I had a typical 90’s childhood, so not much to complain about there… We took holidays and I spent my school holidays riding my bike around with my friends.
However, as I have moved into adulthood I can see so many cracks and flaws which I am now trying to avoid with my own children…
The first was the lack of support my parents received from their parents… I mean I do have memories of them but could probably count on 2 hands the amount of times my sister and I had sleepovers or had them stay to look after us. And we had 3 sets of grandparents due to a divorce and 2nd marriages. Distance was a huge factor because for a while we lived in the Valley near Warburton. And our Grandparents were in Ballarat, Dingley and Launceston…
There was abit (ok a HUGE) of a falling out on my Dad’s side of the family when I was about 6 or 7 years old. And from that point I would not see (m)any of my cousins until my Grandads funeral when I was 19. One time my sister and I would see 3 of our cousins (I was 14). So I was witness to voluntarily removing family from ones life. A concept I thought often about during my teens and ever since…
I understand that people are diverse… I embrace diversity. I think it creates a wonderful eb and flow for learning as you live.
I grew up not knowing what it was like to be a part of an extented network… to have support and advise on call.
My parents divorced when I was 17. It was amicable (as a divorce can be). And I moved in with Dad and my sister stayed with Mum. My sister and I are very different. She has accused me of being soft and fluffy on more then one occasion and challenges almost every opinion I have. We disagree on a lot.
Despite being of the same genetics and being raised with the same boundaries and beliefs, we are very different.
My sister is very self entitled and it is rare for her to go out of her way to assist someone in need. She offered to have my children for 2 nights each over a school holidays. She was pregnant at the time (not working though because she quit as soon as she found out)… Anyway she cancelled just 2 days prior. Luckily I had not told my kids because I did not want them to be let down (I rely heavily on my gut instinct). Her reason was she was pregnant and really tired. Now as I winge about this, I am aware that I sound entitled. But I have had little support from my immediate family EVER. I have come to rely on no-one but myself, and I hate asking for help. My Dad has helped more then anyone and even then it is not a lot of assistance at all. My Mum has never looked after my kids on her own, and she isn’t confident to drive the 11km to visit and she has said she wont call me (in case I am busy) so she waits for me to call her.
Fast forward to 2 weeks post birth of my sisters baby and I receive a 7:30am phone call from her crying and telling me how hard it is and how her baby has cried all night and she is exhausted. I call in sick to work and go there. I feed and change the baby and let her sleep… because this is what I needed but never received.
It’s in my nature. I like to help. Love thy neighbor… Do unto others… You know all that fluffy stuff that seems to get me nowhere.
I have surrounded myself with like minded parents and these people are my village. I can lean on these people and they on me. These people are there for my kids when I am running late or need to be in two places at once. I have had to create my own family, one that is made from tears and trust and not just blood.
My Mum has re-partnered a couple of times and her life solely revolves around the person she is with. She openly admits that this is her time. Her parents didn’t help her so she isn’t helping us. The sad thing is though that she is now in the midst of feeling guilty over having her Mum in a nursing home… Life is a cycle. I wonder if she is now looking at her own future. Her strong and noble point is that even when she was dating after divorce she never had strangers in our home.
My Dad repartnered early on. To a lady whom at the time had 3 children 12 and under. Now, at 19 that was a rude shock. To have to share my home (and my bathroom) with kids. Nowdays, my sib from another crib is truely like a sister should be (supportive and non-judmental) and the younger of the 3 is a totally awesome Uncle. The other one is non existant in my life through no fault of theirs or mine. Dad and G remain together…
The step sister has helped with my kids a bit but only when I have asked for it… (she worked odd hours) and she has recently added a tiny human to the world.
Anyway. What I am saying is sometimes you have to create your own family, sometimes the universe gets it wrong and no matter how much someone badgers you, accuses you and belittles you – they can’t make you change. I will always be me. I will always strive for the best life for my children and if people dom’t want to make themselves present, I will not force them.
The people who mind, don’t matter. And the people who matter, don’t mind.”