on parenting.

Parenthood can sometimes be the loneliest of places.

I’ve been thinking about how hard it can be to parent through crises. When you’re at your wit’s or your energy’s end, when you’re trying really hard to keep things together, or when money isn’t coming in. when co-parenting seems impossible, when you get too angry at yourself for how triggered you get by a child’s behaviour or when your baggage gets the better of you.

There are so many inexorably private pains that come with parenting. So many things we don’t talk about. The miscarriages. The infertility. The prenatal tests that can make us fear our foetuses. The perinatal depression. The post-partum depression. The stillbirths. The scary test results. The lack of agency we can feel when our children need hospitalization or when the birthing of them doesn’t go as planned. The troubles with breastfeeding (the plugged ducts, the blebs, the mastititis, the low supply, the over supply). The chronic lack of sleep that makes you teeter on your edges. The chronic conditions that can come up. So. many. things.

And then there’s the plethora of fears and anxieties that come with loving little people who depend on you for everything. The fears of the everyday. The concussions. The allergies. The outbreaks. The emotional turmoil. The delays. And the social. The abuse. The bullying. The teasing. (The fear that your gender creative kid will get hurt by someone with a small mind and an even smaller heart, par exemple.) The wanting so much for them. Investments in education. In lasting peace. In equity. In guaranteed liveable incomes. In a more sustainable, more just world. In a whole lot more than this. This warming warring world.

It can be a really dark, really lonely place. And the company is sparse at best.

We were at a children’s hospital with our youngest yesterday. He’s most probably right as rain, but we were in the same diagnostic room we were in with our first, when they kept doing what felt like dozens of tests an hour on his tiny, new body.

My body remembered being in there.

(My reptilian brain feared not being able to leave with him.)

But he’s okay. And the darkness dissipates.


I am blessed. I haven’t had long stays in that place. And I have the ability and the time to hold my babes close, to savour their littleness.

I wish that, as a society, we were better at supporting people who are in that place. Better at knowing how to be there, how to hold space, how to help without having to be asked.


(And watching footage of refugee camps, of so many people walking and walking and waiting and waiting to try to get to safety, I can’t imagine how one would manage to parent in such a high stress environment, in such an impossible situation. We need to do more for them).


barnyard tricksters.


Sometimes, the farm animals give me little mysteries to solve. I pretend it’s because they’re all in cahoots and want to make sure I don’t get bored.

Like that time the kittens were breaking into the chicken coop to eat the eggs and we patched all the holes and then the hens started pecking the eggs to make us think the kittens were still getting in (and I went bonkers every morning). Good one, hens!

For the first time in history, the hens licked their feeder clean this week. Crumbs and all. (And they never eat the crumbs. It’s usually a sad expensive waste of very crumby organic chicken feed.) I congratulated them on finishing their plate (I actually did this because I’m a preschooler’s mother), pet them, and filled their feeder.

Yesterday, I notice the empty feeder again, am sort of puzzled, but then I see a huge cow pie as welcome mat. Ah ha!


So I assume it’s Bossie , the dairy calf. I leave the coop door open still because you can’t restrict happy hens because of a mischievous calf.


(Here, Harvey hangs out with the Ursula and Bossie, because he’s got a nice playful friendship going with Bossie. It’s nice that there are finally cattle here that he’s not afraid of.. although Bossie will grow, so it may be short lived).

So today, same thing. Empty feeder, empty waterer. It’s getting less funny; the hens need food and water throughout the day too. I notice the cow pies in there are suspiciously large, though. And while I’m gathering the eggs, with a sleeping babe on my back,  I notice Ursula trying to join me in the sizable but not that sizable chicken coop.




And tonight, P. finds Ursula locked in the chicken coop. The door must have closed shut while she was in there. The hens were nowhere to be found despite the late hour, but happily returned to roost once Ursula was liberated.


The most amusing part is that no animal here seems to want to eat the food that is bought or grown especially for them. The cats eat the dog food–which the dog will often ignore, the hens pine for the cat food–despite their expensive organic layers mash, the dog used to eat the cat food–until I started feeding the cats on the top floor of the barn to keep the hens from ingesting chicken, Ursula doesn’t much care for the organic oats we’ve grown and harvested especially for her and she apparently eats the hens’ food. And the hens, cats and dog wrestle for the compost and miscellaneous leftovers.

I wish I was an illustrator and could make little graphic novels of their exploits.