What is independence?
Well, my first (short lived) counsellor last year definitely didn’t seem to rate being financially independent of your parents, even though this is key to my personal definition.
But becoming a parent has totally shaken my perceptions of independence. It’s forced me to lean on others for some things, as Spud relies on me for everything.
As my other counsellor (one I found personally, not through my EAP programme) pointed out, it truly does take a village to raise a child.
I had no idea.
Spud arrived early and we were SO unprepared. My mum announced that she would come around on her day off to bring food and watch the baby so that I could rest.
And from them she unfailingly turned up every Wednesday, as well as every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Sometimes I would sleep; more often I’d get chores done, in an attempt to keep the house in a vaguely liveable state.
That’s how it went. She would help clean, work on my garden, do laundry, buy groceries, even determine that we needed things like new curtains and bring some over. Play with Spud, try to teach him the alphabet, sing to him, hold him for naps.
I don’t know how I would have coped without her support.
I couldn’t have done it alone.
I’m not great at talking about my problems, and that’s led to some serious stress and isolation. I think part of it is not wanting to burden others, a bit of pride, and internalising that typical advice of not hanging your dirty laundry out to dry.
But I’ve learned I need to lean on my friends, to vent, and to gain perspective. When you’ve grown up with subtle dysfunction, it’s difficult to tell what is normal, what is okay, what is excusable. And to find groups where others are going through the same experience. It is so validating.
I couldn’t have done it alone.
The more I learn about business (I’ve been busy editing a string of ebooks for various coaches lately, and soaking up details from people I know IRL who run their own thing) the more I realise how crucial mentors and coaches are to success. People rarely, if ever, get to the top alone.
And now, life in lockdown. We may be physically living in our little bubbles, but more than ever, being connected to others is vital.
Here in NZ we’ve spent a month in lockdown, which feels like so much longer. Things will gradually ease in the coming weeks, but it’s clear it will be a very long time before life returns to anything resembling normal.
I’m fortunate to have a fantastic employer and team – couldn’t have asked for better people to work through a pandemic with. If not for that, I honestly don’t know how I would have coped with a toddler at home, and everything else on top of that.
It’s definitely been Rough Times for everyone in all different ways. For me, it’s not nearly as rough as those around me have had it, so I split my time between taking care of myself and my family and offering remote support to those who need it, but also I’m spending time working on myself. I still don’t quite accept that it’s ok for me to need and accept help, though I’m always willing to help others, and that’s some baggage that I’m working on.
True. You should stay in regular contact with your friends and family. I miss going out with friends so much. Life is currently on a standstill. So monotonous really!