Monday, January 22, 2007
Bad Sportswife
I'll do an awful lot for my family. Aside from the typical cooking, cleaning, working when I don't want to, not throttling when I do want to, and other basics, I also learn about math and space and potty training because it's important to various family members, and I do get interested - I'm not faking it, I actually care just because someone I love cares.

But I can't care about sports. I just can't. Especially football (well, boxing and wrestling, too, but I will not watch those at all, so they don't count). I find the game too violent and complicated, and it simply does not interest me. I feel like I should care, because Willem cares about sports and I'd like to support him in whatever his interests are... but just like how I can't fake an enjoyment of certain of the music he listens to (sorry, Opeth, you're one fan short... but I think the kids like your quiet stuff), I simply cannot bring myself to enthuse about football.

This may become a problem. Yesterday, it somehow came up that not only do I not know the finer points of football, but I don't know what a first down is. Willem was initially shocked and appalled, followed quickly by an overwhelming need to explain a first down to me. And he was unhappy when I asked him not to. I feel bad about it, honestly I do, but there are some things I don't want to learn about.

So I'm in this self-imposed existential time-out right now. Would a better wife learn about everything her husband was interested in, just to placate his need to impose sports upon the world, or would she support her own right not to share some interests with him? I just don't know. I feel guilty that I don't want to understand the rules of football, but not guilty enough to actually want to learn the rules of football. At all.

He says that since he has made an effort to learn more about my interests - serial killers and knitting, to name two - then I should learn more about his. Which has some validity, but I have already learned lots more about Galileo and watched lots more Mythbusters than I ever would have on my own. So, are there limits?

We've had this discussion before. Willem is a consummate teacher, and he derives a lot of joy in being able to communicate knowledge to someone else. I know it hurts his feelings when I ask him not to teach me something. But sometimes I don't want to know about things, and I'm left feeling like I'm throwing it back in his face, and he feels like I'm stonewalling him. Or something. I don't know what words he would use.

But let's widen the net and look at the children ("Just think of the children! Won't you think of the poor little children?"). I'm happy to enroll Emily in art lessons and took her to a school year's worth of dance classes on Saturday mornings... and it so happens that I enjoyed those activities myself, once upon a time, so I felt I could share them with her. But trains... model trains, Thomas the tank engine, animated trains... they just don't rev me up like they do her. She seems okay with this. But should I allow her to pursue indepenedent interests without my presence/interest/interference, or should I involve myself in every aspect of her existence to prove to her that she is loved and attended-to? And what about when Jacob starts developing interests of his own?

Ugh. Just another thing to file under "How much of me is ME and how much of me is Mom/Wife?"