A Woman’s Take: How To Balance Work/Life And Be More Than A Paycheck To Your Wife

Episode #775

Ever wondered how to bring the best version of yourself into your home life after a day of work?

Wondering how to maintain a thriving relationship while managing the demands of a busy career?

Join Doug and his wife, Erin, as they delve into the intricacies of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

In this episode, you’ll learn valuable insights on navigating the delicate dance between work and family life.

Doug and Erin share personal experiences, discussing the impact of imprinting childhood expectations onto marital dynamics and the importance of clear communication and agreements in managing household responsibilities.

Discover practical strategies for decompressing after work, being fully present in your personal life, and fostering a thriving and fulfilling marriage.

Hungry for more?

Head over to our BONUS page for special access to some of the deeper tactics and techniques we’ve developed at The Powerful Man.

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Doug Holt  00:19

Hey, guys. Welcome back to another episode of the TPM show. And once again, I am joined by my beautiful wife, Erin. If you don’t know, Erin is not only my gorgeous wife, but she is also the mother of our two children. And she coaches women as well. So coaches some of the women that actually go through The Activation Method, which is our flagship program. And so these are guys just like you who have gone through the program and the women that they work with. So thanks for being here again.

Erin  00:47

Thank you.

Doug Holt  00:48

So we’ve captured you again for our third in a row. This is amazing. We had you yesterday, now today, and so we’re going to get this one last in.

Erin  00:55

Yeah, I love it.

Doug Holt  00:57

Which is perfect. The perfect topic, too, because a lot of guys sometimes feel like a paycheck. And it’s kind of the title of this is being more than a paycheck and kind of mastEring the work life balance that the woman wants. Now, this could be whether the woman is a, quote, stay at home mom or she’s working in the corporate world, doesn’t really matter. From a woman’s perspective, talk to me a little bit about work life balance, knowing that most of the guys watching this are going to be business owners.

Erin  01:24

Yeah. Right. And so, like, owning a business, it feels like there’s no off. Right?

Doug Holt  01:29

There is no off.

Erin  01:31

Right. And a lot of people in here, there’s also kids. So there’s no off there either.

Doug Holt  01:34

Exactly. Yeah.

Erin  01:36

So over the years, what I’ve come to realize, I’ve always wanted this work, like, balancing. I don’t think there’s actually a balance. I think it gets to shift and change in seasons. I think there gets to be really good communication around it, but I think it’s more boundaries. So let’s say, for an example. Just use you and I because we’re here and I know us, but let’s say an example might be. Okay. We’re getting to the point where people aren’t feeling satisfied with the work life balance. Let’s put some boundaries around it. Like, okay, no phone when you walk in the door. [Crosstalk] — I’m not feeling satisfied. Yes.

So when you walk in the door, walk in the door as husband and dad. And so if that one of the things, the techniques that I know you teach the men and that we do, or when you do do it, you are the best version is having that transition time after work so you can transition from boss managing all the things, all the people, all everything to the other roles in your life, husband and dad. So I know when you do that, you are able to show up a better version of yourself.

Doug Holt  02:50



When you do not do that, you are not. And that’s not dig on you. It’s a skill and it’s a tool that works. Right?

Doug Holt  02:58

No, I 100% agree. In my defense, working from home makes it a little bit more difficult at times. And I’ve worked from home for seven years, eight years now. Yeah, at least eight years that I’ve had that work kind of. We wanted to create a lifestyle that allow us travel all over the world and we did eight years ago. But you’re totally right. So we teach something to the men that go through our program deactivation method. We teach them something called the alpha decompression routine.

And it’s a routine that guys should do just like a Morning Routine that’s very popular in today’s culture. We have something called the alpha rise and shine, but we have the alpha decompression where you can decompress, as you were saying, before you get home and have transition time to decompress from the stress. And there’s multiple ways of looking like that. So that’s the day to day work life balance, right? That’s the day to day of, hey, don’t have your phone open at dinner. Checking slack. Checking email or whatever, or doom scrolling Instagram.

Erin  03:59

Yeah, because look, now with our phones that are way more than phones, we all know there’s always going to be some sort of form of communication, the email, the slack, the whatever voxer. We know this, right? So it’s like learning how to literally control your nervous system and know that it’s okay to spend 2 hours hanging out with your kids and wife or whatever partner and having dinner as a family.

And request I had for you is like at least four nights a week we have dinner together as a family and the other nights can be a little more lax or whatever, but that’s really important. And knowing that, yeah, you’re going to have messages, they’re going to be there after dinner, not at the dinner table.

Doug Holt  04:44

I’ve had about 20 come through since I have my notes.

Erin  04:47

We all do.

Doug Holt  04:48

Constantly flying.

Erin  04:49

It’s the world we live in. So it’s learning how to actually train our nervous systems around our phones, which is such a weird thing to say, but it’s real.

Doug Holt  04:56

Yeah. And we can talk about strategies for that as well. In fact, I will, if that’s okay. Ones that I’ve seen men do that have been effective. Some guys have a box at the table, all kids and everybody put the phone. I mean, it’s not work life balance, but it’s phone etiquette, I guess. I have my phone go. My phone’s. The only alerts I’m getting right now are from up to four people on my phone. Right? So the key four people, you being one of them, of course. Absolutely. That can actually message me. But I also have my phone go into airplane mode, or I’ll set it in airplane mode because it is tempting to look at when you’re sitting there.

So if you and I are hanging out, but maybe you pick up a magazine or something for you that’s more acceptable than me looking at my phone. It’s a cultural thing. It bugs the heck out of you. So if I’m in that agreement with you, because I will work on my phone, if you’re going to read a magazine, well, then I’m going to get some stuff done, because that’s what I love to do. I love working with the men. I love helping them. I love building this movement. So something I have to do sometimes for myself is just turn it on airplane mode. Especially since we have people all over the world working. Right? So they’re in all different time zones. Darn it, people need me.

Erin  06:12

Yeah. Well, going on more on phone etiquette, this isn’t going to be new news to anybody, really. But it’s just like, there’s so many studies out there now where it’s like, if you have your phone on the table, even if you flip it over, if it’s just there, consciously and subconsciously, whoever you’re talking with doesn’t feel as important.

Doug Holt  06:30


Erin  06:31

And it will deteriorate your relationship over time. It just does. So it’s like learning, like you said, it’s in the other room. It’s like I’m actually where my feet are. I’m with this person, with my family, with my friend, without my phone really being conscious of that.

Doug Holt  06:49

It’s hard. It’s funny. As I was laughing the other day, I go to the gym, as you know, three times a week at 05:00 a.m. And I do crossfit. So crossfit class. The only reason I bring that up, and I’ve seen people in the clot warming up, go to their bag, grab their phone and then go to the bathroom.

Erin  07:08

It’s such a habit.

Doug Holt  07:10

It totally. But it’s just funny because I observe people. That’s what I do for a living. But seeing somebody, even in the gym setting, go get their phone in order to go to the bathroom because they can’t sit on the pot for a minute to five minutes, depending on what’s going on in their body, of what’s happening. And it is, when we talk about work life balance, really what I’m hearing you say here for this, for the guys. So I’m doing my best to translate, is your wife wants to feel important. She wants to know she’s important to you. And she’s more important than just your phone. She appreciates you providing.

Erin  07:42


Doug Holt  07:43

And you’re not just a paycheck.

Erin  07:45

You’re not just a paycheck. What every woman wants from you is you. Right? So it’s like if you go out and bring the best version of yourself to all your meetings, all your work, all your clients, and then you come home, the stressed out, annoyed version of you, and get your wife’s getting the crumbs, the leftovers, that’s not going to work. She wants you. She wants the best version of you. She wants the version of you that’s happy and energetic and is interesting and interested in her.

Doug Holt  08:17

Yeah. So many people. The phrase that’s always talked about is you give everybody else the best and you give your wife and your kids the rest.

Erin  08:25

Yeah. It’s not going to work.

Doug Holt  08:27

It’s not going to work well in any way. And again, I have my phone out just because we have notes that you and I talked about earlier today on here. As we go through the perspective, let’s talk about this one. This one was really important for me to learn. Right? So I learned your love language was quality. It was quality time. I also took that to mean quantity time. Right? So let’s talk about, in general, the significance between difference between quality time and quantity time. Because I also think that ties in really well with this work life balance.

Erin  09:02

Yeah, we did fall into it. It’s like, okay, we’re spending all this time together. Why doesn’t it feel amazing? Because it was just like really low quality connection, low quality conversation. Just a lot, a lot, a lot. Right? And was like trying to force it. But yeah, quality check for me is super important. So it’s like having conversations that are exciting that are deep, that matter. Like, our dreams are who we are, what’s hard, what’s not working, all the things, right? And setting up date nights for us, knowing that those are the nights that we can have more of those conversations. And it doesn’t have to be like on a normal Tuesday night where kids are screaming and playing and wanting our attention and dinner needs to get on the table. Right? It’s just like having quality time for you and I connect is way more important. Does that make sense?

Doug Holt  09:51

I totally get it. There’s a lesson I had to learn, but I get it very well. You actually told me one time, you said, look, I would rather you work late and come home and do what you have. But three days a night. I can’t remember the exact number, but I think it was three nights a week. Just come home and be 100% about me than have you. 60, 70, 80% about me. Seven nights a week.

Erin  10:18

Yes. That’s quality.

Doug Holt  10:22

I want all the attention, not 80%, which makes complete sense.

Erin  10:27

Not even just the attention, but the goodness of you, your good energy, like, your happiness, like, having fun with you. But yeah, having. You want to spend time with me and the kids.

Doug Holt  10:41

Yeah, I think this was pre kids, but might have been early days of the kids as well as we go through it. And then let’s also look at, when we look at balancing work, family, life, I know this is something you and I have had issues, and it’s something probably you and I, I would say, are still balancing.

Erin  10:58

Oh, yeah. It’s ever evolving.

Doug Holt  11:04

Is household chores, right, and how do household chores work? And I know everybody’s got different viewpoints on this. Let’s go from a woman’s perspective, aka your perspective in this case, not just with our life, but also, what are some steps a man can take to balance his work? He comes home from work, he’s tired, he’s been working all day, and then now he’s also got the responsibilities of the home or his version of the responsibilities of the home.

Erin  11:32

Okay. So I know there’s a lot of different viewpoints on this.

Doug Holt  11:35

There are.

Erin  11:36

And so gargo is nothing.

Doug Holt  11:40

Give me yours.

Erin  11:41

Yeah. So it’s like whether people work outside the home or work inside the home, there’s still tons of responsibilities, and it’s still like being responsible as adult. Right? As when we’re adults, there’s so many responsibilities. There just are. And so they look different and they all matter. If somebody just stops doing what they’re doing, s*** goes to it’s not good.

So it’s just realizing, like, yes, let’s just say our scenario, like, you work outside the home much more than I do at this point, and I’m still working, doing all the other things of life and doing some coaching. Right? So both of us have put out a lot of energy and aren’t tired. So it’s just like, there can be at that point when we all come home, kids are home from school, they’ve also put out a lot of energy. Right? So it’s like, now it’s the point where we’re in partnership. There’s just things that have to get done for a household to run smoothly, right?

Doug Holt  12:46

And so it’s just like, I’m with you having a partner who, let’s just say it’s like, oh, wow, the dishes are piling up and need to get done. Just like, yeah, that has to get done. So I’m going to do that. And from a woman’s perspective, not having to remind your partner to like, hey, can you do the dishes? Or, hey, can you do this? Just like having a knowing, like, okay, these things get to get done to keep this house running, to keep this family moving forward to XYZ, whatever.

So it’s just like having some sort of conversations around probably the different seasons, like who’s doing what, who’s responsible for the trash getting out on Tuesday mornings. These aren’t sexy things, but they are super unsexy when there’s not clarity around them, because that creates resentments and fights and all the things. But getting clarity around how you run your household and household project, because it’s a huge job. What we do this weekend, it’s not sexy, but, like, emptying out our gutters.

Erin  13:49

I thought when I was doing it was pretty sexy.

Doug Holt  13:53

Yeah, you did look sexy. But there’s always going to be something to do. It’s not like you’re going to sweep the floor once and it’s done. It’s not like you’re going to do something for business and it’s done. So it’s just like, let’s be adults about it.

Erin  14:06

Like holding a ladder. I know you’re going to say that I let go of the ladder too early as he was stepping down, and then he slipped and hit his shin. And cut my shin pretty bad. Sorry about that.

Doug Holt  14:18

Thank you. It was more of an inside joke for you. Yeah, no, I agree. And we’ve had issues with a couple of things. I mean, just transparently. I’ll talk about one thing we’ve had an issue with and something that I think has worked well for us and that maybe this can transfer over to helping some other people. One thing we’ve had an issue with is my feeling of working all day, coming home. And then my analogy is you go check out because you need a break. Right? Here’s the kids.

And then the expectation is me to come back to work, to work in the right. Take over cleaning the house, taking care of the kids while you go watch Netflix and chill out or whatever else it. Yeah, eat bomb bonds on the couch all day. And that was a conflict that you and I had from my side of it. Right?

Something that’s worked well for us, in my opinion, is when you and I have sat down and said, okay, what things need to get done on a regular basis and who’s going to be in charge of those things? Not meaning that person always has to do it. So that’s the way I look at work, too, but who’s in charge of it? So I’m in charge of taking out trash on Tuesdays. Right?

There are times that sometimes you do it right, vice versa with kids breakfasts or kids lunches. And there’s other things that typically you take charge of. And sometimes I step in and just do, regardless if I’m in town or you’re in town or whatever else is going on. I think that’s worked really well for us. And when I boil the essence of it down, it’s communication and agreements. Like, what’s the communication and the agreement? And the time that you and I have had conflict is when there’s been an expectation without an agreement. Right?

I expect you to clean my desk, I don’t know, making it up and you don’t do it. Then I get p***** off at you, but it’s never been agreed. And you’re like, hey, that’s not my job. I’m taking care of the kids all day. I’m running around. I’m dealing with this issue, that issue. I haven’t talked to an adult in 8 hours. I need a break, and I’m complaining about the desk. So it comes down to unmet expectations and communication.

Erin  16:26

Yeah. And I think I’ll reiterate because I know I talk a lot about this with the women, too. It doesn’t feel sexy, but it can feel easier when there’s agreements that are made, knowing also that it can change and it can shift. Like, you’re not locked into this for the next, whatever, 30 years, like during different seasons, or somebody starts working inside the home and then outside the home more. There’s going to have to be things that give. Maybe you hire a cleaner a couple of times a month. There can be things that shift.

Doug Holt  17:02

Yeah. I’m not saying that you always have to do all those things.

Erin  17:04

No, I know that. I’m just saying I’m speaking. I know, like a lot of women.

Doug Holt  17:09

They think that they’re always going to be stuck.

Erin  17:11

Always stuck doing this thing. And it’s like, oh, no, things can shift and change.

Doug Holt  17:14

That’s really interesting because I think most of the men assume that.

Erin  17:19

Assume what?

Doug Holt  17:20

That things can always shift and change and roles and responsibilities can always change. But with the level of energy that you put into that comment, I can tell that you hear that a lot from. Yeah, that’s really an interesting thing. It’d be great to do another podcast. I know we don’t have time today, but just on those kinds of things, those little nuances that women think always are going to be like that. Because I think what we can do is connect the dots between the man and the woman. Right? Because I don’t think men assume that those things are going to stay the same all the time. I certainly don’t.

I would expect if you would be working more that we would be bringing in somebody to take care of those responsibilities that you currently take care of for us, which I’m very grateful that you do, that you do a great job. Yeah. So one of the things also I’ll just throw out there, and I remember talking to my oldest brother Brad about this when he got married. And he said one of the biggest surprises was he and his wife Julie did a test together. And the way it worked was it had all of kind of the roles and responsibilities in a typical household. Who takes out the trash? Who balances the checkbook?

Erin  18:28

There’s so many.

Doug Holt  18:30

Who punches the kids? Yeah, punishes the kids, whatever. And you write down, you just check the box, whether the man or the woman does it. Husband, wife, in a traditional relationship. And then they compared notes and they realized that they’re almost the exact opposites. And that really when they were fighting and arguing, it wasn’t about the trash. It was that my brother, at my house growing up, my mom always took out the trash.

I mean, I came from a know my parents weren’t together, but you get the idea. So my mom would take out the trash in this example, and Julie, my brother’s wife, her father would take it out. So she always expected it to be his job. He always expected to be her job. But neither of them communicated it, which caused a huge riff in problems. Right? Lucky for them, they were able to sort it out. But I think for a lot of marriages, these death by 1000 paper cuts happens because they’d never been communicated.

Erin  19:24

Yeah. And you hit on a really big point. Like, we do, as much as we don’t think we would think we don’t want to, but we imprint how our household worked into our own marriage. And a lot of times it’s not going to work in our marriage, but we just still have these expectations from our childhood that we’re just, like, carrying around and angry at our partner for that. And it’s just like, really? Yeah, I know. We’ve done that list, too. And it’s really insightful to just look at it, be like, okay, there’s all these responsibilities. How are we going to manage them? So it feels like a win-win.

Doug Holt  19:55

Yeah. And, guys, here’s the really important thing. If you take out what Erin just said is we imprint. Right? So we make these expectations. So if my mom took out the trash, subconsciously, I’m always going to expect my wife to take out the trash. Not that I’m making my wife my mom, but I’m going to think subconsciously, not even consciously, that that would be something that she would do. Then also imagine how your kids are watching your marriage right now. Right?

Think about that for a second. If your kids, your son, your daughter, emulated the way that you feel in the pit of despair in your marriage, you’re not showing them the right things. And that’s. Know. I know. For Erin and I, we really doubled down on our marriage, investing in it and making sure it was the best possible. So just something I want to throw out there. So we got this. The expectations work, home balance. It’s really about decompressing, showing up as your best self. Right? With her.

Erin  20:46

Yeah. And having boundaries.

Doug Holt  20:48

Having boundaries, being as fully present as you can be. And then having communication about expectations. Like, hey, these are agreements. I’ll take out the trash on Tuesdays. Right? You bring the trash cans in or whatever it could be. And going through there and those simple things could save both the man and the woman and the kids a lot of heartache.

Erin  21:08

Yeah, for sure. It’s just like remembEring you’re on the same team. Right? Like, the outcome that you want is to have a fulfilling, thriving marriage, home life, all that stuff. So it’s like remembEring. Like you’re on the same page.

Erin  21:26


Doug Holt  21:27

You are on the same team. Love it. Awesome. Thanks again for being here. I’m so glad we were able to keep you abound. Let’s do it again soon.

Erin  21:33


Doug Holt  21:34

Awesome. Gentlemen, as we always say, in the moment of insight, take massive action. This is your call out to take some massive action. Get some work life balance back into your home life before you come home. Decompress, you, work from home. Do what I do. I hit a little sign out there. I don’t do it all the time, but I do it a lot of the times just to remind that I’m changing roles, but to be a better husband and a better father, the CFO of my household, chief fund officer.

And then after you’re done doing that, be present. Be present with your wife, be present with your kids, and then make sure you have those agreements in place and boundaries set around things. Gentlemen, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on the TPM show.

All right, guys, that’s a wrap for this episode. But as I always say in the moment of insight, take massive action. You see, there are two types of men that listen to a podcast like this, those that go on from one podcast or show to another just hoping things are going to change and realizing that they’re going to be in the same place month after month, year after year.

You see, I was this guy so I completely get it. You may just not be ready. But there’s also a second man, a second man that listens to a show just like this. And this is a guy who takes massive action so they can shorten the learning curve, compress time, and get RESULTS to be the WOLF. See, WOLF is an acronym for Wise, Open, Loving, and Fierce.

Now ask yourself, which one am I? And just be honest with yourself there. And there’s no judgment on my end. But if you’re ready to move from deactivated DEER mode, which is Defend, Excuse, Explain, and React to activated WOLF, Wise, Open, Loving and Fierce, then go over to thepowerfulman.com/grow. And go there now. In fact, I’ll make it super easy for you. I will even put the link right in the description here so you can just click it and go over there now to learn more. Guys, in the moment of insight, take massive action. Go from deactivated to activated, because like I said, life is too short for average and I’ll see you on the next episode!