The last month or so has been a bit more of a whirlwind than usual. There have been some big shifts in the dynamic of how my personal life works. My lovely wife has a new job that involves a lengthy commute so I’ve taken on the mantle of child wrangling solo during the work week. It’s the closest I ever hope to come to being a single parent! Needless to say it’s been a large adjustment for all of us, including huge organisational shifts that affect the amount of sleep we get, the amount of time we spend together as a family and generally how our domestic setup ‘runs’.
Of course, I’ve been running a Kickstarter campaign, working full time and doing freelance work while all of this has been happening. It’s been an interesting challenge, that so far has been a lot smoother than any of us expected
To me it seems quite often in life the worries you have going into any particular situation are never the problems that actually end up causing strife. At heart, I’m a problem solver. I can roll with a situation and figure out a plan at the drop of a hat. My wife is a planner. She risk assesses a situation and tries to prepare for worst case scenarios. Going into this lifestyle shift we felt prepared and at a certain point we simply shrugged and told ourselves that we would figure things out as we go. I have more than enough confidence in us as a family unit to be able to do this, so I was quite laid back about it. To me the whole thing hinged on my wife making a situation work that she is excited and passionate about… A sucker bet (against) for anyone that doesn’t know her well.
Up to now we’ve had a somewhat equal ratio on the time we have with our daughter, we didn’t have a ‘primary carer’, though I’d probably say I edged it if pressed. I certainly never feel like a natural with the whole parenting gig. It’s always wrong to make assumptions from general observations, but I feel like other people have a much better handle on things compared to me. Having said that I’m comforted by my own perceived short-comings. I’d only really be worried if I ever felt like I was doing a great job. I keep myself quite honest trying to be better.
All in all, our daughter gets a ‘zonal’ approach from us. She gets different aspects of care from each of her parents. We work best as a unit. So it’s been an eye-opener to have to assess what aspects of my care are missing when my wife isn’t always there.
I’m great at the nuts and bolts stuff. Food, clean clothes, reading, learning, all the domestic stuff that kids don’t care all that much about. My wife is more empathetic, I feel like there’s a lot more shared affection and play. We’re pretty unified on discipline.
I’ll admit I’m being hyper analytical with these thoughts, it’s never as clear cut as I’ve explained. But I felt like it was important to consider how I might need to shift things to make myself a more rounded carer.
By now you may be wondering what the hell my point is. Fair enough.
Collaboration is key to so many things in life. Being able to work with others, finding people that fill the gaps in your skillset or knowledge. Hopefully you’ll do the same for them.
It’s a tough gig to find the right people, but the starting point is a huge dose of honesty in figuring out what help you might need, what parts might be missing?
This principle can be applied in small ways that have a huge impact. It might just mean getting a second pair of eyes on a script to help you figure out what might not be working. Or it could mean a huge slice of aid that makes massive improvements… Like collaborating with editors, artists, colourists and letterers to make a script come to life. (I’d particularly mention lettering for a small outlay/big improvement ratio as a sweeping generealisation.)
I guess when a dynamic shifts in a direction where an element is taken away it’s a lot easier to realise the impact. From a point of view where you are rolling along alone; it might be impossible to imagine things could be better with the correct input.
If the last month has taught me anything… Yes, we can do everything ourselves, it can work, it’s fine. Sometimes it’s brilliant! But there is always the possibility it could be better if you’re surrounded by people that elevate you.
This little epiphany is of great interest to me as I will be starting a prolonged period of solo creative output in the next few months. I’ll be discovering, afresh, where I might need to seek out some help to make my work even better.