I miss the forest

I was worried that I was starting to grow resentful of my daughter. My beautiful, intelligent, affectionate little 20-month old daughter. The thought was abhorrent to me! I love her so much. How could I resent her?

For starters, I felt the pressure of being unable to sit down and write. To quietly read a book for an hour at a time. To do something other than cook, tidy up, or sit there staring at Facebook comments for 5 minutes in between all that. But it’s funny how a change of scenery, even for an afternoon, can alter perspective drastically.

I was feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and physically run down. My back was out. I was tired of spending week after week just recovering from work. I asked Mom if she could take me and Amelia down home–to Alma, where I grew up–and she took us on a Tuesday afternoon. We had a late lunch when we got there, and then went up to Fundy Park for a walk in the woods.

The difference in my mental state was almost instantaneous, and it was staggering. The smell of the trees. The silence–all sound beyond us was absorbed by the forest. Watching my daughter interact with nature without worrying about colliding with strangers or her running into traffic. Having both of my parents nearby, while I’m there–not giving me a break, babysitting, or helping me with chores, but the four of us interacting all together.

Then I realized that I don’t resent my daughter at all: I resent the fact that I have to spend my time with her recovering, healing, and preparing for the inevitable return back to work later in the week and the repetition of the cycle. I resent throwing out my back and having to work all weekend, then spending the whole week conserving and recharging my energy so I can work again with my back still out because there’s my recovery time is short, and I can’t afford time off unless I’m, you know, dying.  I resent having to micromanage every single day to feel like I’m getting enough enjoyment from my stay-at-home mom moments.

This is the life I’ve chosen–the life I want. I get to be home with my daughter 4 days of the week while working the other 3. We don’t have to sink money into daycare and I get to be as much of a stay at home mom as we can afford. On the flip side, Brad also gets a lot of quality time with Amelia on the weekends, when our roles essentially reverse. It’s a good choice, even if it means that time with my husband is limited.

Last year when I was on mat leave, though, I was home every evening and weekend could slow down at the end of the day. I could go for a walk or go write at a cafe. I could spend time with my husband and daughter together as a family on weekends, and the whole day was ahead of us. I didn’t have to worry about cramming as many chores as possible into the evenings–and still wake up to a messy house–or the laundry tower on top of the dryer. At least it’s clean.

It’s about ten PM, and I’m walking alone outside. The post rainfall has collected in the tall grass and it catches the streetlights, winking at me like fireflies. This is home, even still–all leaf smell and damp, cool air. I learned lessons here. I was bullied here. I also had my first kiss with the boy who would grow to be the man I married here. And, for some reason, here is just where I need to be tonight.

I don’t resent her. I miss the forest the most–the freedom to spend more than a day or two breaking from the norm and escaping outside, enveloped by the perfect silence of nature. I have chosen this life, so there’s no point in lamenting. This is what I want. But my priorities and focus can change. Being a toddler-parent is a weird time, so I’ve heard, and I believe it. Time is so fast it frightens me, but achingly slow. Months whirr by like hours. A day at work feels like a week. All I can do is plan these little reprieves, and escape back into the woods to clear my head–obligation-free for a just a moment.

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1 Comment

  1. Its tough and I’m so proud of you. Its amazing the healing power nature has.

    But I must be me and say something:
    There’s a ton of people fighting for change and a better balance of everything, the markets basically screwed up because of some greedy friggers during the 80’s changing things up and plotting a bunch of garbage that has lead up to our current day situation.

    The difficulty level of the game of life is on Ultra hard, and unfortunately there is much evidence for those of us who were boring *like me* who have watched all the news as it unfolded seems like it was it was set up this way ~there was an intention to create this situation.

    Since then though there are tons of brilliant minds who have been creating new opportunities for everyone too. (so don’t worry ~ I know things seem really stressful but we’re really growing into a happy place when you consider how crummy all history has been)

    🙂 When I’m going through a really low day, often its been remembering how shitty it use to be that helps me feel like every struggle today is a bit less taxing.

    Thank goodness for indoor plumbing.

    ^.^ In the mean time, keep being you! You’re a healer for sure. ~ I’m so grateful for all the posts that help me understand that I’m not alone in dealing with anxiety or other little things. (that and I’m learning to be friends with women after having tons of scary misadventures growing up that has turned me a bit into a nervous recluse.)

    We’re all in this together, and ultimately if the world is not benefiting our kids then we need to change stuff. From the Clean water misshap over oil and fracking ~ to the financial situation we’re handling now that should NEVER be passed down to our children.

    and let it be said:
    <3 I hate news now… But I've been reading it since I was a kid just for them. Even before I knew I wanted to have kids~ o_O…

    I'm a weirdo, but thanks for helping me accept my uniqueness~
    I know we all push through our struggles because we love our kids. Our freedoms are very minimal.

    But I'm cheering you all on every day.




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