The other day, my partner and I were talking about when our (now 17-year-old) child was a baby.
We were talking about how scared we both were.
How completely out of our depth we felt.
And it was the first time either one of us had heard that from the other.
You see, we were young, and scared, and both of us were valiantly trying to hold it together for the other.
But that only got us so far.
We both ended up feeling awfully alone. horribly unsupported, and very isolated that first year. And although part of that was because of a lack of a good support system, part of that was because we were scared to lean in.
Leaning in requires that we acknowledge and own our feelings about a situation.
Leaning in requires that we become vulnerable about those feelings with someone else that is safe and dependable in our life.
Leaning in requires that we do so in a way that allows for the other person to also have big, hard feelings about the situation, and makes space for them to share how they are feeling as well.
But just like there are very few tents that can be erected with one tent pole, and many more that can be erected with two or more, leaning in creates a structure and framework to get through the thunderstorms of life, by giving you people you can trust and hold on to when the going gets tough.
So we’ve been practicing leaning in the past few days.
We leaned in to some tough parenting calls, and it seemed to go better than it had gone in quite a while.
We leaned in to some hard sensory issues, and managed to succeed where we have almost entirely failed up to this point.
We leaned in to some household upkeep that had gone undone for far too long because the jobs just seemed to big to manage on our own, and the results are pretty impressive.
And we’re learning – faster than we ever expected – that leaning in can take us to places that we never thought we could get to when we were each trying to make it there on our own.