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Friday, September 18, 2009

The Art of Letting Go

Written by Amy, a mom without a blog

It is an art and it happens to be one with which I struggle. A lot.

My husband has had a life’s dream of owning a motorcycle and he has just realized this dream. Yes ... he is the proud owner of a new motorcycle.

I am not supportive of this decision and I just can’t hide my non-support (as hard as I may try).

In one weekend, I went through so many emotions and self-talk, I was beginning to think I might have a mild case of Schizophrenia. What I was thinking and what I was actually saying to my husband were polar opposites.

First off, let’s just get the safety topic crossed off the list. I know many of you are thinking “NO – it’s not safe – he’s a dad – what is he thinking?” For whatever reason I really can’t explain, safety is not one of my issues. I don’t know why. It just isn’t. If it were, then I think I might have a leg to stand on. But really, I have faith. I trust him and I just can’t climb aboard the “motorcycles aren’t safe" soapbox.

So what are my issues? That’s where I run into a problem.

My issues are irrational (in my mind). I would never, ever spend money on an extravagant toy like that. I wouldn’t. I’m conservative and I like to save and to me the motorcycle represents a big, giant toy. That for me is the core issue. I can't get past it. It represents a big, giant toy for an adult man. I can not relate AT ALL.

But I am arguing with myself for many reasons …

Firstly, he works incredibly hard and makes incredible money. I have had the luxury of staying home ever since my babies were born and I am so grateful for this every single day. He supports our family and gives his entire life to supporting us. Shouldn’t that earn him a toy or two along life’s journey?

Secondly, if the tables were turned and I wanted anything at all in this world, I know to the depths of my soul my husband would support me unequivocally and encourage me. Especially if I was pursuing a life’s dream – especially that. Why can't I do the same for him? Why? 

Even when I try - the resentment, the bitchiness, the mean side of me leaks out. I am behaving the exact opposite of how I want to behave. When it seemed buying the motorcycle was about to become a reality, I wanted so much to be excited for him. To ask him what color motorcycle he wanted. To ask him about an upcoming trip up the coast of California he’s been dreaming about. Support. A little encouragement. That’s all he wanted from me and I couldn’t give it to him.

I was trying to control him into behaving how
I think he should behave and in my ripe old age, I should know by now that it’s impossible to control another person. Just ask any parent. Impossible.

So, why this need for control? I’m not really sure. I just know that my mind and my life would be a much calmer, peaceful, more blissful place, if I could improve on the art of just letting go.


  1. I think deep down you ARE worried about his safety, as your husband and as the father of your children, you may have deep seeded fears of the "what-if's"

    In your conscious mind you know he is a safe driver.. your subconscious mind cant help but think.. "what about the other drivers"

    On the other hand, if safety really ISN't The issue.. what is?

    Jealousy? Yes you are conservative and would never spend that kind of money on something for just you.. but do you WANT to do that?

    I think as soon as you sit down with yourself.. with a notebook and just start freewriting whatever comes to your mind, you will figure it out.

    Also, write down your dreams.. this might give you a clue as to whats bugging you.

    I have a dream blog, if you want, you can email me your dream(s) and I can try to give you my take.

    I know you will figure it out, it's just a matter of patience and honesty with yourself.

  2. Sometimes, beyond our rational selves, is the inner control freak that leaks out. Write out all your frustrations, up his life insurance policy and let him ride!

  3. LMAO at anonymous! That thought was in my head too.. I'm glad you voiced it!

  4. My husband owned a motorcycle when I met him and had for the 8 years prior and had been riding motorcycles since he was 14. In the entire time he had a bike he never once crashed and always wore the protective gear. With kids he didn't get to ride his bike as much as he liked so once he got his Jeep he sold he bike and bought "toys" for his Jeep with the money.

    I don't get the need men have for "toys" but it seems to be with all men. If it is not a motorcycle it is a car, or a garage, or a computer, or the latest electronics or sports. It is SOMETHING!

    My husband still has his jeep plus he has 4 guitars, and brews beer for his other hobbies but he complains everyday how he doesn't have a garage or enough tools or doesn't get to restore a car. I would NEVER spend thousands of dollars on a hobby.

    Once we are more finacially stable I don't have a problem with my husband spending more money on his hobbies. As irrational as it seems to me if it makes him happy than it is worth it.

    Don't worry I am a control freak too!

  5. Amy. Beautifully written. Thanks for being so honest about it. I don't think there is a simple answer to something like this. But bottom line is that the motorcycle is like the elephant in the room in your marriage right now. Letting it go truly is going to be the best thing for your relationship. You don't want to let those yucky feelings brew inside you whenever you think about it and you don't want him to feel like he has to walk on egg shells around you when the motorcycle is mentioned or rides on the coast are discussed...
    When you let go.... well let your imagination go, its all good - Just try to look ahead to the day when you are able to let yourself join him on those trips, on the back of his or buying your own ride!
    Or maybe by then you'll let yourself buy something equally extravagant that fulfills your dreams - because you deserve it too, baby! :)

  6. Ames,

    What a heart-felt post. I can feel your pain and frustration. From one control-freak to another, I truly get that.

    I have to agree with Michelle. If it's not a motorcycle, it's something else. Men need their "toys." It's not motorcycles at my house it's TOOLS. Lots and lots of big, noisy, (useless???) tools. They nearly tumble out of the garage each day as I try to back out.

    I think men need those things....that little boy in them never really goes away.

    Good luck with your struggle, my friend. Maybe a ride on on the back, with your arms snug around his waist might help your "letting go" a little. :-)

  7. Safety WOULD be my issue here, and the big expensive toy thing... and the "Well, it must be nice to plan a weekend away by yourself, I'll just be sitting around here with the kids like always" thing.

    My husband wouldn't want a motorcycle, but if he could buy a big expensive toy, it would be a boat, and I'd be a superbitch about it.

  8. well, well, well... i think we should form a support group. Wives Against Big Expensive Toys (WABET). my husband has a little toy of his own that he just purchased last month, after YEARS of debate (aka arguing). i finally relented because he totally works his ass off, like you said, and he is an awesome husband and dad. he deserves it, and it makes him happy.

    so i kind of rolled my eyes for a few weeks and occasionally (and begrudgingly) poked my head outside to say hello while he would wash it (repeatedly). and he was okay with my non-participation because it was one of the conditions of our agreement. he could do whatever, but just be sure to leave me out of it. but slowly, i have come around, and i will go sit outside while he polishes it and tell him how pretty it is. i let him take me into the city to buy cupcakes. my change in attitude has made him so happy. he really thinks i love it now, and i don't. but i love him and i love that he gets some pleasure from a stupid car (sheesh, men can be so simple).

    but listen, i will be singing a different tune when he broaches the subject of upgrades... and believe me, it's coming.

    take a deep breath, and try to let go. i am here for you. WABET forever!

  9. Oh how I get this. I like control. I like to have my husband and children see things exactly the right way. My way. So I stomp around a lot and wish I were better at letting go.

    Yes, what Deb said, a support group is in order. Maybe recovery really is possible...

  10. yeah. I've got a flat screen TV with DVR that have me enraged for over a year now

    I totally did not major in letting go, or rolling with it
    I am a big hanger onto
    and it sucks to carry that load every day, dont ya agree???

    maybe you should but yourself a small pony

  11. Could have written Deb's comment word for word.

    I'm totally with you, my Hubs works very hard to give me the choice to be able to stay at home. If he can be happy during the drive to and from his stressful job, I really can't complain.

    But some days I do :-)

    Or at least let my eyes glaze over as he tells me some other wonderful fact about the engine, or the tires, or the new performance chip.

    Yawn, I mean, that's so cool, dear!!!

  12. Very honest and thoughtful post. I suppose the first step to getting where you want to be is to realise what it is you're doing that you don't like.

    I hate it that I agree with you - now we'll probably end up with a boat in a few years. ;-)

  13. I think everyone struggles with letting go and being a control freak. HOWEVER, there is nothing worse in life than to live for the future. None of us know when that future will end and we can only live for today. My dad started traveling the world when he was 63. I felt sorry for him that he waited that long to do something he really wanted to do.

    Live for the moment and that is the real definition of letting go.

  14. My husband bought the motorcycle of his dreams about four years ago AND he had to buy a plane ticket to go get it. I told him my thoughts on it and said, "I promise this is the only time I will say this and I will leave it at that." He has had motorcycles our entire marriage and it is not a safety thing for me either, but that I thought we should not be spending the money.

    Anyway, he got the bike and I have to say, when I see how much joy he gets from it, I have no regrets about the purchase. And I feel a lot less guilty if/when I treat myself to something, which I have been doing a little more of lately!

  15. I'd be going a bit nuts over the money for a toy that expensive too. The safety thing would get me also. The cost I'd deal with if it were something we had gone over and agreed upon beforehand, but there'd be quite the discussion first.

  16. Frankly I do understand your worry. I own a motorcyle and my wife is not happy about it for the same reason of safety and being a dad, just like yours. Despite the fact that the motorcycle is not really that reliable on the road I like the feeling when I ride it. I felt a sense of freedom. However, a time came when I realized my mortality; I was afraid of the fate of my family should I made a mistake on the road.

    Since then, I let go of my cycle. Because I know I love my family more than any material things.

    I hope your husband will realize this too. :-)

  17. What an honest look at your feelings. Thanks for sharing this example of how our feelings are not always black or white; nor completely rational in terms of what we 'should' feel. My husband buys lots of toys and I don't know what need it fills for him. I remember telling him so often in the beginning of his career that he really needed some hobbies and I think he's making up for lost time. He is so sweet though in trying to find toys we can share; sailing, 4 wheeling, etc. I'm afraid I'm not a very willing participant. He looks at motorcycles lately and wonders aloud if I would enjoy traveling around on them.

    hahahahahaha. No way.


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