I have stressed many times the idea of the group identity of a poly household.  Today I’m going to flip that at focus on exactly the opposite.  With so much focus on the family unit as a whole sometimes we can forget to focus on what should be our top priority: Ourselves.  Recently I planned to go to a poetry reading that I attend monthly, and I mentioned it to my sister-in-law, who I thought would enjoy the event as a fellow writer.  I have invited other people in the past, but I intended to go either alone as I usually do or on a date with a woman I’ve been pursuing for some time now.  After the event, which I never even went to, it was brought to my attention that A felt left out.  Hubby suggested I invite her next time.  I had not intended to exclude her from the reading, it’s just something I generally attend on my own time as a personal interest.

This may sound selfish, but it’s a lesson that many have learned the hard way, especially care takers and parents.  I must take care of myself before I worry about the others in my family, with my children coming a very close second.  If I am sick, stressed, exhausted, or emotionally burnt out I cannot begin to give anyone proper attention or care.  If I refuse to take any time for myself and my development it can breed resentment and negativity directed at those I love.  Not every minute of my life needs to be spent on my children.  Not every minute without my children needs to be spent with one of my partners.  Not every waking moment of my life needs company.  I need the time and space to continue my personal growth and development.  I cannot allow the Google calendar to consume me.  Otherwise I would become a useless partner, an absentee wife, and a jaded parent, as well as a stunted human being.

I really enjoy my alone time sometimes.  In the case of the aforementioned poetry reading it’s something I really like to go to with no distractions or expectations.  I can show up, read if I want, and feel no pressure to leave at a certain time nor stay until the end.  Especially on weekdays when I am on my own for work, I have my routines and my regular activities that do not include anyone outside that particular “circle”.  It’s not that I’m ashamed of them or my family, and I’d never intentionally separate the two, but I do enjoy having time just for me and my whimsy.

I feel the same way sometimes with activities as a couple.  If there’s something Hubby and I enjoy doing together on a regular basis I don’t see any reason to always invite the whole family.  It’s our routine, and I feel our relationship needs things once in a while to remind us of a very important thing.  While it’s fine that our lives revolve around our family unit we cannot allow our entire lives to become the family unit.  Just as the household needs maintenance and bonding time, so does each couple, and so do we as individuals.  It doesn’t make us bad parents or spouses to not include everyone in everything we do.

Not taking this personal development time will lead to stagnation.  Hubby fell in love with me, and I with him, because of our respective personalities.  We took this journey together, and decided to add to it others whose character and interests complimented ours.  We did not set out in search of clones.  Nor do we expect anyone in our family to give up any hobbies or interests that we don’t all share.  What brought us together is who we are as individuals and what we bring to the table to share and teach.  We are a unique blend, but if all the components look the same we will never reach our full potential as a family let alone as people.  If we do not take the time and opportunity to nurture ourselves we become fallow and colourless.

It is not the point of life to be absorbed by a family, to have our free spirits grounded, or to have our hungry minds starved.  A household should support each other’s personal endeavors and encourage growth, whether or not why share the interest or understand the motives behind it.  I do not exist solely in the hearts and minds of my partners.  I also live within my own heart and soul, and I cannot be true to myself nor my family if all those components are not happy and healthy.  I cannot give my whole self and my whole heart to something that doesn’t see who I am and love me for it, and I cannot put energy into something that puts none into me.  The whole should enrich the one as the one enriches the whole, otherwise both will shrivel up and die.

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