Friday, April 08, 2011

friday forte: soliciting

seek: adventures with eggs
'seek' pendant: sterling silver, oxidised, wire crochet and freshwater pearl
Where do you get your advice from?
Who do you seek out to get your answers from?
Is it where you feel most comfortable? or where you feel most challenged? or is it where you think your values are respected, regardless of the answers given?

Like a lot of women in middle life, I feel I'm on a journey of discovery. I have ideas, I have plans, I have a notion that I am taking a new direction but there's no road map. I've been searching around for kindred spirits so I can at least feel 'normal' but like-company is not always obvious. I think I've been looking for this support in the wrong places which is why I've just never felt at ease with my 'quest'.

Until now.
I really think I'm getting somewhere at last. I'm formulating the questions and working out where I need to ask them.

So who do I turn to for advice and support? Where do I go?

When I was in the first throes of this motherhood thing I quickly realised (!) that I could save a lot of time and angst by limiting myself to seeking support only from those who were of a similar mindset, ie. co-sleeping, part-time cloth diapering, breastfeeding mums who were open to attachment parenting and baby wearing. That's quite a niche market, but posing sleep questions to a crib user or trying to discuss breast issues with a fulltime bottle feeder just racked up a stack of useless-to-me information to confuse my already befuddled mind. Once I stopped asking everyone with a uterus my child-rearing questions and focused my research, parenting became easier for me. It was also important at the time to immerse myself in the normality of my niche market's world since, for the first three months, we were living the unreal life of frequent hospital stays and ER visits. They kept me grounded and functioning without overwhelming me. Having a community which had experience in the kind of parenting I was trying to practice was much more relevant than, at its most extreme, asking a childless career woman.

This should have been a lesson learned.
But no.

My niche market for my advice support community is not the 30-something yummy mummy or the go-getter mompreneur. It's not the contented stay-at-home mum either. It's not even mothers of other 7y olds. It's midlife women who are embarking on making sense of what the second half of their lives should look like for them and their families. They have children, some have young children; some are new to this country, others have lived here their whole lives; some are married, some are happily married, some have moved on - all know that there is something just around the corner coming into view ... and it's worth waiting for. There's a sense of urgency directing their thoughts but there's also a sense of peace, knowing that a lot of what was meaningful is now superfluous. There's a shared acknowledgment that crap is not going to be put with any longer, and that 'me time' is a little more cerebral than a trip to the spa or a manicure. There's a recognition that 'quality time' often means an overscheduled weekend and frequently ' being there for the children' means employing a full time nanny - there's a willingness to raise a hand admitting to this, and a refusal to gloss over the whole work/life balance by sugar-coating it with such terms.

Asking questions in the wrong company leads to conflicting advice.
And my advice is to seek out and refine where you solicit such advice.
PS: feel free to ignore, of course.
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