Prior to meeting my husband, Bear Hug, I was not overly interested in having my own kids. I did not feel a maternal pull to spend my time raising children. My boyfriend before my husband was a single father and I adored his two kids. They were enough for me.
Things were different with Bear Hug. We were both on the same page when we talked about family planning. We wanted a small family with just one child and shortly after Blue Jay was born, Bear Hug had a vasectomy. The doctor tried to convince him otherwise because he was only 28 and had one child. He was one and done, just like me.
My mental health is one of the reasons we wanted one child plus Bear Hug and I both like a lot of freedom and independence to go off and do our own things. I have had puppy-fever far more often than baby-fever. I am generally hovering around the food table while people are oohing and aahing over a baby at a baby shower.
Even though I did not have a strong maternal-pull to populate the world with babies, it was still important to me that I was home with Blue Jay until she started school. I was not interested in daycare and I feel blessed that I was able to be a SAHM (stay at home mom.) Blue Jay was two years old when I decided to get a part time job in a clothing store at Christmas and I continued to work a few hours a week during evenings and weekends. It was honestly one of the best things I did for my mental health. My pay cheque went right back to the company when I used my employee discount to buy clothes.
I was part of Momstown, an organized group with chapters across Canada that brought parents and children together for structured activities and events based on art and music, literacy, science and discovery, and of course the best thing for kids: play.
I was involved in almost every single aspect of the group: organizing meal trains (providing dinner to members after the birth of a baby or a challenging time like a death in the family), I wrote guest blog posts, organized and hosted events, and helped at large events. We had mom-only events like cheese tasting nights, coffee tasting events, and Postpartum Depression / Baby Blues monthly meetings. It was an amazing community and I am still friends with a handful of moms I met through Momstown.
Remarkably similar to the community-vibe that Momstown created, I have immersed myself into the Backcountry Women community. I have entered a stage in my life where I am spending more time with adults and considerably less time with children. The women who I spend time with either do not have kids, have teenagers or adult children, or are like me who use their free time to be alone or with like-minded women in a child-free setting.
I have certainly not written-off spending time with families with children and in fact, I am currently planning a backcountry hiking trip for Blue Jay and her friend. The outdoors is an amazing place to grow confidence. Backpacking teaches life skills like goal setting, perseverance, and problem solving. These skills and the many more learned while hiking greatly benefit girls.
This new season of my life has been strange and confusing. When I look back at how it all started it was when I decided to stop drinking alcohol. I unfollowed many of the mommy Facebook groups that promoted “I have wine in my coffee mug” memes and I put boundaries in place to protect myself. The boundaries often involved declining invitations with friends where I knew alcohol would be present. The invitations eventually stopped coming.
I have accepted that I am in a completely different season of my life than I was a couple of years ago. Life transitions, regardless of what is happening are challenging to make sense of. I have done a lot of soul searching and journaling and as challenging as it can be, I trust the process and the direction that I am headed.