A Helping Hand

The other day I watched a beautiful David Lynch film called ‘The Straight Story’. It seemed slow-moving to begin with but the beauty was in its simplicity. Half-way during the film, an old man is talking about family to a young girl:

“I’d give each of my 8 kids a stick and, one for each one of them. Then I’d say, “You break that”. Course they could real easy. Then I’d say, “Tie them sticks in a bundle and try to break that”. Course they couldn’t.

Then I’d say, “That bundle… that’s family.”

It got me thinking about my own family. I come from a close family of six; 2 boys, 2 girls and my brilliant parents. As I was growing up I never knew if that closeness was because our extended family mostly lived on the other side of the world…or if it was just because my parents worked hard at instilling certain values into our home. We always ate dinner when my Dad arrived home so we could all eat together and talk about the day. We didn’t have any technology in our rooms, so the lounge became a place we would all come together (until I turned 17 years old and spent a LOT of time in my room on the phone to my mates!).

I never truly appreciated my family until I was pregnant with Emma. Until then, I took them for granted a little…and still do sometimes. I don’t speak to our brothers and sisters as much as we like and need to call home more often. But when I found out we were expecting, I started thinking about the family dynamic all of a sudden. There are so many things that you’ve never thought of before that are now important. What are our values as a couple? What do we want for our family? Together we started to talk about these things and I realised that I wanted both James and Emma to have that unbreakable family bond, just like the bundle of sticks.

helping hand

Now that I have my own family, I often think that I’m completely sorted…that I don’t need help anymore. The proud side of me wants to cope with everything without that help from family; after all my parents have spent a lifetime offering me advice, support and a shoulder to cry on many times. But the other day, as I begin to make some crucial decisions on my career, my Mum was there for me yet again…offering me not just advice but exactly what I need to facilitate this huge change in my life at the moment.

The truth is that being a freelancer and having left my job to be on maternity leave was a little scary. And moving away from the city where you started your career, away from people in the industry who you know would champion you, was even scarier. Whenever people asked me about when I will go back to work, I would make some joke about my previous job being ridiculous and brush it aside. But I always knew that I’d have to come up with a realistic plan…and now it’s somehow fallen into my lap. But one thing’s for certain: it would not be remotely  feasible without help.

I know not everyone has the same dynamic in their family and I’m very lucky to have such support in my life. It was a wake up call for me to remember that I’m not the lone wolf I sometimes try to be. It’s OK to need a bit of help now and then. It’s OK to not be able to do it all. It’s OK to prioritise things and give something you really want a go. And above all, I hope that one day in 30 years time, I will be helping Emma in the same way, offering her that helping hand whenever she needs it.

My Random Musings
This Mum's Life
Life of My Family & Me


  1. September 12, 2016 / 7:25 am

    This is such a lovely post hun – family is everything and having our own little ones certainly puts everything into perspective xx
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  2. September 12, 2016 / 9:47 am

    What a lovely sentiment? Family really is everything and I think sometimes if we step back and just appreciate who we have around us it really is like giving your self the biggest hug and it is always OK to not be OK and need a little extra help #BigPinkLink
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  3. September 12, 2016 / 10:10 am

    What a gorgeous post. Family is so important isn’t it? My parents live just a few minutes away and I am lost without them. They are away all summer and won’t be home until October and I think it’s through the summer when I realise just how much I take them forgranted. I see very little of my extended family but I hope that will be different for my children. Id love them all to stay close when they are older. #eatsleepblogrt

    • September 12, 2016 / 10:38 am

      Thank you lovely, I can see how close your family are just from your pics. I hope James and Emma stay close too x

    • September 12, 2016 / 10:29 am

      Thank you lovely – it’s funny how having kids makes you think of family more. xx

  4. September 12, 2016 / 12:47 pm

    I think that’s the beauty of a close knit family, there’s an element of all dipping in and out when you really need each other and it’s so great that you have that support network. Makes you realise just how many people have your back when the chips are down. Lovely post as always xxx
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  5. September 12, 2016 / 7:32 pm

    #EatSleepBlogRT it’s always ok to ask family to help, in fact it’s a privilege. My Mums Mum passed away before I was born and I remember her saying there were so many questions she had when she was pregnant with me, she wished heaven had a phone connection (which given our technology you’d think God would have installed one by now) as a result I was always proud to be able to ask my mum the most ridiculous questions. Family is as essential as the air I breathe x wonderful post Hun

  6. September 12, 2016 / 8:57 pm

    Wonderful post. When families are there for each other they really are unbreakable. Your mum sounds amazing, how great that she was able to help you with such a big life changing decision.
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  7. September 12, 2016 / 9:41 pm

    This post really resonated with me. I am so similar – I will try to be independent from my family – not to bother them as it were, but actually, they are there for me and what’s more, they WANT to help. I think that it’s so important that we recognise this, or we are denying everyone from developing the true meaning of ‘family’. Alison x #AnythingGoes
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    • September 12, 2016 / 11:10 pm

      Thank you for the lovely comment – it’s so true that just shifting the mindset to realise that people want to help makes all the difference. xx

      • September 13, 2016 / 10:33 am

        Absolutely. We all feel better about ourselves when we help others and here is a ready formed safety net for us to use 🙂 Alison x #DreamTeam
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  8. September 13, 2016 / 7:12 am

    Love that quote! I don’t have any brothers or sisters after my younger brother passed away years ago but my parents and I have such a massive bond, they live a few doors down and I couldn’t survive with out their constant help and support! #dreamteam
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  9. September 13, 2016 / 7:37 am

    Ahhh that’s just lovely. I think it was only after having children that I appreciated how lucky I am to have my family unit! Having that support, your own cheerleaders, who understand and encourage is the best feeling!
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  10. September 13, 2016 / 7:39 am

    Hi Bridie, I’m back for #DreamTeam. I’m always struck by reading or watching about folks who’s families are at war with each other…Where bitter feuds have driven a wedge. I also have examples in my Debt Advice Centre, where they are struggling with debt that could be easily written off by wealthy relatives but the folks in debt are too proud to ask or their family situation is such that help would not be forthcoming. We who have close families are very blessed. #dreamteam
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  11. September 13, 2016 / 7:47 am

    you are so right when you say that we get parents and family for grated. I was the same before I had Baba. and then I started realising what my parents have done for me all those years, especially my mum and all the sacrifices she made for my brother and I. I wish I knew it all before, but I am happy that I got it in the end. Only took me 30 years…I hope you are ok and happy with the decision you made about your career. Thinking of you xx #DreamTeam

  12. September 13, 2016 / 8:01 am

    Well said! I have such a hard time asking for and accepting help, and I really need to get better about it. All of our family live overseas, but we have great friends here who often offer to babysit the Popple – but we rarely take them up on it because we don’t like admitting that we need help. But we do – as does everyone. #DreamTeam
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  13. September 13, 2016 / 8:58 am

    What a lovely post. We’re very fortunate that my mother in law and her husband are brilliant but sadly they love nearly an hour away so we struggle on our own sometimes and I admit I’m envious of people who have grandparents close by to help out! #dreamteam
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  14. September 13, 2016 / 9:08 am

    Such a lovely metaphor about the sticks . It’s wonderful to have family support especially for those big decisions. I think raising a family is such a big job, none of us can do it alone. #DreamTeam
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  15. September 13, 2016 / 9:37 am

    Such a lovely post, your family sounds amazing. Since having a baby I’ve realised how hard my mum and dad worked for me and my brother and we’re really close. I feel really lucky and I hope j can help my son as much. #dreamteam
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  16. September 13, 2016 / 9:37 am

    Such a lovely post, your family sounds amazing. Since having a baby I’ve realised how hard my mum and dad worked for me and my brother and we’re really close. I feel really lucky and I hope j can help my son as much. #dreamteam
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  17. September 13, 2016 / 12:15 pm

    What a beautiful saying, I really love that! Might actually give it a go with pickle! #DreamTeam x

  18. September 13, 2016 / 1:13 pm

    My family is everything to me, a lovely post #dreamteam

  19. September 13, 2016 / 1:15 pm

    A lovely post, my family is everything to me! #dreamteam

  20. September 13, 2016 / 1:43 pm

    I’m very similar to you I couldn’t be more grateful to all the support I have around me especially from my family. when I had my son they helped me sooo much and gave me loads of support #DreamTeam
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  21. September 13, 2016 / 2:11 pm

    ah thats lovely, it can be easy to forget about your ‘original’ family as you start a new one, but its all just one big family anyway. I hope the career thing works out for you – sounds good! #dreamteam
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  22. September 13, 2016 / 2:19 pm

    You are so right! I come from a very close-knit family (I always describe myself as a ‘home bird’!) and it really is something to be treasured. My brothers and parents are scattered right across the UK now so we don’t see each other as much, and I know I don’t phone them enough either, but if I’m ever stuck, I KNOW they’ll be there for me. It’s lovely that your mum is so ready to help you out. #DreamTeam
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  23. September 13, 2016 / 2:56 pm

    I absolutley love that analogy and would love my family to be like that too. It sounds like you grew up in a lovely home! What did you decide about work in the end? #Dreamteam

  24. September 13, 2016 / 7:21 pm

    I love this…I live away from my family too and I have missed them so much since my daughter was born, especially my mum. I definitely should make more of an effort to call them more x #DreamTeam

  25. September 13, 2016 / 8:21 pm

    the stick and a bundle exercise would be so great for the first day of school- upper grades team building exercises. That is the former teacher in me 😉

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  26. September 13, 2016 / 8:54 pm

    I love that film clip you describe, it’s so true. Family are the people who are always there no matter what, whether we love each other or sometimes hate each other, it’s unbreakable and forever. I agree having your own children definitely makes you appreciate your own parents and siblings in a new way. Lovely post Bridget xx
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  27. September 13, 2016 / 10:18 pm

    Awww this really made me smile. It’s lovely to hear about your close knit family. It can make such a difference having a helping hand around. Thanks so much for co-hosting the #DreamTeam with me. Xx
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  28. September 13, 2016 / 10:23 pm

    What a lovely analogy. I couldnt think of anything better. I took my family for granted a little before we had the little ones too. I didnt realise just how important or special or fortunate we were to have the family that we have, but having children puts everything into a much clearer perspective. Lovely post 🙂 Emily #DreamTeam

  29. September 14, 2016 / 8:38 am

    I absolutely love the quote about the sticks! I’m going to keep that, squirrel it away somewhere, and use it when needed! I love how you describe your family dynamic too-with your parents and siblings. I have no family in my city, but my mum is 45 minutes away. She won’t drive to me because it involves driving on the motorway, which she’s terrified of. But she gets a train, and 2 buses once a week to spend the day with the boys, and I really look forward to that time! And we go to her every other Sunday. She and my dad also babysit whenever we ask (easier then because my dad can drive them over,) and once they babysat 3 times in one week-I always feel awkward about asking, but my mum insists she loves doing it. I really don’t know where id be without her! My husband isn’t that close to his family, so I’m desperate to make sure my boys don’t just drift off and not really bother with us when they’re older. Thanks for a lovely post, such beautiful sentiments!
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  30. September 14, 2016 / 11:12 am

    What a lovely post, having no parents anymore , I have been lucky enough to be very close with my sister, and although we don’t always get on, we do look out for each other and each others children. I am lucky enough to have a big extended family too and whilst I don’t rely on them for anything, its nice to get together for special events. My children are fiercely close to me, as it has just been the 3 of us for so many years now, so any girlfriend will be carefully vetted on you aren’t taking my sons or my grandchildren anywhere! Everyone is guilty of not appreciating what they have until they haven’t anymore! xx
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  31. September 14, 2016 / 12:51 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment here Bridget – you write beautifully.
    Thank you x

  32. September 14, 2016 / 5:57 pm

    I love that quote! I also think of myself as a bit of a lone wolf but I must admit it’s good to know that family are there when you need them. Lovely thought provoking post. #EatSleepBlogRT

  33. September 14, 2016 / 6:05 pm

    Oh my goodness I can relate to a lot of this particularly feeling like the lone wolf. #DreamTeam
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  34. September 14, 2016 / 7:33 pm

    Lovely post. Family really is so important and I don’t think we really fully appreciate it until we become parents ourselves. I am glad you have had your mum there for you recently to help you through things, I definitely rely on my parents for advice and support so much more now I’m a mum myself.xx #dreamteam
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  35. September 14, 2016 / 8:23 pm

    What a lovely post and it’s brilliant how close you are to your family. I don’t have a close relationship with my siblings and that is a key thing I want to foster in my children. And living a good two hours drive from my mum, I am guilty of focusing on my own little family – something I really should try and change. #dreamteam

  36. September 14, 2016 / 8:23 pm

    What a sweet post! It’s important to instill family values into children. Family (and friends) should be there to offer you support and you are very fortunate to have such a strong bond! xx #DreamTeam
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  37. September 14, 2016 / 10:09 pm

    Ah I love this! And I hope it’s helped you to make your decision about the job and find a path that suits you? I’ve been waiting to hear what you decided! #DreamTeam
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  38. September 15, 2016 / 1:11 am

    I have always been close to my parents, but when I became another I saw my mum in such a different light. I truly appreciate all my parents did to raise us 4 kids and how lucky we were, Family is so important. #dreamtaem
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  39. September 15, 2016 / 3:55 pm

    Family means everything to me. I’m really close to to my older sister, younger brother and my parents. I miss my older sister living in Vancouver and I hate that she’s missing up on my baby girl growing up. We facetime and message all the time but it’s not the same.
    A lovely post Bridie xx

    Thanks for linking up to #EatSleepBlogRT
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  40. September 16, 2016 / 10:53 am

    I love that quote about the sticks – such a simple thought but really makes sense. I never considered my family especially close when we were growing up – with 6 kids and 2 adults in a small house there was a lot of tension! But we always ate dinner together at the table, not on our laps in front of the TV and like you never had tv/games consoles in our bedrooms so we always sat and watched TV together in the lounge and our family is definitely closer than I originally thought. It’s definitely something I want to recreate with my own family. I think small things like having dinner together and talking about your day create a natural closeness. Great post #DreamTeam

  41. September 16, 2016 / 10:57 am

    I love that stick analogy! I’ve been through this too, I realised I didn’t need I be supermum (do everything myself) I learned to let others help. I couldn’t work if it wasn’t for My in laws helping, I realise how lucky I am to have them. #DreamTeam
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  42. September 18, 2016 / 9:03 am

    Love the bundle of sticks analogy. Family are so important and like yours mine have been so supportive since we had kids. I hope I am raising my kids to have the same family values and that they feel they can always come to me #eatsleepblogrt

  43. September 19, 2016 / 6:47 pm

    Lovely post – We are very close to our family on both sides. They help us out a lot with Piglet, i don’t know what we would do without them! #marvmondays

  44. September 19, 2016 / 7:15 pm

    Lovely post. It definitely puts things into perspective. Family are so important, especially when I think how many people aren’t as fortunate as I am #MarvMondays

  45. September 19, 2016 / 11:08 pm

    Oh how lovely! I think we are going to have to lean heavily on parents too when u go back to work as having one at school and one at nursery brings a whole new level of complication to the pick up and drop off routine! Sounds like you’ve got a great opportunity and your mums being very supportive I am sure you will get a chance to do the same for Emma. Thanks for hosting #dreamteam xx
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