Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Yawn Heard Around the World

On July 26, London's Daily Mail published an article by Helen Kirwan-Taylor that seems to be causing almost as much of a stir as Linda Herschman's now-infamous "Homeward Bound." In the article, "Sorry But My Children Bore Me to Death" Kirwan-Taylor writes about her preference for a salon appointment to the boredom that surely awaits at play dates, birthday parties and even the occasional board game at home. It hit a nerve with its first publication and is now, courtesy of the Internet, swinging from the last nerves of S.A.H.Ms everywhere.

My first reaction: What the hell is her problem? My second was to wonder whether I was merely masking guilt for agreeing with parts of the message by getting angry with the messenger.

It pains me, but I will admit it: I DO get bored. There are some days I just want to lock myself away with a book and a hot cup of coffee. After all, there are only so many tea parties you can attend in one day, so many "sleep overs" right after breakfast, and so many games of Candyland you can play before your brain begins to turn to mush.

My follow up questions were:

  • Why do we work so hard to fulfill what we see as society's view of the proper role of mothers?
  • Why is it so hard to admit that we can't get all of our needs met by staying with our kids 24/7?
  • Why is it so difficult to give ourselves permission to find something outside of our children, something that let's us keep--or develop--a sense of self?
  • Why are we so quick to condemn the choices of other women?
Sadly, the last question might just be the easiest to answer: We do it because it validates our own choices; because it gives us a reason to change the subject raging in our own minds--did we do/are we doing the right thing--whatever our choice.

Every day I wake up to the challenge of balancing the girls' need for my attention with my need for space and peace and brain candy. And almost every day I lose at least a part of that battle. But I made the choice to be a S.A.H.M., and in so doing, I made a deal with myself that my girls would always know that they were loved and important and necessary. And for me, that means making myself available, even when I feel bored or frustrated. That's not to say that I think I need to spend every waking moment with them--I don't believe that's good for them or for me; I do want them to be independent after all. But that's another post.


Anonymous said...

I like your blog - especially the musings about your children. I am soon to be on the path of being a SAHM (when we get pregnant of course) and sometimes struggle with my conflicting feelings on expectations vs reality.

Melanie K said...

Thanks! I can only say that the reality is so much more than the expectation--both good and bad. Fortunately, more good than bad. If you haven't already, be sure to check out dooce.com any time you need a laugh or just off-beat parenting stories.