When her Dad and I separated, it was not easy establishing the home climate. She was just four, then. She witnessed the difficult marriage and has expressed how she felt wrong about it. But I knew that didn’t mean she was going through some emotional detachment over her father. I allowed her to meet and see her father often too.
In my head, I was thinking I had to come up with something to make her feel we were still intact; to make her feel secure despite the changes. And on top of it all; to keep me sane.
I began creating routines for the two of us. Mundane routines actually; like, waking up at a certain hour, spending time to walk around the garden (good there was one), watering a few plants, breakfast…just those little stuff. My friends would even kid me back then and tell me it was as if a big “play-date”. And yes, in many ways it was like an everyday big “play-date”. Our lives went as if we were just playing. Chores were part of the play. I allowed her to meddle with every chore.
Having been a pre-school teacher I was at peace with her meddling and playing along. It made a lot of stuff easier to handle within the home. I was not overly concerned with how well the house was cleaned nor with how my vegetables were cut into its size. I was happy she was initiating to learn and was enjoying the process. She took care of the place because she helped keep it. She ate food because she helped prepare it. Those were more important for me.
We also came up with our BALAI STATEMENT. It was a declaration of our household temperament and values. It was like our home rules which applied to who we are and whoever would share our space.
But, yeah…we were pretty much a mess every so often.