I sat here, taking a break from WIP, because I finished the previous WIP, and sent it off to my editor post-haste. I’m already regretting it, in spite of revision-ing for two days straight. I found my notes re: developmental discussions, and there’s more that needs to be in there. *sigh*
Couldn’t figure out what to title this, because late night is when I do a lot of my musing, and poking around on Facebook and Writer’s Cafe. I felt like letting some of my brilliant late-night thoughts out into the great wide world. (stop laughing.)
After some more chin-stroking (were I a guy, I’d have a goatee that I stroked whilst thinking. Not that I want one – just were I a guy, I’d have one), what I want to share with you are my thoughts on being selfish.
I’m an author. Not really successful at this point, but I’m working on it, and feel good. More than that, I’m a stay at home mom. That latter job is a recipe for losing your life.
I have to back up a bit. Before I met my husband, I didn’t think I would get married. I had a few false starts in the “We’re getting marrrrriiiieeeeedd!” department, but that’s all they were. When I met him, and I swear to god, I came home and told my mom, I knew I was going to marry him. True story. First night we met. Took me a month to get to meet him, because he completely ignored all my flirtation.
Since I was determined I was too much of a high-maintenance individual to find A)Someone who’d put up with me and still love me and B)Someone I’d love and want to put up with, I wasn’t planning on having kids either. Believe it or not, given how rabid I am about my kiddos, I was okay with that. Can’t miss what you don’t know.
But once we got married, and had been married a while – and folks, we got married and moved onto a 38-foot houseboat – and were there for two years – we started talking about kids. We weren’t sure we wanted them, but it was on the table. We decided it was time, and moved off the boat. I will say, we both still miss waking up living on the water.
I found that being pregnant, people fuss over you in the craziest fashion. Once you HAVE the baby, you get nothin’. Nada. Bubkes. It’s all about that squiggly bundle of joy. I remember thinking, I am more than Darling Oldest’s mom. While I thought that, I didn’t go any further.
Then, we had Darling Youngest. And I, for the first time in my adult life, stopped working. I became a SAHM.
I was happy to go back to work several years later. I LIKE work. Why? Because I am Lisa. Not just Mrs. Mani, or Darling Boys’ Mom. I was ME.
And there it is. I think we all struggle with that – with still being ME. Because once we get involved with others, and bring little people into the equation, we lose the ME. It’s not for negative reasons – it’s a good thing to want to give to those you love. But, and this is just MPO, and completely anecdotal, I think we lose all sense of balance.
There MUST be a balance of give and ME. You can’t lean too far in either direction. If you give too much, you begin to harbor resentment, and the things you are resentful over pile up, and it takes less and less to activate that resentment.
Conversely, you go too much in the ME direction, and the other people living with you begin to resent the hell out of you.
For me, finding that balance feels a lot like the never-ending tightrope. I love my family. Marrying my husband and having my Darling Boys are the three best decisions I’ve ever made. Also, taking my husband’s advice when we decided that I would once again be a SAHM to focus on my writing was equally amazing. I’ve never been happier with my professional life. And I don’t even go into an office.
I have a lot of people that I know/like/admire/etc who seem to be experiencing marital discord, and those that I talk to – there seems to be that lack of balance between the give and the ME. I know I’ve watched the demise of relationships before my husband that fell victim to that.
When if we were taught, Yes, you must give, and you must put yourself on that list of people who are given to – we’d be happier people. In my humble, unlearned opinion.
I hate to see the discord. As someone who has struggled with ME vs what I think I’m supposed to do, I’d bet that struggle has a great deal in the reasons for discord.
So the TL; DR of all this – it’s okay to be selfish. It’s okay to give to those you love – as long as you put yourself on that list. It’s okay to want to be YOU.