Monday, February 06, 2006

Motherhood and Solitude

Susan has lots to say about them here: ReadingWritingLiving: More on Motherhood, Solitude and Writing

I struggle with this myself. My kids whine and lament when I leave (for business! I have to go!) but I know they'll be fine. Mark, after all, handles the home duties most of the time anyway. But more than two or three days and we all get a little antsy, a little off-kilter. Maybe we just need practice. Because we all (houseful of introverts) need that solitude, too.

edited to add: I wrote a column about this once. For me I think the issue is not quite so much solitude as it is the lightening of responsibility. They're related, but not entirely the same. I can only use solitude itself in pretty small doses--a few hours here and there, and then I start to get antsy and lonely and play too much online sudoku. But knowing I don't have something to do for someone else the next minute, the next hour, the next day, is a rare sort of freedom that I truly treasure. It was in short supply this weekend--I had blocked off Saturday to get things done for me and instead ended up driving someone or another somewhere much of the day, or doing laundry, or moving furniture. All necessary stuff, but not for me, and not what I wanted. It's times like that, when I am overwhelmed with the neediness of the world around me (even my small world), that I wonder if I should take up running. Bad knees, lousy breath control, bunions, and all. There must be a middle ground, though, right?


Susan said...

Libby, thank you for the link, and for entering this great conversation. I'm so excited about the responses I've gotten on my blog about this topic.

I loved this paragraph in your column: I am anonymous and irresponsible. For the next five days, I am no one's mother, no one's wife, simply a traveler and a conference attendee. I buy coffee and bottled water and magazines extravagantly; I fail to eat balanced meals; I stay up too late talking and then shower early in the morning to clear my head. I converse only with grown-ups -- there are no discussions of going to the bathroom, or who won't eat their vegetables, or what time someone has to be driven somewhere in the morning. It is heaven.

And also the part about denying Mark responsibility when you take too much. My husband also loves diving into the fray when I'm gone, but I think I'm a little too good at Taking Over when I'm home.

terrilynn said...

I really like the differentiation between the need to be alone and the need to not be In Charge. It's small, but crucial.

Today I have no paying work on my desk and have consciously chosen to blog-hop, talk on the phone with my Mama, write a little, listen to music, go to the library; in general, to feed myself before jumping back onto the daily merry-go-round.

The vacuuming and dusting can wait until tomorrow; meanwhile, I am alone until 2:30 with a stack of new library books and iTunes set on shuffle.