*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.
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.
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.