To men, women seem to be a mass of conflicting messages all wrapped up in a very attractive container. None more so than those who choose to stay at home and make raising a family their main focus. And I admit there is probably good reason for this. Take, for instance, one of the most common conundrums of the stay-at-home situation - loneliness.
Being lonely is an occupational hazard of being a mother; especially when you have very young children still hanging about. The thing is, you are generally very busy, what with all that charging around in a vain attempt to keep your little ones from shedding every stitch of clothing and dancing in front of the picture window buck nekkid (not that they aren’t the cutest little nudes, what with their rosy pink bottoms and sweet little toes - but that nice elderly woman across the street is prone to strokes) and keeping them in snacks. Or, more accurately, keeping their snacks in them - and not in the couch, the drapes, the television, the DVD player, etc..
Also, holding a train of thought can be exhausting. Telephone conversations, out of sheer survival instinct, must be kept to a minimum length. Otherwise, while you are enjoying a delightful story being told by your chum, your little cherub is in the bathroom, seeing if the cat will flush, or fishing out his poop to bring to you, or he’s back up in the window, leaving interesting prints on the glass using his warm breath and bare bum. And, of course, if you should happen to have more than one preschool child at home, your isolation is only multiplied.
And yet, for most of us in that situation, our most pressing desire is to just be left alone.
In a fit of gallantry our husbands take our request literally, and pack us off to the grocery store, dry cleaners, Laundromat, where ever, sans kids and company. Then, pleased with their ability to problem solve, sit the kids down in front of a rented movie and turn their attention to getting that kitchen organized once and for all. And they are genuinely surprised when we offer them a one-way ticket to a place paved with flaming bricks as soon as we have returned. And we are genuinely taken aback at their protestations of ignorance.
For us, ‘alone’ doesn’t mean ‘isolated’ - that we’ve already got! What we’re looking for is ‘alone’ as in ‘no longer being pestered constantly about trivia’ (like, “Is Curious George a Chimpanzee or a spider monkey?”) And I don’t know of one mother who doesn’t fantasize about just sitting on the couch with a good book and her family surrounding her reading their own books, playing cards, watching T.V. (PBS, of course) etc. and losing all track of time due to the peacefulness of its passing! I also don’t know of one mother to whom this has EVER happened!
You see, it’s not the presence of the family that threatens to drive us batty - it’s the constant droning (anyone who has spent a sleepless night in a quiet room with a mosquito can relate to what I am saying) nonsense. We are lonely for conversation that doesn’t include whining or unintelligible jokes or spilled drinks. We are lonely for the feeling of being an adult again. And yes, we are lonely for time to call our own so WE can drink enough to spill and get away with it!