I feel weird about my Hawksley posts.
I'm in this strange zone where Rogue Wood Supply is growing really quickly so I've been removing a lot of the personal elements in my blog in order to prepare for our shop launch in the spring. I realize I have friends and family who still check in, and even like hearing about Hawksley. But most of you are scattered across this big planet and are here for the self-care and crystals. Not the baby.
Derek said he looked forward to the monthly posts about Hawk's growth because he learned a lot about what I was thinking and how I felt about being a parent. While I think Derek has taught me a lot about communication in our relationship, I stiiiiill might be better at expressing myself via writing. But I swear I tell him things! Writing about Hawksley has also been a really healing outlet for me to actually release all the internal garbage that comes along with being a new parent, so when I cut it out... I found I missed it. I found I got clogged. Maybe it is a little self-indulgent, and maybe the desire to write about this new motherhood journey will wane, but while I'm still figuring out what kind of parent I want to be, it's a form of medicine. So I guess I'm in this weird zone.
Besides, I have the funniest baby. I remember the days where he was so serious and brooding, but now it seems as though that crooked little tongue is always hanging out the side of his mouth between giggles. He still has an unruly scowl - a token from yours truly - but his daily personality is that of a silly little bean. He waves his arms around in circles while draping his tongue outside of his bouche, as if it helps him keep his balance. And every night that I lotion his body after his bath, he smacks his hands against his chest and tummy and rubs all the lotion in while cooing to himself.
The other night, I woke up to a strange smell in the house. I had been reading Braiding Sweetgrass, and the particular chapter had been centred around this pond in the author's backyard. It was still floating through my mind as I dozed, and I actually thought I could smell the pond. But then the pond became really... fragrant. Am I still dreaming? This is really pungent. Am I asleep? I opened my eyes and gave he air a good whiff. It smelled like rotten eggs. Really rotten eggs.
Our Pleasant House on the Prairie home is still new to me, and I'm still adjusting to the new smells and sounds and the energy of this house's spirit. We have a septic field, so I was worried the scent I smelled was the sign of something going wrong with it. I climbed out of bed and moved into our basement where the smell was it's strongest. I couldn't see any water, signs of flooding or any other mishap. I went into the upper loft to check on Hawksley and his room reeked like this egg smell, so I decided to wake up Derek. Right away, he knew the smell meant our furnace.
I immediately felt panicky. Our furnace has given me nothing but grief. We have this combination system that is wood burning and propane fuelled. However, when we tried to insure our house, we discovered that the make of the wood burning portion of our furnace made it uninsurable, unless the fire commissioner approved it specifically. So when I was charged by the chimney sweepers for coming out and inspecting it, and yet was told I still couldn't use my furnace (in December) I basically just cried and blew a gasket on Derek, saying I didn't understand how it worked and he should have been the one to deal with it. Admittedly, we should have been more on this, but with a new baby, all the changes, and starting two new businesses, it just fell on the back burner. We decided to heat strictly with propane just for this year. And then we got the bill. It wasn't cheap. And it didn't even get us through the winter before it we needed to shell out more money to put more propane in the ginormous tank. Despite the wood burning furnace being a large reason why we were drawn to our house, I felt unsafe and wanted the whole clever contraption gone.
I should mention I have no patience.
Derek called the emergency lines about the smell, and because we have a small dog and young child, they told us to shut off the furnace and evacuate. Well of course, now it's midnight and my stomach is flip-flopping, and I'm frantically moving through the house to pack things for me, Derek, Hawk and Rogue - terrified we're all going to pass out from some scary gas fumes. I had the shakes, but I went on mom-autopilot. I woke up Hawksley - he didn't make a peep - loaded him into the car with the dog, and drove into the city through the black night. Hawksley stared out at the stars the whole drive there - probably romantically gazing at the northern lights - and didn't so much as squeak. When we arrived to my mom's empty condo, I laid him down and he went fast to sleep. Derek and I sort of looked at each other like, "How is this kid this good?"
Thankfully, there was no leak. When the furnace runs out of propane, there is something on the bottom that emits the sulphur-like smell. But the scare still jarred me, and I nearly demanded an electric furnace because I wanted to feel safe and I didn't want to have to always be worrying about propane or the uninsurable wood burning furnace (there is no gas line to our house so electric was our only option). I didn't care what it cost. We'd make it work.
I can get stressed about money because I'm human and I used to make a lot of money. I used to work in finance so I have a hearty understanding of investments, savings, insurance, etc. But I think I do have a lesson to learn with money and that's to release it's power it has over me. Do I need to make $80,000 per year? No. I was miserable when I did. And our happiness doesn't change past making $70,000 per year anyway. Though our stress does climb. I live an abundant life, I need to get over the price of things and how much money is stored away in my bank account. My family is healthy, I'm alive, and we lead a nice life. Does it matter that the electric furnace will rack up my electricity bill each month, if I don't have the unease of wondering if the furnace will crap out in our desolate prairie winters?
I'm still blown away but the incredible network from the Rogue Tribe that reached out to me. Emails, texts, messages and more poured through the internet when I mentioned what was happening on instagram. I felt so supported and that there were so many people willing to help. It was literally flabbergasting. I just feel so fucking grateful for the big hearts around me - near and far.
Hawk still has no teeth, and no crawling. And he's a huge baby. He looks well over one years old so the toothless dimply grin is almost strange on him. He's already starting to thin out despite being so little, making everyday a closer glimpse to what he will look like as a little boy. His doctor says he'll probably walk before he has teeth, and that it's likely he'll bypass crawling all together. I still prop him up on his knees everyday, hoping he might figure out how to lift his leg and arm in unison. Still hoping. He sort of weirdly rolls and slithers around, looking up at me between each movement to see if I'm looking. Sometimes I'm looking... sometimes I'm checking emails. Somedays I feel shitty about it, other days I wish I had more time to focus on work. I miss working almost desperately. I find I'm struggling to find those networks of women who actually miss work, or feel guilt toward work rather than their children. But I know they exist.
I feel like modern feminism has created this generation of women who feel guilty about having children, and like we're letting down our feminist beliefs by pausing our lives - or adjusting them - for a family. I remember having the debate of "going back to work" before I was pregnant, and being completely divided among my peers. And women would get mad - about both opinions. And while feminism is about giving us the choice and the freedom to do what we wish, with that privilege we feel like we should work and not have a family. In fact many of us really like working. Our identities are wrapped up in our work. So when we do pause and have a family, we have the guilt of letting feminism down... or something like that, and the guilt of not giving our child our undivided attention. So we're just crippled by guilt from every angle. I used to feel like I really had my life together, and now, every day that I look around my disaster of a house - strewn with bottles, baby toys and clothes - it feels chaotic, and that chaos feels like a failure. Everyday I miss my fast-paced lifestyle, dinner with girlfriends and drinks after work, business meetings and no crying babies for miles. I miss sleeping in and not being able to do what I want, when I wanted to.
I feel like a bad parent. I feel like a bad worker. I feel like a bad feminist.
Being a parent alone does not satisfy me. I need more. But... now I know working doesn't solely satisfy me either. And I wouldn't have known that before baby. Would I just have felt this strange, indescribable dissatisfaction?
I started Hawk in daycare. I feel like I'm waiting for the parental backlash of this decision from all the other moms out there, but I'm happy with my choice. He attends daycare at my sister-in-law's in town twice per week. He loves it there so much, and I know I'm lucky to have him in the care of a family member rather than a stranger. And it's a good chunk of time for me to get my writing in, deal with the house, and finalize deets for the Rogue Wood Supply Shop. Time for me to be creative. Time for me to be alone. When I drop him off, the other little kids chant his name the second I carry him in the door, and every time I imagine they're preening a future little jock or rockstar who thinks he's the bees knees. He is a charming little gemini after all. I don't want him to get a big head, so I always worry about it to Derek. I can be an asshole sometimes and I hate it. I especially don't want to raise one. I want to raise a good, kind, strong feminist man.
Pre-Hawksley I was sort of a half-ass feminist. I had weird mixed feelings about it all. I had the "loud feminists" in my life, and I knew I wasn't one of them. Honestly, I don't even really know why. But it took having a son to propel me into this full-hearted identity around feminism because I want him to be a feminist. Everyday, I yearn for more good strong men out there - really good - and I'm proud to have a boy so I can hopefully contribute to creating more. I actually think it is men who will change the game with equality. I think when the future generations of men jump on the feminist bandwagon with full hearts, we will finally get real change. They will support their female counterparts, praise and celebrate them, and finally pull them into a place of equality. Women will keep fighting, but more and more men will join. I want Hawksley to celebrate women, and I want him to admire, respect and cherish them. I look forward to going on dates with him, to show him how to treat a woman properly, and to show him what standards I will hold him to. And I think his dad, Derek, will be a big teacher in this lesson. Derek and I always talk about when our kids will first talk back to us. When Hawksley gives me his first lippy attitude to me, it will be Derek to scold him, expressing "that is no way to speak to his wife" rather than me saying, "don't be rude to me!"
Saying "respect me!" is much different than hearing "respect her," isn't it?
Anyway. Nine months in and I'm becoming a hearty feminist. I'm craving more independence, specifically with my career, but I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons for my family while staying true to myself. I chose early daycare. I chose a career in writing. I chose a loving partner - a supportive partner. I'm trying to be healthier. I'm learning my actions will affect someone else wholly, and that someone else is always watching, so how do I want to look? How do I want to present myself? What do I want to be remembered for? After all, Hawksley is a part of me. He is a part of Derek. I still cry when he does have a bad fit, and I shake in rage when I'm so mad or frustrated and feel like I can't handle anymore crying. But I am starting to realize something.
Since becoming a parent, I've always said that I still feel like me, but I feel more myself after meeting Hawksley.