angry middle-aged couple arguing


At the age of 59, my husband Kevin decided to stop dreaming of photography and start a part-time business. I would help him out by being an assistant on photo shoots.

I’m not proud to admit this, but I have a take-charge personality. I like to be the lead horse. So suddenly being my husband’s assistant was hard. I helped at a few shoots and I didn’t like it at all. I was actually becoming angry. I finally sat down to ask myself what was going on. Eventually, I found the answer: I need to be nicer and less perfectionistic, to both Kevin and myself.

I have gone through a lot of adjusting in the past two years. We moved 850 miles from our family and friends,  and I was just getting used to that change when Kevin decided to join a gym and work from home more often. It isn’t that I am jealous, for I am proud of all that he’s accomplishing. He lost 33 pounds at the gym!) But his being in “my office” was frustrating, because I thought it was taking away from the passion I have to write. I was feeling guilty for thinking that way. After all, “my office” is his home and he has a right to be here!

After thinking things over for a while, I began to see that our real business is our life together. I began to stop screaming my frustrations at Kevin and instead explain my feelings and listen to his.

husband vacuuming while wife is on sofa

What I learned during our chat was I that I had created a block in my head that said women who work from home need to have the cleanest house, with hot meals planned and the closets neat and tidy.  I got stressed because I felt I wasn’t doing these things – or getting my writing done. In the meantime, Kevin would stroll into the room, checking off his goals and proudly say that he had gotten another booking. And I would give my auto-pilot answer of  “Another thing for me to do, are you kidding?”

“Our real family business is us and treating each other with respect.”

He quietly listened as I explained, and he said I didn’t have to be perfect and that we were a team. He doesn’t always notice what I need, but if I explain he’ll help.

A saint I am not! I’m still a work in progress, and I remind myself of my goals every day. I am the only one putting my dreams on hold because of feeling I must be perfect and for choosing housework over my passion for writing. My ego is what is blocking my dreams, not Kevin accomplishing his.  I am slowly learning to communicate better and not worry about being in charge, but most important, I am working on kicking the word perfect out of my vocabulary.

We have another photo shoot this afternoon, and my role will once again be assistant.  My “boss” has just walked into the room with a huge good morning and a hot cup of coffee for me. I had taken the time to write this morning, and he was giving me space.

What matters is our real family business is us and treating each other with respect every day.  Running a business takes lots of work and effort by everyone on the team. Now that we both erased the word perfection, talked things out and are respecting each other’s passions, we both are happier – and our days are much more peaceful.


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