Monday, January 31, 2011

"It's My Life"

So I was listening to this Bon Jovi song  (It's my Life) on the radio driving home from school today, now I like Bon Jovi's music, I'm not a super crazed fan. I did go to their concert in Toronto and found it kinda boring. Kid Rock who was their opening act though was amazing, and I'm not a fan of his either. However this song this morning hit me and inspired this post. I'm super charged with energy so bear with me if it sounds like I've had three coffees before 7 am. I didn't! I just exercised first thing.

Anyhow, lately, I've been operating on the premise that me, my life, my plans, my goals are all uninspired, boring, that I haven't had any accomplishments for the past 5 years as a SAHM. I know a lot of my SAH Comrades feel the same way, we discuss it on our SAHM blogs, forums and secret creepy SAHM clubs with passwords and handshakes...well scratch the last part. We think that we have something to prove to people outside our home, people inside our home, loved ones, strangers, other moms, random people who pop by on your blog, however that, my friends, today is coming to an end!

Over the past 5 years I've had three children. THREE! My body is battered and bruised. My hormones have run amok. I'm sleep deprived, my diet has gone to pot and I have to snatch my personal care time away by either getting up super early, or letting the place go to Hell while I do so. My body despite going through serious upheavals in the past 5 years still manages to function somehow. No matter how sore, how broken, how tired I am, it gets me through the day. I've been now trying to repay the favour through proper diet an exercise and it's paying off. But think about it. Think about the toll pregnancy takes on a person. Your body no longer sees you as a priority, but the little one you are growing inside is numero uno! Your heart, lungs, liver, kidneys works overtime and then some. Your bladder is beaten, your ligaments are stretched to no end (even before labour!) your pelvis expands, your breasts engorge, you create food! Your body somehow manages to expel a huge solid mass out of a really small opening and you somehow manage to survive intact or not! And then your body has to return to normal after a year or three! So, for those who think myself or other SAHMs have let themselves go. Piss off! You try this! See how well you do and how well put together you look. When the 2 minutes it takes for me to put in some contact lenses vs glasses is considered a time luxury, the fact that I'm not running around in a loin cloth with my hair ratty and my teeth not brushed for weeks is a bloody miracle.

My accomplishments. Mister N, A Dude and Baby D. Now I'm not basing my entire life based on my kids, but they are my biggest accomplishments. They've been priority one, and they're happy, healthy, smart, sweet, affectionate, compassionate, well behaved and polite little boys. Sure they have their moments, but I'm mighty proud of them and you can ask any one of our friends how they'd rate them, and I'm pretty sure they'd say A-1! Somehow in managing to rear so far wonderful little beings, I've managed to read hundreds of books (no! Not just kid books!) over the past 5 years. I keep up on current events. I've cultivated my baking/cooking hobby. Kept and made solid friendships, participate at church, learned to drive, overseen renovations, done home improvements, moves, taken care of other family members, planted gardens, taken trips, been ships counsellor and have done a million other things like many other SAHMs. For those of you who think I haven't done much, well I'd like to say, try your hand at this. See if you can handle it without going stark raving mad, then we'll talk.

My future. I know it seems like my fire has gone. Sometimes I question it myself. I think "Where is that crazy woman who would think nothing at telling someone off, whether they be moron on the street or police chief? Where did that fire and drive go?" It's still fucking here! It might not be the intensity of that thermo nuclear blast it once was, I've learned to control it and direct it and store it, so I'm way more dangerous than I was before. I don't seem exciting? Well you just wait! I've got dreams, passions, ideas. I've got 2 more years before my youngest is in his pre-casa and God help those who've doubted me. I've been storing this shit up and it's ready to explode. My life will still have motherhood at the front and centre, but it will evolve and as I might have more snippets of time to myself, I will be focusing on my happiness as well as my family's.

SAHMs, this is my proposed manifesta for us. Queue trumpets and prepare for revolution!

Basically world, you need to know that I'm done trying to prove that I am a wonderful, vibrant, interesting person worthy of your respect I'm done seeking approval, I'm tired of feeling I am less than worthy. I'm funny, smart, sexy. I'd take the shirt off my back for a friend...Hell for a stranger! I have dreams, vision, my fire still burns. I'm consistently evolving and changing into a better person and bit by bit a strong person and you can either get on board, or get the Hell out of the way. I'm going to continue doing my job and continue doing a good job at it, but I'm going forth believing that it is worthy, that I am worthy, that I am making a serious contribution and it needs to be recognized, respected and loved, just as much as I do.

So what say you SAHMs? Revolution? Well, maybe not so much, we're too busy, but I do hope you can find something in you that assures you that you too are worthy of love and respect. That your job is important, you are interesting, you're gorgeous and sexy, even more so than before having kids (REALLY!!) and give you some strength to feel like going forward and carving out that love for yourself, so that you can be the best woman for yourself and the best woman for your loved ones too.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yes I'm late!

I used to be really punctual. REALLY punctual. I'd arrive to parties 20 minutes ahead of time and putz around the neighbourhood until it was fashionably late to arrive. I'm a weenie, I like punctuality and punctual people. People who ran late used to irk the Hell out of me. Even after having kids, after finding my groove with one or two, I'd manage to make most of my engagements on time if not early. That's all gone to Hell. 3 kids and I'm late. I'm always late. I'm surprised if I make it on time. However this isn't just isolated in the world of Joy, lots of parents with 3 are late. Lots of parents of one are late, but 3...well it's a whole new plain of Hell. For those who don't have kids, or those who wonder why I'm late, here's an example from this morning.

6:30, baby is up, after 5 hours of broken sleep. I get up, head downstairs, the only thing on my mind is coffee, so I go to turn on the coffee maker. At this point the house could be burning down, I still want coffee.

6:45, kids breakfasts are made. It's toast with jam and scrambled eggs. Yell at boys to come downstairs.

6:50, change baby's diaper, bring him downstairs (yes, it took me 5 minutes to climb the stairs, coffee was not ready yet)

6:55 practically fall downstairs, pour my coffee into the bottle and formula into my coffee cup. Hit self on head, rinse out said vessels and start over.

7:00, kids are eating, I'm sitting down with baby feeding bottle, reading facebook and drinking coffee. All is right with the world.

7:15, kids are done eating, I fetch their uniforms feeling oodles better and patting myself on the back for being 45 minutes ahead of time.

7:30 Get A Dude dressed, Mister N dresses himself. Baby cooing with contentment-little fart, kept me up all night and he coos!

7:35 Go get dressed myself. Even have time to exfoliate, cleanse, tone and moisturize skin. Go me!

7:50 Ooops, better get moving, lets check on the kids.

7:51 A Dude has managed to get jam all over his uniform and baby has had a diaper explosion, which has leaked out of the waistband part of his diaper and has traveled up approximately to his shoulder blades.

7:52 Rip uniform off A Dude, notice he's peed in his Pull Up, rip that off him too. Run to laundry room where spare uniform vest is still in washing machine. Shit! I thought I did that last night. Throw it in the dryer, set dryer to thermonuclear heat setting.

7:53, okay, 7 minutes til I have to be out the door. Chase naked A Dude around, he falls and gives himself a fat lip.

7:54 dig out freezie, grab A Dude, cussing under my breath. Get him dressed in all but required vest. Do his hair over again.

7:55, listen to A Dude scream bloody murder as I take care of his hair, which is somewhat resembling Beethoven's style right now.

7:57, grab baby. Pull off his onesie, start pulling out wipes. Because it's the bottom of the package it takes two hands and a foot to actually extract each wipe.

7:59 have wipes in hand, start wiping down baby.

8:03 baby is clean, but I forgot the outfit. Slap diaper on him, yell at Mr. Ninja to come watch baby.

8:04 come charging down the stairs with outfit, bark out one word "BOOTS!"

8:05 putting on baby's outfit. Trying to avoid those little claws he calls fingernails digging into my flesh. Yes, I clip them, I clipped them TWO DAYS AGO.

8:10 putting baby's outfit on.

8:11 Mr. Ninja after having his boots, coat and hat on comes in to annouce he has to pee. No, it's not a cliche!

8:12 STILL putting on baby's outfit and coat. It IS like dressing an octopus.

8:13 Put baby in carseat, get coat on A Dude.

8:13 Realize that A Dude still needs vest, take coat off.

8:14 yank vest out of the dryer, assess that it's "dry enough" and put it on A Dude, returning the look of Beethoven to his head.

8:15 zip up coats, put on mittens.

8:16, have herded kids out the door, packing them into the van.

8:17, listen to complaints of "I forgot this!" respond with "It will still be there when we get back, if you don't require it to live, I'm not going back into house."

8:18, finally get out of the driveway. School starts at 8:30, it's a 20 minute drive, not to mention the 5 minutes it takes to get the kids from van to door, which is a freaking miracle considering all the millions of distractions in that 50 feet up the path.

8:30, having broken rules of time and space and a few traffic violations, I have actually succeeded on being on time.

8:35 collapse!

So that is just a brief example of how every moms best laid out plans can be destroyed in a matter of seconds. Somehow I made it to school on time, I channeled some deranged army sargeant and my kids might have been traumatized. Since I only reserve that kind of traumatization for school, I often run late. So I'm hoping parents, non parents, retired parents and whomever else may take some pity. Understand that I am moving at Mach 5 on usually very little sleep, reserves, food and come Hell or highwater, I will make it to my destination, even if it is now fashionably late.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Alexes and Theories

I have a lot of theories. Some of them have a base in reality, like babies hate being put flat on their back even swaddled because they're all squished inside the womb and still like being squishy (on their backs just to be clear) to some extent, which has served me well in getting my kids to sleep fairly regularly from an early age (like 6-7 hours at 2-3 months). And yes, you may hate me for this, all the rest of my friends do. Some of my theories just based on crackpot emotion like everyone who drives a Sienna drives like an asshole. My apologies to Sienna drivers, the pissed off at Joy line starts behind some folks who don't have kids. And one just based on anecdotal evidence but hasn't served me wrong yet. This theory is my name theory.

Like I've never met a Laura who wasn't a strong, loyal true blue type of gal. I've always hated Rebeccas (which means there's got to be something wrong with them). Chris's and all it's forms (Christian, Christines) are all right by me. Although those weirdos who spell it with a K, I suspect are pretty evil deep within ;) I've never met a Lisa I didn't like, and strangely enough, all of the Lisa's I speak with regularly now are from out west, weird. They are all strong and determined folks too. I've also never met a Deb I didn't like and once you're "family" they'd give you the shirt off their back. Nicoles are funny and warm, Tims are funny but snarky...which is funny. Nancys are sticklers for detail. Katherines are a little offbeat but great. Julies never back down from a challenge.

On the homefront, my oldest is named after a lawyer, a very famous lawyer, who eventually won a Nobel Peace prize. However do you think my oldest has at all decided the peaceful route in life? Nope, he's an argumentative pintsized lawyer. My youngest, I only have two examples of his name, both we Anglican Ministers and very strong and happy advocates of peace, justice and forgiveness. God willing my youngest will follow that path, the happy peace justice and forgiveness part, he can be a minister if he wants too.

Now sometimes this theory can go off its rails here and there, but generally stays true to form. However one name I know that has always proved the same results is any name with an Alex in it. Now I might scare anyone who has named a child with an Alex, so you might want to stop reading. I was chatting with a friend tonight about names with Alex and between the two of us, between all the people who have a name (first, middle, last) with Alex in it, we could only come up with one example that is contrary to the experience. That experience is, people who have Alex in ANY part of their name are nuts. Now let me qualify this by saying that all the Alex names I know as adults are responsible, well adjusted and very admirable people I respect and like to be around. But growing up, they were terrors! And let me say this, this isn't some bias against people with Alex in their names as A Dude himself has an Alex, which makes me all the more qualified to say this. And said friend has a son with an Alex in his name.

Now example A. A Dude, he's a maniac! He spent a good six months biting his brother. He pretends he's a puppy, he will ram into us with his head as as much speed as a three year old can muster like a triceratops, he's generally good natured, but if he has a temper tantrum, anyone within a 3 mile radius will hear the scream...which sounds a lot like AC/DC on speed. He growls when he's angry and talks like Cookie Monster when he is hungry. He has no problems defending himself and took on a 6 year old this afternoon. However I will give it to him that the 6 year old had it coming and I was secretly hoping that my Alex would bite him.

Example B. My friend's Alex...shift around monkey behaviour, but you have something roughly like A Dude, but with a two year head start.

Example C. I went to school with a girl who had an Alex in her name. Every boy in school was terrified of her by the time we were in grade 5. Her favourite activity was running up to a boy, jumping around flailing like a frog on acid saying something like OOGA BOOGA! and kicking them in the nads. I have to admit, I might have laughed...I might be giggling now, but the guys sure didn't find that too funny.

Example D. A girl I used to know had an Alex in her name. She's a great person now, distinguished and very comfortable in life. However, not before taking off at 18 out west, not to university or anything, but for kicks much to the worry of her parents.

Example E. Dearest and the Godfather of our children both have brothers with Alex in their names. Dearest and Godfather used to have a competition about who's brother had the most insane, crazy, gross or dangerous (usually a bit of all of the above) job. Every mother's dream. Dearest was in the running to win, but then the Godfather's brother became a cop and when he sent us a picture of him in riot gear looking very scary and holding a ginormous gun during the Vancouver olympics, Dearest conceded. That said, both Alex gentlemen while doing some insane things in their life have matured into gentle giants who are quick to advocate for the little guy, or pooch.

Which I guess in the end isn't a bad thing. I mean I haven't known an Alex who wasn't a stand up person as an adult. All of them being very generous, dedicated and honourable people. I like them all, but growing up, I'm more than certain they have given their parents some grey hairs. Some still do. I swear to God if my A Dude becomes a cop, I'm going to need a valium hooked up to an IV. Although I fully suspect at this rate, he'll make a 5 star goon for an NHL team. So I'm looking forward to the man my A Dude will become, the man my friend's Alex is going to become. However in the meantime, I will be starting a fine wine cellar for those days when we as mothers get to compare what sort of madness our Alex's are up to.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Breastfeeding and covering

The Yummy Mummy club just asked a question to moms about whether they covered up while breastfeeding. Personally I don't care whether mom covers or not. I'm all for breastfeeding anytime, anyplace and will help moms tooth and nail to do so. I remember gawking one time when I saw a mom walking through the mall breastfeeding her baby. I had to let her know why I was gawking, it went something along the lines of this "Oh my God, you're nursing as you're walking??? That is so cool!!!!" She felt I was a weirdo for sure, but at least she didn't think I was some Judgeypants. I can live with weirdo.

Anyhow, during my brief nursing career I never covered up. I never really felt the need to and the one time I tried with Mr. Ninja, I failed. It was hard enough for me as a brand spanking new mom just to get the baby latched on! Then to put a cover on? No freaking way. At that point I was so terrified of breaking that sacred latch we worked so hard to get I was afraid to breathe. By the time I was nursing Baby D, I could play Nintendo while feeding him, but the urge to cover up was long gone. It's funny though as I read the responses, a lot of women do cover up, which is fine, by all means, do what makes you feel comfortable, but its left me wondering if I'm not the Canadian norm and just lack modesty.

I'm in Toronto, technically I'm legally allowed to walk around without a shirt if I please. I'm pretty wise and don't since my bra is as much for my safety as it is vanity. But I don't really recall showing a lot of skin while nursing either. One might get a flash when I was attaching baby, but that was about it. My nursing bra was seriously exposed and given how much *I* hate those things I can understand if anyone else doesn't want to see them. Anyhow I had no reservations nursing anywhere in public. I remember once my MIL setting to a hard diningroom chair in her bedroom for me to nurse A Dude at xmas because she didn't want to make FIL or the other guys uncomfortable. I told her that I needed to nurse in a comfortable chair with arms or I'd go home to feed baby. One of the menfolk was a cop, for God's sake, he'd seen a lot worse! This got her a little freaked and I just took over. She kept everyone downstairs til I was done. I mean really? I generally try to accomodate making folks feel comfortable even if it's relatively unreasonable, but to freak out because your DIL is nursing in an out of the way chair that everyone will have their backs to?

As a result, I never really felt comfortable feeding my children in front of my ILs, if they were at my place, they'd just have to deal with it or leave, (and have said as much, and have had men fleeing the room) but if possible, I tried to bring bottles of milk or keep my visits short. Funny how something like that can stick with you and make things more difficult than they had to be. With my friends, I never had a problem, they're all moms, I've been a lot more naked with them in a change room than my boobs and they were the first to make sure I was always well stocked with water or treats. With strangers, I didn't care and no one made a fuss. But with family, there was that issue. How backwards is that? In many other cultures, it's family who makes life as easy for the nursing mom as possible and anyone who doesn't like it can take a flying leap.

Not quite sure what the point of this post is. I'm allowed to ramble on my blog right? Not all of my rants have to have a point. So I guess in closing, you need to do what you feel comfortable with, nursing for me was hard and I'm glad for the most part I didn't let too many things make it harder.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


So while I'm a big proponent on women staying with their own natural beauty and not letting the media get to them about why they have to be a size 2, or blond or white, I'm pretty poor at practicing what I preach.

I've been trying like Hell to lose weight. I have been taming my curls with a hot iron into a straight and smooth style. I dye my hair instead of letting my natural colour, complete with greys show, I feel prettier when I wear contacts and makeup and I'm pretty sure I've decided I want plastic surgery. So obviously I'm doing a piss poor job at absorbing my own message. But isn't that always the way? We tell our friends that they are beautiful, they're wonderful and need no enhancement, maybe because we can see what is inside them and we hate the thought of them going through the same type of emotional turmoil we are going through when it comes to our bodies and self image.

I've lost 7lbs since mid December. I just got a pair of pants back from the tailors being altered for length (apparently, all plus sized women are 5'10 or something!) I put them on, the length is perfect, but they're drooping. I'm thrilled, happy that I've just recently purchased a bunch of pants I'll no longer need in a month or so. Either that or go back to the tailor to have them taken in, that should be the more economical of the two right? My tops are huge! I bought some dresses that were a 1x, and they look like sacks on me. Again I'm thrilled, but so much for my message of body acceptance. I'm not happy with my body and I'm not sure whether it comes from deep programming that fat is bad and only thin is beautiful, or is it a genuine feeling. I know I genuinely hate my arms, every picture I see of them I cringe. I don't hate my legs, my breasts or behind, but wouldn't mind them trimmer. Is that me or the Kool-Aid?

I'm at the point where I want plastic surgery. I need a breast reduction, I plan on losing more weight for that, but they're huge, heavy and will look really out of place if I drop another 20lbs, let alone the 40 I'm aiming for. I'm looking forward to relief on my back, shoulders and the ability to buy a bra that doesn't cost $90.00 minimum! So that I can justify as partially life changing in terms of my health and well being. Having them lifted, well that's purely cosmetic. And the truly optional part I'm looking at is a tummy tuck. I was fine with my tummy, excess weight and all before having kids. It was pudgy, but it was attached to me. Since having kids, it's become a pouch...seriously! I look like a freaking kangaroo! So it has to go, and I'm pretty sure no amount of diet and exercise will get rid of it in its entirety.

My hair...well nothing about my hair is real. My colour, the style, the fact that it's straight. But I loooove it like this. It's so much easier to take care of and it makes me feel good and powerful and sexy. I was whip my hair back and forth...okay bad way to put it, but I don't have to worry about whether it's grown a mind of it's own and started snatching squirrels off trees.

So where does this leave me, again, a whole lotta talk and no action. I admit it, I'm part of the Matrix! However what I do have going for me is, my weight. I'm not trying to get down to a size 2. A size 12 would be ideal because I need curves, I love curves and I do not want to see any of my bones jutting out. However a size 14 would be fine, although in that weird zone of nothing truly fits well. I'm in this mode where I have an ideal image of my body, I'm not there yet, but it's not really anywhere near the ideal image of what constitutes beautiful nowadays. I think of all my actions, I'm having difficulty coming to terms with a tummy tuck since that is so out of place for me, but it's a part of my body that has changed and not for the better, so it's something I want to reclaim.

Anyhow, despite all this, I want people to listen to me when I'm saying don't drink the Kool Aid!!! At least not all of it. We all have our perception of beauty and I'm sure some of it was moulded by the media, our peers, our parents, our SOs. I guess we just have to make sure it is our voice that is the loudest and determine if we are committed to changing our bodies for ourselves or someone else.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Coming to terms with the end

I've been reading this book called the Secret Daughter. It's one of my bookclub books and a really good read. I'm about 3/4 of the way through it in less than 24 hours, which gives you an idea of how good it is, even for a speedy reader like me. Anyhow, in it, there is a lot of feelings of resignation. A woman facing infertility, a woman giving up her daughter to an orphanage, a woman dealing with the fact that she's never had a daughter.

We're pretty sure we're finished having children. At least biologically. There are many good things about this. It's tough having three, when we're outnumbered. It's taken a toll on my body with a tougher pregnancy, an irritable uterus and post partum depression. I'm looking forward to continuing losing weight and eventually getting a reduction and tummy tuck (whole new post there around body image and women's contradicting feelings on it!). The lack of sleep, the lack of time, the lack of energy. I'm looking forward to being able to do more heavy duty travel without heavy duty gear, finishing up potty training and just moving on with the second stage of our lives without diapers, strollers and sippies.

Still, there is a sense of mourning around it. I hold Baby D and think about how this could be the last time he does this or that. When he outgrows an outfit, I think about how much I loved it and how cute my babies looked in it and I might as well pack it away for a friend or donation. Still, it's hard for me to bring myself to do that at this point. I think about trying to get as much cuddle time in when he falls asleep in my arms, but there is always something else that needs to be least on weekends. Trying to document everything and scolding myself for falling behind on taking pictures. I try to remind myself that he is only 4 months old and I have a lot of baby time left, but somehow time seems to be flying by all the more faster now.

In reading the book, I also felt that pang of gender disappointment creep back up on me. I really did want a girl. Not so much for the pink or shopping, but just that sense of comraderie. Last night as we were eating dinner, the guys in the house decided to start lifting up their shirts to show off their muscles. Nothing wrong with that and chances are a girl would probably join in, but I kinda felt left out amidst the cuteness and giggles. But there is also that shared experience of periods and sexism and female power and perhaps even pregnancy and rearing children from an entirely female perspective that I'm not going to pass on my eternal and life changing wisdom. (Okay, a little grandiose, but I have a high opinion of myself *g*). Sometimes a female perspective is just different from that of men, and while I might be lucky enough to have a great daughter in law and to share a great bond, I'd love to be able to work on that bond from a young age.

I told Dearest about this and he immediately launched into "We can adopt!" "You're still a young woman, we can have another!" etc. Adoption may very well be an option for us, but pregnancy is probably right off the list, or at least as much as the Mirena promises it to be...and it better live up to that promise! However I don't think he truly understands what its like, some perspectives are uniquely female and feeling a little glum over this isn't something that can be fixed quickly.

It's going to be a great future. I'm looking forward to many new stages, and not, but I suspect there will be many greats and maybe if we do adopt, I will get that daughter. But for now, I'm trying to give myself some space to mourn and feel a sense of goodbye as I close a chapter of my life. I'm hoping this is a normal feeling and I'm not just some drama queen moping over the fact. I feel very grateful to have been able to have my children. Not too long ago, it didn't seem at all possible, but we've been blessed by three very great boys. It's not an overwhelming sadness that I say goodbye to my bearing children, but just a quiet and thankfully small mourning, but it's still there, ready to take a nip out of me every now and then.

Monday, January 10, 2011


I've been trying to think of what to write all this morning when the post kind of jumped on me. I was sitting having a coffee after running an errand at the grocery store. You know when you're staring off into nowhere not even really recognizing what you're seeing? Well, I was doing that. In my line of sight, I discovered was a mom feeding her baby a bottle. I didn't realize it until she said

"Yeah, I know it's a bottle and I feel bad about that."

I woke up and rather elegantly responded "Huh?"

She told me "You were watching me feed my baby and I just wanted to let you know that yes I do feel guilty about giving him a bottle."

I said "Why?" Obviously my vocabulary has been limited to one word answers today, it is a Monday after all.

She started to tear up a bit and told me with a shakey voice, "Well, because it's not best for my baby, but I tried breastfeeding him and I don't have enough milk."

I felt her, really REALLY felt for her, anyone who has read my blog knows the problems I've had with breastfeeding and the encounters I've had with "well meaning" people about it. I went through my bag and pulled out the formula I had bought and said "Dude" (I say dude a lot) "You're not getting any judgment from me!"

She looked very relieved. I told her that I too had problems breastfeeding and after umpteen different experts, meds, herbs, water, oats, yadda yadda I just didn't have it in me-the milk that is. During this process she had told me how she had been approached on several occasions in her mom groups, classes strangers about "doing what's best for her baby" (Seriously, if I can borrow a term from the Childfree by Choice crowd, this is a Bingo and a half!). She had been told about how her child was going to turn out fat, stupid, sick. It was freaking deja vu. This was her first baby and she was traumatised enough with adjusting to life with new child, let alone every freaking person with too much time on their hands telling her that she was doing a shitty job at it. I told her the first thing that came to my head, something I should have said over 5 years ago when I was dealing with these people. "You tell them to go to Hell!" She kinda laughed, I smiled and said "Seriously. It's none of their bloody business and you're doing your best by the baby." I told her how brilliant and healthy my 5 year old is, and how evil and healthy my 3 year old is and how inconceivably cute and healthy my 4 month old is, which she witnessed first hand. I told her that being a new mom is hard enough, to not listen to people who felt the need to criticize her no matter how well intentioned they were. Maybe because I'm of inferior intelligence having been fed formula when I was a child, but I have a hell of a time picking out this mysterious caste system of superior breast fed children and the unwashed masses like me and said as much to her.

Now, this does seem to be a rant in one direction and dangerously coming close to me just taking off with that (and yes I love ranting, deal with it!) but it's more a lights on moment for me. Why the hell didn't I say this 5 years ago? True, I didn't know how awesome my kids would turn out (when they're not being evil little despots) but truly I knew that how I fed them was no ones business. I was a lot more outspoken 5 years ago, why didn't I give them the verbal smackdown they so obviously needed? Because I'm terrible at advocating for myself. And you know what? I'm not alone. As I had this brainiac moment, I remembered a post on my FB from a friend wondering why she's so terrible at advocating for herself when she has pretty much levelled cities in advocating for her child. I talk to moms, women of all persuasions all the time who are intelligent, gutsy, cheeky people, who have no problems going Incredible Hulk on behalf of their kids, family, friends, colleagues, strangers! But true to form, they come last and all of a sudden, that ferocity is gone. I'm no different, not in the least. I've gotten up in the face of drug dealers, police officers...people who carry guns! And yet, if my doctor reads me the riot act because I'm overweight, even though I've dropped 10 pounds in the past 10 weeks, I crumple...and seriously, my doctor is 5'0 and 90lbs soaking wet, with a voice like one of the Mole Sisters, I can take her! Do we not feel that same amount of entitlement for ourselves that would have people treating us as well as our loved ones? Apparently not! Maybe we use it up, maybe we just don't think that highly of ourselves, but that needs to be changed, on the quick!

I started thinking of ways to be a better advocate for myself and I think I've stumbled upon something. We all have people who love and care about us, and if we don't, then you need some, I'll pinch hit if need be, just keep me supplied with wine and cookies. Think of yourself and how riled up you get when one of your friends has been treated poorly. Think of how you want to come to their defense and rip a new one for whoever has treated them poorly. Now reverse that. I'm going to try and picture what my gal pals would say on my behalf if I'm being treated poorly. I'll use the quickness of one, the snarkiness of another, the reasoning diplomacy of the third, the eloquence of a fourth and the kick in the head ninjaness of the fifth. Combined, they will be SuperJoyDefender! Taking Shit from no one!!!! Or I could just picture my mother, but I'd probably end up in prison, not so good on a resume for a mother of 3.

Those are actually two methods for the blog price of one. You can either draw that strength and logic and objectivity up from how you would respond if your friend was being treated this way, or you can channel them into defending you.

*Waiting for the applause*

Okay, maybe not so much the applause, but I would be interested in some feedback by folks who are interested in trying it for themselves. I need to channel my inner asskicking friend as I'm about to fire someone and will use my diplomatic friend to do so in the most awesome terms. I will let you know how it goes when I discover the fallout...which I'll weather, somehow. I need to find a fallout friend that I can channel. Too bad most of my friends are great at staying out of trouble.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Years Resolutions

I'm starting to think of them as an art. We make them, we stick to them for 6 weeks and then we throw them by the wayside, forgetting in the next two weeks what they even were. But I think I've figured out a magic formula to make it all stick. And I'm going to share with you that magic formula because I'm so wonderfully generous, and pretty, and smart, and feisty, with awesome hair...oh yes, back to the point. The key to making and keeping New Years resolutions is to make them something you're actually going to enjoy. Screw the losing weight or the self help class to improve your grammar skills, nevermind the back breaking labour of renovating an entire room by yourself (unless of course you enjoy those things, then go for it!). New Years resolutions should be about enriching your life and taking steps to make it more fulfilling for yourself. I've been thinking of some resolutions over the past few weeks and thought I'd share mine to give you an example of how to make one that you will fight tooth and nail to keep.

I will read more. I love reading, I have an infant who naps, easy peasy. So far I'm on book number 2 of 2011. Don't look too impressed, it's the Sookie Stackhouse series, but I'm loving it and need brain candy. I'm hoping for 4 books a month.

I will write more. See above. I promise to check over my writing more too. I've also rediscovered the simple joy of actually writing writing...with a pen...old school. Just going slowly, contemplating while I'm going along, it's a very mind clearing exercise. Will be doing that too, even got myself a shiny new journal.

I will go to the spa/hairstylist more. In fact I booked an appointment for a wash/blowdry for this Friday. There is no reason in the world why I should be letting my hair go scraggly with a husband and mom who will watch the kids for a couple hours.

I will make frequent date nights with Dearest. We've let that go by the wayside and I've already asked my mom to be free for Saturday nights from here til 2020. I will also be bugging friends (beware!) who have offered in the past to watch the boys. We've become a little disconnected last year, so that will be rectified big time!

I will go to the cottage and I will own it. I don't really like going, but I had a request from my youngins to head up north with them to the cottage. The reason why I don't really like it is because MIL dominates the schedule. Well no longer! Joy is in the drivers seat!!!!

I will go on a road trip. I don't care how far, but it has to involve at least 2 hours in the car with someone I love.

I will take more pictures. In fact on one road trip to the US, I will be buying myself a new lens for the camera.

I will get the yard tamed. I didn't say *I'd* be doing the work.

I will spend more time reading to my boys. Ninja is now enjoying chapter books and I'm enjoying reading them to him, I'm currently resisting the urge to read ahead to see what happens. A Dude is still into smaller books over and over and over again, but finding new ways to keep them engaging and seeing his silly responses is worth it.

I will make new friends. I know a few of my friends are going to chortle at this, but I'm shy. Really. I am. So going out there is really hard for me, but I will do it because I've managed to make a great group of friends, so I can find more, hopefully some who have the same job description as me.

I will stay connected with current friends and making sure I am being a good buddy to them.

I will reconnect with some old friends.

I will entertain at least twice a month. I love having people over for dinner and it gives me a great excuse to try new recipes.

I will declutter. I know this sounds like a "hafta" sort of resolution, but I really do enjoy organizing.

I will get home projects done. Again, not a "hafta" largely because it means me calling someone to come fix something. I hafta pick up the phone.

I will accept help! Housekeeper, hired!

Any chocolate I eat will be good quality. I will work hard to keep a good stash on hand so I don't have to resort to eating the kids stuff in desperation.

So I think that's it, at least for now, until I've had my coffee, and good quality coffee it will be! So give a think as to how your year will be enhanced by making promises to yourself you want to keep, because not only will they have a great outcome for you and/or your family, but because the process of getting there will be great too.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bragging about my wonderful children

Happy New Year, I hope your Holidays have treated you well and given you enough fuel to bear the exceedingly long month of January where other than a few birthdays of great friends is bleak and cold.  I didn't get around to writing a Christmas letter bragging about our lives, this Christmas. I have read a few, including a favourite cousin's note sharing with us his views of why the US has faltered economically and Canada has done well in the past years. According to him the US gov't is socialist and Canada is not.....Really...Anyhow, I feel like a bad person and a bad mom for not sending out her brag letter of the year, so here it is. We are so awesome, be prepared to revel in awesomeness.

Baby D is chewing his feet like a 6 month old. Considering he's only 4 months, that is a huge accomplishment. We expect he'll be in Oxford when he's 10 by this brilliant discovery.

He is also drooling like a champ, clearly he's also going to have an exquisite palatte and will probably become a chef whilst saving the world.

He is farting like he's 10, seriously! He's a mans man. He can clear a room like a 40 year old.

A Dude has a voice unmatched. You should hear his AC/DC impression every time he doesn't get his own way. He's going to be famous.

His speech has leapt and bounded. He went from little words at the start of this year to whole phrases like "It's not yucky! Mommy is yucky!" "It's not me. I didn't do it. I'm a good boy! Ninja did it!" "I'm telling on you!!" and "I'm not a bad boy, Ninja is a baby!!!" We are so proud.

His potty process is going well, after just four tiny months, he has been convinced that the potty won't bite off his bottom if he sits on it. We only have to run around the house 4 times to catch him. He's such a wonderful little dream.

A Dude's physical development is going strong. He is almost 40lbs and has no problems demonstrating his strength. He showed us how brilliantly strong he is while waiting in line for Santa by getting in a fight with another 3 year old and pushing him down in 5 seconds.

Mister Ninja has amazing intellectual skills, he never ceases to amaze us by finding loopholes in our reasoning why he cannot have a chocolate after he brushes his teeth for bed, or why he can't watch Jurassic Park...for the umpteenth time. He is also so persistent, what a little dear!

He has become a prodigy at Angry Birds, which has truly shocked us. Watch out Bobby Fischer! I'm sure Ninja will wow the world with his Angry Birds playing skills.

He is also a crafty little fella. No one can top him in quietly sneaking away with an iPad and playing a game. My little genius has also figured out how to turn it down.

Mister Ninja has also increased his vocabulary tenfold, adding "Limpet eating fish-head" and "snake's breath hairy toad!" to his phrases. Thank you How to Train Your Dragon for this very enriching lexicon.

So there you have it, our wonderful children, doing their wonderful things. I bet few children have accomplished so much in 12 short months, but there you have it. No, no! We are simply just modest and great parents doing an amazing job in raising such wonderful little citizens of the world.