Today we had a blip. Blip is the word used by a colleague in a moment of genuine comfort, except today it felt more like a slap than a blip. A slap in the face that left me speechless. The usual mantra of professional explanation and justification had left the building.
What really brought me down was why today felt different to yesterday. I managed yesterday’s family challenge beautifully, even if I say so myself. For once it didn’t impact my other job. I managed to give my other job parity with the family job, and it worked. Maybe that’s why today felt different. I was complacent, caught off-guard. I knew my happiness on the bus to work this morning was premature on some cosmic scale. Maybe allowing happiness was foolish.
Having picked myself and my thoughts up by the end of the day, I concluded that I am too invested. This shocked me, as some time ago I was the would-be parent that planned to take it in their stride – much like a day job – and integrate parenthood into their life framework of career, society and interests. But family life has consumed me. Maybe too much? Maybe I need to disinvest. That’s an interesting word, and is different to divest. Both words have currency in my job at the moment. And in the family context, I see it this way: I need to stop putting so much in, because it is draining me and upsetting for me when we suffer a blip. This is disinvesting. To divest would be to deprive: I’m not going to do that. I still need to parent and to be a family member, but I also need to be me and to protect me. We call it self-care in therapeutic parenting circles.