Sitting on the train drawing into Paddington station (en route from Slough to Leeds, both destinations of fabulous exotic promise and salubriousness), you can’t help but notice, if you are staring mindlessly out of the window at the right moment, the signs declaring “Where is your banksman?”. No, not a reference to a rebranding of disgraced financial services employees in an attempt to get themselves a title that doesn’t rhyme with w**ker. Actually it serves as a reminder to drivers of heavy machinery that they should make sure they don’t inadvertantly run over the buddy that they are always working with whose job it is to make sure that they safely manouvre their heavy and dangerous payload.
So it got me to thinking – sometimes marriages are a bit like that. Oftentimes one of you is furiously focusing on the difficult and dangerous business of safely negotiating life, making sure the mortgage gets paid perhaps or ensuring that all the children are fed and dressed and have done their homework and can function as semi-civilised people; and the other one is holding on in there trying to make sure that no fatal collisions happen and we can all take a tea-break at 4pm. Unfortunately, all too often, we forget that both roles are essential to success. All too often we forget to ask “Where is my banksman?”.
We’ve recently made some major change-of-life decisions in our family. After 10 years as a successful media lawyer, my other half has decided to make a career change and move into teaching. We’ve gone from him earning most of our family income and me running my own business around the kids, to me returning to corporate career life and him keeping the home fires burning (hopefully with some lecturing thrown in too). People I tell keep saying it’s a “brave decision”, which I interpret to mean “you are both lunatics”. But I think it’s all about knowing which one of us is the banksman at any given time, and where that person is – right now.