Cuddling With that Late Night Booty Call: Want

Deutsch: Irische Hard Shoes, auch Hornpipe Sho...

Deutsch: Irische Hard Shoes, auch Hornpipe Shoes oder Jig Shoes genannt. Jig Shoes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*Warning: Defensive post ahead.

Yesterday afternoon, I walked past a favorite shoe store, recently renovated so the ambiance matches the price points.  In the window was an absolute wantwantwant Pas de Rouge shoe.  So much so, I took a picture with a phone, posted it to my personal Facebook wall, and had fun with friends dreaming about $400 shoes.  (for some reason I can’t transfer pics from my phone to this blog, sorry) Fun? Yes. Silly? Absolutely. But there’s something about a sole full of awesomeness that some roundheels like myself can’t deny.  Resist, sure, but not deny.

But here’s what I’m thinking about today. We’re expected to deny our wants.  As women, certainly as women with children, we’re supposed to forget about our pesky little wants, dreams, and desires, at least until all children our grown and gone.  I’m not talking about ridiculously expensive shoes, but the other stuff.  Like writing, or painting, or photography (except of our children), or going back to school, or a vacation that isn’t educational.  Even hobbies are relegated to after the kids are asleep.  You know what?  After the kids are grown and gone is a long, long time.  Add in a special needs child and multiply this by eleventy billion.

A newborn child crying.

A newborn child crying. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It doesn’t seem so long at first, when they’re babies, toddlers, and young children, and your days meld together with feeding and changing, soothing and crooning.  Hell, just looking at this photo makes my boobs tingle, preparing for a non existent milk letdown, and it’s been years since I nursed.

My belief that children come first is strong.  Most of us deny ourselves a lot of wants, put off needs, because the kids come first.  It’s what our biology and our society dictates; in my opinion this is as it should be.  I know it isn’t just women who put certain wants off until the kids are grown, most of us, male and female, are on limited budgets, and many of us have to either give up or put dreams aside until the immediate responsibilities are fewer. Being last is okay, as long as I’m still in the race.

But since I began blogging about my newly rediscovered determination to get back to a regular writing and submitting schedule, more than a couple of my female followers have made reference (both on and off the blog) to wanting to do X, and waiting to do X until the kids are gone.   Feel free to jump in and tell me you’ve heard otherwise, I’ve never heard a man say he’s waiting to investigate and pursue a hobby until the kids are gone.  When I read the stories of writers who have been successful after having children, but before the kids are gone, they’re a little different. Both male and female showed tremendous drive, dedication, and passion.  The men talk about coming home from their day jobs, locking themselves in whatever little nook they can carve out for themselves in their home, and writing.  Women talk about coming home from their day jobs, supervising homework, making dinner, doing the bedtime thing, and then going to whatever nook they’ve carved out for themselves. Or, if they were SAHMs, writing during naps and loads of laundry. And of course, eating all those bon bons. Who needs sleep, right?

I don’t know about you, but when I sleep and dream, it isn’t about juicy younger men or my formerly perky parts. It’s about space and time for myself that isn’t shrouded in guilt.

English: A photograph of an engraving in The W...

English: A photograph of an engraving in The Writings of Charles Dickens volume 4, Oliver Twist, titled “Oliver at Mrs. Maylie’s Door”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think it’s valid, sensible, and important to recognize the difference between wants and needs, and then further breakdown to prioritize these needs and wants. What I don’t get is why this is supposed to equal no wants or dreams.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I recognize that I live in this spoiled American society and I am a spoiled American.  I don’t have a McMansion and don’t want one.  I also don’t want to live in a hut, with just enough grains of rice to keep me going, foraged Pepsi bottles strapped to my feet with woven grass.   I hear those are terrible for dog walking.

 

 

29 comments

  1. Piping in, a voice of dissent. I believe our responsibility to our children comes first, but that’s not exactly the same thing as children unequivocally coming first…

    Maybe it’s good for all of us if children learn that sometimes they come first, and sometimes…they don’t. Of course this assumes the child/ren are capable of such understanding and not all children are.

    Among many, many needs we have, I believe that getting a few “wants” here and there is one of ’em.

    Wanting a little time and space in your life isn’t selfish. It’s necessary for your mental health…and your mental health being sound is necessary for your childrens’. Yada yada, it’s an age old problem.

    I think you deserve some things for you, chickadee.

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    1. I agree with you, and thank you for being able to state it so clearly. I think I’ve seen too many memes on FB recently, admonishing us to denounce all wants.

      Though I’m curious about this mental health you speak of, does it come in a size 7?

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  2. You’ve touched a nerve in me that’s been inflamed lately. My husband works very hard to support our family, and I am a SAHM, though I’d rather be working outside the home. My *job* consists mainly of being teacher’s aide, office administrator (a bazillion phone calls to pharmacies, doctors, you know the rest), housekeeper (which I do suck at), but it’s 24/7/365, to the point that I sleep with a monitor next to my head, and am on call all night.

    The point is this: Husband has taken up fishing, and will randomly, and without warning, call or text me from work to let me know that he’s going fishing after work, and should be home before dark, or that he’s taking Saturday to ride his motorcycle up into the mountains to fish. When I’ve protested, he’s invited R and me to join him, but he knows it’s not our thing. My resentment is that I don’t feel like I can just up and say “I’m taking the day off, and running away without my family to do something totally by myself.” Why can’t I do that? Why does it feel like a horrible thing to do? Gah!

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      1. Yes! I’m glad he has a hobby that doesn’t involve bringing home more random vehicles, and I don’t begrudge him that, but I would like to feel that I have the freedom to do the same for myself.:/

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        1. It’s an oddly twisted path, cause I suspect your hubby would say fine if you took a day–but YOU still would feel the need to ask, and then spend much of that day worrying and feeling guilty. Blargh!

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  3. Right on, Sister. Walk a mile in my shoes. I want the next ten years for ME. Of course it could have been better and yes, I know it could have been FAR worse.
    Guilt is overrated I think, maybe, with a following wind.

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  4. Another couple of thoughts to throw in with you lovely ladies is one: feeling mentally busy even when you have taken timeout. I suppose the word is preoccupied guilt. secondly the whole needing to be needed with a tiny hint of martyr thrown in. We devote our lives to being mums, we devote our minds, bodies hearts and souls to being mums and hell we need to be needed, to be the best at it, to be irraplaceable, to be missed. yet we long for our former freedoms. There is a whole lot of contraditory feelings to being a mum and who can we blame when we let an opportunity pass us by or if it just isn’t possible or we can’t get our heads round it at the exact second we are free.. we blame our other halves… It’s not there fault is it.. it was a life style choice we all made not knowing what the hell we were letting ourselves in for.
    Women on the whole are the home managers we just have to take what we can and demand what we have to. The time is now.

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    1. Yes, yes, yes! Many contradictions, and such a large percentage begins within ourselves.

      You make a really important point, Fay, when you refer to timing and limited energy/focus. It’s true, there are plenty of times when technically, I *could* be writing, but I’m too fried. Or, times like today, when I thought I would be able to go back to the manuscript, but instead, the school called, and I needed to pick up Flower Child early because she’s unwell. Sigh.

      Imma go burn my bra now.

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      1. oh I forgot another thing, lack of self confidence and undermining ourselves. For some reason being a sahm turns many women into semi recluses, we are away from the world of out there, the world of work for so long we are no longer sure we can. so we make excuses and then blame ourselves or our otherhalves or just the injustice of life…pls excuse any errors its not a lack of brain on the whole, I am dyslexic 🙂

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        1. I don’t know, while I believe it’s true that a chunk has to do with how we perceive ourselves, there are other, real obstacles that are directly tied to how others see us; others including significant others, women who made different choices, and even potential employers if/when the decision is made to go back to working for a paycheck.

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  5. This is a rash suggestion, but what if one (you know, a SAHM) made a commitment to TAKE some of that time, whether or not hubby liked it, not asking but telling…

    And then, the trick is, you have to do it several times. You commit to perhaps six of these “me” sessions. And then you just do it and see if it’s true that practice makes perfect.

    I’m not a SAHM, and haven’t been for some time, but I remember those days as being the longest days on earth, that somehow seemed to fly by, incoherently.

    I’m no longer a SAHM, and one of the reasons is it was too much for me, feeling guilty and trapped while hubby went fishing.

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    1. You’re right, practice is key. I’m starting with carving out writing time.
      “blah blah blah blah?”
      “I’m writing.”
      “mwah mwah mwah mwah”
      “I’m writing.”

      I know you have to remember, often logistics are involved, there has to be money, time, and someone available to watch the kiddo (s). Should it all be fair and equitable? Sure. But usually, it just isn’t.

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  6. I traded SAHM for single mom with little help from dad so there are still all those same logistics. I’m just not as pissed off about it any more. Most of the time. 😛

    I do know that the guilt about leaving kiddos does lessen with practice. The first time I ever had any “me” time post-children was when my oldest was nine, I think. He went on a trip with my parents for several days. I had millions of plans about what I’d do but what I ended up doing was feeling panicky, eating fast food, lying in bed, while reading John Grisham novels. Yep. It was pretty pathetic.

    I’m SO glad you’re carving out that time. You need it, AND the world deserves to read more of your writing. ❤

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    1. ❤ 🙂
      Meh, I've been doing this too long to feel guilty about leaving her; the guilt is about taking time/doing something for myself, if that makes any sense.

      The logistic get more complicated with no $ to pay a sitter, and having to explain med stuff.

      Baby steps, I'm taking them :p

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    1. LOL, not in the cards for me. But maybe I’ll be creative enough to budget in the coffee maker I’ve been eyeing.

      Coffee is definitely necessary for keeping Mama happy!
      🙂

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  7. A lot I can say but I fear it would make little sense as it’s 5:30am and well, I never went to sleep last night. :O I really like the point that redsky made re children coming first doesn’t mean the same thing as children *always* coming first. There are a lot of things ingrained in us regarding our roles as women/mothers and what is appropriate for that role when they are little really does change as they grow, but those roles and/or their expectations won’t change if WE don’t change. And none of the expectations of anyone else around us will change, either. Not that this is some kind of easy thing to accomplish but I think that it’s an important realization to make.

    I also think it takes a combination of personal change AND things working out externally if there are certain things you want to do/accomplish.

    I’m will say that when it comes to being away from the kids- i feel no guilt over being ok with that. I see some people post on FB or talk about about how upset they are over being away from their kids for even a few hours (well beyond the first day of school kind of angst) and I wonder if I’m a freak or a bad mother for not comprehending it. I love my kids and they are my world but please (I implore you) separate us for a little while…

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    1. Agree, and this is where I am right now, trying to make changes for and within myself. I’m hoping the external stuff will evolve along with me–or I’ll figure out how to make that happen.

      Live and learn, the one way I was smart when Nerd Child and Flower Child were babies was to leave every evening for a 20 or 30 minute walk without them, it was a good thing for all. Going away without them, that never happened.

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  8. As far as denouncing ALL wants, that was me prior to blogging. Four months ago I couldn’t imagine carving put a personal space for myself. I was too busy eating bon bons all day. But my desire for a creative outlet kept gnawing at me. Fortunately, I’ve found a way to juggle both. Like the saying goes, “a happy wife is a happy life.” And this mama has gotta get her writing on!

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    1. I’m glad you did. I’m glad I did, too. 😉 Blogging has been great for me. Spurring me to get back to writing fiction is just one of the ways it has been.

      I’m going to miss the bon bons 😀

      Like

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