I like to escape now and then to a warm beach, or to a fun romantic story. But when my girls were little, I learned that turning to escape too often can be like a mouse grabbing the fake cheese in a mouse trap when the real cheese is sitting right beside it. The mouse is stuck, and he missed the really good cheese he could have had.
I always wanted to grow up to be a wife, and a mother, but that is not saying that I understood all of the responsibililties that would entail. I wasn't prepared for how exhausting it could be to get up several times a night. As picky as I was, it should have dawned on me that my children were not going to exclaim positively over every meal. I did not know that children are sometimes very unreasonable, and that I, who thought I was patient, would get angry at them. The responsibility of being constantly in charge weighed on me, and I was afraid I would fail.
So what did I do? I escaped to the wonderful world of fiction. I was there with my children. I hugged them if they got hurt. I made sure they ate. But my mind was not focussed on these little ones that I had wanted so much. Eventually I noticed that, at the end of days of escape, I felt worse about my situation than I had at the beginning of the day. I soon began to realize that I had fallen into the trap of trying to escape from my responsibilities, and that this wasn't helping me to feel better. It also wasn't helping me learn how to be a better Mom so that I wouldn't be so overwhelmed.
Breaking the habit of escape was hard. Once I start an interesting story I find it nearly impossible to put it down. I had to make rules for myself. I couldn't pick up a book unless I had a good chunk of time free. I even made rules about the books I read, trying to make sure that there was something positive in the story that I might learn from. Good ideas, or helpful thoughts from books helped me learn to better enjoy the responsibilities I had and the children that I love.
I still occasionally shirk some of my responsibilities (usually the cooking ones) because I have my nose in a book. But I try to be careful not to become so engrossed in escape (the fake cheese), that I miss the joys of being a wife and a mom(the good cheese). The rewards of facing responsibility are much greater than the temporary pleasure of escape.
*Pictures from Google Images