Sunday, February 26, 2012
Imagine a small team of people, let's say three. (Bear with me here, this does go somewhere...)
A team has its own dynamics, people shift into their roles. The team finds its footing, in a series of trial and error actions that help them discover the best way to achieve their goals.
Now imagine that one member of the team (let's call this one 'P1') is often absent. It doesn't matter where they are; they could be off doing outside tasks for the group, but if they aren't there then the dynamics of the team shift again. The remaining members take on different roles to cover P1's absence.
Add to that the thought that another team member ('P2') is also absent at times, usually when P1 is back within the team. So the core group becomes two, with one usually away elsewhere. There's only one team member ('C') who is always there, having to deal with the others changing things around.
What happens to the group with all these changes? How do P1 and P2 adjust to being back within the team environment after working solo for a while? How does C, the reliable one who's always there, cope with the ins and outs of the others? How would C respond to them coming back?
This, my friends, is family life.
Aiming to work as a team to achieve an ultimate goal - Parent 1 (P1) and Parent 2 (P2) raising a child (C). But how often do they work together on this?
I have a theory, based on my time working in an office last year. See, after my days working I'd struggle to adjust back to family life. After full days elsewhere, with large chunks of time working quietly and in solitude, coming home to chatter and story-reading and game-playing and cleaning and organising was very overwhelming.
Each week, it took me a couple of days to adjust back to it all and find my rhythm again.
I see this with Steve, too. He works odd hours, so one week he could be home lots and the next we'll hardly see him (and often this is due to work plus other activities he does). On occasions where it's the latter, I've noticed how awkward our family feels, like it's hard for him to step back in. By that stage, Abbey and I have created our own routines and dynamics - it's hard for us to let that go, and it's hard for Steve to feel part of it.
My theory is that the longer you're away from home, the harder it is to be back here again.
The goal-posts shift, we start the struggle to find our roles again, and by the time we settle back into them... the working week starts again.
From Abbey's perspective, she struggles a bit when she doesn't see one of us much for a while. She's always here, needing to be parented and looked after, and she's very noticeably at her happiest when the three of us are together. One complete team.
Right now, Steve and I are working to make that a reality as much as possible. We've each had to sacrifice some things for that goal, so that we can be the parents we want to be - and mostly so that our girl feels part of a stable home.
Do you notice the team struggle? How do you make it work?
Posted at 5:16 PM