Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Importance of Men

Too often lately the importance of men in our lives seems to be marginalized. Yes, it is possible to support yourself and raise children without the presence of a husband, but it's not ideal. It's not ideal for you and it's not ideal for your children.

My father died when I was very young. My mother didn't have a choice when it came to being a single parent. She made good sound choices regarding her personal life before she planned on becoming a parent (yes, I was planned.... scary thought isn't it?). The hand Fate dealt her changed her options. Once my father was gone she had to think very carefully before choosing to introduce new men into my life.

I am thankful every day for my husband. It scares me sometimes to think how little control I have over whether he will live to be an old man and share my entire life with me. He is not home for very many of the boys' waking hours during the week since he leaves early every morning to work and support us in the grand manner we've become accustomed to (hard to convince little boys they don't want to eat). On the weekends it's hard to get him to leave the house. Sometimes this is a little frustrating since I'm here at home the entire flipping week. Wouldn't it be more fun to leave home and go somewhere? Anywhere? Maybe watch paint peel on the old downtown buildings? Seriously though, aren't I lucky he wants to spend as much of his time as he can with his family?

Sam is so upset these days if Dave leaves for work before Sam wakes up. How dare Daddy leave him all alone with this chopped liver person he calls Mommy? His little eyes just light up when Dave's home weekend mornings and all the kids pile into bed with us. Chris waits to tell me everything that happened at school until his dad gets home. It doesn't matter how many questions I ask, there's always something he's held back specially to tell Dad. Jake will lay across my lap while I'm trying to nurse him (after he's followed me around the house for 10 minutes making "feed me" noises) and watch his father (while biting me!) if Dave walks into the house before I'm finished nursing the little booger.

As for myself, I would go insane if I were all alone raising 3 boys without the love and support (and midnight baby wrangling) I get from my husband. I can't imagine why anyone would choose to become a single parent. What deluded soul would imagine that childrearing, so intensive for those of us in a strong relationship, would be such an easy thing to manage all alone and around full time employment. There wouldn't even be someone taking turns cooking dinner or picking children up from daycare. I understand the strong feeling of need that comes when you want a baby. I think children feel that same level of need when it comes having two parents.

1 comment:

Linda (Mom) said...

Child rearing is never easy, no matter how many people are involved. There isn't an instruction book that comes along with each child, darn it. Wouldn't life be wonderful if that were the case? As far as raising a child alone, by choice or not.. it's still YOUR child and YOUR main focus. Choosing to e a single parent would be terribly difficult, I think, but in the end, the joys of having this person who came from you and your love, is worth all the effort.
Thank you, Janet, for saying the things you did about my raising you. I have never claimed it was easy. But it was (and still is) rewarding. As far as men's roles in our lives....? well, you know me well and you know what MY opinion is. Men are sperm donors, for the most part, unless you are fortunate to have chosen a truly good man, like your Dave and like my Dave was. Men aren't really useful for a whole lot, most days, but they can be a lot of fun, some of them support their families, all of them like to have their dinners fixed. When you have a really good man in your life, be very, very thankful for him. I was. Still am, since he gave me you and through you I have these wonderful little boys.
I have even been blessed with your Dave's family, who seem to accept me and that's a novel idea. It makes our little family stronger and closer.
So the roles of men in our lives are varied.... you wrote about being someone's daughter, wife, mother, granddaughter..... you think maybe Dave feels like he's lost some of his identity too? Being someone's son, someone's husband, someone's father? I bet he has days when he feels the same way you do. But after the frenzy of young children gives way to adolescence (horrors!!) and beyond, you realize that your role as mom and wife (and even daughter) are the biggest and best roles you will ever play in your lifetime. Keep your sanity however you can; this will all pass much too soon.

Jake camping in the living room

Jake camping in the living room