The conclusion that I have come to after weeks of schlepping and wading my way through life is that there is one major barrier to most things that I love doing – and it is also the thing that I love most: parenting.
Bit by bit I am understanding the things that I can do to move forward.
There are a lot of gaps in the market in this area – especially locally. They always say that when you have a child they don’t come with a handbook. And no, they don’t. But the reality is that modern ways of living can be exhausting – as are the choices we make to have it all – everyone is ‘busy’.
At the end of the day, what I needed was a diverse and dynamic village of people who were willing to support my family and allow us some of the flexibility (and respite to be frank) necessary when parenting.
The tricky part is that the village you choose needs to be one that you feel safe leaving your children with. And I don’t just mean physically safe, I mean emotionally safe – and that is quite a feat. Given that I embarked on a parenting journey quite quickly after 7 years abroad it was a little tricky to establish relationships and build connections that felt genuinely trusted.
In the beginning I made some wonderful connections with ladies who all took part in a pregnastics class (this is where heavily pregnant women dance around together and bounce on large inflatable balls that more and more closely resemble their bellies as they approach their due date – unfortunately it was a public health program and is consequently no longer available).
The demands of a very fulfilling job and my fathers’ illness soon became a barrier to maintaining relationships. But at that point in time it was unsustainable (despite the fact that I loved them all) and so it became necessary to look closer to home.
I find it really baffling that in Australia, or perhaps even just in Brisbane, that there is this mentality that parents ought to just be exhausted and give up dreams. We all hear about the people who give it all up and work long into the night to secure their families future – but really? I mean shouldn’t we be able to still maintain fairly normal human functioning?
So, again I am investigating the time-savers and ways forward and what it is that I can offer. I am a born collaborator so actually focussing on what I can do alone is a rather alien concept to me. But the reality is that both of these elements can be fulfilled. And need to be.
My journey to create the business that I wanted to start has led me to see all of the barriers in my life that are common to so many others. And in a sense, that’s where the genius lies. By solving your own barriers you solve others’.
So Step 1: talk to my dear friend Jane and we establish that we need to equip others with helpful tools and strategies.
Step 2: Pick what I can focus on. At the moment I am very focussed on parenting and the life hacks that make it possible to spend more quality time with my child (and relaxing) – not claiming to be an expert but seriously, it’s the only thing I can focus on when I think about what to do to move forward.
Step 3. Create offerings! This will initially be a digital book that will talk people through the life challenges they face as parents and get them to think outside the box – what do they outsource? and what will they create for the future?
Step 4: The Support Guide. This will be a ‘how to?’ of getting the right conversations happening about what you need. I thought I knew what assertiveness was but parenting takes this to a whole new level and people really need some support around this stuff.
Recently I discovered Grace Papers: http://gracepapers.com.au/ and like others who are quoted on the site, I too wish that I had known about it prior to returning to work.
Some other little productivity hacks that I’ve discovered are creating a Gravatar: http://en.gravatar.com/ – now this is exciting because it is a global avatar and editing it through gravatar means that you will maintain a consistent image across multiple platforms. Change your image in Gravatar and it will be updated in twitter, facebook, your blog, Linkedin etc.
But right now, a small person awaits. More tomorrow.