Moving boundaries

New Year, new boundaries.

Having spent fourteen plus years looking after daughter and managing many of the small details of her life – does she need a new toothbrush? What about feminine products? – I have decided that this year, she is old enough to manage these for herself. Goodness knows, she is far cleverer than me in a whole host of ways, and she can afford to leaven her lying about our home with a few trips to the shop at the top of the road – it is, literally, at the top of our short road. And no, she does not need to be subsidised for all her trips to town. Not only do I still pay for most of her clothes – she chooses, I foot the bill – but she gets pocket cash and extra money regularly.

It’s proving more difficult than expected to wean her off the oversight I have been used to provide, and which, if I am not careful, can swing so easily into a host of small remembered details for which I am expected to assume responsibility: Has she fed her cavies today, and has she remembered to take her keys? But moving boundaries are natural and necessary.

As our child grows, my responsibility is shifting away from actual doing for her, to more of the prompting to do for herself, which in itself signals the letting go that we must all renegotiate constantly, so that when she leaves home she can manage all her own small details competently. Yes, I allow for adolescent sleeping and relaxing. I did a lot of that myself. But increasingly, I view it as my role to advise, rather than simply doing for her, again and again. Lifts to activities become weather checks and bus-fares.

I find myself deciding to cast off stuff I have usually done for hubby too. He buys his own clothes now, without any help from me: so instead of four button cuff work shirts, he mistakenly buys two dress shirts which require impractical cuff links. I could get cross, or I could simply reflect that this is a learning curve like all learning curves. Today he wore a dress shirt to work, and enjoyed doing so.

With all this delegation and consequent extra free time I create for myself, my responsibilities change too. I must do more to stay fit – swimming again, walking more, getting outside every day – and work properly, writing and producing good, enjoyable material I can be proud of. I have no more excuses for wasting time or for taking lazy short-cuts.

If this year is to mean anything, I have to follow through with my personal and professional goals, and make sure that I do my best to meet them honestly. If there are a few seismic shifts on the way, I’ll deal with them too.

Thanks for reading.

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