Ask Mary Jo: How to grow personally & dealing with unresponsive people

Dear Mary Jo,

How can stay-at-home moms stay creative and evolved?



Thanks to social media and popular parenting apps, stay-at-home parents can connect and find activities, which helps them feel more connected and supported from home. Here are my other suggestions that will help you continue your personal growth.

  1. Keep a schedule and plan the night before. Waking up and relying on your mood or your children without a plan can leave you feeling as though you don't accomplish anything, which leads to feelings of failure.
  2. Get out of the house. Staying home all day leads to lethargy and fatigue. Being outside and making contact with others helps hold us accountable and more energetic. Set up play dates and meet ups at playgrounds within a three-mile radius.
  3. Join free activities as much as you can. There are reading hours for children at libraries and bookstores and continued learning you can do with your child. Engaging on apps like Peanut can help you locate and learn about free classes and meet other parents.
  4. Stay active with exercise. Several exercise studios include childcare within their fee. A parent/child yoga class is always a great choice for mental and physical health.
  5. Remember, you are the boss at home. Since you're the boss, you call the shots. Make the time you do have with your children count. Focus less on cleaning and more on spending time with your kids. Play with your children and invest and explore the things they're interested in.

Hi Mary Jo,

How do you deal with unresponsive people both personally and professionally without feeling resentful because they're not responding?



You cannot make someone respond to you, but you can avoid putting yourself in a situation where you'll feel ultimately responsible. When someone is unresponsive, they usually are because it works for them as a way of dealing with a difficult situation. They back away and remain silent. This can look like stonewalling in a relationship and destroys communication. The best option for couples with unresponsive partners is to seek couples' therapy so you don't become an enabler to their withdrawal. In a work situation it is different, and these tactics seem to work more effectively:

  1. Make it easy for the person to give you a quick answer. Some people become unresponsive because they are not good at coping with stress. If they feel as though your request is detailed and complicated, they're less likely to respond.
  2. Schedule time on the calendar. Whenever possible, try to keep face-to-face or phone call communication. Set up meetings that are short and to the point; continually ask them for feedback about what they need. Ask them frequently if they need help, and if so, do your best to get them the support they need.
  3. Propose a course of action you'll take if you don't hear back and follow through. Have a consequence or plan B you can mention up front when you first purpose a task. If you tell someone you need a report by the end of the week and it isn't there by Friday, follow through on that plan. It's okay to say things like, "If I don't hear back by Friday at noon, I'll assume you don't want to be part of this project and assign or work with someone else on it."
  4. Ask the person directly how you should handle it. This sounds like the craziest and most intimidating method, but it works the best for me. I explain what I'm trying to achieve and ask, "What is the best way to get your response in a timely manner?" Sometimes you're so worried about stepping on someone's feelings that you aren't direct enough for them. This really helps solve that and creates buy in to your project.