Sitting with my confirmed bachelor friend and he’s complaining that the woman he’s seeing at the moment wants to spend too much time together. “I have a life too you know.” He states, “I work hard and after work I want to see my friends, or do my hobbies, or spend time alone reading (oh wow, remember that… the mouth just waters at the thought… but I digress – back to him) “If I see her two or three nights a week I don’t have time for any of that. That doesn’t work for me. I like being with her but I have other things I want to do too, other people to see.”
I listen to him and I suddenly think, “I’M NORMAL!”
It’s OK to not want to see someone over and over every minute of your waking time. When you are single like him and get to choose how you spend your time, you don’t choose the same person over and over and over all the time. It’s OK to want to do other things, have other hobbies, spend time alone… That’s NORMAL. Oh.
In case you hadn’t cottoned on yet, I’m talking about the children, people. Why are we not allowed to say out loud that while we love them to bits, and we like them, it doesn’t mean we want to spend every minute with them. It’s not normal. (I know I’m not alone, I just saw an ad for a book called, “Didn’t I Feed You Yesterday?” Hilarious!)
There are days when I have such rich wonderful times with my gorgeous children. They are awesome. We wake, we play, we love and cuddle, we go out and explore the world together, we cook together and eat what we made, we play some more, we read, we nourish each other’s souls and worlds and at the end of the day when they are tucked into bed it’s just the sweetest thought to think of those two little humans sleeping in that room. My heart swells with the love of it all and I’ve drunk my fill.
Then the next morning they climb into my bed ready for more and I think, “What? We did all that yesterday. Today I want to do something else. Come back in a few days.”
Sometimes that makes me feel bad. Oy, the guilt. It’s like I’m some kind of fake mother. How can I love and want them so much one day and the next day I want a break from them? Isn’t a ‘good’ mother supposed to want to be with them ALL the time?
Listening to my friend I realised I’ve been putting unrealistic pressure on myself. I mean for goodness sakes, why CAN’T I want time alone, time with my friends… not to mention my oft-neglected partner who is rocking on the other side of the same boat. Being with children all the time can be terribly boring.
Did I say that out loud?
I went to a party – for grown-ups! Remember those? I tell you, I was giddy with the freedom of it all. Someone asked if I have children and, drunk with my freedom I said, “Yes, and it’s so WONDERFUL to be here without them right now!”
I forget sometimes, what with my work and my writing, that those sorts of things are not usually said out loud in public. Actually I wouldn’t have even become aware of my ‘unusual-ness’ if someone hadn’t responded with fervour, “How lovely to hear someone say that!” and heads nodded all around.
So listen, I allow myself to say these things out loud because in my profession, I get to hear the truth of what’s going on with people, so I KNOW many others feel this way. So much of what we think isn’t normal, is actually very normal – and ok.
we’re all normal… mwa ha ha ha ha!
(Rocky Horror – in case you missed the reference)
I absolutely adore my two magnificent children. I love cuddling them, I love interacting with them, I love watching them grow. I think I’ll still find them cute when I’m 90 and they are 60. I feel immeasurably blessed to be their mother and have them in my life. Even so, there are also other things I’m excited by and want to do in my life – and that’s ok.
So let’s ease up on ourselves a little, shall we?