there it is

I have come up against my wall.  The place where I start to balk and resist even though I know it is in my best interest to keep moving forward.  I have become more familiar with this wall, this exact place, than I would like to admit.

We made it through our vacation only missing one or two scheduled workouts, but then Mike went back to work, Mike’s mom went back to Newfoundland, daycare was up and running again.  Life went back to normal and I felt alone and bored.  I eat when I feel powerless.  I feel sad when I am out of control and make things worse by giving up on the things I know make me better.  It is self sabotage at its best (or worst), I just can’t figure out the why of it all.

Last night I took Poppy to her third ballet class and she, yet again, found the toys, books, and charity lollipops in the waiting area far more interesting than ballet.  She refused to participate and then pushed out the door claiming she was done and wanted a snack.  Feeling more frustrated than I should have, we headed to the grocery store.  After an hour of shopping and finally remembering to pick up some key items (and on sale even!) I got to the cash register to find Mike had borrowed my bank card and failed to put it back.  Of course, I did not realize this until everything had been rung through.  We have a VISA, but I don’t carry it.  So, embarrassed and furious, Poppy and I went back to the car empty handed.  I spent the 25 minute car ride home alternating between plots on how I would torture my husband to moments of inner reflection and calmness.  In the end, anger won over reflection as that has always been my pattern; it is what I have learned.  I was still furious when I got home and let Mike know it.  Anger never makes me feel better, but she is a cunning seductress in the moment.  After a heartfelt apology from Mike, I couldn’t help but wonder what about this relatively tiny blip made me so angry.

The answer was that it made me feel powerless.  I felt dumb,  frustrated and embarrassed.  It ruined my one outing of the week.

It is hard for me to admit, but there are days I wish we lived in town; days I wish I could walk to the grocery store for the one ingredient I am missing, head to the park to burn off steam, do some window shopping or even just mail a letter.  I don’t feel comfortable walking here as we live on a fairly busy road mainly used by quarry and logging trucks and cottagers.  There is a  nice side road just a quick distance away, but it is winding with a lot of blind corners.  Three days per week I am tied to the house with daycare.  The option to head into work with Mike so I can then take the car is there, but spending the entire day out and about with two young children is not exactly my idea of fun.  I am a homebody by nature and am also an only child, so I do alone time like a boss.   I don’t crave more social time as many well-meaning friends and family think, I just need time to myself.  Just a few moments per week that don’t feel like hostage negotiations or the Hurt Locker.

Moving here has been empowering in many ways; we build our own furniture now, we make more of our food from scratch, we feel more settled with who we are, we are doing things we have long dreamed of doing, and we have tapped into a great community of homeschooling and otherwise like minded people.   But it has also come with transitions I thought about, but had no idea would be so difficult to overcome.   The isolation, the lack of transportation, the expensive groceries, the long commute to, well, everywhere.   I miss having our mail delivered and our garbage picked up.  It drives me crazy that I have to rely so heavily on Mike to run errands and mail important documents on time.   It makes me crazy that I can’t seem to find a sustainable way to bring in a small income.  It frustrates me that I have all this time at home and never seem to have time to finish things without Mike home.  I feel discombobulated most of the time.

I wear quartz and tourmaline with the faint hope that some of the gemstones’ powers will rub off on me.  Unfortunately though, I fear the inner work that needs to be done lands squarely on my own shoulders.  Parenthood and marriage have brought me to my knees with the issue I struggle with most: powerlessness and selflessness.   Conquering that struggle is so much more than simply knowing it, but it is an important step.

And so, I will continue to work through the annoyances I feel when doing the workouts that, just weeks ago, enlivened me.   We will try shifting workouts to the evenings and, instead, spend the cool mornings sipping coffee; warmed by fire and lit by the rising sun.  Fall calls for comfort and easing into our day so .  I am in it for the long haul and I have the rest of my life to perfect it all.  Instead of running, I will stay with this uncomfortable feeling; try a new pattern for once; see it through to the other side.


All will be well again.  It is, after all, my most favourite time of year.  The time when good and happy things happen.  This year will be no exception to that rule.


go gently + be wonderful




P.S. Yes, I am very well aware that this post could also be entitled “first world problems”.

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  1. Posted September 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm by Chandelle | Permalink

    I share many of your first-world problems. :) I would looooooooove to have someone pick up my trash! Sometimes we drive all the way home only to realize that our propane is gone so we have to drive right back to town to fill up the tank so we can cook and have hot water. When it rains, we have to drive up to the main road in a truck, then switch all of our stuff to our car and drive the rest of the way to town. On days like that I wonder, what was so bad about living in town…? But it was never bad — I just love this so much better. Most of the time.

    • Posted September 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm by erin | Permalink

      Well said.
      Thanks for that 😉

  2. Posted September 27, 2012 at 12:29 pm by Stacy | Permalink

    “instead of running…”…oh how I know this struggle all too well. Beautiful post Erin. Thank you for sharing these thoughts, emotions…these very real moments.

  3. Posted September 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm by Greer | Permalink

    Because it does pass. You are a wise woman. This is a great post.

  4. Posted September 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm by Morgan G | Permalink

    Thanks so much Erin for your words. I live in the city, but I can relate as what we all have to deal with is navigating the tradeoffs of life even in the midst of changing values and discovery of self.

    My challenges are on the opposite end: I must work full time. My daughter just started attending a public Montessori preschool (which was a huge blessing as most kids are selected by lottery); the days can be long and sometimes I feel guilty needing to send her there.

    Some (or many) of my frustrations are self-imposed as they arise from a mismatch between my aspirations and life circumstances. Sometimes I want what others don’t want. I tried taking my daughter to choir practice at church, but she just isn’t ready for it yet. And she was ready to ride the school bus long before I was ready to for her to.

    On the plus side, I wisely chose to live in an historic, transitional neighborhood that allows me to live out some of my values and connect with like-minded people. We garden, we potluck, we watch each others’ kids, we talk about green living and sustainable societies. This neighborhood has been such a HUGE BLESSING that sometimes I have to pinch myself.

    So I try to focus on leveraging what’s right in my life and celebrating that rather than bemoaning the things I think I want but may not be a good fit for my family right now.

  5. Posted September 27, 2012 at 7:16 pm by Stephanie K. | Permalink

    I swear, when I read posts like this, I think…did my mother give birth to my twin? And how did we get separated? So much of this reflects my own struggles. That is a gift you have, to share so eloquently all those bits of yourself that aren’t all sunshine and fairy juice. I do find I’m getting better with age…in that I’m not so hard on myself, and I’m not so unforgiving of the (perceived) shortcomings of others (read: my husband). It feels good to let that negative energy go, because it frees up space for other things. I’m proud, stubborn, selfish, and all those other things, still. And I have never once stuck to an exercise program. But I swear, once this baby is born…I will. Ha!
    Big warm mama hugs across the miles of rural Ontario wilderness.

    • Posted September 28, 2012 at 10:13 am by erin | Permalink

      Yes, I realize that if forgetting to replace my bank card after borrowing it is the worst thing I have to deal with in a husband (and it truly is) then I have it pretty good. I know that.
      I think I just needed to tap into WHY I do what I do.
      Yes, I am sure you will find the time with 4 children 😉 You look wonderful as it is my Darling, you’re positively glowing.

  6. Posted September 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm by coleen | Permalink

    Try moonstones….

  7. Posted September 28, 2012 at 1:10 am by Bonnie | Permalink

    I always find it so frustrating when you’ve chosen to do something a little different than the norm, but if it’s difficult at times, you feel like you can’t vent or complain…because you “chose” it, you know?
    This too shall pass…it’s been my parenting motto from the get-go, and I think it works just fine in most life situations! And I love what you said about having your whole life to get it perfected…it’s making me feel a little better about my own lack of exercise willpower!

  8. Posted September 28, 2012 at 10:16 am by dre | Permalink


  9. Posted September 28, 2012 at 10:41 am by Tanya Hulbert | Permalink

    2 Corinthians 12:10-For when I am weak, then I am strong.

  10. Posted October 1, 2012 at 7:01 am by rebecca | Permalink

    i can relate. everything has its benefits and its costs. country livin’= more driving than i wanted to do. i found that i have a basic NEED for other people in my life daily – community. even the simple interaction with the check out person or the librarian is enough. the “homesteading dream” was too physically isolating and too isolated and lonely for me. small town interdependence is where it is at for me-

  11. Posted October 13, 2012 at 6:07 am by Emily | Permalink

    I agree – how is it that I have all this time at home and yet no time to bring my vision of my home to fruition. Strangely, when both of us are here, even less gets “done”. Glad, comforted beyond measure, to know I am not alone. Congrats on the new photo business.

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