Life @ 35 – April 2024

This month I spoke with a busy mother of two pre-school children.  She and her family are relatively new to the community, having arrived here only two years ago from a small south-western Ontario city.

A self-described homebody, our young mother made the unusual decision to delegate the task of viewing the home in Cavan Monaghan they had found online, without even visiting the area.  In fact, the decision to purchase the home was made before she saw it in the flesh.  The style and features of the house were not that critical to her.  Dated kitchen, unfinished basement?  No problem, but it had to have a garden.  She was confident she wanted to move to the area having seen it on a map.  Her husband’s commute was manageable and the scale of the town and its general location seemed to address our young mother’s key objective.  She was looking for a home where she could provide the same kind of lifestyle she experienced growing up in a small Ontario town.  In this, she has succeeded.

She is perhaps less passive in other family decisions, particularly financial ones.  She resists new discretionary spending, preferring to forgo some treats rather than take on more work or added financial pressure to pay for them.  No Netflix, for example. The appeal of streaming services is not lost on her: the convenience of turning on an appropriate diversion at the right time is obvious, but she would prefer her children not become accustomed to the immediate gratification it brings.  This is from a woman who works from home!

As she describes her life, she wears a broad smile.  She is living her best life.  She works part time in the not-for-profit sector following the tradition of her mother and grandmother.  Her schedule allows her to spend most of her days with her young children, and she is lapping up that experience with the understanding that this opportunity is short-lived, as one of them will begin school in September.

She is happy in her life but not oblivious to the challenges around her.  Experience answering the phone for a kids distress call service reinforces her appreciation for her circumstances.  Her beside reading material offers clues to her key concerns: ultra-processed food, the pervasiveness of microplastics, climate change and sustainability.  Her concerns are global but she looks for ways to act locally.  The garden helps provide real, unprocessed food for her family.  Her passion about sustainability is demonstrated by her resistance to consumerism.  She worries about the kind of world that will be left to her children.  She would like to do more, but what, exactly?

She is not derailed by this question but is looking for an answer.  Perhaps it will be found in the book she is reading called “Not the End of the World: How we can be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet”, by Hannah Ritchie. Perhaps that’s a volume we should all read.  KG

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