The month of November was ‘Financial Literacy Month’, and after an introduction to some key family budgeting ideas from Interac, I spent the entire month thinking.
Setting the scene… It’s a night like any other you’ve had for the past couple of months – your newborn gem has awoken at the typical hour of 5am after you had just gotten back to sleep following her prior wake-up and feed at 3am. Except that this time, you feel ready to cry, and wish fervently that she would somehow feed herself and go back to sleep all on her own.
What day is it? How long have we been inside? As the days and weeks roll along with many families self-isolating, I give you boredom busters: round three. Thankfully, more and more institutions and artists are putting out insanely good content and educational opportunities. There’s never been a better time to grow! Who knows what might spark a new idea, a new tradition for the family, or a passion for something the kids didn’t know about before. My heartfelt thanks goes out to the educators and friends who keep sharing ideas for me to pass along!
There’s a lot of unhappy going on out there. Buzz words that conjure the worst viral stories and make our hearts drop into the pits of our stomachs. Words that lose all authentic meaning in the moment and become emblems of pure emotion, driving parents to despair. A once normal word like ‘gorilla’ triggers conflicting feelings of anger and hopelessness. Add ‘anti-vax’, ‘forward-facing’, and ‘breastfed‘ to the list and you’re sunk; it’s evolving and eternal. And it’s also true—these things do happen and they’re awful, but reading about them on Facebook every day doesn’t empower us, it drowns us. Sure we’re drawn to the heavy, but shouldn’t we also celebrate the light? 100 happy days was my shift in focus, my commitment to happy—and it can be yours too.
Life is hard – beautiful, sweet, precious, amazing, thrilling even; but so very hard. It never becomes more apparent as to just how hard it is until you are a mother; responsible in every way for the well-being of another tiny human.
Even before becoming mothers, women wear so many different hats. We are cooks, maids, friends, daughters, therapists, employees, managers, etc. We tend to stick together, to find our tribe and to be there for one another through thick and thin. Which is never more important that when we do become parents.
I try not to think about it, this aging business. It’s not easy. You think that the shock, after that first time you are called “Ma’am”, or when you realize the cute guy at the gym isn’t hitting on you (he’s trying to help you because you remind him of his mom) will wear off, and you won’t be quite as sensitive. You think that your skin will get thicker and you won’t notice. But you’re wrong.
So you’re thinking about starting a family. And you’re trying to start a family. And trying. And trying. And you’re at the point where, if one more person tells you to “relax” so “it will just happen”, you might lose your [email protected]#* completely.
You’re thinking about seeing a doctor, or you’ve seen one, or three. The idea of IVF has come up. Or maybe it’s come up for your sister, or your best friend. You have questions, but you have no one to ask. You’re scared it won’t work, you can’t afford it, that it’s going ‘too far’. You hate needles. You’ve begun to wonder if there’s a deeper, cosmic reason you can’t have a baby. There are countless reasons why it’s impossible to even try. And then you suddenly start to feel like you’re just done with it all.
Is life overwhelming sometimes? Ever feel the need for a refuge? Want one small space to call your own? If that sounds like you, sister, you might need a ‘she-shed’, a detached one-room bungalow with the sole purpose of providing comfort, privacy and serenity. Start planning, and before you know it, you’ll be gently closing your door on the rest of the world.
There was a time when Ella sang, “Summertime and the livin’ is easy,” and I believed her. Growing up in the 80’s summer was always about watching movies at the outdoor movie theatre, playing outside late into the night, and of course popsicles, lots and lots of them. And then I became a mom and my priorities shifted. To be honest summer didn’t change for me in the first few years of motherhood. I was working full-time, and if there was vacation, Yay! Otherwise there was always day care! And then I had my second little pumpkin, we moved to Toronto and I decided to work from home. That’s when reality hit me like a ton of bricks: moms hate summer.