This is a sponsored post for Firth’s The Compensation Lawyers. They have invited me to write a piece about family.
When babies are newborn, they can be so incredibly tiny and fragile-looking. The huge task of keeping this brand new person alive makes most first-time parents a little breathless – even if the newborn is a deliciously chubby 10 pounder.
Keeping baby safe becomes our raison d'être. To that end, we are endlessly vigilant about small, chokey things, poison things, sharp things, breaky things, and in the end, most of us live in a lounge room reduced to a soft rug and a television bolted to the wall.
Now there is a tendency to let the third child juggle knives but in fairness, that’s only because once you hit maximum capacity for parental anxiety, the only option is to give up.
But there are some precautions we continue to take in the name of safety. All poisons still remain safely locked away. Seat belts are obviously non-negotiable, and there is the unofficial rule that The Wiggles is not allowed in this house.
Financial security is also a concern for most families and to this end, Brendon is working incredibly hard to complete his final year of an Engineering degree, I purchase only 1% of the shoes I fall in love with and we always, always pay back anything we borrow when the kids’ bank accounts are the only ones with money in them.
Because we just care so damn much.
Anyway, I don’t want to brag but we obviously have the safety thing covered.
Unless, of course, we die.
I’m sure the long term security of the kids will be fine – as long as we’re alive. In the event of our untimely deaths, I fear our plans for them are dangerously loose.
Yes, we have a basic idea about who should get the kids (heads up, Granma – it’s you) but beyond that, things get a little hazy. Both Brendon and I understand that we need to address this but it feels like the heaviest of conversations to begin.
Is it a kind of immaturity that prevents me from seriously considering these things? An unwillingness to accept that I am the grown-up in this scenario? I admit I do have moments, sometimes daily, where I want to lie in the foetal position and let someone else make the big calls. And that’s just in relation to what’s for dinner.
A large part of our reticence to talk seriously about how our children will be taken care of in our absence is because it is too awful to consider. But I also believe anything that relates to a legal or financial matter feels overwhelmingly complex.
Most of us require expert advice at some point and this is a real stumbling block for me. Deferring to others is an exercise in trust and when someone stands to make money from my inexperience, my default position is scepticism. Not understanding something makes me feel out of control but trusting in another is equally uncomfortable. The bank manager, the mechanic, the lawyer – we are naturally suspicious of their motivations and whether they saw us coming a mile away.
But where I will take my car to the mechanic to ensure it is safe for me to drive my family in, I am still procrastinating when it comes to getting a will done. And I just realised I haven’t seen a superannuation statement for years because the company still has my old address. Getting these things in order is easy to put off because the repercussions do not feel immediate in the way that a car making a funny noise does. They only become immediate in the event of a tragedy and no-one likes to dwell on that. It’s kind of a downer.
The reality is that no-one expects bad luck to befall them. Not really. We conduct our lives as though bad things, the really bad things, happen to other people. And for most of us, this will be true. We will come to the end of our lives reasonably unscathed. Of course, there is no foolproof protection against the unforeseeable. Life has to be lived. But I think it might be a more enjoyable experience if I knew that we had done everything we could to ensure the smoothest path for our kids if it ever came to be that we were no longer here to help smooth it for them.
I am proud to report that half way through writing this piece, I stopped to ring my super co. I updated my address, ordered missed statements and found out my balance. While I was at it, I checked out Bren’s super balance, too. Tonight I’m going to have to break it to him that if one of us has to meet our maker prematurely, it really should be him on account of he has more super than me. Really, I’m just thinking of the children.
So this is how I face life as an adult. I put my big girl undies on, I add a generous dash of black humour and then I just get it done. The necessary evils are not necessarily evil.
But if anyone is taking note upstairs, I would like both Bren and I to stick around for the duration. Thanks in advance.
Firth’s were the first law firm in Australia established for the sole purpose of representing innocent victims in claims against insurance companies – I guess that makes them a bit like Erin Brockovich but without the great boobs. I’m grateful to Firth’s for helping support The Little Mumma (and for helping me pay back the kids’ piggy banks).