Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Loner

I am a stay at home mom, belonging to a group that remembers its heyday in the 1950s and 60s, when women were expected to stay home and take care of housework and the family’s needs, watch soap operas and bake fresh cookies every day.  Dresses with crinolines were optional, as was the heavy use of tranquilizers to get through the maddening dullness of everyday life.  Smoking cigarettes was required.

Life has changed since then for the stay at home mom, although the tasks have stayed the same.  Babies cry and need to be bathed and fed.  Kids make messes that need to be cleaned up, grocery shopping needs to be done, as do laundry and cleaning.  Car pools need to be arranged.  The mundane is still mundane.

These days it is no longer implied that a mother will stay home to take care of the children.  For many families this just isn’t possible.  Lifestyles demand a dual income.  When people find out that they are going to be parents, the smart ones sit down and map out a plan.  They shop for daycare, figure out time off from work and save money for college. My husband and I were pretty young and less established when we found out we were going to be a family.  We made one decision: I would be a stay-at-home mom.

This decision was easy to make. I didn’t have a career; had just started working, in fact.  And my employer was gracious enough to let me to work from home, which was unusual at that time and the best of both worlds.  Six years later I was no longer working for an income.  Two months into full-time stay at home status and I was spending my days leisurely looking around for tranquilizers.

Eventually I got into a groove, and today I own this job.

My husband has an unusual work schedule, so his time at home varies.  This suits me fine, since I am a loner who doesn’t require constant human interaction.  I like the simplicity of aloneness. I like quiet.  I like not sharing.  And it’s nice to have one less person’s underwear to fold or plate to rinse off at the end of the day.

That’s not to say living without him is preferable, although sometimes it seems that way.

The problem with being alone so much is exactly the thing that draws me to it – I love it.  When he returns home, there I am, finger waving at him: Pick up your shoes!  Put those papers away!  Stop yelling at the kids!  Did you drop sauerkraut on the floor?  He returns home, only to disturb my well-run machine, and his parts don’t fit.  The machine has to be re-calibrated, and for what?  A day where he works from home, say that again?  I was planning to vacuum the floors.  I don’t come to your workplace and mess up your system.

It’s not fair.  I am not a 50s housewife, deferring and yes, dear-ing and fetching slippers and applying lipstick before he comes home (okay, I’ve done that – I love lipstick).  I am SAHM, the CEO of this biz.  So, you started a new company within your company today?  Well, I got ninety-six gallons of laundry detergent for five bucks using two coupons.  Now everyone has clean socks for another month.  BOOM.

He doesn’t always appreciate my love of being alone.  It’s an okay quality to have, but not when I’ve normalized his empty seat at the table.  I’ve alienated him more than once.  It’s something that I struggle with, something that our marriage struggles with.

But we make it work.  We committed to it, and we take it seriously.  The love is there.  The family we’ve made, the life we’ve decided on – it’s hard, like anything in life.  Plus, my love of being alone isn’t my biggest love.  Once upon a time, it was him.

And it still is.


Happy 14th, Keith.


Um, this is your gift.

28 comments:

  1. Happy Anniversary!
    I'm a loner too. When my husband announces he's working from home, I inwardly groan. :)

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    1. Thanks Alison! You are sweet to inwardly groan. Me, not so much.

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  2. Ha YOU are his gift. I never liked being alone much. Now? I crave it.

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    1. Yes. I even got him a "You're Welcome" card. As a joke. OF COURSE. I never craved being alone until I had kids. Something happens there, I think.

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  3. Happy Anniversary! I love that photo!
    My husband travels sometimes and I always find it an adjustment when we are four in the house again. And I do like those moments alone when I get them.

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    1. Thanks Kim! That adjustment time is hard, particularly when you've established a routine that works just fine. Weekends aren't long enough for me to adjust sometimes.

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  4. Happy anniversary!
    I love this post! I can very much relate to wanting to be alone - and I am most of the day. Since I am a work-at-home-freelancer I've been looking forward to husband and kids coming home at the end of the day a lot more.

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    1. Thanks Kerstin! I think if I had a regular working schedule I'd look forward to the end of the day more. For now, it's all slipshod chores and half-finished tasks on my end, and it's not uncommon for me to start something when everyone comes home. Also not a great habit to have.

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  5. Happy anniversary!

    I love how you are so real with your posts. You don't sugar coat, you don't spin things so that you are always right, yet you do always feel genuine in your actions.

    Thanks for giving us another glimpse into your married life.

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    1. Thank you so much, Tammy. I'm so happy to be able to convey the realness of this life. It's all I ever wanted to do as a writer. I appreciate that you have taken the time to tell me this!

      Thanks too, for the anniversary wishes. xo

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  6. Let's try this comment again...Happy anniversary to you!! I LOVE your posts and I think this is a lovely gift :)

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    1. AGH! Did you get caught in my spam folder? What?

      Thanks for the wishes. And for the love. :)

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  7. Happy Anniversary! You two make quite the handsome couple! Congrats and I relate to this so much…I've always admitted to being a loner, but this made me realize I'm a loner even in our own home. Must work on this w/ the husband. xo

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    1. Thanks Erin! A loner in my own home. That sums me up perfectly... and it is a constant thing between me and my can-never-be-alone husband.

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  8. I know exactly how you feel. I miss my husband if he's out of town (rare), but I'm not calling him 17 times a day like he is me. When he says he's working from home, I'm all, "Oh! Okay...[DAMMIT!] Sometimes it's okay, but it can throw a kink into my day.

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    1. Smiling through your teeth thinking, "Great, now I won't get anything done." It's a common theme here.

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  9. Happy anniversary! So incredibly well-said.

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  10. Happy anniversary! I'm a loner too - this seems to be a correlation between that and blogging on some level, huh? Anyway, my husband has a day off in the middle of the week (he works Saturday) and it is by far my hardest day of the week.

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    1. Thanks MJ! I agree, there is a direct correlation between loner status and job type, which makes me feel better about everything, but it doesn't make it easier on our loved ones, does it? Sigh.

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  11. aw, this was super sweet! and a lovely anniversary present :)

    FYI I work from home (normal office hours though, sadly not a flexible situation!) and when my husband is home for some reason (sick, day off, whatever) it throws me off like crazy! However, he always gets me lunch on those days, and that's pretty awesome.

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    1. I can't get anything done when my husband works from home, either. Nothing. You are lucky to get lunch. Mine asks me out to lunch, and then he asks me to pay. I don't make any money!

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  12. Aw, y'all got married EXACTLY a week after us. How cool is THAT? I think it's really cool.

    And my husband totally drops sauerkraut on the floor ALL THE TIME, I feel ya, girl! ;-p

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    1. Yes! I think it is super cool, too. I have a tender spot for fellow November anniversariers. :) Because who gets married in November? Uh, WE DO!

      I snorted a little at your comment about your husband also dropping sauerkraut on the floor. You crack me up!

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  13. I'll say it again...I LOVE YOUR BLOG!
    So well said....and many of us outt there can relate....so you're not alone after all (even if you might want to be ;)

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    1. Thank you Susan! You are really too sweet. :)

      I think a lot of bloggers are loners - because really, who could stand all this alone time if we weren't? I'm just so glad to have found a space where everybody can raise their hands in solidarity with me.

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  14. Happy anniversary to you both! Love your honesty - life and marriage aren't perfect and we all have our little blemishes. Kudos for laying it all out there.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! I've never believed in hiding anything. After all, we are all unique, but our human experiences really aren't THAT much different.

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