Need and Want: Not as Simple as it Seems
Cheesy Alert! This post talks about feelings. You are warned…
Normally, when we hear people referring to needs and wants, it’s in conjunction with material goods. I read a blog recently (just yesterday actually) that got me thinking of needs in a whole different light. It’s right here at Big Little Wolf’s Daily Plate of Crazy, and it’s a good read. I rail on people frequently for confusing the things they want with the things they need. I have written about toys, baby products and even foods that are completely unnecessary but that many parents consider essential anyway. What about needs as something more than the material? I wrote about the desire for parents to have adult interaction, but that did not touch definitively enough on the distinction between need and want when it comes to personal associations. I talked about it vaguely as a unique concern for parents. The title of Big Little Wolf’s blog post was You Can’t Always Get What you Want (after the Rolling Stones Song). She’s right; we can’t always get what we want. It doesn’t mean we still don’t need it.
We plod through our lives engaged in one repetitive action after another. Most people associate repetitive boredom with work. I agree, it is usually the drudgery of forced labor that turns a lot of people suicidal. Some of us are lucky enough to not hate our work (me for example), but many people do. Work is a classic example of not getting what we want. Even the unbearable becomes bearable though when we can at least sometimes get what we want. Big Little Wolf talks a lot on a daily basis about relationships. She is almost freakishly attuned to people’s feelings, and it shows in her writing. Her post was not exactly what I’m talking about here, but it started me thinking. We are forced to do lots of things in our lives out of obligation. Loving and mutual relationships become necessary to balance out the monotony of our lives. Consider a stimulating relationship as a nice cup of refreshing tea after a stressful day. While we might not die from the absence of relationships we would certainly become intolerable human beings without them.
The Stay at Home Parent Problem:
I’ve talked about it before, but it bears repeating. We stay-at-home-parents crave attention. It’s as if we exist to serve other people, namely our kids. It’s what we want to be doing, and I can’t compare it to working in a coal mine. It’s a job that comes with a lot of perks. At the same time it’s a job that slowly eats away at who we were before we became parents. It takes up so much of our lives that we can almost forget what we were like before. Meaningful relationships with old friends can help preserve who we were while not taking away from who we’ve become. It’s all about balance, without which we’d morph into mindless parenting machines. Maintaining meaningful relationships also helps for the inevitable future, when our kids move out of the house. Our lives would become meaningless without our kids if it wasn’t for other people who loved us too. I’m not saying we need to be social butterflies. I am saying we should cultivate a wide spectrum of interests, and that people are frequently the cornerstones of those interests.
Balance is the key to everything we do. Our objectives in life are to be healthy and productive. Being healthy refers to both mental and physical health. Taking care of our bodies is the easiest part of the equation. Our mental health starts with having recognition of what we need versus what we want. We both want and need to be needed and wanted. Our relationships with other people are at the same time needs and wants. Loving (all 4 kinds of love) mutual relationships then allow us to be productive in our jobs. My job is being a stay at home parent and blogger. I wouldn’t be successful if I didn’t think someone needed me or that I didn’t have anybody to want.