Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reason Not the Need

So I have a love/hate relationship with this great book - I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother by Allison Pearson. First time I read it, I loved it. It's all poignant about the trials and tribulations of a working mother. Cue tiny violins - how it's hard to juggle the demands of a career with family life with husbands. Second time I read it I had a different take, see in the end SPOILER ALERT, Kate decides you can't have it all and she quits her job to stay home with her kids

There's tons of good quotes in there about being a mom and having a career but interesting side note, as I'm rereading it again for about the fifth time, I realized I had always glossed over the part where Kate stumbles into an affair. Shocker I know! Haha! I came across the passage and thought it was really good, offered a great parallel of how my affair with Sawyer took flight...

"It's hard to explain how my relationship with Jack began. I really wasn't looking for anyone. I wasn't happy but I wasn't unhappy either; I was in the gray survival zone where I imagine most of us live most of the time. When a badly injured patient gets admitted, the hospital staff do what they call triage. Triage is the assignment of degrees of urgency to decide the order of treatment of the wounds.... and I thought about how much triage sounded like my life. Daily existence was a constant assessment of who needed my attention most: the children, the office, or my husband. You'll notice I leave myself out of that list and that's not because I'm a good and selfless person. Far from it. Selfishness just wasn't an option: no time.... When I wasn't at work, I had to be a mother; when I wasn't being a mother, I owed it to work to be at work. Time off for myself felt like stealing. The fact that no man I knew ever felt that way didn't help. This was just another area in which we were unequal: mothers got the lioness's share of the guilt. So the last thing, the very last thing I needed was someone else to love - and then the emails started.

In the weeks that followed our first dinner, he emailed me, first daily and then hourly. Sometimes we would reply to each other within seconds and it felt like one of those rallies in a tennis match were a great return spurs the other play to an inspired lob. I was cool at first, but he was so playful and persistent that natural competitiveness took over and I was soon running to the back of the court to retrieve the ball and return it with some topspin. So, no, I didn't need him, but he created a Jack-shaped need in me, a need that only he could satisfy. Does the woman in the desert know how thirsty she is till they press the bottle to her lips? I started to look forward to his name dropping into my Inbox more than I have looked forward to anything in my life..."

Oh and in the end, Kate ends her affair and stays married to her lovely but slow husband.


  1. Miranda-

    OMG I love it - sums it up perfectly! The only difference for me was that I went out actively seeking Adam at first b/c I was soooo unhappy. Then, it just turned into a need. When you go years with minimal sex and then you have it all hot and heavy again at least once a week, it's hard (read impossible) to go back to minimal...it just doesn't work that way for me, thus the affairs have continued!


  2. And that, what you said about the affairs continuing is one of the biggest reasons I'm going ahead and getting out of the relationship with Duckie. I know that now that I've "crossed the line" there is no going back. Staying with him would never be enough or ok with me and I don't want to keep having affairs. I'd rather be free and single and not sneaking around behind my husband's back.