To Be or Not To Be Taken For Granted?
(as appears in You! magazine: http://realmums.com.au/you/2009/02/01/to-be-or-not-to-be-taken-for-granted/)
What are you famous for?
My assumed role in my home is “finder of things”. I’m the go-to woman of the house if someone can’t find their notebook or their runners. Weirdly, I can’t say I hate this role exactly. Often, as hard as it is to admit, I am slightly proud that I can suggest the exact location of a 10 centimetre Ben 10 figurine amongst a sea of toys, books and clothes.
Until recent times however, I have resented that it was taken for granted that this was my designated duty – rather than my wonderful talent.
Instead of an appropriate modicum of gratitude offered my way as payment for finding said items, I almost cop the blame for them not being in plain sight in the first place. (Sometimes they actually are in plain sight, but Domestic Blindness is a topic for another day).
Taken For Granted cannot be a good thing, right? We don’t like being Taken For Granted in relationships – not to mention it totally sends me into a lips-of-string rant when the family’s breakfast dishes are automatically left to me to clean away everyday (as it does my husband stuck with his unsolicited role of Royal Bin Emptier.)
But, the more I ponder it, I have to wonder if being Taken For Granted always a bad thing?
And you know ... I think not.
Being Taken For Granted has its upside. In my extended family, it is a safe assumption that if your computer is making you want to scream and throw yourself on the floor in a fit of anger and tears, you call my brother-in-law. He will sort you out on anything with a USB plug and a screen. He doesn’t mind at all. That’s just the way he rolls.
Then there is my sister. Every now and then I get a passing interest in some sport or another (cue the Australian Open, Soccer World Cup or Melbourne Cup Day). Periodically, after getting bitten by the (24-hour) Sport Bandwagon Bug, I feel the need for some adult conversation about Federer versus Nadal or inconsistencies in international rugby rules. So, whomygunnacall? Sis is bound to humour me. She draws upon her freakish catalogue-like knowledge of every player of every team known to man as well as what colour strip they wore and who crossed any given line during any given tournament. Easy.
My dad is the guy you call if you want some handy help. Towel railings need replacing? Yep, can do. Kids bike brakes need a-tweaking? He’s your guy. Hell, he could probably build you a homemade entertainment system if you were in desperate need. He’s cool with it. He’s retired, loves his family and brings skills, experience and willingness to the table that I am not sad I am lacking.
Going beyond the domestic and the practical, Taken For Granted can be an emotional calling (see: Obama for Restorer of Lost Hope). Or a professional role. There are people in my work circle that are unofficially and sometimes involuntarily known as expert resources on social networking, media connection and/or politics.
Taken For Granted roles aren’t always bad because they indicate the value you contribute – not only to a collective group but to your own self-esteem. It’s nice to be wanted for things you’re good at.
“Muuuum, can you help me find ...” is but one of my calling cards. In my house I am also known as the font of comfort, reasoning and feel-better hugs. Also, letter writing and spelling guidance (talk about the blind leading the blind ... or is that blinde??). All in all, not a bad mould to fill.
Thankfully, I have long left behind being Taken For Granted as the neglected-girlfriend or the co- worker to call on at 5am when you don’t feel like pitching in for your shift.
You know for what I would really love to be Taken For Granted? The gal who eats chocolate by the truckload and never puts on weight! How would that be?! What about your resident expert on exotic island holidays? Or, the purveyor of fabulous dinner parties?
The great thing about these roles is that you can cultivate them yourself. It all comes down to applying yourself to your goals to become the person you want to be, or at the very least, love the person you are within your niche.
No, it’s never too late to be Taken For Granted for something awesome.