Many of the people that know me would probably describe me as unconventional, different, on the fringes. I would probably echo those comments and add some of my own. I may even tell myself or say out loud that I don't care what anyone thinks of me or of how I live and that is true to a point. When it came to my family and the things that affect my children I cared very much what people thought. I did not want to be the reason for my children to stand out from the crowd. "Yeah, there's so and so she/he has such a weird Mom". I didn't want to be THAT Mom. So, I did my craziness at home and had a somewhat benign face for the public. People could tell I was a bit different but it was more interesting at least that's what I think. I never heard anyone give my kids a hard time because of the choices I made except for once and that was from a particularly racist child so that doesn't count.
When my husband and I separated last year, we spent a lot of time rehashing what happened, why it happened, whose fault it was, how do we fix it, how do we change it? I went around and around in my head. We fought, we yelled, we screamed. I used to wait until I got to work to put on my makeup because I would cry all the way to work. I'd arrive at work, duck into the ladies room, put on my game face and get to work. I could be sarcastic and participate in the male bashing prevalent in many offices. I'd get into my car at the end of the day and rehash my day and realize the price I paid for my conformity.
Yeah we were separated but I didn't hate him. I didn't like a lot of the things he did but we have kids that we raised together. That means something to me. He still had a key to the house until recently, he would come in and make tea every morning and bring our son to school. He would come over most nights after work and see him again. We would hug each other and then he'd leave and go back to his place. After a while the reasons for the fighting waned and I would think, I could be married like this. Think about it, I had the best of both worlds. I had my own space, I had an oasis in my home, I had peace. I could recharge my batteries. It was great. There were some things to work out but for the most part we were very much a family. Not a conventional family with parents living under the same roof, Dad going off the work, Mom staying home and taking care of things. We're different. Mom and Dad live in different places and we're happier than we've been in 10 years. We laugh more and can make fun easier. We still fight from time to time but we have our own addresses to go to and think and regroup the next day. We apologize easier and try harder to mean it. Who says that you have to hate the other person because the relationship is over? Most times it is the best thing for everyone involved and in time it can lead to much happier people. So I'm giving myself permission to fully embrace my unconventional nature and fully put the idea of conformity aside.