How much can you prepare first time parents for the journey that lies ahead of them? How useful is ‘having a plan’ for the first 12 months of your baby’s life? These are 2 questions that came to me as I thought about our journey (the trials and tribulations so far!) with 3 boys.
We did make plans and we definitely stuck to some plans that we should have abandoned. But, for whatever reason, most of our plans were like a sand sculpture at the beach. We could change them ourselves in response to what was happening, or the incoming tide (external forces) would reshape them anyway. When it came to balancing our time between work and home, knew that our plans (and goals) were like little experiments and we expected them to change – this approach became our mindset.
We also had contingencies and exit strategies. When it came it finances we built-in worst-case scenarios. For instance, when we borrowed money for the home renovation (when our first child was 15 months old), we assumed that we would only have 1 income and interest rates could go as high as 12%. We only borrowed as much as these contingencies allowed.
In reality, Ingrid was able to go back to work a day or two a week between children. However, you just never know what card will be played next … you can’t connect the dots into the future. Sick toddlers and ill health or lack of child services were a couple of ‘incoming tides’ that we couldn’t predict.
So whatever your plans are, for whatever part of your life, chances are your plans will change in response to what’s going on around you. Healthy doses of humility, reflection and openness will provide a great platform. Go ahead and plan for the future … at times you have to! But always assume that ‘shit will happen’. Invite in the ‘unexpected’, stay open to ’emergence’ and learn to ‘improvise’.
This post builds on previous post along a similar theme …