I am not much of a team player, despite what my CV says. I find it hard to listen to other people, I shuffle on my seat waiting for my turn to speak. I interrupt and I am occasionally rude without meaning to be. I am always waiting to leave to be on my own and do my own thing. I would much rather do something myself than delegate.
As a single women this was fine. After my divorce I went through a myriad of emotions, one of them was relief that I did not have to take on board another person’s emotions or feelings anymore, I could just create my own chaos without anyone being annoyed/upset/ pushed out and there were no arguments with the autopsy afterwards.
So, knowing this about myself, why would I foist myself and my bad manners on to someone else? Well, I fell in love. Didn’t bloody mean to, it just happened and there was nothing I could do about it. Suddenly there was nothing I wanted more than to listen, to sit and share crisps in the car on a wet afternoon, to gaze into his eyes and all the other things I used to scoff at. Bleurghhh.
So now I was part of a team I had to learn how to play this new game. He moved into my house and it was no longer my house. He put his clothes in my wardrobe and it was no longer my wardrobe. Everything is ours, things merge. I like it, no I really do, but I still hear myself huffing around the house because he is there. I don’t want him to be anywhere else, I like him loads but to give up my territory is so unnatural to me, so challenging and so uncomfortable. Is this normal? Well, it was normal for me and I needed retraining. Continuing Relationship Development.
During the pregnancy we just had to work as a team, we both worked full time and things needed doing. As my tummy grew the list of things that I could do just shrank. The last month was so uncomfortable that the only thing I could manage was the occasional fluffing of a cushion and some homework with the older children. The physical strain of being four stone heavier meant that my mind was no longer in conflict, I just gave up hanging on to doing things, we had to become a tighter team to protect the baby and my health, my partner very naturally filled in roles as I let them go. Forced into the sofa by the weight I learned to listen to him, to understand that two people can do things differently and no one be right (or wrong), I learnt to be vulnerable and to see his vulnerability.
Now baby is here we are as tight as a Premiership football team, we huddled together, heads together and arms locked.
So what am I saying? I guess I am saying that team work is like any skill, it needs hard work, planning and a lot of self awareness. It’s not just about sharing chores or sharing baby, its about sharing space. In a board room I still might find that difficult, but within a home and within a relationship I think I am nearly there. More West Bromwich Albion than Manchester United, but nearly there.