Saturday, April 23, 2011

Freedom Lost?

No matter how much "me" time I manage to carve out of a day, it never feels like enough.  There are times when fulfilling my roles of wife and mother just feels like too much, and I sometimes long to get those "good old days" back -- the days when I lived alone, before I became a mother, before I had to worry about anyone else's needs but my own.  And it's not because I am unhappy in my life now or that I wish I could do things over and change my life.  It's not because I don't love my husband and children.  It has nothing to do with those things, but it has everything to do with a loss of freedom.

I miss the freedom I once enjoyed.  Back in the days when I lived alone, I had the freedom to do pretty much what I wanted, whenever I wanted, without having to bother with anyone else's needs or agenda.  I could decide to go shopping at 2:00 in the afternoon and not come home until 10:00pm, picking up dinner at a drive-thru at some point along the way.  Now, on the off-chance that I can even GO shopping by myself, the entire time I am plagued by this nagging feeling that the clock is ticking.  And I have to say, this feeling has ruined many an outing for me.  All the while in the back of my mind thoughts are floating around -- I need to make this quick -- I need to get back soon -- My husband is probably wondering when I'll be back.  Mind you, he RARELY calls me on my cell phone while I'm out, and he typically doesn't ask "what took you so long?" when I return -- even though I know he is sometimes thinking it.

I also don't have the freedom to be alone whenever I want.  When I lived alone there were times I would come home from school on Friday afternoon and not leave the house again until Monday morning when it was time to go back to work.  I know some people might think that sounds crazy, but I have to admit that it's true.  I guess, for me, the way I mentally and emotionally recharge is by spending time alone -- away from noise, distractions, and, yes, people.  What did I do with all that time alone, you ask?  Didn't I get bored?  My answer is, absolutely not!  I've always had a talent for self-entertainment, so-to-speak.  I would read books and magazines, watch t.v., quilt, mow the lawn, do some gardening, or work on home improvement projects.  There was always something to do to fill the time.  What a luxury it was to wake up in the morning and decide how I wanted to spend my day!

"Home" from 2001 - 2007

Of course, life wasn't always fun and games back then.  Sometimes I had homework to do -- either from a grad class or from school, and that did put a damper on things.  Come to think of it, maybe it wasn't all sunshine and daisies back then.  Were the "good old days" really as good as I remember?  The mind is a tricky thing.  It's true that I did have a lot more time to myself back then; but there were also times when I was deeply lonely and depressed.  I did have a lot of freedom to choose what, when, and how I did things.  But, at the end of the day, except for the company of a psychologically disturbed mutt, I was on my own -- on my own to do pretty much everything, which included paying for and maintaining a home.  I would be lying if I said it was not overwhelming at times.  If not for the emotional support of a few close friends, I don't know how I would have managed to get through that period of my life.

I guess we all have a tendency to remember things the way we want to -- the "rose-colored glasses syndrom" I suppose.  I loved having so much time to myself, but I was missing something back then too.

My Husband and Me (shortly after we met in 2005)

That "something" was the unconditional love and support of a life partner -- my wonderful husband.  Now, I no longer face the world alone.  He is my partner, my support, and my true love.  When he came into my life the darkness and despair I felt were lifted.  I felt happiness and joy in my life again -- and a different kind of freedom that comes from feeling loved -- and safe -- and secure.  From him, I learned what true love really is -- and I learned that I was worthy of it.

It's true that becoming a wife, and now a mother, has cost me some of the freedom I used to enjoy -- but not ALL of it.  I still have SOME time to myself, thanks to daytime naps and a husband that understands my need for "alone" time.  And although these brief moments never feel like enough, I know that I wouldn't trade my life now for anything more.  For I know this state of being is not permanent, and that as my children grow and become more independent, I will regain more and more of that freedom I have lost.  I am now blessed with an incredible husband, two beautiful and healthy children, good food to eat, and a home in which to enjoy our lives together.  And, really, what more could I ask for?
"My Family" October, 2010


  1. I too enjoy the alone time as much as the busy moments! Great perspective on both sides of the coin.
    Keep writing!

  2. I really enjoyed reading this post. I can certainly relate to the feeling of having lost the freedom of our past life... before kids. I too have lived on my own, with my dog, for many years. I remember having a lot of time to read and go for long walks, but most of all, I remember feeling lonely. I am certain that I am happier living with a partner than living on my own. I would not want to go back to being on my own. And I am grateful to be with my kids, who make me laugh and bring so much love in my life... even though I have to admit that sometimes, it would be nice to be able to go to the bathroom without having one of the kids walk in or bang on the door.

  3. Yes, and the constant interruptions are really frustrating for me too!