Updated: Mar 30
Everywhere we look, there is a monsoon of pressure to mould our next generation into independent and strong women. Beyonce hollers the lyrics, the media blast messages of powerful women standing on their own, amidst cultural adversity telling them they cannot. What about the value of interdependency? Has this notion been shamed and warped in our culture because of its association with dependant, manipulative and imbalanced relationships?
Independence doesn’t have to follow a nomadic idealism of learnt survival skills and doing everything completely alone. It can look like a young girl harnessing her own unique abilities and talents with a sea-depth confidence built up from the community of family and friends whom she depends upon. Balancing independence and interdependency is where I currently find myself on this adventure that is parenthood.
The first child
Not having a clue what parenthood entailed before having children, I felt strongly about my relationship being put first, not losing the spark with my husband and putting regular time aside for “us”. Cue my baby girl’s arrival and my firstborn had my complete and undivided attention, sometimes to the point of obsession. Every move she made, I saw and every sound she made, I heard – all to be analysed, Googled, ‘mum-forumed’, ‘wonder-weeked’, mum-grouped, doctor diagnosed and spun on the daily merry-go-round of chatter for possible causes or reasons for whatever concern I had with my husband (usually as to why she was waking 12 times a night).
I had no inward filter for parental advice or information on how to raise my daughter; I read it all and tried every remedy and method being sold. But there was a voice amidst the merchants of baby solutions - a quiet inner voice that patiently waited until the anxiety subsided and the normality of parenthood set in, and I slowly found a way to parent that I was confident with and that suited my little family.
I learnt to rely on others in a way that was new to me. My husband was an integral part of this, as were his family and my family. They taught me many valuable lessons about raising children and being a parent. Trusting others with my child didn’t come easy to me, but I learnt to value surrounding my first daughter with family she could trust and feel safe with. My hope is that she will carry these relationships with her extended family all through her life and that my second daughter will experience the same loving relationships as well.