Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Parent to Parent

I had an interesting conversation with my neighbour the other day. She's 37, lives with her boyfriend, and has always known she never wanted kids. She invited me over for a beer on Saturday night, and we got to chatting about how much different things are between "kid people" and "non-kid people."

This neighbour of mine is fun-loving and carefree. She takes off on a whim, travelling down south with her girlfriends or taking weekend trips to Montreal. She lives the life I thought I wanted back in my early twenties, before a little voice in my head began to wonder what it would be like to be a mother. I can hardly remember the last time I went out to a bar dancing and partying until dawn. Instead, I am greeting the dawn with my little bug curled up next to me in bed.

My very best friend is not yet a mother, and I can sometimes sense the tension between us. The other day on the phone with her, I was marvelling at the fact that my little girl was fuss-free for an entire day while we were out visiting relatives. My friend jokingly commented that it was because she is spoiled at home, but is allowed to be independent when we're out and about. My mama bear instincts immediately went on the defensive. I felt attacked - somebody who is not yet a parent had the gall to judge the way I was parenting!

Then I remembered how I was while pregnant. My husband and I would lie on the bed together stroking my belly, and we would discuss all the ways WE would be the best parents in the world. No way were we going to let our child rule the nest, and we were going to be sure that the little one was unspoiled and well behaved.

The second I pushed that little girl out of my body, all my careful planning and calculating went out the window. Instead of listening to baby trainers and well meaning family and friends, we began to parent the way we wanted and the way our baby wanted. We joke now that we were probably "better" parents before we actually had a child!

One of my favourite movies is called "Away We Go." In one scene, the characters of Jon Krasinski and a pregnant Maya Rudolph do exactly what my husband and I used to do. They create a wishlist of all the things they will, or will not do for their unborn child. It's a beautiful moment that reminds me of all the anticipation, anxiety and excitement that we experienced during pregnancy. As parents we can all plan to our hearts' content, but in my mind, the true experience of parenthood begins the moment our babies take their first breath. Here is a beautiful song from the soundtrack to that movie...

"All My Days" by Alexi Murdoch from the "Away We Go" soundtrack

Well I have been searching
All of my days
Many a road, you know
I've been walking on
All of my days
And I've been trying to find
What's been in my mind
As the days keep turning into night

Well I have been quietly standing in the shade
All of my days
Watch the sky breaking on the promise that we made
All of this rain
And I've been trying to find
What's been in my mind
As the days keep turning into night

Well many a night I found myself with no friends standing near
All of my days
I cried aloud
I shook my hands
What am I doing here
All of these days
For I look around me
And my eyes confound me
And it's just too bright
As the days keep turning into night

Now I see clearly
It's you I'm looking for
All of my days
So I'll smile
I know I'll feel this loneliness no more
All of my days
For I look around me
And it seems you found me
And it's coming into sight
As the days keep turning into night
As the days keep turning into night
And even breathing feels all right
Yes, even breathing feels all right
Now even breathing feels all right
Yes even breathing
Feels all right

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


In one week we move to a new home, our first home. After 6 years of being on the go, renting cramped apartments, we will finally have a place to call our own. I'm trying not to romanticize this, as I realize there will be many challenges. Bills and repairs will abound. And I've come to realize that whenever there is something I really want in life, once I get it, it's not so good anymore. The grass is always greener on the other side. Once I have what I thought I "needed," my mind immediately turns to the next thing I "need."

But it's hard not to be excited. For the first time, we will paint a room without getting permission! I can plant flowers and vegetables that won't be trampled or eaten (scratch that - the dog will most likely do both these things). And our little girl will grow up in her own "place" in the world, where memories will be in the making every day.

While packing boxes and cleaning house, I will be blasting this song: "Your Heart is an Empty Room" by Death Cab for Cutie.

Burn it down till the embers smoke on the ground
And start new when your heart is an empty room
With walls of the deepest blue

Home's face: how it ages when you're away
Spring blooms and you find the love that's true
But you don't know what now to do
Cause the chase is all you know
And she stopped running months ago

And all you see is where else you could be When you're at home
And out on the street Are so many possibilities to not be alone

The flames and smoke climbed out of every window
And disappeared with everything that you held dear
But you shed not a single tear for the things that you didn't need
Cause you knew you were finally free

Cause all you see is where else you could be, When you're at home
Out on the street are so many possibilities to not be alone
And all you see is where else you could be,
when you're at home,
There on the street,
are so many possibilities to not be alone

Thursday, June 17, 2010


This was what I wrote way-back-when:

I'm hesitant about joining the blogging revolution. I feel like my posts will be forced and silly, full of exaggerated prose. So I've decided to treat my blog like many of us do - as a journal and creative outlet for my daily thoughts. I write not to attract followers (although I am more than happy to have you here!), but more to force myself back into "creative mode." Thus I will direct my posts not to you out there, as this will inhibit my writing, but to my inner self. You know, the one in your journal, whom you address "Dear Diary"....

Here's what I'm writing now:

People often skip back to your first post, to read more about you and find out why you decided to start your blog. Everyone likes to start at the beginning.

The thing I've realized about this life, and about myself, is that we are always in flux. When you think you've got something pinned down, it morphes into a completely different creature, and you are left standing there, going "but, but, but...."

This blog is an example of constant change. I began by grounding my posts in songs - chatting about music, lyrics and poetry (hence, the "Chickadee Tweet"). But the blog quickly took off in different directions, and soon I was chatting more about day-to-day life than I was about music. My doula business took on the same name.

I realized that I can't pin myself down to one topic. I'm interested in everything that belongs in this crazy life, and I want to be allowed to write without feeling as though I'm squished into a box. And therefore, this blog has developed into something that is a little bit of everything. The simplicity of everyday life. As a doula, I write a lot about birth. As a Mom, I write about parenting. As a woman, I often write from a feminist perspective. And as a human being, I write about life. This life.

Enjoy reading (because come on, what blogger doesn't want followers?!)