Learning from Reading

Do you ever read something and say to yourself, “Shit. That’s what I was trying to say”? Remember my last blog post, which I wrote for From Left to Write, about The Expats? If you recall, I wrote:

A recurring theme in this season of my life, the season of small children and endless keeping of the home, is the lamentation that my life was once more than doling out snacks and wiping snotty noses.

And now check out this passage that I copied into my notebook, taken from Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldman:

Most of the women I know feel an underlying and corrosive sense of disappointment and anxiety. The women I know are, on some level, unfulfilled. And the women I know spend a lot of time, trying to avoid wondering whether the sacrifice was worth it. (p 13)

I am taking a writing class, and with some encouragement from the teacher, I am reworking an essay that I wrote about my deafness and my marriage, spun off from an earlier essay that I wrote about being a deaf mother.  There are a lot of kinks I’m trying to work out in the essay but one of them is a section about how no matter how independent I was before I got married, I’ve become increasingly reliant on my husband for a lot of things, post-wedding day. Turns out I’m not the only one that has noticed this. Check out another passage from the same book:

When I was single and lived alone, I was perfectly capable of getting the ladder out and changing bulbs on my own. So what is it about marriage that has made me so dependent, and why, even witnessing the warning of Ariel’s example, do I continue to allow myself to behave like some helpless 1950s sitcom wife? (p 82)

Boom.  Right there. Now, I need to figure out what to do with that. And I need to read more. Get out of my bubble and widen my frame of reference. I’ve always resisted reading parenting books and books about relationships but I realize that they are not all created equal. Reading Bruno Bettleheim, for example, has been helpful in helping to articulate the ideas behind the kind of parent that I want to be, and thinking more about the psychology behind raising children. Like this, for example:

Striving thus to comprehend one’s own behavior and of one’s child around a well-known and now also well-understood situation leads to parental behavior which most benefits parent and child. In fact, it such self-exploration which often provides the best clues for understanding and helping one’s child. 

When I think about how my deafness affects my parenting, this is what I think about– how reflecting on my own behavior is even more important in my case because I do things of which I’m not even aware but of which my children feel the effect.

Okay, time to stop expositing. I just can’t help myself… you can take me out of school, but you can’t take the school out of me. Even if no one reads this blog, writing for an (imaginary) audience is incredibly useful in my attempts to work out my ideas. But of course, the comments down there are open, should you care to weigh in…

1 thought on “Learning from Reading”

  1. I am not imaginary! I always read your blog posts and enjoy them! I can't wait to read the final draft of your essay. I remember the deaf mother essay well and still think of how moving I found it…

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