When I first decided to move out of home, it was a surreal feeling of taking my first triumphant step into real adulthood. The thought of having my own apartment made me flutter with excitement. I was ready to become a responsible and independent adult.
But – in the first few days of moving in, things were not all that I expected them to be. I remember sitting in between my packing boxes with my eyes glued to my phone – trying to set up my electricity and gas, keep track of my rent, research affordable Internet providers and coordinate the delivery times of all my new furniture. There was just too much “life admin” to do!
At one point, I accepted that it was all too new to do on my own. When the gas company asked me for my meter reading – not only did I not know how to read my gas meter, I did not even know it existed! I eventually called my parents for help. They told me to call the gas provider and briefed me on what to say. I then searched up the gas provider on Google, frantically scrolled down to ‘Contact Us’ page and waited on what seemed to be endless ‘hold’ music until a worker finally assisted me with my enquiry. In a few days’ time, the gas was all ready to go.
For some of the families here at Bonnie’s, women make the difficult decision to start a new life on their own. And this comes with a whole lot of “life admin” that can feel overwhelming and daunting, especially when they have never tried it before. For some women, living in an abusive and controlling environment prevented them from attempting these skills at all.
I remember working with a Mum who needed to pay rent regularly through direct debit. She was unsure of what to do and asked me to do it for her. I offered that we contact the bank together. The worker guided us through a step-by-step procedure on how to set up ongoing transactions through her online banking. After this, the Mum exclaimed, “That was so easy!”. Next thing, she is calling her car insurance, phone company, real estate and everything else – all on her own.
Sometimes, seemingly small tasks like these are a huge achievement. It supports women to learn the skills to navigate the world around them, but, more so, it builds confidence for them to live independently. We see how these skills allow women to articulate their needs and implement the right strategies to seek solutions.
“Life admin” can be stressful and complicated – but it is important to know that it is okay to not know how to do things at the first go. It is also okay to ask for help when we need it. It is always encouraging when we see women glow with a sense of achievement after they have ticked off a ‘life admin’ task from their list. Not only is it a step towards their individual growth as resilient, empowered and independent women – but ultimately, a step towards to a generation of strong and capable women in our communities at large.
Blog by Bonnie’s DVRE worker, Jess.