Someone else’s boat, to be exact, which my husband, Rob, and I were sailing between tiny tropical specks peppered across the big blue South Pacific. Fast-forward to the Kingdom of Tonga a few months later, where I peed on a stick in the only public bathroom on the small island of Vava’u 10,000 miles from our Montana home.
Before I even had my skirt back in place, I could see the double lines forming. I was gonna be a momma.
Rob and I had set out in 2013 to hitchhike the high seas for a year or two, calling our mid-life trip a “voyage into the unknown.” We left our good jobs and our Montana home in 2013 with one backpack each, a saltwater fly rod, and a guitar.
The goal was to explore new horizons. And that we did, sailing over 6,000 miles by serving as volunteer crew aboard seven different yachts, working in exchange for passage across the ocean.
But after visiting dozens of tropical islands and backpacking through New Zealand and Southeast Asia, we re-realized that Montana is one of the best places on earth to live. We set a return course for home, heading to the mountains to have our baby.
Settling back into American middle-class suburbia was the roughest leg of our trip. Returning to bills, a mortgage, and responsibility with a capital ‘R’…well, it felt stifling. Overwhelming. Terrifying.
Our first reaction was to leave again. Set sail somewhere, anywhere. But the bank accounts barred the way, and reality slapped us in the face with the fact we need to stay put for a while. At least until the coffers refill and the baby gets all of his vaccinations.
I hope you’ll join me as I chronicle the daily disasters and triumphs of being a new mom who sometimes feels like a square peg jammed in a round hole. These stories will include the many misadventures of modern-day parenting, and full admissions of mistakes made along the way.
Now, we work on breaking out of boxes.
Mostly, I write about trying to live outside the box, and the many paradoxes that come with that statement. What ‘box’ am I talking about? You know the one. It’s defined on four sides by rigid responsibility, woven from a fabric of middle-class American expectations, and pressed tightly with a clear finish of what other people are doing. In other words, it’s the 9 to 5, 2 weeks of vacation, 2.4 kids, mortgage, cars, toys, retire-at-65 sort of routine.
I prefer different boundaries. That’s why (ironically) our baby slept in a cardboard box instead of a crib.
Sometimes, breaking out of boxes is funny. Sometimes it’s depressing. Either way, we hope this blog is a forum for you to feel at home with your own stories about squeezing into a box that doesn’t always fit quite right.
Because, in reality, who isn’t trying to free themselves from some sort of box or another?