Hello again, friends! We are approaching mid-June, and for us in SA, that means a long weekend. Many people have travel plans, whatever you are up to, with the storm warnings hitting, please stay safe and warm!
So, there are a bunch of words — some might even call them buzzwords — getting airtime currently. These are not new words, they have been around a long, long time. Some of them are ‘community’, another is ‘support‘ and another might be ‘team‘.
Perhaps the reason these words are getting attention is simply because people are experiencing such a lack of the outworking of them in their lives. Or, it could be, that work spaces have changed to such an extent that these words get flung around there until the spaces physically change. Dry walls get torn down, cubicle offices are gone and suddenly everyone can see and hear everyone.
And yet … we leave work and drag ourselves to after-care or creche and fetch our tired kids. We climb back into our cars are drag our people back into a house that has breakfast dishes in the sink, a load of laundry waiting and growing seemingly by itself, small voices asking what is for dinner?
We have gotten so used to doing this solo (married or no) that asking for help is a foreign concept. And who would we ask? Even asking means I need to think about where or what I will direct your attention to.
I cannot help but think of cultures that live in community. A young woman becomes a mother and she is not alone for the first six weeks of that baby’s life, sometimes longer. She does not consider preparing dinner. If the baby cries, there are other adults around to rock and soothe and offer reasons for the tears. Someone makes tea. Someone holds the baby while she showers. No one is waiting for direction. She has support, and it looks and feels intricately physical and emotional.
Most of the mums I know, myself included, have had to make some kind of tacit peace with the fact that there will always be spinning plates crashing to the ground. Sometimes you get to choose the plate, often you don’t.
Could we change this reality? Do we want the change badly enough to say yes to the discomfort and unknown?
Often I think of the kids that grew in that culture of ‘many mothers’. As threatening as that may be to the glorious role of Mamma, what a profound gift those children received! More than one view on the world, women who seemingly had endless grace and patience, always someone ready to feed, to hold, to tell stories, to rock, to swing, to stroll with …. All that support, all that teamwork creates a world of Time. Time to do the things you love, because there is someone picking up the slack somewhere.
Yes, ladies, I wonder what it will take, I wonder how far our backs need to bend, how heavy the load needs to get before we cry out, before we fall to our knees because need has driven us to the ground.
Perhaps it starts really small? A phone call, but an honest one? An impromptu pop-in, and you help stack the dishwasher while you catch up? An afternoon meal drop-off? Is the thought of hanging up your girlfriend’s laundry truly so foreign, so wild, you could not imagine doing it?
Let’s talk about the things we could not imagine doing. Let’s begin exploring real, true need, because I can promise you, that woman you think is doing it perfectly? Her crashing plates are there, just possibly better hidden.