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Getting Out : Leaving

Cuz I'm too sexy for

from ErikMagnusLehnsher - Thursday, June 14, 2007
accessed 1123 times

I've been working on this for a few minutes here and a few minutes there for about a week and am still not really satisfied that it expresses my thoughts well enough but it's probably pretty close...

I want my son and daughter to feel safe, fiercely protected, wanted and unconditionally loved. I want them to have every opportunity...every chance for success. I feel like fulfilling my responsibilities to them basically requires stability, dependability, financial security, a high degree of predictability, a lot of time and an overall aversion to risk. Basically a lifestyle that, at times, feels boring and precariously UN-sexy.

Sometimes I look at my kids and ask myself if I want them to be like me. I guess like most parents I want them to be an improvement on the stock...I want them to have opportunities that I never had. But to be honest, what I want more than any of that is for them to be happier than I am. I want them to have the freedom to recognize their dreams, the freedom to occasionally fail and the capacity to truly embrace life in all its wonder.

I'm not sure exactly what forms my approach to parenthood. It's probably some nature, some nurture, some anger about my own childhood, perhaps some marytrdom complex luggage, and most of all my natural instincts to love and provide for my kids. I'm not looking for either approval or ridicule here. Ultimately, I'll live and die with the decisions I make. I am, however, curious if there are other parents out there who have grappled with the same issues and how one balances the role of parenthood with the process of self-discovery and fulfillment.

Most of us grew up essentially working our asses of from the word "go". You're cleaning, getting up early to make breakfast, doing childcare, hitting the streets, generating money through any number of different methods. There were kids...tons of kids at every corner and they all needed care and money and food and while our parents were busy getting exorcisms for demons of jealousy or discouragement and having Sunday prayer for herpes, the lion's share of the work often fell to us.

After leaving TF, I imagine everyone goes through a phase where they're trying to figure what they believe, who they are and what they really want to do. Practically speaking you hit the ground scrambling. I felt like I was operating for a few YEARS at "ramming speed" (hat tip to Judah Ben Hur for concept). Things have gone relatively well and I can't really complain. I've got a pretty good career that I enjoy most of the time, good health, marvelous kids, etc. but sometimes when I stop to catch my breath I wonder when it would be my turn to really live.

My kids bring me so much joy and love and fulfillment...just seeing them laugh and smile and enjoy stuff that normal kids do. I wonder sometimes if it's selfish of me to want to occasionally want to say, "What the fuck", and take some risks...jump out of an airplane, make an ambitious and risky career move, try not being the designated driver at a party. If something happened to me, it would basically make my children orphans and completely destroy their happy little lives, so I'm unable to take those kinds of risks. I suppose this article could be titled "midlife crisis for a teen of the end". Ultimately, these questions will bounce around my mind every once in a while but I simply will not take personal, professional or financial risks that could impact my kids negatively. I just wonder sometimes if that makes me a hero, a coward...or both.

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from heleton
Saturday, August 11, 2007 - 04:37

Go skydiving if you want to go skydiving. Unless you go to a cheap place (like the one in Lodi, CA, where I went), there's not a whole lot that can go wrong.
I'm a brand new parent and I feel what you're going through. Only I had a good 10+ years to f*ck off and enjoy my youth before I went & had a kid (I'm 28 now). I intend to keep enjoying my life and having fun, but I realize that I do have to focus on taking care of the important things first.
I think it's all about compromise and balancing responsibility with a healthy level of hedonism. If you work hard, there's no reason why you shouldn't play hard. You don't even have to go clubbing and take pills on the weekends - you can start snowboarding or doing something along those lines - something fun but not (too) reckless. And you can even get your kids into something like that when they're 4 or 5.
Lately I've been freaking out about being a parent. I'm definitely dealing w/ a lot of "My young life is over" issues. But I don't want to become a bitter dad / partner, so I'm going to do my best to retain my lifestyle and my interests while maintaining a healthy family. It'll take some sacrifices / compromise / planning, but it's totally possible. People do it all the time.
I wish you all the best with your own family.
(reply to this comment)
From ErikMagnusLehnsher
Friday, August 17, 2007, 18:44

Thanks. Best of luck to you, too.(reply to this comment
from rainy
Friday, June 15, 2007 - 21:51

Cannot tell you how much I appreciate what you've written here.
It is SO hard to find that balance. I'm going through a very similar thing at the moment. Sometimes I feel that my son saved my life as he appeared just when I was at my wildest...but then having that newly-found freedom cut short so abruptly leaves me sometimes with a lingering sense of loss. I gladly gave it all up for him, and for a few years didn't think of myself as anything other than mother and housewife.

Now...weirdly enough, getting closer to thirty, my feeling of freedom is coming back and the party girl keeps trying to raise her naughty head. Then in the background there's a little voice: "Mum? Can I have juice please?" calling me back to reality. Too sexy for my kids. I like your title. In itself it expresses the whole dillemna. One thing for sure: our parents were too sexy for their kids. And that was NOT a good thing.

Better go get him that drink of juice.
(reply to this comment)
From ErikMagnusLehnsher
Sunday, June 17, 2007, 09:41


The funny thing about parenthood is that you can try to do everything right and it's still basically a crapshoot as to how your kids will turn out and if they'll avail themselves of the opportunities you try to provide for them. I guess you have to live life for yourself and do what makes you happy within reason. My grandparents worked hard to provide my parents with opportunities and send them to the best schools and ultimately my parents basically flipped them the bird, severed all ties and joined the COG.

The other thing I think about sometimes is how no matter how much you don't want to be like your parents or make the same decisions that they made, you're upbringing is always a part of you to a degree. When you grow up in a cycle of constant change where you're moving Homes frequently and travelling so often, I think it makes the prospect of living in the same house and going to the same job year after year feel that much more foreign and mundane.

Only tangentally related is the notion that things will go well for you if you do the right things. I read the following paragraph from a novel (of all things) I'm reading.

"Matt understood human nature. Check that. He understood subhuman nature. He had the seen the Fates curse him and his family enough to come up with an explantion or, if you will, an anti-explanation for all that goes wrong: In sum, there is no explanation.

"The world is neither cruel nor joyous. It is simply random, full of particles hurtling, chemicals mixing and reacting. There is no real order. There is no preordained cursing of the evil and protecting of the righteous.

"Chaos, baby. It's all about chaos."(reply to this comment

from fragiletiger
Friday, June 15, 2007 - 00:04

This feeling is one I've been pushing to the back of me for awhile now. I've done everything I could to make the 'right' choices, to not let the past and the damage it's caused to push me into a self-distructive cycle. I've gotten married, had a kid, studyed, gotten a job. My drive has been to ensure my son is safe and happy and has strong emotional support and is surounded by a happy safe family unit. Then there's me, even though I'm happy I still feel as though in order to accomplish this I've had to squash the part of me that wants to be broke, study a stupid subject that I can't make a financually secure career out of, to travel, going anywhere and crashing on random couches, and engaging in risky behaviour. Honestly I'm bored, I'm living the life of someone twice my age and I've never had a chance to just be young. But I have a kid, and how can I justify screwing up his life, out of a restlessness I just can't quite contain. I guess like so many things there are no real answers, in all situations, someone loses. On the upside though, for the first time in my life I'm able to say, that I could support both myself and my son, all by my little selfy. Now if I can just get my divers licence I'll be sweet.....
(reply to this comment)
From clark
Wednesday, June 27, 2007, 10:45


I figure there is no way to justify risky behavior when I have young kids. I too had my first very young, and feel like I'm living a life of someone 2ce my age. Or at least 10 yrs older. There are times I CRAVE some freedom, or just to not be responsible for so much. Then of course that is followed by huge amounts of guilt and feeling like a rotton parent. I do love motherhood with all my heart and would never change any of it. My children are a treasure that I cannot believe is mine. 30 is around the corner for me as well and I am finally able to breath a bit, kids are out of diapers, they can tell me what they want instead of hurling their dinner plate across the room. I feel like I've been treading water for a while and now have found a little something to stand on and it leaves me thinking, "what now? " Does this mean some freedom for me or do I thrust myself into career etc. When is it ok for me to really truly do something for myself? How does one juggle it all resposibly and fairly.

I guess as long as i have kids under my roof, my life is not my own. Which I am used too. It was never my own in TF either. Luckily I had them so young, by the time "empty nest syndrome" sets in I'll be young and SEXY enough to then have a life then. Yippie (reply to this comment

From Nick
Wednesday, June 27, 2007, 13:40

While I have the luxury of having a lot more freedom than you seem to, (I share custody and only have my son a few days a week), I still find myself not doing certain things simply because of my son. For example I won't buy a motorcycle for fear I will leave my kid fatherless. Or I can't quit my corprate job and work in a field that I love because I know I need the financial stability and insurance for my son. having a son changes your whole perspective on life.

Like you, I am also just a few months away from 30 and its great now that my son is old enough to do most things himself. He can make his own food, clean his own room. He is his own little person and doesn't require his dad to do all those little chores that I used to have to do that took time away from us having fun together. (Instead, I get to do all those chores for his pets and animals that he doesn't take care of. LOL)

When I 18 and he was born I was working 2 jobs, never getting vacation and had to drive a crappy car while I kept seeing all my friends travel and live out their youth. Now I am almost 30 and a lot more stable and my son is old enough to do adult stuff I can enjoy my freedom more whereas all my friends are having to go through the things I had to go though when my son was young. Not at all that I don't treasure the times we had when he was a baby, but you know what I mean.

BTW, on a side note, I remember when he was about 7 and he would a lot of times end up sleeping in my bed on the weekends and I asked an older friend of mine if she thought that was a little weird. She said that I should just enjoy whatever little time I had left with him being a "baby" and that when he stops wanting to do that I will miss it. Well, about 6 months later he was to big to be doing that anymore and she was right, I do miss the baby that he was.(reply to this comment

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