It didn’t start as a comment directed at me, but it bothered me nonetheless. The discussion was about a situation in which a man, with a disabled wife and a small child had taken a weekend ‘off’ to visit with friends and came home to find his wife had died. The comment, on a friend’s journal, stated that the commenter couldn’t understand why, if the man loved his family at all, he would need a weekend away from them.
I am a single mother of two disabled kids with whom I live alone. I love them more than anything in the world – but I need time off! By the time their father’s scheduled weekend with them comes around, which is supposed to be every two weeks but is more often not until the third weekend, I’m all but pulling out my hair. Loving them doesn’t preclude the work that’s required to look after their every need, nor does it make up for the fact that I don’t get any more than five hours of sleep a night when they’re here.
Back to the comment: I tried to explain to the girl who made it that it’s not that clear cut – that there are many things that go into the care of the disabled and the very young. She came back to say that she knows – and that she looks after her disabled parents. I fail to see the parallel. In the end I got the last word, telling her that she is a better person than I am.
It’s probably the way the conversation was left that bothers me the most. That I couldn’t make her see I’m not a terrible person and that I don’t not love my kids because I need time to myself to recharge and re-align my emotions, still sits badly with me.
It makes me wonder whether people out there with different problems than I have are just reluctant to look deeper into the difficulties of others or if they simply don’t care to try. It’s this ‘it’s not my problem so you must be doing something wrong to make it yours’ attitude that worries me. At the same time I hope they are never put into my situation, a little part of me hopes they are. Not very altruistic, but there you go. Sentiment breeds like sentiment.