Sunday, September 27, 2015

"A courageous -- subversive, almost -- act of resistance"

I have all these dog-eared pages of Brigid Schulte's Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has The Time (quoted above), and yet I keep putting off actually writing about the book.  So, here are things about my life as a female parent I'm changing after having read it:

I am prioritizing my need for play.  It has always been difficult for me to really take time for myself that is equal to the time Patrick takes weekly with his two bands and the shows that other people schedule (for here, for Charlottesville, for Philly).  I cannot change the band, so it does require that I give up some things; a fire pit hangout at a friend's house got trumped by being the parent at home while the other parent plays drums in Cville -- though my biggest question was more along the lines of, "There are metalheads in Charlottesville??  Where???  Poor souls."

But within the framework of my marriage, there are still some things I can do even while being flexible with the bands.  (Because who wants to be the perceived Yoko (who didn't even actually break up the band! Yet gets the finger-pointing blame!)?  Nobody.  It is hard to be a ~band wife~ (that sounds so gross, I hate defining myself as a _____ wife, yuck, never doing that again not even with ~~) when there's such a stigma against interfering in any way.  I did put my foot down about the band paying for a sitter the last time there was a show that interfered with my job though, and they ponied up, so there's that.))

Anyway.  I'm doing more for me.  I'm starting up riding lessons again as soon as I can.  It's something just for me, that brings me joy, and dammit, I refuse to find a hobby that I can do at home easily, because all these sanctioned, safe female hobbies are things done in the home and it's a TRAP.  This isn't to say quilting and knitting and cooking aren't good things, it's that the way society views women's -- especially mothers' -- hobbies is through a framework of things that are done for the family, for the good of others, and I want something that's entirely my own that I do for fun and out of zero sense of obligation or necessity/health (aka, exercise is not the leisure I'm after).

I want to play for the sake of play with it having nothing to do with productivity or professional development or motherhood, and I'm going to be doing way more of that.

I have the urge to go, "World's best mom, lol" here but no.  That kind of wry self-belittlement about taking time for myself is no longer allowed in House DeRoche.


  1. ALL of this. All of it. So, so real. I would also argue that for some reason bands are always seen as the More Important Hobby, the one that, you know, trumps everything else in life at all times. This may not be the case for you, but I often wondered why one person (usually the man) is allowed, nay encouraged, to have a "hobby" that costs dozens of hours a week, thousands of dollars a year on new equipment and practice space rent, etc., and the rest of the family is expected to wordlessly eat these costs from now until eternity, while promises to stop after this tour or that album come and go. So that Mr. Important can live out some ridiculous teenage fantasy of "getting big." ::rolls eyes forever:: In the meantime, a man spending an hour or two solo with the baby is a feat worthy of high praise, Father of the Year etc.. While it's fully expected that a woman will spend the vast majority of her time with baby, and many nights a week with baby alone, to zero praise or fanfare. For her it's just the bare minimum. Again, not that this is at all your situation! But I see this happening all the time, and I'm embarrassed of letting it slide in my house for a year just to keep from rocking the boat. This is garbage and I don't want my daughter's generation to even have to remotely deal with it.

    1. ^^^^^^ This is why I <3 you. Because you see the garbage for what it is: GARBAGE. Especially the practice space rent. I think what bugs me most is that there's this expectation that the band can...dictate things. Like, oh, there are shows on x, y, z dates. They get booked, and I am not consulted or asked or anything -- whereas as a woman, it's just been my socialized nature to *ask* rather than *tell* when I'm putting something on my social/activity calendar. I had to fight tooth and nail (or so it felt like) to get him to take a few weeks off from band when I had a baby. Like....whut. It's a metal band, not the Senate. (And even then, what are they even accomplishing? har har)

      I always feel like on one hand, I don't acknowledge the stuff he does do -- all the cooking is his realm in our house, as are dishes, largely in part to when I was the only one working when we moved for my job and he became the "house husband". So I got lucky in that he still does these things, and the guy *likes* to cook. But what if he didn't like to cook? If it's just simple luck that a chore is something he likes and therefore he does it, while that's great for great is it *really*? It's mediocre-great, not great-great.

      It happens all the time, and nobody wants to be the bitch in the house. :(


  2. I completely fall in the trap of "enjoyable but productive" activities. I get so frustrated that my hubs can just play games on end and feel zero feelings about it, except the pleasure of playing. Whereas, even when I have free time, I have a hard time just reveling in it. I think that's why I love truly gripping novels-- I'll sit and read the whole thing if it's a real page-turner. Otherwise I get caught up in thinking even my reading time should be *for* something: studying yoga, reading for book club.

    On one hand, I like being a busy bee for fun. I do like exercise, I do like finding some low-skill handcrafts I can finish, or paging through my cookbooks to meal plan. I feel great about myself when I do those things. I recognize, however, that it's fine and healthy and necessary to feel great about myself after reading a novel in one or two sittings, or to just relax my brain awhile and go shopping with a latte in hand or whatever. Difficult to internalize, for sure.

  3. I feel you. I feel so much pressure to not be the nag after Greg was pretty much kicked out due to my reliance on him while I had PPD. I carried that guilt around for years so I always feel like anything I say that can be construed as negative/nagging isn't okay.

    It's frustrating because the out of town shows can be stressful. It costs money, but more importantly it costs already limited family time. I love that he loves it, so I try to be supportive, but there's no denying the inherent unfairness that can quickly take over.

    I love that you're pursuing side play/hobbies. It's a great idea to level out the field and it's something we (as women) should never have to apologize for. I think I'll start looking into out of the house side hobbies as well.