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Posts Tagged ‘women’

‎I’ve been that lady.

That lady who bribes her kids with junk food.

That lady who “shushes” them when they ask questions.

The lady who lies and says “yes” when they ask “Mama, did you see that” because I actually didn’t see it because I was playing Candy Crush on the ipad.

The lady who cuts someone off in traffic and pretends it was an accident.

The lady who eats popcorn for dinner more than I’d like to admit.

The lady who pretends to be in the shower when relatives call.

The lady who wears clothes to the grocery store that toe the line between lounge wear and pajamas.

The lady who puts the kids to bed early if there’s ‎something on TV I want to watch.

The lady who looks at all I have and still wonders what might have been.

The lady ‎who used to see the things that other people did and though to myself “I’ll never be that lady.”

Until I realized I already am.

So now I don’t judge that lady, because I am that lady and she is me.

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baby

Image credit: happytag.blogspot.ca

I see you there with your new baby wrapped in your arms, your eyes full of tears and your mind full of all the hopes and dreams you have for them.

As I see you wishing a hundred different wishes for them, I have a few of my own for you – the new mother.

I wish you the strength to trust your own instincts because although you may doubt that you have any, you do. You just need to quiet the hundreds of voices offering a thousand pieces of advice long enough to hear them. No one knows your baby better than you. Trust that, and trust yourself.

I wish you the vision to not lose sight of yourself and the needs you have as a person, separate from the needs of your baby. Your opinions matter, your feelings matter, your wants and needs matter. Yes your baby is important, but so are you.

I wish you a circle of mothers to surround you; women who love you enough to tell it like it is. Not to scare or depress you but so that in your darkest hour, when you sit on the floor of your baby’s room, tears streaming down your face wondering if you’ve made the biggest mistake of your life, you will not feel alone. We have all felt that way. Wrongly thinking you are the only one makes it a hundred times worse.

I wish you the knowledge that every moment, good or bad, is fleeting. This too shall pass, whether you want it to or not. Accept that the minutes and hours will seem endless but the months and years will go by in an instant. There are many moments you will wish to forget, but also so many you wish you could hold onto forever.

I wish you the ability to cut yourself some slack. You can’t do it all; some of the balls you are juggling will fall to the ground and that’s okay. Maybe you’ll pick them up, maybe you won’t. Life will go on whether you finish the baby book or not.

I wish you a group of true friends who knew you before you became a mother and stick with you after. Friends who realize it may take you a few days to answer an email and accept without question why you have to bring your breast pump to dinner. People who know visiting the baby is one thing, but coming over with a home-cooked meal and a genuine desire to fold the laundry is a thousand times better.

I wish you the understanding that happiness exists in moments, but true contentment lasts much longer. There will be moments of bliss so pure that you will literally feel your heart breaking, but they cannot and will not last. If you expect them to, you will live your life in disappointment. Strive for contentment, acceptance, and the ability to wait in peaceful anticipation of the next moment of bliss, whenever it may come.

I wish you the patience to deal with people who criticize and judge. You can’t control how much their words will hurt, but you can control how long you let them sting.

I wish you the wisdom to accept help when it is offered. If someone wants to cook you dinner or do the dishes or change a diaper, let them. Doing everything yourself does not make you a better mother, and at the end of the day, you’ll be the only one keeping score.

And most of all I wish that one day you will gain the confidence to realize that you are doing a great job at this motherhood thing; no matter how loudly the voices in your head try to tell you otherwise.

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One day I dream it will be different. One day I dream that we will all get along, support each other, or if that is seemingly impossible, at least we will find a way to keep our mouths shut (and our fingers off the keyboard) whenever the desire hits to judge another mom.

I wrote about it here and decided I wasn’t going to write about it again.

So I’m not.  Well, not really.

All I’m going to say that if you want to read about it and haven’t, I recommend  you read this post first.  It’s incredibly well-written and, in my opinion, a perfect stance to take.  Thanks to Suburban Snapshots for saying perfectly what I think but am not able to put into words. And if you have absolutely no idea what I’m blabbing on about, there’s also a link in that post to what started all of this fuss.

And because I can’t, and won’t, write about it anymore, I’m just going to use this as an opportunity to post this picture.  Because I think in the middle of yet another round of ‘she said, she said’, finger pointing, name calling, bad mother debate, this is really what we all need to remember.

good mom

Etsy: MomGoodz

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We sit around the table in a dimly-lit restaurant on a Friday night. Not night really, more like evening. Our get-togethers used to start and end much later but now there are kids to get home to, alarm clocks ringing too early the next morning, even on Saturdays.

Technically it’s our holiday gathering, although it’s more than two weeks after Christmas. Finding a date and time that works for everyone involves juggling the busy schedules of three working mothers, three working fathers and five energetic kids. Sometimes we include them, but secretly we know it’s better when it’s just the girls.

I look across the table and realize these two women are my oldest friends.

I am no longer in touch with any of my childhood friends so a large portion of my life between the ages of 5 and 17 now exists only in my mind. I don’t have anyone to re-live the memories with, to tell embarrassing stories with, to flip through photo albums and listen to old songs with. And because I don’t re-live them very often, those memories start to fade, and with them the memories of who I used to be back then. The me I was before I became the me I am now.

And sometimes it makes me sad, to think of what has been lost. But then I look around the table and see two faces that I’ve been looking around the table at for, now that I do the math, almost 18 years.

No, we can’t talk about stories from when we were kids or our elementary and high school days but these girls, now women, knew me before I was a wife, before I was a mother. They knew me back when my dreams and my realities looked much different than they do now.

We talk and talk, our words falling over each other in a rush to get as much in as we can, desperate to have time, uninterrupted time to share, to laugh, to relate. The time flies by, we look at watches, check phones, shocked as always to see how fast the hours have gone.

We gather our jackets, hats and bags and I realize I feel lighter somehow. Like I have unpacked some of the worry, the stress, the doubts and fears that I carry with me. I have left them here on this table, we all have. Did we solve any problems? Answer any important questions? Make anyone’s life easier? Of course not. But we laughed over a good meal, reminisced over a shared dessert, savored our time together. Not as wives or mothers, but simply as friends.

We’ve been through a lot together, the three of us. Maintaining a friendship not because we have to but because we genuinely want to.

These are my oldest friends and I will cherish them, wishing for many more hours spent around a table, together.

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For almost an entire week I told myself it wasn’t what it looked like. It was just a trick of the eye; a combination of bad lighting and a poor angle. There was no way it could be what it appeared to be. No way.

Until I discovered that it was.

My first grey hair.

I saw it first about a week ago and convinced myself that it was just really blonde. I have learned that being a redhead means having all kinds of crazy shades in my hair – all the way from black to platinum blonde – so I didn’t think much of it.

But every time I looked in the mirror my eyes were automatically drawn to it until I couldn’t stand it any longer. I had to know, for good or bad.

Why I chose that particular moment, standing not in the privacy of my own bathroom at home but rather in a public washroom at my office, I’ll never know. I just decided I had to know. It couldn’t wait one minute longer.

So I leaned over the sink and stuck my face as close to the mirror as it would go. And there it was, right there in the middle of my part, right there in the front. Looking closely there was really no way I could deny it. It wasn’t platinum blonde but rather an almost shiny white colour. I couldn’t pretend any longer.

And then I did what any self-respecting person would do in my situation.

I pulled it out.

I know you’re not supposed to pull them out, but seriously? Maybe there are people out there with more self-restraint (and self-esteem) than me but they certainly aren’t any people I know.

So there I stood, the hair in my hand, in a public washroom where one of my coworkers could barge in at any moment. And I didn’t know what to do. For some reason it didn’t feel right to throw it away. Instead I turned, walked out the door and down the hallway with it still clutched in my hand.

Down the hall, through two more doors until I was back in my office, sitting in my chair. I pulled out an envelope, stuck the grey hair in it, sealed it and tucked it in my purse.

I have no idea why.

What am I going to do with this thing? Carry it around in my purse for months? Yeah, that’s not creepy or anything. But something about it seemed so monumental that I couldn’t throw it out. A little part of me wants to tape it in a scrapbook, a baby book of getting older, if you will. Then I would have somewhere to keep track of all of these things, first grey hair, first day wearing reading glasses, first hot flash. All of these things that mean I’m getting older. How come there’s no scrapbook for those things?

Because we’ve been taught that getting older is something to dread, not celebrate; something to hide, not flaunt. And I’ve been a good student, I’ve lapped up all of those lessons and filed them away, so ingrained that I’m not ready to see this as a positive.

Instead, years of hair dye and root touch-ups flashed before my eyes. There is nothing graceful about my vision of getting older and I hate myself for it.

I wish I could have left that first grey hair right where it was, not caring who saw it, a badge of some kind, earned over the years.

But I couldn’t.

So it sits in an envelope in my purse, maybe waiting for a day when looking at it won’t make me sad.

Or maybe just waiting to be joined by grey hair number two?

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my friend

We met by chance on a VIA Train heading from Ottawa to Toronto. We were both getting off at stops before Toronto so we ended up on the same car. As luck would have it there was an empty seat beside me and she politely asked if it was taken. It wasn’t, and invited her to sit down. We did that thing where we looked at each other, trying to place where we knew the face. We went to the same university, were in the same program, had a couple of classes together. We exchanged pleasantries and settled in for our long trip.

It could have ended there. It could have been but a single moment in our lives, quickly lived and then just as quickly forgotten. Instead, for some reason, unknown at the time, it turned out to be not an ending, but a beginning.

That was, if I can do the math correctly, just over 16 years ago, in October 1996. So much of our lives have been lived since then and, because of that chance meeting, so much of it has been lived side by side.

She is my friend.

Today is her birthday.

It amazes me how some friendships start, like an ember burst from nothing, and continue to burn, seemingly without end. I don’t know what brought us together that day, on that train, but some larger force knew that I needed her in my life, then and now.

She is, without a doubt, the best person I know. She is the kind of person who you can call in the middle of the night, no matter how late, no matter if she just went to bed half an hour before and has to get up two hours later. She will answer your call, convince you that no, you didn’t wake her up and yes, of course she has some time to talk. She will listen to your problems. She will probably even ask if she should come over. Do you need a hug? Can I bring you a cup of tea. She is that person. If there is a bed and a couch, she will insist that you take the bed and make it seem utterly absurd that you would even consider the alternative.

I don’t think I could ever be that person. I think mean things about people and I’m not very good at hiding them. I’m moody and sarcastic and if I don’t like you, you probably already know it. However, the mere fact that she sees fit to be my friend makes me feel like maybe there’s hope for me.

I don’t know a single person in the world who has met my friend and doesn’t love her, almost instantly. She is the kind of person who greets you with a hug and tells you that you look great. And she means it; she really does. And because she says it in such an honest way, she makes you believe it too, even if you’re dressed in sweats with your hair in a ponytail and wearing no makeup. She thinks you look great, and you believe her, because she would never lie to you.

She is the most trusting person I know. Her openness and willingness to throw herself out there have always amazed me. She has written a novel; and has actually let people read it. She has run a marathon. She has weathered storms in her life and continues to get back out there, continues to try, continues to find the best in people and, in turn, they seem to give it to her. She is the kind of person you don’t want to disappoint.

She has amazing taste in books and desserts. She is always accessorized to perfection, is a wonderful cook and is the most patient and loving mother I have ever seen. She is perfect in her imperfections. She never makes me feel like there’s anything wrong with me (which, at times, there definitely is) and she never acts like she is a better person than me (which, as outlined above, she usually is). She is funny and witty and makes it all seem easy, although I know it’s not. She has struggles and difficulties and problems just like everyone else and she is not afraid to share them, to admit she doesn’t always know the answers and that makes her real, and human, and accessible.

She is a better friend than I probably deserve, and I consider her a gift. A gift from someone out there who knew that I need her in my life; that I need her there as an example of how to treat people, how to find kindness and joy in life and how to be a better person. She allows me to be her friend, and not just in name, she lets me earn it. She asks me for help and listens when I offer it. Some friendships travel through time without tests, without work, without earning their keep. Our friendship expects more from us. It expects phone calls, cups of tea, glasses of wine and legs folded on couches. We have talked through the problems of the world together and made them better for no other reason than because it confirmed that we are not alone.

We are a long way from being those two girls, forced together by a chance meeting on that train. We both now have husbands and kids, responsibilities and jobs, houses and to-do lists that are way longer than we can ever actually tackle in one lifetime. We have said many goodbyes since then, to relatives and loves, and also to dreams and expectations of what we thought our lives would be like.

But we are still friends. We have seen each other through a lot in the past 16 years and I have leaned on our friendship more times than I can count. And each time I have needed it, it has been there. No matter how much time has past, no matter how much it has been neglected due to busy schedules and conflicting calendars; it has remained. Willing and able to jump up when it is needed, to provide the support and strength that is lacking and then to settle back, a constant.

I don’t know what I have done to deserve a friend like her but I appreciate and never take for granted all that she has brought to my life. And today, on her birthday, I struggle to know what to give her to show her all that she means. It’s not something that can be wrapped in a box and tied up with a ribbon, although she deserves that and so much more.

And so instead I give these words, in the hopes that today of all days she will read them and realize she is special, and loved and thought of, not just today but every day of our friendship.

Happy birthday my dear friend. I don’t know what I would do without you.

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I have a problem finding pants that fit.  Perhaps I should qualify that statement.  I have a problem finding reasonably priced pants that fit.  I’m sure if I wanted to go to some hoity-toity boutique and drop $250, then I could find a pair of pants that fit.  But that’s not going to happen.  I have a mortgage, a car, a husband who likes to play hockey and kids that like Lego.

I’m also not a fan of spending money on clothes.  There are much more fun things to spend money on, like Stella and Dot jewelry.  When there’s sparkly jewelry to buy, the clothing underneath just becomes background anyway.  Everyone’s looking at the bling, not the clothes I also happen to be wearing.

But I digress.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on the female body.  The fact that I am a female and do, in fact have a body, does not seem to have imparted me with any type of wisdom in the area.  However,  I have come to realize that every woman’s body, though different, has a few similar traits.  (Note, when I’m discussing the female body I am not including female models in this group – their bodies don’t look like any female I’ve ever met in real life).  Female bodies are generally curvy.  Most often those curves do not occur in the areas of our bodies that we want them to but that’s another issue for another day.  Those of us who have reached a certain age have grown to accept our bodies the way they are and are simply looking for clothing that helps us do the same.

I don’t know many women who have a waist that is larger than their hips or thighs.  No matter what size the woman, the hips are generally the widest point of the body.  I consider this to be a fairly obvious fact to anyone who has, I don’t know, ever looked at a woman?  But apparently this is news to those out there in the world that design and make reasonably priced pants for women.

So the million dollar question becomes, do I buy pants that are a bit tighter in the thigh than I am comfortable with or do I buy them to fit those parts of my body and deal with the back-gape?  This becomes particularly difficult with dress pants which, in many cases do not include belt loops so there’s no chance of wearing a belt to fix the gape.  So that leaves either wearing shirts that are long enough to cover the gape or resorting to fixing the bulge with office supplies.

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It is a little embarrassing when the clips “unclip” at the most inopportune times but it does add a little excitement to a regular day!

I do, from time to time, succumb to the draw of the Reitmans Comfort Fit pant.  No snaps, no buttons, no zippers. Fairly brilliant actually.  However, I try not to dip my toe in that well too often because I realize that choosing comfort over coolness is a slippery slope.  Next step: wearing running shoes with dress pants and choosing a functional backpack over a cute purse or heaven forbid, deciding that accessories are optional.

My husband did manage to buy me a pair of jeans for Christmas that were pretty good.  A little bit of back-gape but at least they’re jeans so I can wear a belt with them.  They were from Old Navy which was a bonus because they didn’t even cost that much.  This past weekend he called me from the mall asking if I needed any more pants – Old Navy was having a sale and they had some cords on for like $10 each, the same brand as the jeans he bought me so they would definitely fit, right?

Wrong.  Oh so wrong.

He bought two pairs (in the exact same size as the jeans) and brought them home.  When he gave them to me he mentioned that he thought they looked a bit smaller than the jeans but he double-checked to make sure the size was right.  Not a good start.

I tried them and in less than 10 seconds I was hanging my head in despair.  They were so tight if they were jeans they would be jeggings.  Which I guess would make them cordings – or maybe leggords?  Yeah, the name is not cool and neither was the look.  I don’t think pants are meant to be so tight that you can actually see the thigh-ripples through them?

I peeled them off (with some difficulty) and stuffed them back in the bag.  The look on my face must have told the story because my husband didn’t even ask.  We have not spoken of them again.  We’ve been married long enough.

The problem with pants continues.

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