Running Away…

I just sent my ten-year-old downstairs with the information I am running away to Japan.

For the next twenty…or thirty…or however many minutes it takes for me to tap out what needs to be said…that’s how long I’ll be gone.  And my family gets it.

It has been a freezing, cloud-covered, Minnesota-in-March day, and as much as doing laundry, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning the clutter and being emotionally available for the needs of the other four people in my house brings an overwhelming sense of joy…I’m just not feelin’ it today.

There are lots of days like this. This is motherhood…this is marriage…and this is my life. The truth is, I’ve chosen this, and I’m not about to simply walk away, so I’ve had to find a way to meet my needs within the life we’ve created.

I choose to find my solace in these few minutes of writing escape. If that’s not enough, I call in reinforcements of friends, and sitters and tell my husband I need space or help.  My mini-trips are enough because I have worked to redefine what motherhood and marriage look like in our house. That’s the choice I made…and continue to make every day.

Do I wish I could make the choice to be in Japan for six months? Or Italy, India and Bali for a year?  Are you crazy?  Absolutely!!

Is it the reality for the majority of married mothers who want to stay with their children, and who vowed to stand by their husbands, that they can pack up and leave?  Hardly.

Don’t get me wrong, I ate up the words of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love and I am excited to read the tantalizing writing of Rahna Reiko Rizzuto in Hiroshima in the Morning, but there is a distinct difference between those writers and me.

Gilbert and Rizzuto were afforded opportunities of a lifetime to travel and discover themselves.  Gilbert was already divorced, but invested in finding herself, and  I have not yet read Rizzuto, but the previews explain that a six-month solo trip to Japan convinced her that marriage and motherhood were not what she wanted to be doing with her life.

Their work will undoubtedly be part of the continuing conversation redefining marriage and motherhood against the backdrop of the modern woman’s malaise.

We are sad, ladies.  Of this I have no doubt.  The modern woman is flailing with her role as a mother and a wife, and she is intrigued by the glamorous who have found a way to get out…to avoid it altogether and to carve out a life for herself.

I’m not out.  I am very much in this marriage thing and this motherhood thing…and I know there are a whole lot more women out there like me than like the world-travelers who bring us beautifully-written and intriguing stories. I am incredibly grateful for the travel writers, but they are so unlike me, in so many ways.

Is it possible to find yourself in married motherhood?  My contention…Yes, I’m living proof.

Is it easy? You’ve got to be f***ing kidding me. There is NOTHING easy about redefining yourself, and it is compounded when your definition is dependent upon the husband and the children who tell you who you are on a daily basis.

My journey is far from over, and I will likely come back to my computer, or a book, or an online conversation with a friend on the other side of the world tonight,  because loving the life that is downstairs depends upon my mini-trips to somewhere else…

My introspective trip continues, without even leaving the country…but I will some day, and I can hardly wait to share that trip around the world with my husband… and our kids.

My book Choosing to Grow: Through Marriage is due for release March 2011.

18 thoughts on “Running Away…

  1. There are times I want to escape as well, but I do feel my life was very much my choice. My husband and I had been married almost 6 years before the birth of our first child and I was 33 at the time.

    Some of the waiting was by design, some was not. We had suffered through sevral miscarriages and although they were extremely painful I think it really made me aware of how much we wanted children. I do think you are right about our friends being mini escapes, as well as writing, or gardening for me.

    You must be so excited about your book comming out. Congratulations! If you ever feel like visiting my site I’m at

    • Thanks so much for stopping by, and I will absolutely get back to your blog (the one with the totally awesome name:) The waiting for children most certainly helps people appreciate what they have. I bet your kids know how much you really wanted them!

  2. Megs-once again you so eloquently said and wrote what I was thinking and feeling as well. I too wake up every morning a mother and wife who loves my family with every fiber of my being. However, it is important that I continue to discover who I am as well! It includes my family who is a significant part of who I am. In my opinion, it is very selfish for someone to make a commitment to another person, than as a mother bring two innocent people into the relationship then decide you need to leave find yourself. When you make the decision to become a mother, you have created an environment where you can still find yourself; however, it may not always be on your terms. I, as a work in progress, am still finding myself, but that includes my two beautiful children and my husband who loves me for who I am, and for the person I can become!

    • Thanks Maura…
      I know too well how easy it is to feel stuck with the men we’ve married. It is a continual challenge to gently remind them that we need to be able to carve out our identities too. I cannot wait to see you…a mini-trip with a real destination!!!

  3. I admire your honesty and I agree that “mini-trips” are essential. I used to travel a whole lot more when I was single. Having small children has meant a change in my travel lifestyle, but the wanderlust is still there. I suppose that’s one of the reasons I wrote my book – to relive the freedom I used to have. I wouldn’t trade what I have now for all the frequent flyer miles in the world, but I still need to carve out some time in my day to wander off while sitting down.

    Congrats on your book upcoming book release! 🙂

    • Sam,
      Thanks for your comment. I have to admit, your glorious photos and the picturesque descriptions in your book excerpts stirred something in me. A something that calls for that travel…I just know there will be a time and place. Right now, in this time, I am grateful you can take me to the places I can’t go physically. Your book will absolutely be one of the mini-trips I want to take.

  4. Meagan I enjoyed what you wrote and admire the fact that you learned early that you must make time for yourself. I learned that the hard way and before I knew it my life was given away to the husband, children, jobs, and many other things I found more important then myself. I tell every lady that remembering who you are and allowing time to be you and only you is important and gives you the balance for life. If I had it to do all over I would place myself first not in a selfish way but so that I could grow as my family did. Now that my children are grown and my husband and I have taken our love to another level during the autumn of our marriage life is great. I’m discovering me and I have started becoming the lost woman I put on the shelf so many years ago. Only regret I wish I didn’t wait until my vintage years to remember me…ha,ha,ha….take the time to run away each will love your life more.

    • Rev. LaWaughn,
      I truly think it is not a matter of when you figure out your own life matters…it is just a matter that you DO find out your life matters. It is great you have the insight you do, and your story will resonate with so many people.

      Thanks so much for your support!!

  5. Fantastic post, as usual, Meagan. How right you are – it’s all about making choices and sticking by what we choose, even when we want to run away. When my mother had children, moms stayed home and raised those children and tended the household needs. I don’t think she even realized she could have dreams of her own! Still, when I ask, she tells me she wouldn’t have chosen to have done it any other way. I chose career followed by full-time SAHM for over a decade before I realized I could and needed to pursue my own dreams as well. Still, as you personally know, when my children need me, I make that choice to be there for them because I committed to do that first – and then I call in reinforcements, just like you. I guess what I’m trying to say is, everyone makes choices and each of those choices brings with it a committment that, no matter how much we’d like to at times, we can’t simply walk away. But, if a person chooses to do so, those choices can be successfully meshed most of the time.

    • Thanks Linda! As you know…the journey has really only begun. I feel blessed to have found the path I am walking and I can hardly contain my enthusiasm about the people with whom I get to travel 🙂

  6. The irony for me (and I think a lot of us) is that I spend so much time wishing I could get away. But then as soon as I do, I miss everybody. Drives me crazy. But, hey, if we had it all figured out, we wouldn’t have anything to write about.:)

    • So true Partly Sunny! The grass is always greener on the other side when you get a close-up look at the grass you are standing on. If I ever run out of things to write about…I’ll have figured it all out. That will be a sad, sad day!!

    • Cathy,
      I am grateful for two things 1) that you’ve been able to travel to some fabulous places in your life and 2) you continue to escape there by writing about your experiences. I love escaping with you! YOUR writing is one of my favorite ways to escape too.

  7. I love it! A few weeks ago I told my family I was packing up and moving in with an overseas friend. My 12 year old stood up, cheered, and did the happy dance, I kid you not. Oh, my! I started blogging then and found a space to be me.
    Great post!

    • Stacy and Meagan, yes that is indeed hilarious! Maybe your 12 year old wants to tag along, you know, so you won’t miss him/her so much you turn around and go back home! Gotta love 12 year olds, the alternative isn’t worth imagining! Love this sentiment too – and found a space to be me 😉

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