Learning by Doing

I’ve discovered recently that my time at home, since George has been back at sea, has been one of the most challenging I’ve experienced.

I know well that I am only the latest in a long line of fishing family mothers in my lineage and in the industry at large, and I have it easier than some. I saw firsthand the way my mother raised three little girls when my dad was gone, and I’ve heard the stories from my grandmother. I’ve always been proud of the way I manage (and enjoy) my time when George is gone.

“I don’t know how you do it,” is a comment I hear frequently from people when I tell them what business we’re in.

“It’s the only way we could do it,” I always reply. Like most commercial fishing families, George and I thrive in this lifestyle. We weren’t meant to live the 9-5 life.

So why, I asked my friend Tish one afternoon, am I now finding some of these moments, some of these days, so grueling?

“Well,” replied Tish (who can always be counted on for a sound voice of reasoning), “You did grow up this way. And you’ve watched George leave hundreds of times before. You’ve even taken care of one baby alone while he’s been gone. But you haven’t taken care of two on your own before.”

It made sense.

After we talked, I quit berating myself for feeling at times like I am floundering under the strain. Yes, I’ve been the daughter, the girlfriend, the wife, the new mother of a baby in a fishing family. But this part of the life— the part where I am a temporarily single mother of two very tiny and needy (albeit sweet and precious) children— this is a new part. I’ve been prepared for this moment, but true learning only comes by doing.

So that’s what we’re doing.

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