I was saturated- just BOMBARDED with touch and then the second I put down this baby I yearned to smell her sweet skin again. I was simultaneously bored out of my skull and completely overwhelmed with so much to do. Today was too much and not enough. It was loud and silent. It was brutal and beautiful. I was at my very best today and then, just a moment later, at my very worst. At 3:30 today I decided that we should adopt four more children, and then at 3:35 I decided that we should give up the kids we already have for adoption. Husband – when your day is completely and totally dependent upon the moods and needs and schedules of tiny, messy, beautiful rug rats your day is ALL OF THE THINGS and NONE OF THE THINGS, sometimes within the same three minute period. But I’m not complaining. This is not a complaint, so don’t try to FIX IT. I wouldn’t have my day Any.Other.Way. I’m just saying- it’s a hell of a hard thing to explain- an entire day with lots of babies.

But I’d be too tired to say all of that. So I’d just cry, or yell, or smile and say “fine,” and then hand the baby over and run to Target to wander aisles aimlessly, because that’s all I ever really wanted. But I’d be a little sad because love is about really being seen and known and I wasn’t being seen or known then. Everything was really hard to explain. It made me lonely.

So we went went to therapy, like we do.

Through therapy, we learned to ask each other better questions. We learned that if we really want to know our people, if we really care to know them – we need to ask them better questions and then really listen to their answers. We need to ask questions that carry along with them this message: “I’m not just checking the box here. I really care what you have to say and how you feel. I really want to know you.” If we don’t want throw away answers, we can’t ask throw away questions. A caring question is a key that will unlock a room inside the person you love.

So Craig and I don’t ask “how was your day?” anymore.  After a few years of practicing increasingly intimate question asking, now we find ourselves asking each other questions like these:

When did you feel loved today?

When did you feel lonely?

What did I do today that made you feel appreciated?

What did I say that made you feel unnoticed?

What can I do to help you right now?

I know. WEEEEEIRRD at first. But not after a while. Not any weirder than asking the same damn empty questions you’ve always asked that illicit the same damn empty answers you’ve always gotten.

And so now when our kids get home from school, we don’t  say: “How was your day?” Because they don’t know. Their day was lots of things.

Instead we ask:

How did you feel during your spelling test?

What did you say to the new girl when you all went out to recess?

Did you feel lonely at all today?

Where there any times you felt proud of yourself today?

 And I never ask my friends:  How are you? Because they don’t know either.

Instead I ask:

How is your mom’s chemo going?

How’d that conference with Ben’s teacher turn out?

What’s going really well with work right now?

Questions are like gifts – it’s the thought behind them that the receiver really FEELS. We have to know the receiver to give the right gift and to ask the right question. Generic gifts and questions are all right, but personal gifts and questions feel better. Love is specific, I think. It’s an art. The more attention and time you give to your questions, the more beautiful the answers become.

Life is a conversation. Make it a good one.

 



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  213 Responses to “Save your Relationships: Ask the Right Questions”

  1. Thank you so much Glennon for this beautifully written article. Thank you also to your readers for their comments. The first one brought tears to my eyes! Staying connected is such a struggle, even in good marriages. I love the questions you are asking as well as your honest description of a day in your life. I smiled with that peaceful feeling that comes when you know someone else in this world completely gets you. I forwarded your article to my husband and will share it also. Keep up the great work!
    Sara

  2. Thank you for this article! This is so good on so many levels. 1) Glennon, I love how you describe how the day was at once both beautiful and brutal. Everything in the italics is so spot on! Sometimes it means so much to have someone else describe and connect with your own experience – for example, the complete saturation of all of your senses is one part of many of the situations described that connected with me. 2) What a great discussion of how the general questions we ask each other are so flawed because of how difficult they are to answer. The examples that follow providing more specific, intimate questions to ask are very helpful. 3) Also, I appreciate how you extend the discussion to our children (and friends). Yes, we should stop asking our children “How was your day?”. You are so right on when you reminds us that’s “Because they don’t know. Their day was a lot of things.” 4) I am so glad that you underlined how therapy can be a helpful tool for marriage and other areas of life… and thank you again for sharing these tools with us too. Although your ending was wonderful, I have to say my favorite quote was: “A caring question is a key that will unlock a room inside the person you love.”

  3. Amazing description of motherhood. As a father of 3 – now grown – I was the one who made the money. If I had known more communication skills at the time, maybe things would have been easier all the way around. The problem is that a guy 22 years old thrust into the fatherhood/responsibility for others role typically has very little skill in communicating and is soon pummeled into an ‘adult’ role he is not prepared for. If his parents never taught him about those valuable communication skills, who and where does he learn them? Thus, the divorces and unhappy marriages that drag on for the sake of the kids, etc.

    • Wow, Jim. You summed up the root of my problems. I am to the breaking point of telling my 33 year old husband that maybe he would be happier as a single man. We have been married 11 years. This is not what I want. There are many factors influencing my feelings, and both of us are at fault- neither of us know how to communicate with each other. I go to counseling and he refuses because he thinks we are fine. So, that is where we are. He is not a villain and I don’t want people to think I am bashing him, so I won’t go into further detail. I simply saw your comment and the similarities to my current situation. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi. I am a single mom (maybe relevant, maybe not). I love, love, love your blog and am inspired by it daily. I empathize with the sentiment in this post and all of the comments. I get that motherhood is tough in all kinds of circumstances. I get that there is power in conversation and questions and sharing the events of your day. I long for these conversations. My 7 year old daughter is my family She’s who I see at the start and end of my days. By default, I long for my conversations with her to be real and genuine and insightful…that’s probably too much pressure. We seem to be in a rut. I have friends and family who ask me about my day. Typically, they are sitting on go with a pre-determined quote about overcoming single parenthood or perseverance or loneliness. I long for someone to hear me and understand my daily struggles with motherhood, my career, and my…self. I’d add relationships to the list, but those have become…well, no more. I am not looking for pity or praise for doing it alone or anything of the such. But, I relate to essence of this post, at least as I interpret it. While my conflict doesn’t often get the chance to appear during a childless hour perusing Target, it exists in the instances I do find myself alone. Is it ok to enjoy myself? Am I missing out on a milestone or even a moment? Spending the majority of my days/weeks away from my child, the guilt I feel when I do anything outside her company is insurmountable. Shouldn’t I at least be washing her clothes or redecorating her room or cooking her favorite meal??? If she has to be away from me, I must have something to justify it when she returns! Just as I justify the time I put into my job…both day and night. It makes it OK. Its for her, after all.

    I think a lot of my guilt stems from the build up from my inability to truly answer (much like the sentiment you shared in the beginning of your post) someone when they ask about my day, My days go unprocessed. The people that ask about my day, are not fetching nor prepared for an actual account of my time. Here’s what they would here if they literally wanted to know about my day: I woke up with less than 20 minutes to make myself presentable, dress my child, and conjure up a balanced lunch to send with her. I crossed my fingers as I stuffed it in her backpack that there were no papers I needed to sign or permission slips due. On the way to school, I give the conversation thing my all and ask, “What are you looking forward to in your day?” I receive an exasperated “Mo-om, how would I know what we’re doing today?” I replied, “well, I hope you do something super fabulous and awesome!” I got a smile as she unbuckled and gathered her things, She sighed as we pulled to the front of the school. We missed regular carpool in the back (again) and had to rush through the line in front. I waved at the familiar parents in the same cars I see racing in alongside me most mornings. I made sure my sweet girl had her coat and her bag and I lingered in front of the school as she hurriedly turned the corner towards her classroom, waving proudly as if she saw me and knew I was cheering her on. I said a little prayer that she swooped into her seat before roll call and today wouldn’t be counted as “tardy”. I sped off to work as the car behind me honked “politely”.

    I drove off, carefully putting on makeup as traffic lights allowed. I sped into the parking deck, then slowed down to see if anyone on a reasonable level has come and gone for an early morning meeting. As usual, no such luck, so I drive up to the top of the deck, race down to the bottom floor, into the door, and down the hall to my all but glamorous cube where I log in to my work station. Once my status turns ‘green’ (meaning I’m available), its on. Not a minute passes before I’m bombarded with questions and problems and complaints and crises. Answers to the same crises that have been on my mind all night are demanded. The answers I found last night instead of solving my second grader’s bff drama or helping her understand common core math or reviewing spelling words sent home in her folder. See, I was promoted not too long ago. I saw an opportunity to move up, make more money, and provide so much more for she and I. We were finally financially stable whereas we were barely making it before. It didn’t come without sacrifice, though. Before my time was my own and that meant it was hers. If you ask her, she will tell you with pride and glee that her mom is now a manager! Now it seems to be scarce.If you ask her, she’s so proud and encourages me beyond belief. So, why do I feel so unaccomplished? At the end of the day, I pick her up and we head home. I ask about her day in the car. This is the time for that ever-important conversation. She doesn’t typically recall much and becomes frustrated with more specific questions. Instead, she asks me about my day and I tell her how I missed her so. Its almost routine, we exchange sentiments and I love you’s and squeeze eachother’s hands. We watch Disney channel or nick and I feed her something balanced and sufficient, but not home-cooked and by no means ideal. Soon enough its off to bed. I kiss her goodnight as she curls up next to me while I dive back in to the unresolved crises of my day. She tells me “its OK, mommy, I know you have work to do before we cuddle”. In a final effort, I put my laptop aside and ask her again about her favorite part of the day. She simply says, “you”, as she snuggles in tighter and then asks me again, “how was your day?” Before I can answer, she’s fast asleep. I gaze at her and remind myself that its all for her, yet I rarely feel convinced. I finish a project or two and lie down in time for the alarm to sound, drifting off briefly before another rushed morning begins.

    And, while that is a spot on account of my days, there is more. That is my day, but this is also my day…. My day was hard and worked my ass off. I blew away senior management with my presentation at my 8 AM meeting. I giggled to myself when it was over. And I sighed out of frustration because the one person I wanted to tell was sitting in a second grade classroom learning to multiply. I complained to a coworker after lunch when it hit me that my early morning success had only earned me a lead role in the next time consuming project. I made a list of the things I would shop for at Target given an hour or two. I chipped in for a coffee run and ordered my favorite latte from Starbucks. I decided my new favorite color was orange and I have some great ideas for the carnival booth after reading the email from my daughter’s room mom.I had an amazing Dragon Roll for lunch from a new sushi place that delivers. I laughed out loud when I opened my chopsticks remembering how silly we were when we used them to eat our Chinese takeout a few nights ago. And then I cried because even in happy memories, there is guilt and feelings of inadequacy.

    Truth be told, I’m not sure exactly how it would go if I were to be genuinely asked about my day. And, I’m not sure what inspired me to write this. I’m feeling a bit vulnerable, yet needing to be heard.

    • I completely feel your pain and wish I had something wonderful to say other than “Sister, you are not alone!” I did the opposite and married a man I wasn’t in love with believing the stability for my 2 kids (ages then 7 and 9) and “security” would make it all worth while. I have a master’s in counseling, although at the time I didn’t realize I had to work 3000 hrs (literally) until my license allowed me anything but volunteer or stipend pay, aka, nada. I’m trying desperately to find a job that pays more than $3k/month so I can afford rent and debate daily if it’s better to be in a loveless marriage and fake it for the sake of security or return to the life you describe above that was killing me.

      I’ve made terrible decisions during the transition from executive wife with no financial worries to single mom with a back up account. The money dwindled as I lived off it trying to get my hours. I remained bitter at the inequity of rich dad, poor mom, and trying to keep up with providing the life for them they were use to out of ego and pride. I couldn’t keep up. I got severely depressed and tried to kill myself one night in an uncharacterized drunken state. I lost my kids temporarily and have moved from 80/20 custody to 40/60 and feel not only have I lost my financial security which protected my kids and me, but my role as their mother, nurturer, care taker. I am in great mental health now, thank god, given a second chance at life, yet in choosing to end this relationship, will lose the kids again until ex. deems me responsible and stable/settled enough to return to mother role. He doesn’t realize that the kid are my world and taking them from me doesn’t motivate or help, but makes the struggle that much more difficult. I’ve spent thousands fighting in court defending my momentary lapse in judgement that seems to have cost me so much.

      I tell myself that ultimately, being a role model for my kids in handling adversity, striving forward, staying true to self and not selling out to allowing a man to be the savor, which he is not, to be worth feeling good about self and keeping focus that I am enough; that the big house and back yard, the vacations and movies out, are no replacement for the card games, the cuddles and the conversations that you describe. Yet I am so afraid. I am so afraid that I might fail, again, and cause them shame and pain. I want desperately for the “right” answer to come. I want the self esteem to trust that I can find a job that will provide for us and our basic needs – no fluff, but not monthly stress on being able to pay the bills.

      I admire you deeply, for your perseverance and hard work, your sacrifice and role modeling. You inspire me to hang in there and have faith that I am enough, all on my own, and that today is not “as good as it gets”. I remember the guilt of your above situation and hated every moment of it, but know it is the right thing to do. She will gain so much from learning how you pushed through all the struggle and all the guilt once she is older and needs to pay her own bills.

      I am simplifying and finding peace. I am being grateful for the blessings I have. I am letting go of the anger. I am accepting a bigger plan and the lessons I’ve gain about what is important. I am praying for strength.

      You are not alone, sister. You have an army of us backing you, and all like you, and bless you to find the strength to see all that you give your daughter, the important things that money can’t buy. I’ve had the money and it isn’t a replacement. It makes you complacent and ungrateful for simplicity. It makes you believe that without “stuff and fluff” you are less than others. You are the one that “has it all”. You have drive and self worth. You are strength. I wish I had half of what I hear in you, and will keep your story forefront to remind me, that real mothers do what ever it takes.

    • I don’t know you (of course), but I admire you and send you peace, strength, and solidarity. You have been heard. And you are certainly not alone. You are doing your best, and I’d say it’s pretty damn good!

  5. hi. Thank you for this great article, which so aptly captures parenthood and relationships. I really like the question approach and use it with my daughter often but forget to with my husband. I also just wanted to share two great questions my four-year old asked ME one day. She said, “Mom, what do you love?” and “What do you miss?” Blew me away so much I wrote them down and taped them to my wall as a reminder. Hope you can use them, too!

  6. When my husband came home today, he hugged me and wanted to know how my day was. With 3 littles, I can never explain to him what my day was like. All I could say was, please–I just really want to go to the bathroom by myself. The minute I go in and shut the door, “Moooooom!!! He took my blah blah blah and I said blah blah blah and now (bang bang bang on the door), etc.” I can’t explain any of it. But you pretty much covered it. Thank you for that.

  7. OMG! I feel that exact same way and I only have one child! Target is only a block away from our home, so when my husband gets home, that’s where I go too! The best part is that there is no cell phone reception in that store… no one can call me to come back home. Even if the baby is “crying because he wants his mommy.” :)

    • WOW ok, I know that as a man (and a dad) maybe I don’t understand all the things that go through my wife’s head but I suppose one thing I should feel fortunate for is that the first thing she want’s to do after a long day of watching the kids is not to high tail it out of sight (and contact) when I walk through the door. I understand the point of this article and I respect the notion that event specific questions will sometimes elicit a better response but all I really see when I read this article and more importantly most people’s comment’s here are a bunch of selfish mom’s that think that not only should everyone’s support and attention revolve around them but that when someone DOES ask a open question like “how was your day?” that it’s their fault (the dad) that you don’t have the capacity to take a second and think up a decent response. The notion that “how was your day” or “how was work” can’t be a sincere question is ludicrous. When I ask my wife that question, I am giving here a chance to share her day with me. Good details, bad details, questions, comment, concerns and suggestions. If she had a bad day…DUH she is obviously more than welcome to say more that just “bad” and so… SHE DOES! I listen and respond and ask follow up question to the things she shares.SO WEIRD how that works…If you just cowbow(or cowgirl) up and share your specific daily events or problems with your spouse they might not even have to ask a question to show you they are concerned and care. ESP is NOT a real thing so don’t blame your S.O. for lack of mind reading. if you are so insecure that you can’t even find sincerity in a question aimed directly at you and what has been going on with YOU for the past 8-10 hours then that is your shortcoming and misinterpretation. Here’s an idea! (and this is directed at all you ladies who have husband that come home with a smile and a hug and kiss ready for you and they ask a question like “how was your day?”) DONT JUST SAY FINE AND RUN OFF TO TARGET!! (that means you Janene) how the hell do you think that make’s him feel for Christ’s sake!? All I want to do when I get home from a shittty day at work, tired and soar, is to see my wife’s beautiful face and have her not only wan’t to see mine but want to stick around to share the rest of the day together…what a concept eh JANENE?! maybe you will get more affection in return if your first thought isn’t to run away from your husband and intentionally cut ties with him and your kids to “rediscover Janene” aaahhhh. NEWS FLASH you CHOSE to have kids and to be a good mom and raise them. Obviously that comes with challenges and also it was your choice to be a stay at home mom. (if it isn’t btw then find a career or job :) and if your husband doesn’t support that then that is another much more serious problem all together) part of that choice means just sucking it up and dealing with the 1,000 emotions and problems of the day and NOT showing your kids and your husband that you feel somehow trapped or confined by your lifestyle by intentionally running away immediately the first chance you get and purposefully losing comm status with the people whom you supposedly love just so you can wander the aisle and feel ooo gee golly like a real person again. I spent 2 years being the stay at home parent while my wife went to school. I didn’t whine because the the wrong question was asked when she got home or more importantly, that she didn’t magically read my mind and ask the exact question I needed to hear. I didn’t break down just because my little ones acted like (shock) little ones and stressed me out, And I sure as hell didn’t run away just because GOD FORBID I had to spend the day with the the two tiny things in my life that define me and make me the person I am. You want me to watch my OWN KIDS alone, no help for a day? or maybe 2 or 10, or for the next 18 goddamn years? BRING IT ON. If I feel tired or stressed or worn out or achey or unapriciated or used up and spit out… I suck it up and remember that it is a privelage to get to be there, every day raising my girls and watching them grow right in front of me. why the HELL would I wan’t to run away to anywhere between Target and Tahiti to find myself? You’re not going to find youself on Aisle 12 or alone anywhere else, you’re going to find yourself next to your kids and the person you are supposed to want to spend that day and the rest of your life with. When my wife would get home (when I was the one watching my girls) and she would smile at me and give me a kiss I knew she was there for me and loved me. no question asked and no questions needed.

      • Trey-

        It is important to recognize that just because your situation does not match what people are talking about here–it doesn’t make what they are saying any less valid. You are oversimplifying things and I would as you to think about why. Not everybody is a stay at home mom because they chose it, and even when we choose things it doesn’t me that our complicated feelings about our choice aren’t deserving of empathy.

        Something brought you to read this article. Why not focus on that instead of making assumptions?

        We live with a lot of myths about what parenting is supposed to look and feel like in this country. And people are often silenced when they try to talk about what is challenging.

        Why would you share comments that only add to the person’s sense of isolation and overwhelmed ness? What value did your comments add here?

        What kindness did you share?

  8. These are my exact thoughts typed out. Thank you for being able to express these feelings so mamas out there (me) don’t feel so messed up for not loving every minute. New stay at home mama to 3 kids age 7, 5, 1

  9. Great post. Yes, marriage is like any relationship that feeds on attention, usually in the form of questions and interest. Too many times we switch to auto-pilot, thinking the relationship can fly itself. Then we wonder why things get bumpy.

  10. I would love it if anyone in my family would even ask me how my day was. Even a vague, throwaway question would be better than feeling like the human equivalent of a vacuum cleaner — never appreciated until its job goes undone. My husband is a good man who works hard to support our family, but he hasn’t really “seen” me for years. My kids are typical kids who don’t yet think of Mommy as an actual person with actual feelings.

    • As I read through the responses, Kate, I found myself despondent because if simply asking these questions is enough to revive intimacy and connection in a marriage then those marriages are much better off than mine. I feel like this post is for women whose husbands still actually care to ask “How was your day?” Instead of walking through the door–late–and dumping shoes and bags on the floor on the way to the table for a home cooked meal that generates nothing but complaints until he leaves the table and all the mess plus multiple kids and bedtime duties to be handled alone while he lays on the couch and watches youtube videos. The marriage that Glennon describes is a lifetime from mine, maybe someplace we were 10 years ago but nothing that bears resemblance to who we are now. I am not interested in asking the questions because I am not investing one more moment of my life on someone who brings nothing to the table, and Lord knows hasn’t seen me or even tried in years. I feel like I am living with an inconsiderate roommate, and once my kids are old enough be semi-independent he will be single. While I have no doubt that Glennons post resonates with many, there is another set of us in the shadows whose marriages died many years ago, and we, swept up in the brisk current of life, could not stay there to mourn it. You are not alone Kate. And the fact that you don’t feel valued has no bearing on the fact that you are valuable. Best wishes, Kate, from a stranger in Oregon.

      • I too am a shadow dweller, who’s huband is in the same selfish club as yours. Thank you for making my reality feel not so lonely. Wish you all the best.

        • I think our club is bigger than we think, but the sadness and shame that lives with us in the shadows makes it humiliating and wearying to rise up. You are not alone. And I have no doubt that one day we will be in the light. (<3)

          • I’m with you also. If only this might breathe a hint of true intimacy. I love the way it sounds and i can completely relate to the day, even with older kiddos 13, 11, 6 and 5.

  11. What a bunch of want! !!!

  12. Really helpful :-)

  13. You hit this spot on. “Questions are like gifts – it’s the thought behind them that the receiver really FEELS. We have to know the receiver to give the right gift and to ask the right question”

  14. I have a problem. My boy friend got engage without telling me. Just two weeks before his engagement we had a small fight over some thing but otherwise he loved me a lot. I still don’t know the reason why he did. I can’t forget him, please help

    • Hi,
      I think it REALLY really isn’t fair that your boyfriend did this, but I also think it’s important that you be true to yourself by facing certain things about your situation.

      1. If your boyfriend got engaged that soon after “really loving you”, then he is either a straight up sociopath (incapable of real emotion) or he was lying to you about his feelings. This behavior isn’t fair to you or to his new fiancé for that matter. It’s very likely that she wasn’t aware of you either.

      2. I don’t think your focus should be the fact that he got engaged without telling you , but that A: he got engaged at all, which means that B: it stands to reason that he was never yours to begin with.

      But do you know what this means? He didn’t deserve for you to be his either. You are far better off without a person who would be ok toying with the lives of multiple partners at once. Forgetting someone that hurt you that much is incredibly difficult because the level of betrayal, hurt, and shock that comes with it is hard to just put away. Don’t expect to have to get over it – but you do owe it to yourself to do your very best to move on.

      Tell yourself that he and she likely are not capable of being truly happy if their relationship is built on lies and the crushed happiness of others. Not because you want him back, but because you are better off not being involved with this person. He can and will do the same to her – and if you did manager to “get him back” he could and would do it to you too.

      It’s easy to sink into thinking “but I loved him so much!” when someone is telling you all these things. It is a natural knee-jerk reaction to being hurt. Facing reality takes time and sucks so very much. Give yourself time, and allow yourself to be sad, but don’t allow yourself to forget that he hurt you without caring. He likely didn’t hurt you intentionally so much as without giving it a second thought – which should tell you how highly he think of himself and you too.

      You may not feel like it now, but:
      – You got away easy (no kids, no house to figure out how to sell or be stuck with, no extra 5 years later just to be abandoned later)

      – You deserve sooo much better. You, my dear, deserve someone who respects and cherishes you for you and wouldn’t consider that type of behavior towards you or any other being with a pulse.

      Good luck – and be brave. You’re worth giving yourself a break on this one. You’re worth love and respect and time. Your top priority should be to start by being the first in line to give yourself these things: Love, Respect, Time, and attention. You be there for you. You take care of you and trust that the universe will unravel in whatever way makes sense. You do and always will have the most control over your own fate. Don’t let Sir Douche McGee take up more of your head-space than he deserves (which for the record, is zero head space).

      I personally send you love and hugs. Take care,

  15. Hi, I have a problem that you’ve probably seen a million times before. I was dating this girl for 10 months. I loved her and I think she felt the same way. Well in March, she wanted to break up, saying she wanted to be “friends”. In classic fashion, I freak out, it turns into a mud-slinging show on both sides. Both of us get angry. For the next week, I’m calling and texting trying to convince her that I want to get back together and that I love her. She says, “I broke up with you for a reason.”- Mainly that I was too messy among other things.

    The Monday after she ended it (6 days), I found out I didn’t get the job I thought I was going to get for about a year. I go into double-freak out mode, call her, we talked and it was cool. Two days later, I’m telling her my options, that I need her advice. She tells me we’re not together anymore. I don’t have to do anything!”- adding insult to injury.

    I told her “I love you very much. Thanks for being a friend. Goodbye.” That was on March 19. I haven’t called, texted, emailed her since then. It’s been 29 days.

    My job situation is taken care of at this point and I’ve fixed the problems that were bothering her, but she has no idea ofcourse. Cleaned up my car/apartment I even have a dog now, who she’s never met. I still love my ex and I’d like to at least have a shot at getting back with her. I regret how things turned out But I also don’t know about contacting her since I think really the ball is in her court. On top of it, one of my best friends works with her. About 1.5 weeks into the breakup, he asked her if she had talked to me at all about our situation or my job. He said that she appeared annoyed and said “nothing really, we haven’t talked at all. Advice at this point?

    • Probably let her be. If she’s ready, she’ll come around. Maybe she’s
      There for to help you become a better person. Once she realized what she lost, she’ll know. In the meantime, keep workout f on yourself. Something better will come along. Love & respect yourself.

  16. Thanks for this post. I had never really thought about the detail in the questions that make all the difference. Especially with the kids. I am no longer going to ask them just…how was your day? Awesome advice!

  17. Thank you for sharing this post.
    While I’m not a wife (yet) or a Mother, I think it is so valuable to learn how to ask meaningful questions early on in relationships! Communication is such a valuable tool if it is practiced well. This is great advice!

  18. Thank you for sharing your motherhood with us. My babies are all grown up now and having babies of their own, but when I had 5 under 3.5years I would not have been able to put into words my day, but you have coined it exactly how it was. I have a lump in my throat as I anticipate an 11pm Skype chat with my youngest who wants to share the Thai sunrise with me – surely my parenting was okay. Into my second marriage now and I will learn questioning in the evenings as you suggest. Bless you and your little ones. xx

  19. What a very excellent post. Thank you for sharing something so true.

  20. WOW, this was great to read this morning. I usually struggle with longer posts, but I hung on every word here. Thank you.

  21. This is really awesome, thanks for posting!

  22. that was simply amazing that was put the best that I could have ever thought of describing our day I am going to read this to my husband I am truly inspired thank you thank you thank you

  23. Wonderful article, thank you!

    When my children were young, we used to ask these questions at the dinner table: what was the best thing that happened to you today? Was the worst thing to happen to you today?

    It was important that we adults answered these questions honestly too, at a level they could understand.

    It made for much more interesting conversation, and honest responses than the generic “how was your day.”

  24. Wow I have a 4 year old, a two year old and my smallest rug rat is just 8 months old (but the biggest handful ever, though I wouldn’t have her any other way) and you have just put into words exactly how I feel about my days at the moment! You’ve put it so eloquently in a way my sleep deprived mind is just not capable of at the moment! How all those emotions can co-exist at the same time!

    My husband and I are very guilty of the standard questions and answers. And I worry life gets so busy with some many little ones that sometimes we get busy getting through things to stop and enjoy them. Will Definately try and ask better question from now on. Great advice. Thank you

  25. Growing up when my dad came home from work every day he’d ask my mom “what can I do to help you right now?” I think its great advice. I love the question prompts you gave. I’ll be putting some into practice today =)

  26. Wow! I think that’s it, just wow! And thank you, of course.

  27. You absolutely made me cry while Reading this blog.
    I am going to let my huisbrand read it as well. This is just
    the thing we need :-).
    THANK YOU for sharing this valuable information.
    I will pay it forward among other parents too ;-(
    Regards
    Renata
    MamaLiefs
    Holland

  28. Thank you for this thoughtful post and gentle reminder to relate to our loved ones individually and not generically.

  29. Anyone have suggestions of what questions to ask?

    I see my SO almost everyday but I feel we don’t know a lot about each other. This is a fairly new relationship and I want to start it out correctly. My past relationships have failed because of lack of communication or lack of the right communication.

    I guess I’m asking for specific questions to try. We don’t have kids and we both work.

    Thanks :)

    • Just ask questions about work. What was a funny thing that happened today? What stressed you out at work today?
      The more you know about his job and he yours, the better your questions will get.

      • Thanks :)
        I appreciate the suggestions! Like I said I want to start this relationship out on the right foot. He’s a pretty awesome guy.

  30. This is great for working moms too. (Kuddos and respect for moms who get to or have to stay home). Also like the idea of using these types of questions for my kids. And I love what Jennifer Weedon (@Slummy_Mummy) says:
    ” I would add that when my husband came home and asked “How was your day?” at that point, I would want to say, “It’s only half of my day. I still have to do dinner, baths, bedtime, and night feedings!!!” ”

    …Goes for working moms too. The “day” never really ends. ;-)

  31. As a (semi) work-from-home dad with two kids in homeschool, I found myself shaking my head in wonder at just how perfectly you nailed this. This parenting thing aint easy, especially when you begin to feel like you’re doing it yourself most of the time. And it’s so, so easy in the headlong rush of jobs, and school, and kids and everything else (like the 6 loads of clothes to wash, dry and fold; the breakfasts, lunches and dinners to prepare; the 14 combined lessons for the kids; and THEN the work I was supposed to do 5 hours ago) to shut our other halves out with the rest of the life stuff we’re trying to chug through and stay afloat. But these questions, and I’ll admit that they feel a little weird right now, seem to be a true key to rediscovering that person you share all of this with, and not just that person, but yourself as well. I say kudos to you! Kudos and take a trip to Target for me. Hahaha

  32. Great questions. My brother and I laughed and teased my mom for YEARS for always asking us, “What was the best thing about X? The worst?” and now I find myself doing the same with my 3.5 yo during our bedtime chats. These are great additions — I love the “When did you feel X today?” ones.

    Also, you totally describe a day at home with kids. Now I work from home, so mine are only home with me 2 days a week, and there’s a whole other layer of emotion there — freedom and intellectual purpose, the feeling of ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD, coupled with wandering around the house and staring blankly out the window, checking the baby monitor, and then the feeling of OMG I’M OUT OF TIME, what have I DONE all day? Obviously, I’m still getting used to figuring out my schedule without my two little anchors.

  33. I absolutely love this post. It’s in being intentional that life change really happens. I’ve got to ask better questions, and use this to deepen my relationships. Brilliant. Great job. Thank you for sharing, and you nailed the feelings of being home all day with little ones. It’s remarkable and unremarkable and completely unexplainable!

  34. I tried asking some of the questions today, and ended up talking and listening and laughing for hours. Thank you for helping me improve a relationship.

  35. These questions are a great homework assignment for my book, The Piwer of the Zip. There is valuable synergy between your work and mine.

  36. I really liked that a friend shared this on Facebook.

    Asking the right questions is great. When I come home to my domestic diva I always want to make sure things are still fresh and interesting for her.

    We both want to feel loved and appreciated after-all and she is an equal in creating our happiness, lifestyle and home.

    The concept of asking better questions adds a new dimension to that coming home experience – and of course pretty much anytime and anywhere we are together.

  37. This is truly one of the best blog posts of all time! Such a good description of a mom’s day, too. I would add that when my husband came home and asked “How was your day?” at that point, I would want to say, “It’s only half of my day. I still have to do dinner, baths, bedtime, and night feedings!!!”

  38. I have actually been working on asking better questions myself. I really appreciate knowing that I am not the only other mom out there that feels all of that and learns as they go while trying to improve which is always easier said than done.
    To one of the above comments. …I personally never planned on beings a stay at home mom, not because I didn’t want to see my girls grow up, but because I want sure I could do it right. As moms we always find ourselves questioning how we are really doing and secretly wondering if we are screwing it all up at the same time. But, I knew that I was the best person for the job to give my girls the care they deserved. Both had major stomach issues and I had to give up dairy fir my youngest while breastfeeding. All of that wasn’t in my prefect cookie cute box dream of having a family. We have to re figure things out and keep moving forward to the best of our own abilities. A normal job is way easier than a stay at home mother’s job, because it never ends. It is 24/7 and even if a break is obtained you worry like crazy that something could go wrong.
    With that being said hopefully you can take some you time as well so you can handle all that craziness that can happen throughout the day, because if we can not take care of ourselves we can not take care of others.
    Best of luck to all of you on your journeys!

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