This November, I found myself very reluctant to give my time. I'm not sure if it's just that hunting season is always so hectic for me, trying to work in the mornings as usual, then get errands and other day time stuff done by 2:30 or 3:00 and be in the woods right around 3:00 for hunting. Then there's the matter of dinner when we get in from hunting; this is the first year in all the years we've lived here--read all the years that I've been able to hunt, really--that there has been no one in the house who is not hunting and therefore gets dinner on the stove while I am in the woods. Since we don't eat microwaved meals, dinner isn't a quick affair; I'd say thirty minutes is about the fastest I can conjure up a hot meal. And, since I'm not a night owl (and my alarm goes off by 6:00 a.m.) eating dinner at 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. just doesn't work well for me. I don't sleep well if I eat a meal only an hour or two before I go to bed. And let's not forget that there needed to be clean up and dishes washed once we were done eating too. So much for relaxing before bedtime.
This year, hunting season just seemed so difficult. I had too many things I needed to get done, and getting home between noon and 1:15 most weekdays didn't leave much time for putting together a meal (to be kept warm in a crock pot, or in the oven on the time cook setting) before 3:00 made me feel so rushed. I've been so tired that getting up early to put something in the crock pot prior to 7:00 a.m. to slowly cook itself all day just didn't work either. My heart just hasn't been in the woods this season. Hunting often seemed like a monumental time suck rather than a treat.
DH often wanted to have the grandkids over on the weekend, and the topic became a dreaded one for me. It often ended in a disagreement. DH couldn't see what the 'problem' was with having them over. But yet, he still planned to be in the woods every morning and every mid- to late afternoon, plus watch football during the mid-day. In my mind, that didn't leave time (or attention) for visiting with/caring for two little people. And when I'd be hesitant to make arrangements for K3 and Toad to come over (hmm, if they spend the night, I'm not going to be able to go hunting during the only two mornings a week I don't have to work; and how am I supposed to get anything done and go hunting if we have the kids from, say noon til 4:00 on a Saturday or Sunday--especially if it's a day when DH is planning to be in the woods, and I'd like to be too, by 2:30?) and gave DH the reasons why I wasn't keen on the idea, that somehow made me the bad guy, accusing DH of not being willing to help with the 'work' part of having a two year old and a four year old in the house again. (Well, hello, if you're still watching football and hunting, how is that giving any part of your time to give attention to little people/play with them/take care of their needs?). The whole topic just brought a lot of tension to the house.
Which, really shocked me by the thoughts and emotions it dredged up. I mean, all the years our children were growing up, I just did what was needed, or what seemed to me to be the proper thing for a parent to do. I was often tired and felt like my days went from one task to another from the time my eyes popped open in the morning (be it by alarm clock or by the call of an offspring) to the time my eyes closed at night. Now that my kids are all grown, I suddenly have a severe aversion to going back to that sort of day. Really, really severe aversion. Almost a dread. It has made me wonder if I actually enjoyed being a mom or not; if I subconsciously hated the decades I spent putting myself last and everyone else in my home first. If I do resent DH, a little (or more than a little) for how much of a load I carried in raising the kids and tending the household during those years (especially the times he traveled a lot and I was, other than financially, a single parent).
Or is this a natural part of the process of going from stuffing your own wants and needs into the bottom of the to-do list of family life for decades, then once the kids are grown and gone actually being able to order your day based on what interests you or makes you happy? This empty nest thing hasn't been in effect very long at this little place here, and I wonder if my extreme reaction this hunting season is a natural part of finally feeling like I have some breathing space and creative time, some control over my day, but then being subjected again to having a younger generation here (DS2 came for a week for hunting, DD2 was home for a week of Thanksgiving break, then of course there was Thanksgiving Day itself and all the cooking and cleaning and socializing that hosting the holiday required of me). Not to mention the fact that DH was home every blasted day, nearly three weeks straight, because it's his vacation time that he saves up for hunting season. Which meant when I got home from work, he was home (and wanting lunch). Extra cooking, extra dishes to wash, a change in my daily routine, and him having his own list of projects he wanted to work on--and have me assist in.
November was tough. I'm hoping that December isn't going to be a repeat, what with Christmas coming and all the demands (shopping, family parties I *must* attend or host) that the month usually entails.