On being Rigorously Competent

It’s a bit of an ‘in joke’ between Chris and I that I am ‘rigorously competent’; its a phrase he used as part of his speech at our wedding when describing me. That along with how I described myself to him, on our first date, as better than Jamelia at her own job. And I would agree with him, i’m confident enough to say that I am competent at a lot of things (just don’t ask me to add 7 to anything. ever.) What he didn’t share with the 100 odd guests at our wedding was that behind my rigorously competent persona there is a fragile, sensitive and emotionally finely balanced crazy woman.


As we potty train Joni I am beginning to realise that she is like me in more ways than just the shape of her eyes and her pot belly. For some reason potty training her has made me think deeply about my little baby and the little girl she has so quickly become. Saying goodbye to nappies in the day time has made me see her in a whole new, grown up, light.

She is rigorously competent too. She is good at potty training. She gets it. She knows when she needs a wee and a poo and I don’t think we’re going to have many issues. I haven’t had to give her a reward chart or bribe her (like I had to when persuading her not to make jokes whilst brushing her teeth …). I over did it on the making her drink water this afternoon though and she had an accident on the floor, she didn’t make a sound and just tried to clear it up by herself whilst I was blissfully unaware doing the washing up. Obviously I quickly stepped in, reassured her that it was ok and cleaned up the mess. But she didn’t want to make a fuss. She wanted to get it right first time. I’m so glad she’s like that but it does set many alarm bells off for me. Things aren’t as together as they might be perceived. She wanted me to cuddle her to sleep tonight (something that never happens) and she can’t get her head around wearing a nappy to bed ‘me a big girl now, I don’t wear nappies now Mummy’. There’s a change happening and she feels insecure about it. Boy, do I know that feeling. Lying in my bed quietly worrying, working through all my feelings. Planning. She wanted to know what she was doing tomorrow and what colour potty Granny would have and that she wouldn’t get in trouble if she had an accident. She wanted reassurance and love when she felt vulnerable and a little confused.

I hope that behind the confident and competent persona she isn’t quite as fragile as I am on the inside. I hope that maybe by recognising it in her I can work to reassure her and be there for her so she is emotionally as competent as she grows up. Who knows? I’ll do my best, that’s all we can do – right?

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2 Responses to On being Rigorously Competent

  1. There’s nothing wrong with fragility, nor is there with rigorous competence. The two are merely different parts of a healthy whole. Keep in touch with your inner woman in that secret place and let her teach you how to be intuitive and most of all, wild! Teaching your daughter everything you know is the best gift you can give to her. Thanks for sharing, mother.

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