If you want to help your loved ones, first consider their strengths. Design your help around their strengths.
I used to like car seats. Tolerate them, at least. They were a hassle, that’s true, but they also made the kids’ sleep better, the slept for longer, and the made our car trips a lot easier. And of course, it’s nice to know that they are securely fastened in case something happens.
That was then. That was when they were two.
Now, however, they are three.
I have spent half the day vacuuming the car (first time in months), making it ready for going to Norway — and fixing the car seats.
Ever since the baby arrived, we have been struggling with tha car seats. Iso-fix on two of them would be ideal, but it’s impossible. Iso-fix on just the baby, then? Yes, it works, sort of – except that the oldest son’s seat leans to the left, and it’s a huge pain in the arse to fasten their seat belts.
There has been swearing. There has been tears (but silently, so the kids wouldn’t notice).
Today, we tried again. We spent half an hour, an hour, and it ended up slightly better than it was. The baby seat wasn’t in iso-fix, and so the oldest’s seat didn’t lean quite as much — and it seemed to be slightly easier to fasten their seat belts.
That’ll do, I said.
No, my wife said.
But it’s OK, I said.
Yes, but I’m not happy, there must be better ways, my wife said.
We tried some more, and then I went inside to call Finnmark and write some words about swearing. My wife stayed at it.
And what do you know — one hour later she comes back beaming. It’s good, she said. I did it.
And what do you know, she did. The car seats don’t lean and there is ample space to fasten the seats belts. And the middle son can stay in the middle in the car as well (otherwise, we would have had hell for weeks: YOU PROMISED I COULD SIT IN THE MIDDLE!).
That is one my wife’s strengths: she never gives up. She always finds a way. She is not satisfied with “good enough”.
How I can design my help around that, I don’t know, but perhaps the idea is to make her strengths shine. As in, make her use her strengths.
The only way I know how to make her even better at finding solutions is to make me worse at it. The more I throw my hands up in the air and give up, the more she can stay the course and surprise me with an ingenious solution.
So there we have it. To make my wife even better at not giving up, to create a contrast, I have to give up even quicker. It will be a challenge, but I think I can do it.
Of course I can. I’ll do anything for my wife.