I’ve always been encouraged to be my own person and to believe in the decisions that I make.
However I was also brought up in an inclusive family and any decisions that would impact on other members of our family or friends were always discussed.
I still remember the conversation that happened when mum was thinking of going back to work. We were lucky growing up, we lived next door to our nan. This meant mum and dad were both able to work when we were young because nan looked after us. When I was really young she took care of us all day and then before and after school. In my early years of primary school nan moved away and mum gave up work to be there for my brother and I.
The year mum decided to return to work I was 13 years old and half way through my first year of high school. While mum wanted to go back to work, the decision was a family one because it was going to impact us all and it would mean more chores for my brother and I.
My chores were cooking dinner every night and helping with the house work on Saturdays. This meant that I had to agree that I would come home every night after school so that dinner was ready when mum and dad got home. A huge impact on a teenager’s social life after school! Also, no leaving the house on Saturdays until all the house work was done. My brother had to make sure the fire was lit, the wood stack inside was full and help dad with the outdoor work (sensing some stereotypes here!).
So mum did go back to work and while I sometimes hated it, I was part of the decision making, I agreed to my chores. I’m pretty glad really, I got to learn recipes from my family history, recipes from my grandmother, nan and mum. I also became quite a good cook as a result!
I’ve noticed a lot of people make decisions that impact on the people around them, the people they love and who love them. Luckily sometimes those impacts are good, other times, the impacts are hurtful and cut deep into other’s emotions.
It’s great to be your own person, This Girl encourages it. But for This Girl, respecting the people who love and are there for you can be just as important as doing the things that feel right to you at the time, particularly if they are hurtful to others.