Archives For Parenting

I’ve had the phrase ‘the future is female’ rolling around in my head for days now. Sometimes when it pops into my head, I think of the Fast and Female run I just did in Canmore a few weeks back and I smile at all the grandmas and moms and girls running together. And sometimes, when I look at my baby girl in my arms and think ‘the future is female’, I want to cry.

I’ve wanted to write a blog post about the future being female for awhile now, but every time I sit down to type it, I fear being ‘too political’, and I stop.

And that right there is why I must write this post. Discomfort.

This post makes me uncomfortable.

And I hope it makes you uncomfortable too. 

When I found out I was pregnant this time around, I let myself get excited. We were five weeks and 4 days along when we found out, and I started telling Ryan right away that it was a girl.

When we saw her heart beating for the first time, I knew she was a girl.

I had told Ryan so many times that she was a girl that by the 20-week gender scan I was dying laughing, picturing the moment the ultrasound tech told us we were having a boy and Ryan had permission to tease me about it for the rest of our lives.

But, sure enough, at our 20 week scan, the tech looked at us and said ‘I do believe you’re right; it appears we’re looking at a girl!!’ And tears streamed joyously from my eyes. 

I always pictured myself being a boy mom, and here we were, after a termination that I chose to call Matthew, and a miscarriage that we were sure was a Henry, being told that we were going to be parents to a little girly. 

My heart grew a million sizes that day.
A daughter.
A girl.
A Woman, some day.

And once she came forth from my body, I called my mother- a mother of three daughters- and sobbed some sort of warbled voicemail into her machine.

The moment I held my daughter in my arms, I realized how much my mom had ever loved, and lost, in the raising of her three daughters.

I thanked her on the voicemail for managing to live her life with ‘three hearts beating outside of her body’.

That is what my Sadie Greta is to me. She is a piece of my heart that beats outside of my body, and I would do Anything to never see her in pain.

My mom is at my house now until late July, helping me parent this child while hubby is away at work, and as the days go by, we’ve been covering giant sections of family history.

And it strikes me, in a lot of our family history, that women must bear Great burdens.

In our family history tales thus far, we’ve covered domestic violence. Physical abuse. Sexual abuse. Emotional abuse. Manipulation. Deceit. Extramarital affairs. Financial control. Abandonment. Sacrifice. Alcoholism. A whole host of nasty things that various women in my family history have had to live with, or die from.

They are stories that I know scraps of, as I have collected bits and pieces of them over the years in my own transition into womanhood, but to hold my baby girl in my arms, and hear them myself as a mother, is Quite different.

This morning’s story time involved the tale of one of my mom’s closest coming of age gal pals being savagely raped and murdered in her boyfriend’s apartment while he was away on tour with his band.

Her crime? Being a girl, and alone, in their apartment.

These stories are not new to me, nor are they uncommon. 

I know the statistics, that 1 in every 3 North American women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. And I can only estimate that with rapes that never get reported, that figure is much more like 1 in every 2.

And I look down at my sweet, sweet baby girl, and I think ‘which one of the coin toss will you be?’. And I know that is a friggin Awful thought to have in your head, and trust me, that thought doesn’t live there all the time and take up any more space than it needs to- but it is there.

Because, by birth right, I have had a girl, in North America. And I worry for her.

She was born in a great country, to a loving family, and she undoubtedly has a wonderful future ahead of her, but she also has some mighty steep hurdles to tackle.

At the time that I write this, the stats are:

That Sadie has a in 1 in 3 chance of getting sexually assaulted in her lifetime (http://sacha.ca/resources/statistics)

That for every $1.00 a Canadian man makes, she will make $0.74. (http://www.payequity.gov.on.ca/en/GWG/Pages/what_is_GWG.aspx)

That she will have only a 10 per cent chance of becoming one of the top executives of a Canadian company, and only a 4 per cent chance of ever becoming one of Canada’s CEOs. (https://www.google.ca/amp/s/globalnews.ca/news/4807359/female-ceo-wage-gap/amp/)

Those are just her absolute stats, the controls, if you will- but god forbid these following stats ever need apply to her as well:

Every 6 days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. Over 80% of police-reported intimate partner homicides are women. On any given night in Canada, 3,491 women and their 2,724 children sleep in shelters because it isn’t safe at home. On any given night, about 300 women and children are turned away because shelters are already full. (https://www.canadianwomen.org/the-facts/gender-based-violence/)

As I hold my sweet baby girl in my arms, and I listen to my strong warrior mama tell me the tales of the women who have come before me, I trust that Sadie will beat these odds. I trust that she will be a trailblazer, smart as a whip, fearless, loving and confident. 

I know that she is the future, and that the future is female, but a small part of me grieves for her nonetheless. For the extra obstacles she faces simply because she was born a girl. And I am begging you, my boy mom friends that are reading this- please, Please, keep doing your part to raise strong boys. Strong, loving, fearless, confident boys that can help level these crappy stats into rubble. 

The future is in our hands.

XO, Em

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Maybe I’m a Bitch

June 18, 2019 — 1 Comment

My last post was about the ‘Fun Mom’ being dead. I felt ‘negative’ throwing that ‘bad energy’ into the world, but I also felt really great when I wrote all of those very true feelings down and released them.

I very wholeheartedly wrote something like ‘the Fun Mom is dead and that’s okay.’

Let me tell you- killing the Fun Mom and Being Okay with it are Entirely different subjects.

Relationships are Incredibly important to me. Always have been. I like to support my friends through any and all situations, and I like to be someone you can lean on, at all times, for any reason.

My social calendar is often jam packed and I am usually running around to three different areas of town in one day, with social events with two different people, while getting a full day of work in, and somehow still doing the groceries and making dinner for my hubby and I.

Now that I’ve had Sadie, things are Very different.

A drive to Canmore to see old friends in 24-degree weather, with her stuck in a hot, sweaty car seat for a 1.5 hour drive one-way, and logistically figuring out when/where to best time my visit to feed her every 4 hours becomes a lot of hassle. Not to mention time and gas.

Only one of my Canmore friends who I used to be close with comes to see me in Crossfield. My family and I appreciate her efforts very much. Another one of my Canmore friends comes to see me when she can catch a ride with her mom, as she has no vehicle of her own yet. I very much appreciate when she makes her way here as well.

The others- they were there for my gender reveal, my baby shower, my birthday party where they listened to my baby girl’s heartbeat with a stethoscope and we all cooed about what she might look like- they spent Hours at my house near Canmore, eating dinners that I had prepared for them, and then hours on my couch, spilling their guts about their latest relationship or life problem, and I was Incredibly excited for these people to become my child’s Aunty.

She is just over two months old now, and None of those women have come to see me.

I’ve driven to Canmore 4 times in the 8 weeks that Sadie has been alive, to see Sadie’s old family doctor, and to try and maintain those relationships.

I’ve sent out pleading text messages asking ‘what did I do wrong and how can I fix it?’ and received various responses that kind of broke my heart.

And I’ve had to let that go. And it’s hurt.

Being a friend that you could rely on has been really important to me. And I’ve had to bump that value waaaayyy down on my list of priorities. And it’s hurt.

Then there’s my phone.

I used to be on that thing All. The. Time.

Send me a text? Boom-response. Send me something funny on Messenger? Boom- response. Send me something interesting on Insta? Boom- response.

I went to the Rural Women in Business conference a few weeks ago and one of the presenters had us do an exercise where you really quickly wrote down 3-5 things you value the most, and then 3-5 things you like doing that make you happy, and then 3-5 things you find yourself doing the most during your day, and then told us to jot down a really quick Coles notes version of what our typical daily schedule looks like.

Then she got us to go back and look at the things we valued, and to compare that list with what we normally fill our days with.

I was Floored.

I love going on 5K runs. I love going on dog and stroller walks with Ryan. I love sitting in my greenhouse snuggling my baby. I love sitting on my lawn chair by myself, lapping up the sun. I love listening to music and singing while I drive. I love writing blog posts.

When I looked at my daily schedule- NONE of these things were there.

I was on the phone calling people every time I drove, not listening to music and/or enjoying the silence of a nice highway drive.

I was driving to other people’s houses and sitting in their backyards, but not enjoying my own.

When I was in the greenhouse, snuggling my baby, I was busy one-handed texting back to my friends who had written me earlier.

My dog was getting crappy 15-minute walks around the neighborhood so that I could zoom back and forth in my car and visit people and attend various appointments.

I ran a 5K once at 6 weeks, and felt Amazing about it for the next 4 days, and then didn’t build running into my daily schedule because there was already too much in there.

And then we bought a truck and a trailer to go camping and ‘relax’ on the weekends, and we go camping with lots of other people and other dogs, and our dog hates other dogs so I have to manage and contain her behavior, as well as the feeding requirements of my 4-hour feeding baby, as well as her not being able to be out in direct sunlight or get too cold or get too many mosquito bites- and so I find myself retreating inside the trailer to snuggle the baby and be with the dog, while Ryan and our friends drink by the fire.

And then I feel like a ‘loser’.

And I look at my dwindling friendships and I feel like a ‘failure’.

And I want to ask or tell people things like ‘can you come to my house- I can no longer come to yours’, or ‘I don’t want to phone you on my drive to the South today- I want to sing to my music on the highway instead’, or ‘please stop texting me 11 times a day- I do not have the time to respond to you and seeing 19 text notifications on my phone gives me anxiety’- but then I fear sounding like a ‘bitch’.

My mom is at my house right now.

She arrived a week ago and is staying until July 20th and I am SO glad to have her here.

Since getting here, she’s done approximately 1100 loads of laundry, and 1300 loads of dishes because our dishwasher shit the bed last week while Ryan was away on business. She’s made me meals and bottle-fed my baby and mowed my lawn and baked Ryan a Father’s Day angel food cake from scratch.

She stayed at home this weekend to be with the dog while we went camping, and she stayed with Sadie this morning at home so that I could do my first of what I hope to be daily 5K runs, and I am INCREDIBLY grateful for all those things.

But today we had to zip out to Superstore to get birthday prezzies for my niece and nephew- a to-do list item from last week that I had failed at. I had a dinner date scheduled at 5 pm tonight with my very bestest friend so that I could take her to dinner and celebrate her accomplishment of finishing her first year of her Master’s in Social Work, while she was working full-time, running a household and raising two children under 10 (Hero!).

So Mom, Sadie and I went to Superstore today at 2:30, and did what I had to do, and left. As we were walking back to the car, Mom said, ‘where are we going next?’ and I said ‘Home.’ And she said ‘but it’s only 3:40, we have lots of time.’ And I said ‘Mom, I told you, I’m picking Tina up from her work at 5, and I live in Crossfield. We just have enough time to get these things home and Sadie out of the car seat before I have to get right back in the car and drive to Calgary.’ And she pouted and said, ‘well that’s not very fun.’

So I laughed it off and consoled her that we’ll have more ‘fun’ tomorrow.

Tonight, at 9:40, after a very long day that started with a 5 am bottle feed, then a 5K run, then a trip to Airdrie to fetch family things, then a drive to Calgary and dinner with a great friend, I drove home to Crossfield, walked in and told Mom before bed that Sadie’s vaccinations were tomorrow in Airdrie at 1:20 pm.

And she looked at me and said ‘well that’s not very fun. You promised me fun tomorrow and vaccinations aren’t very fun.’

And I effin lost it. I grabbed my baby off my husband’s chest and stormed off to our bedroom, where I raged about everything for about half an hour before I felt any better.

At the end of my rant, he said ‘sounds like a blog post’, so here I am.

I used to be a great friend. Now I’m not.

I used to be on my phone all the time. Now I’m not.

I used to be hyper social. Now I’m not.

I used to be fun. Now I’m not.

Let the chips fall where they may. I am DONE with pleasing others first, and that HAS to be okay.

If I lose even more friendships because of it, so be it.

If saying all this makes me a ‘bitch’, maybe I’m a bitch.

XO, Em