Friday, August 31, 2007

Will I Ever Grow Up?

An interesting discussion occurred between W and me a couple of days ago. I was explaining to him that I would be busy this weekend with a pajama party on Saturday night and a cookout on Sunday afternoon with my new circle of friends.

His initial reaction was that I could only do it if it was okay with N, that as a mom my primary obligation is to the family. My initial reaction was a mixture of anger at that assertion and feeling guilty that maybe he was right. So I started to think it through while we discussed it, and finally came to the conclusion that I am not being selfish to want this time for me with people other than my family.

W’s argument is that because I am a working mom the only times I have with N are the evenings and weekends so I should make him my top priority during those times. So far in his life, other than the three months while I lived here and they lived in LOH, I’ve pretty much done that. I gave up singing in the church choir, gave up attending Bible study, gave up my position on church council, stopped attending happy hours after work with coworkers. I pretty much went to work and came home so I could take N off of W’s hands. Now when N was a baby that made some amount of sense because W was trapped all day at home caring for him 100%. Because I was working full time W also did most of the middle of the night care too. So it really did make sense that I would relieve him of duty when I got home and let him have a bit of a life too.

Does this, at this point, still make sense? I feel like I’ve lost me. Is it unfair to want time for me? I don’t think so. W now has his days free until N gets home from school. Sure there are things that need to get done around the house, but he still has the freedom to come and go as he pleases, attending classes, exploring yet another fly by night get rich quick scheme, or whatever else he does during the day. But what about me? So far, I’ve been allowed out one evening per month to become a member and attend meetings of a civic organization. I can go for walks for exercise but only if I take N and the dog with me. W even suggested I could return to church choir if they practice at the same time the kids are having an activity at church. Oh yes, and I can go get my hair done once a month all by myself. Other than that, I’m supposed to spend “family time.”

Then earlier this month I went and spent an afternoon (4 whole hours) meeting some new people who share a common bond with me as recounted here. We decided to have once a month get togethers. For September, because of the holiday weekend we decided to have both the pajama party and cookout. Not everyone can make both, but some will. For me to attend both would mean both a whole evening and afternoon away from my family. I think this is reasonable. W does not, or at least didn’t at first. I’ve pretty much made it clear that whether he likes it or not I AM doing this. It isn’t as if I am like Joe Flirt’s wife who goes out almost every night of the week. I’m wanting less than 24 hours of a three day weekend.

But, you know, here’s the real question. Why do I still feel the need to justify myself to a man that I can barely tolerate? Why don’t I just leave, be on my own and do my own thing? Yeah, I’d like the answers to that too.


Val said...

Oh, man -- OF COURSE you have the right to take "less than 24 hrs" for yourself?!?!? WTF??
I think W is just grasping at straws, whatever means of guilt or obligation, legal duty, etc. to keep you around...
It makes me so mad I am reduced to cussin' & spittin'!
[Perhaps if you tap into your anger you will find the courage to leave -- here, let me siphon some off your way ;-)!]

BJ said...

You do not have to justify yourself to a man you can barely tolerate. I agree with val too.

Stinkypaw said...

Because you're afraid and you know that. You're still getting something out of your relationship (if we can call it that) with W and as long as you will, you will remain there. You have the power to decide. You and only you. Like they are your fears and only yours.

Fiona said...

He's trying to control you. And you shouldn't need permission to do what you like, merely a plan for looking after N when you are out. He's probably jealous that you are forging ahead with new friendships and at the same time afraid you will find so much more out there for you to want to keep on your path of separating from him.

But, as for being on your own and doing your own thing, you'll still have to factor N into that as I expect you'd be his primary custodial parent?

Trueself said...

Val - Yes, I do need to tap into some of your inner anger. I need to tap into something that would allow me to get the balls to leave.

BJ - You are right.

SP - Right on target, as usual.

Fiona - Yes, making sure N is cared for is number 1 priority whether W and I are together or not. I'm assuming that W would have him on alternating weekends and that would give me immeasurably more freedom than I currently have.