Thursday, September 09, 2010

The OCD hunter gatherer

So much about being a mother is really very primal. From conception to labor to all the emotions that then take over once the offspring arrives...it really does seem that these very basic instincts rule the brain of a mother.

I was having these thoughts over the weekend as I went out on Sunday for yet another round of blackberry picking. To say that I am slightly obsessed with this activity is not a gross overstatement, but as I was in the local bramble bushes at Belair Park, I thought about the fact that I was actually just demonstrating hunter-gatherer tendencies, and that really, I was probably just exposing some part of my psyche that wanted to nourish and provide for my family [somehow a pear and blackberry crumble doesn't exactly conjure up images of a healthy and nutritious meal for a 2.5-year-old, but anyway...]. As I was thinking this, I also decided that as hunting and gathering goes, I would probably qualify as a hunter-gatherer with OCD, such was my dedication to the collection process. I mean, how many blackberries does one person really need?! When would I feel I had collected enough?! Where would these blackberries fit in our freezer anyway?! I sacrificed a nap to go out while Noah was asleep in the buggy and pick berries - surely that was a sign of a chemical imbalance in my sleep-deprived brain! I decided I would happily take a break from the berry picking for few weeks and would only come back to do more if I felt I really really had some free time to kill.

One of the benefits of being on maternity leave is being able to up and go off to different places on a weekday to meet up with people, when others are stuck in an office doing their day jobs. On Tuesday we headed out to Woking to Jamie and Diane's to meet up with Raina, Will and Scarlet back from Australia, as well as Terri and Darcy and Anna and Joseph. I always try to keep to the schedule of trying to get Blake from pre-school at about 5:00, and when I end up about an hour from home with the prospect of battling rush hour traffic on the trains or the road, another primal instinct takes over: the need to get to my son and make sure he's safe and knows he is taken care of and looked after. So it was that I was power-walking along the towpath beside the canal in Woking to make the 4:12 train with only that thought in my head: walk fast to make the train! I know that this instinct is stronger than the need to provide sustenance (i.e. berry-picking) because I was walking past a lot of lovely-looking blackberries, and I didn't even think about stopping to pick them...

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