Category Archives: Universal Topics, Personal Opinion

Saturday was a Mistake

It’s -26 on a Saturday morning. Before I know that though, before I check the numbers on my weather app, I foolishly tell my son we will go skating today! This is my first mistake. There will be no skating.

My second mistake is deciding that because of the freezing weather, I might enjoy reading in bed for a bit longer than usual. A second cup of tea, a few extra chapters. It seems harmless, but it’s a mistake. Kids demand me to get out of bed, I feel lazy for being tired, protesting their protests and I remember why the term ‘week-end’ is misleading if you are a parent.

Somebody said ‘Well read women are dangerous women’ and these days I’m more inclined to think ‘Well read women are miserable women’ because is it just me or does the more you read make you a tiny bit more angry, a tiny bit more antsy, a tiny bit more frustrated at the uphill battle in all areas of life on this doomed planet? This sudden dark turn is arguably my next mistake, but anyway, as the day inches toward 9am, I make my 3rd mistake by looking up a book a friend had recommended. Fed Up by Gemma Hartley. The subject of the book speaks to me so loudly I read multiple reviews and watch an interview while simultaneously regretting having this additional knowledge in my brain. What’s the subject of the book? Something about emotional labour…

My next mistake, Mistake #4, is holding a family meeting with my children where I impart partial wisdom from Mistake #3 onto the kids in order to avoid children who grow up into adults who perform emotional labour for free. Although I don’t use the word emotional – I use observational. Also thoughtful. Also organizational. I focus on housework. The mistake is in not really planning what I want to say, so currently the kids have multiple definitions in their head about what observational/thoughtful/organizational labour means and after the meeting, we spread out and practiced my preaching by observing what needed attention/cleaning in the apartment.

Mistake #5 is letting loose my keen sense of observation and a tally of all the things I will tend to.

  • The toilet paper rolls that never get replaced in the little toilet paper stand
  • The weird slurping sound the dog has made for days because her water needs to be refreshed
  • The soap/hair scum in and around the sink/toilet
  • That piece of garbage that has been sitting in the middle of the hallway for 4 days that needs to be picked up and moved to the garbage
  • The leftovers that need to be thrown out
  • The sweater under the kitchen table that has fallen and stayed there for over a week
  • The Christmas presents that don’t have a home, or that need to be mailed
  • The picture that is hanging on an angle
  • Watering the plants, tidying the pillows, vacuuming, picking up the tumbleweed hair balls that collect in corners, making the grocery list, taking out the frozen meat for dinner, planning for the following day so that it’s full but marginally restful, encouraging the kids to turn off Netflix, then having to do something with them, walking the dog, making lunch, having snacks ready, reading half a page of my book and feeling guilty, doing 50 leg lifts on one side and worrying that I won’t have the opportunity to do 50 leg lifts on the other side, and now I’m just going through my day, planning and watching myself and thinking about all the things that always have to happen.

Mistake #6 is the thought that it would help if I wrote all this nonsense down.

By 1pm, I face the afternoon, having promised my son we would paint his toy chest. Mistake #7 is choosing to listen to music (my music) while we paint, which sends my 11 year old into her room with a huff and leaves my son to comment on every. single. song. But the music makes me feel semi-independant, and levels my mood when things inevitably go sideways.

By 3pm, I have played two separate board games with two separate kids at separate times. I have completed three puzzles, finished two coats of paint on the toy chest, had a cup of tea, written a few sentences here and there, and journeyed with Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire and Leon Bridges. I look to the evening, where surely mistakes # 8, 9 and 10 are waiting. I have dinner to face, a dish I am uneasy about and I’m starting to snap at the kids because it’s been too many hours, and there are too many left.

By the end of the day, my only hope is that my mistakes don’t leave any lasting marks, and that perhaps on Sunday I will wake up wanting to keep track of Triumphs, and find time to do those 50 leg lifts on the other side.


The Best Friend Tier

Best Friend isn’t a person Danny, it’s a tier
Hitting nails on heads since 2012, Mindy Kaling crushes it. This tier is a cherished haven, and usually spans years of fortitude, is emotionally cultivated and is rooted in time, honesty and deep challenge. It’s a winning lottery ticket, a rotating panel keeping the influx of emotional wealth ever flowing. Depending on the day, the situation, the need, I can reach out to the person that my guts need.
I cannot manage finances, take out the garbage and giggle on the couch with moisturized, smooth legs draped over my partner’s lap. I cannot laugh at his jokes, pay bills on time and offer our kids a healthy dose of discipline. What am I, a 1950’s housewife? At a time when we search, swipe and date looking for the one to be our best friend, lover, co-parent, financier, home cleaning company, impulse controller/instigator, life coach, and sounding board – it’s a matter of survival for me to have a stash of individuals that can energetically come to my aid when my partner is tapped out. The idea that one person can fulfill all our needs is a deep insult to me, and has created far more stress in my relationship than necessary. If only our vows had included “Within this sacred union of marriage, we will outsource support and not solely rely on each other because neither of us is capable, nor deserving of such an impossibility”.  If I go for too long without connecting with my BFT my wifing starts to falter. My mothering starts to fumble. The correlation is obvious, and this aspect of my health must be a non-negotiable.
Getting the quality time to interact with these precious people who live on this sacred Tier is paramount. Like any garden, the Tier needs tending, watering, sometimes weeding. It keeps the bowels of my soul healthy. As an extravert, I am at my best when my heart is tethered to the heart of others. I am at worst when I float aimlessly without these anchors. Finding the time is a challenge. Coordinating the time is near impossible. A trip without the kids here, a coffee with the baby there. A post-bed-time beer every 4 weeks, or a flurry of text messaging mid-day for the serious stuff. We get creative, focussed, serious about the need to make it happen. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. When will I learn that it must?
It never happens often enough. I always want more and need replenishment at a faster rate than my depletion. I feel guilty for needing more, even though I know it would make me better, keep me sane. I struggle to remind myself how important this is, to accept that these heart strings don’t snap. It’s hard to explain to my partner that sometimes it’s specifically not him that I need. When the BFT is populated with the right people, the demands of every day are manageable, the laughter flows easier and my ability to give back is strengthened. How is something so simple, so goddamn difficult at the same time?
Can we just agree that we are soulmates and have an open relationship? 
That’s kind of what we are doing.
Great, we are always on the same page. 
                                                                                    Gotta go, somebody is screaming my name.
Stay strong. At least we have each other.



Witness Me

When I was a kid, I would watch and read celebrity interviews with obession. The impossible questions, followed by the ready answer. As an audience member, I was held captive by their words, the seriousness of their sharing. I marveled at the gravity of their experiences. Naturally, I began to mimic my way through imagined interviews. Usually conducted by Oprah Winfrey. The confidence behind their brand of living was something I craved and wanted to emulate. I familiarized myself with key phrases like ‘I have no regrets’ or ‘Pain made me stronger’ and rehearsed them in earnest.

At 34, I still talk to myself like I’m being asked important questions; like my answers matter to a room full of strangers. It’s a delicious self-indulgent feeling, and I admit that I have these conversations on my dog walks, in my car,  or in the bathroom mirror, mugging my way through the thoughts. If I can’t talk it out, I have to write it out.

Over the years, this interview enactment has morphed into a way for me to process my life. Even though it comes from me, the voice being interviewed is an omniscient one that casts an intelligent, high status light on my issues. And thank god I have one voice in my head that takes my shit so seriously. So seriously that she has no shame answering the darkest questions, is willing to give eloquence to my confusion about life, my fears about motherhood, my female wickedness and stand behind them publicly – whether through words or the right tonal inflection. All my private interviews are televised, obviously. All my writing is written with the intention of going viral. If there is an absence of audience, the process does not work.

This need to share, to fumble for the ball in front of a hungry stadium is something that has made me quietly uncomfortable. Why the audience? What void do I have that is so vast it requires strangers to feel validated? Validation – my most elusive lover. Sexy as shit. Toxic as fuck. Validation – that evil sin that keeps me from colouring outside the lines. Validation makes me feel fickle, immature, superficial, and yet, and yet! I pine for it with a gross suffering.

Then: followed by 3 distinct emotions: 1) Intense self- forgiveness 2) Instantaneous compassion for all those professional sharers 3) Overwhelming gratefulness for the internet.

I felt like I had been pardoned for a gruesome crime. I felt like I had found water in the dessert. Sooooooooo….yeah. I have a need to be seen. I have a need to be deeply seen – almost to the point of insatiability. My guilt at needing this is paralyzingly real and therefore I tend to let the world off the hook. I spin in circles waiting to be witnessed, terrified that I have a need that must, it must come from outside myself. It has to come from you. From that group. From them. Otherwise I live in solidarity confinement.

When I don’t let this confident voice sift through the tough issues in order to one day drop it in the middle of an unsuspecting crowd, I suffocate. I bury myself alive with the weight of my toddler emotions, my hair trigger sensitivities.  I slyly coax myself further  out into deep water and then belly laugh at my own drowning. Conversely, if I’m not ready to write it out, not ready to be interviewed, it means whatever the topic, it’s too soon. There must be confusion or angst around it and I have to wait patiently. I have to wait for that inner voice to develop enough confidence that there is no more shame.

Finally, I am standing safely ashore. Check check, I say into the mic.

O.W.       So, tell me: After all the ups and downs, after everything you’ve been through, and know you’re going to face, do you have any regrets?

M.W.      Oprah, get a grip. I have no regrets. 


Thanks Jerry.

Jerry Seinfeld once said ‘There is no such thing as fun for the whole family’. I didn’t hear him say it, but it sounds like Jerry. Dry. Witty. True.

This simple statement has become a bit of a mantra for us. We say it every time something fun goes south. It’s a gentle reminder that it’s not really our fault. It’s the cause and effect of trying to find an activity that suits the needs/moods/interests/attention/fascination/imagination of 4 different humans.

Today was one such day. Would you like to come on a short road trip with us and then spend the rest of day in our company? If you need reassurance that your family is normal, or a reminder to never have one, this could be right up your alley.

8am: Everything is pretty normal. Dog has been walked, tea has been made. Kids are eating their weird breakfasts (butter/peanut butter/jam on crackers followed by a plum…?) and I’m excited about the day’s events. A short drive to the Bonnechere Caves. An Ontario marvel. A childhood memory I’m excited to pass on to my offspring. Then comes the question from my daughter “Is it going to fun?”


“What do you mean is it going to be fun?’ I ask/hiss/threaten.

“Yeah, like are we running around caves, or is it like somebody narrating the whole time like those movies I don’t like” (documentaries)

At this point everything turns on its head. I explain what’s going to happen, she sinks into a deep depression, and her brother starts to tease her. I channel Jerry and recite our mantra, and my husband predicts that everybody’s “play acting bad moods will soon turn into actual bad moods.”

10 minutes later I am doing angry dishes, he’s having an angry shower and my son is stomping around trying to fit in.

8:50: I find a note on my bed written by my daughter that is an example of her character and pulls everybody out of their funk. Well, not my husband. He was the last one to join us in the actual bad mood, so he lingers there for a tad longer, making him an easy target for me and my daughter to pick on and encourage to ‘let that bad mood go’. Shameless.

The road trip is only an hour and half. In that short time period all the predictables happen.

  1. Kids laugh and play until they are crying and mad at each other.
  2. My son finds a potato bug in the car and becomes best friends with it.
  3. My son loses the potato bug and we listen to “I want my bug back” for about 10 minutes.
  4. “Mom my penis is hard”…. okay, not so predictable.
  5. My daughter decides opening her window on the highway is the most dangerous thing she could do and refuses.
  6. “Mommy look at me” plays on repeat and I respond with ‘wow’ ‘oh yeah’ ‘hmm’ ‘huh’ in a monotone reserved only for the dying.
  7. “Stop hitting yourself”
  8. etc.

11:30: We arrive. The activity itself is a success. The kids are captivated, the caves are cool and our tour-guide is just awkward enough to give my husband and I some good material for the ride home. We park next to a family with kids named Ezekiel, Judah, Isla and We-Think-Our-Kids-Are-Miracles and I hide my eye rolling behind my sun glasses.

1:30: The trip home goes as one would expect. A bit crankier, a bit louder, my husband a bit sleepier at the wheel and I keep staring directly at the sun to catch this solar eclipse everyone keeps talking about.

3:00: Arriving home means dividing up tasks like feeding kids, walking the dog, buying the groceries and an hour later, it’s time for me to leave the family and go for a run. I don’t much like running, but I enjoy being alone, I enjoy the slight sense of punishment that running gives me and I enjoy a quick orgasm after. After my run my husband is off to punish himself at a boxing class and I am left to make dinner. I don’t like cooking, but I do like following instructions, so if I have a recipe I’m good. The kids hated it.

6:30 – 9:00: As evening wears on, my patience runs thin, my love dwindles. I just need everybody to go unconscious now so I can scroll through feeds, lie on the couch and conjure up energy for tomorrow. In a short span of time my son breaks a wood working tool, I force him to own up to it, we start one book, he chooses another, he picks two books, I begin one, he wants the other, I start that one while he cries with a blanket over his head because he wants to sleep with the broken tool, he finally shuts down, moves his pillow to the hallway to fall asleep, creeps into my room to say his entire bottle of water is travelling slowly down the hallway, my husband and daughter are spending a relaxing few minutes with each other so I put a stop to that immediately and bark at them to clean the kitchen, I clean up the water, I tell my son I don’t want to see him again tonight, he asks for a kiss, I kiss him on the forehead, he says ‘no the lips’ I kiss him on the lips, I barrel into my room and decide now is the time to capture the day in writing.

Of course even that activity gets interrupted by the rest of the evening. It never ends. But by 10:22 I am sitting in darkness, surrounded by unconscious people who will wake up and make everything loud again in 10 hours. In this moment, I think everybody is happy.

So there Jerry.

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(This post is dedicated to Shelagh, who challenged us to write one blog post a week for the next four weeks. To you Shelagh, a slice of life for you to snack on.)

Chilly morning

The morning’s cool air hits my arm, having breezed in from the open window and I tuck it under the covers, feeling a heat wave that draw my eyelids back down to their resting place. The sleeping bodies of my son and husband offer enough heat to keep me dozey for days. A little foot is hooked between my thighs and the sweet’n’sour smell of sleep waffes into my nose. I turn my head, re-open my eyes to the bright grey sky. My son’s hand is softly open on my pillow, holds no tension and I instinctively place my thumb in the palm of his hand, wondering if he’ll still squeeze it in his ripe old age of 3. He is so quiet when he sleeps. I smile at this profound revelation. He is so beautiful – looks like my grandfather, reminds me of my father, behaves like me. I don’t want to get up, I know that moving my body risks stirring him awake and then the quiet will end. After his 3 years; my daughter’s 9 years, I am tired. I am wounded and I react badly to loud sounds.

The cool air nudges me out of my nest and I breathe my last soft moments. I eye my husband lightly snoring on the other side of the bed, the cat curled around his head. When I get up I will put my socks and pants on in preparation of taking the dog out for her morning walk. I know that I will put my jacket on louder than I need to, that I will not try to stop the dog leash from hitting the wall and I will begin my day resenting that my husband is still enjoying the warmth beneath the covers. After 10 years, I am tired. I am wounded and I react badly to men lying in bed when there is a dog to walk.

Outside, the street is covered in a light frost, the bushes decorated with winter garbage. My dog lunges for squirrles. I’ve stopped reprimanding her.  I duck down the streets I am least likely to run into anybody, because I do not have the energy to discipline her anymore when she whines for the attention of other dogs she is desperate to play with. I walk through the chilly air and know my husband is getting up, risking the great threat of our son waking up to my absence and having an early morning tantrum. He must be terrified every morning. He precariously gets up, having already faced one of the biggest fears we carry, and he turns on kettle. He wakes up our daughter and he makes the tea. I bring the dog to her favourite place to do her business. He empties her lunch box from yesterday. I pick up dog poo. He makes one or two or three or four breakfasts. I stroll myself down an extra street, he makes a lunch or two. We meet in the living room before 7am and I drink my warm tea. There is little to say.

Convincing the kids that the morning is chilly, and therefore requires appropriate attire, is each and every day a shocking challenge. In the moments that I wrestle shoes on unresponsive feet I curse the chill that first woke me. When I’m hunting for the only sweater that my son wears, I curse the frost that refuses to leave our city, that forces me to lose my temper. I blame it for my lack of patience, for my quick swear words directed at my shitty kids, and I imagine a world that is warm and requires no layering of clothing.

Oddity: I am unapologetic about loving hot cars. It’s my favourite moment, on a hot summer day, to climb into a hot car and just suffocate in the heat for a few moments. I am always the last to roll down my window, ignoring the shouts and chides of my family who are pushing their faces to the down rolling window for their fresh air. I wait until I’ve sat in the dead heat just long enough and only then will I break the hot weight by letting the fresh air stream in. My love for hot cars is rivalled only by my hatred for cold ones. Like a cruel punishment, we have somehow managed to get to the kids up, fed, prepped and dressed for the day; we have managed to get them down the hallway of our building – our building filled with crazies who constantly leave signs about not running, not shouting, not toddlering in the hallways – without pissing anyone off; we have literally stopped to smell the dead flowers (dead from the persistent frost) … only to be met with a cold car.

Our daughter gets dropped off behind her school – a glimpse into her growing embarrassment of her parents. ‘Drop me off where nobody can see us together‘ her eyes hiss. Her only job when getting out of the car is to say good-bye to her adoring brother. My son keeps his eyes stuck on her from the moment she unclips her seatbelt until she disappears down the path. He waves with an exuberance that breaks my heart every morning – and he cries if he is robbed of a proper good-bye. My daughter knows this and exerts her power over him every once in a while by ‘forgetting’ to wave, by ‘smiling’ with her lips tight and her eyes rolled. When she does this, my husband and I roll down our windows and shout at her to ‘wave properly! Smile! Say good-bye to your brother!‘ It is exponentially more embarrassing for her but I am committed to making her life miserable each and every time she tries to shirk her morning responsibility.

Our son gets dropped off at daycare – and it can really go either way with him. Sometimes he runs into the arms of the workers and sometimes he clings to our legs in not-so-silent protest. The exit is swift and sometimes gut wrenching.

Childless, my husband and I often drift glazed-eyed over to the coffee shop down the street. We order our resuscitating coffees and dreamily listen to the banter of the staff behind the counter. We remember the days that we had the energy to worry about social graces, exams or something else more promising than financial woes, pre-teen development and tantrums. Their life seems so meadow. Ours feels so back laneway. No Entry. Private. No Trespassers. Coffees in hand, minds heavy, we head to work. By going to work we leave the morning behind and talk weather, make jokes, run errands and make good impressions. We know the evening is waiting for us.
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Being An Adult

Sometimes I forget that I’m older then when I last checked 10 years ago. I seem to eternally hover in my mid 20’s, and often it’s surprising to see my friends celebrate their 30-something birthday and then realize I’m next. It’s not that I don’t want to age, it’s that sometimes I feel that I’ve missed it’s happening. I look in the mirror and I look older. I come home and there are two kids waiting for me. There is evidence that I have been adulting, but the things that I thought would make me an adult while in my youthful 20’s are perpetually out of my reach. I wrote out the list, ad lib, and realized that not only do I seem unable to check off the items, but I can’t seem to make a new list, one that is probably more realistic. Here is what I’ve been banging my head against, in all it’s miserable glory:

Signs of (Unattained) Adulthood That Plague Me On a Daily Basis

  1. I need a big(ger) apartment. No. I need a house. I need a house so that I can have people over and cook dinner for them and tell them it was no trouble at all!, and then it will look like I’m doing okay.
  2. I need matching sheets and sham pillows so that my adulthood is validated, like I’m winning at this adult game. Also, those matching bedside tables. Maybe an accent wall. Definitely a dresser.
  3. I need at least one piece of leather furniture, Miriam Come on!
  4. I need to stop using cinder blocks and wood planks as shelves.
  5. Laminate flooring is for losers.
  6. Towels that are older than 5 years is a sign of life dysfunction.
  7. The filling of my pillows must match. One feathered, one foam? Jesus, when did I become such a failure?
  8. The cupboards are disorganized. Tea and medication on the same shelf? Spices and a cheese grater? Canned food and a cat brush? This is an all time low.
  9. I need to start planning for a successful life right now. Why didn’t I start right now 10 years ago?
  10. Google has the answers. “What should I be when I grow up?” There are a surprising number of hits. “Changing careers”. Too broad. My husband tells me I’m too vague when I Google. “Best careers for Miriam”. I end up taking an aptitude test that has 71 questions of multiple choice and then I have to pay twenty dollars to get the results. Hang your head and go back to scrolling through everybody else’s PPL (projected perfect life).

I try to conjure up my blessings, a quick substitute for a new list of what it actually means to be an adult. I mean, if there’s one thing Western Society is great at reminding me, it’s to Be Grateful asshole – accompanied by photoshopped images of somebody’s zen travels and tanned skin hiding under GAP Body underwear. It’s hard to fail daily at the one piece of advice constantly thrown at me over newsfeeds, petition emails and viral ad compaigns. But I keep trying. So I made a list. I’m good at lists.

A List of Things To Be Grateful For You Ingrate

  1. Keep it Simple: You have a roof over your head. You eat fresh food everyday. You take hot showers, and cold showers, depending on your mood. You have family, you haven’t experienced deep trauma and you aren’t isolated or alone physically or emotionally. Simple. Stupid.
  2. Your son thinks you know everything. Proof: “Mommy, how come you know everything?” (I will shamelessly nourish this delusion for numerous years)
  3. You have 2 beautiful healthy children, and a handsome, hilarious husband. (Screw white picket fences, you tell yourself while staring at real estate listings and comparing the impossible with your bank statement)
  4. Your husband makes you laugh to the point of tears running down your cheeks or legs at your expense, his expense, your kids’ expense, and neutral life observations. He knows you so well it’s scary. Honey, please remember to read the labels when buying things; I always know you’re wrong when you say your 99% sure about something; No matter how amazing your life is, I know you’ll only post about how imperfect it is. Too true honey, too true.
  5. You have wild, beautiful friends all over the country. Some are artists, some are new mothers, most are more successful than you. All of them are unapologetically authentic, which is really your only criteria for friendship, and one of the hardest things to find. All your friends seem to really like you, which gives you tremendous strength while you forge ahead on this adult path.
  6. How many more of these do I need?
  7. You have a job that is in the arts – and as a graduate of one of Canada’s top theatre schools (out of…5?) this is huge. As a trained actor who has made people laugh and cry (remember when I made you cry Jessica?) because of your insane talent on the stage (your words KShaw, not mine – also she never said that but she was thinking it) it is a miracle that you are working in the arts. You’re not the artist, but you’re part of that world. Yes, you are doing more admin work, more IT support, more stamping and mailing, more supply ordering, but still. You get to say you’re working in the  –  Never mind, can I move this up to my first list?
  8. You still need to listen to music loudly, alone, dancing, singing to ground yourself. You still have fun moving your body in different ways to music and are slightly convinced it keeps you young. In spirit. Nothing is stopping the physical decay.
  9. No major health issues – you know how quickly life can turn around when you suffer from light illnesses. Kids continue to need you, money still needs to be made – there is no amount of gratefulness that can sufficiently amount to how grateful you are for this. Should probably be #1 on the list you numbskull.
  10. Despite a visceral aversion to parenting, you do have some excellent mothering qualities. Mostly just being present and honest. Your kids won’t have memories of veggies cut into little shapes in their lunches or super organized birthday parties (See blog post titled ‘Let Me Invite You to (Judge) My Birthday Party!’) but your kids are emotionally intelligent because of your emotional demand, will ask you tough questions and have a sturdy self esteem. Take that adulating!
Ultimately, I have the unnerving feeling that I might be wrestling with these lists forever. Maybe there is no ‘ah ha!’ moment when an adult finally becomes an adult. Maybe adulting is just multiple lists of what you are failing at, and what you have to be grateful for. In my true youth, I wouldn’t have thought to make these lists. My youth was a blissful ignorance of lists. I can’t imagine the other lists waiting for me around the corner…I should stop now, or I’ll start making a list of possible lists that I’ll be making in the next 10 years.
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DAY ? A lesson in Tomorrow.

N :Mommy, is this tomowow?

M: Hmm, no, this is today.

N: But we go to bed and say ‘See you tomowow.” So it’s tomowow.

M: Right, but that’s because when we wake up, it’s not tomorrow anymore. It’s Today.

N: So there’s no Tomowow?

M: No. Tomorrow is always the day after Today.

N: Do I go to Daycare today?

M: No, you’ll go to Daycare tomorrow.

N: Oh. And when we wake up it will be tomowow?

M: Yes, but we’ll call it Today when we wake up.

N: So we go to Daycare today?

M: No. Tomorrow.

N: What?! Why?!

M: Because it won’t be tomorrow anymore. It changes to Today. The Day. The Day we are in.

N: It changes?

M: Yes, the words change.

N: I want to make a dinosaur.

M: Okay. So is this today or tomorrow?

N: Today.

M: And when is tomorrow?

N: I don’t know.

M: Hmm. I guess that’s true.

N: It’s true? You don’t know when tomorrow is eefer?

M: I guess I never know.

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DAY 11

I wrote this yesterday, on Day 11, when I was feeling particularly fond of my children. Currently I am sitting with my back against the door of the bedroom and the toddler is yelling out in the hallway because he wants the computer. I have barricaded the door with my body, and feel especially proud of myself for not swearing yet today.

An entry on Love

I spend a lot of time griping. To be honest, it’s my comfort zone, and I’m largely irreverent. I don’t hold much outwardly dear, which can be judged as lacking sentiment, or perhaps lacking respect for the sacredness of parenthood, but you would be a judgmental tool if you continued to think that after getting to know me. My inability to view the world with a sense of awe is part of my intelligence, and while I have been deeply moved by art, friendship, love, and parenthood, I do not function with the lightness of a butterfly wing, marvelling at the dew in the morning and watching the miracle of the sun rise. Barf. That’s simply not my style.

My sense of the world, my sense of humour, and sense of self is dipped in vinegar and if you are lucky enough to see me be moved, you will know I am capable of awe. If you are not so lucky, I am just kind of funny, kind of insightful and mostly sarcastic.

So that’s my preface to why my writing might not be very gushy, or very generous about my feelings towards to my immediate family. But something interesting has happened over the last 11 days.

I have found myself quietly surprised at how wonderful my kids are. Yes, there are loud moments, some naps on the counter, maybe even some sleepless nights, but overall, my children have been kind, cooperative and positive about this experience.

My daughter is, simply put, phenomenal. She is wise beyond her years, spunky and independent. Yes, her sense of humour is developing which creates some very awkward story telling, joke telling, and other forms of telling, but her understanding of humour is quirky and solid. She is sensitive, inclusive and knows when another kid is being a shit. There are so many shitty kids on the playground, and I marvel at her ability to put words to the actions of others and to her own reactions. Nothing makes her more mad than when somebody says a girl can’t do something a boy can, and she is equally satisfied and disinterested in school to assure me that she has her head on straight. Over the past 11 days my daughter has stepped in when I sound exasperated, and she has gone to bed 15 minutes earlier than her regular bedtime without complaint when I need to be alone. In return she has asked for a non-negotiable schedule of sleeping in my bed every other night, a jean jacket, and to make tea for me on the weekends without any help. I’m not sure I will come across a better deal than this one. Ever.

My son is, in the best of sense of the word, an imp. He is cheeky and intelligent, mischievious and kind, sweet and strong. He wrestles till he takes you down, begs to be tickled and is thirsty for new things. He is handsome, built like a tank, expressive and snores. He is so young, there are no stories yet to tell about how he functions socially, he just wants to play with his buddies and to build guns with LEGO. But he has a sensitivity that I will cultivate, an awareness about others that is remarkable for his age. He has feelings that get hurt, and he understands when his actions have hurt others. His sister is his most important compass, and I thank my luck every day that he is able to learn from her.

I consistently feel conflicted about my role as mother. Sometimes I feel like I do really well at it, and sometimes I think there is nobody less suited to the job than me. But if the last 11 days are any indication of being on the right track, I will take it, and try to remember that when I want nothing more than to plunk my kids on a bus and watch it drive off into the sunset.

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DAY 9 and 10


International Women’s Day.

Don’t spend money. Don’t go to work. Strike. Do march. Do wear red. Do not acknowledge supportive men. Do acknowledge supportive men. Celebrate the strength of women, but also remember to include those that need support. Be strong, be loud. Post, share stories. Be sexy, but not too sexy. Be be be be be FUUUCK YOU.

Day 10.

Sometimes I’m Bombaloo is a children’s book about a little girl named Katie Honors who is a great kid, but sometimes her little brother pisses her off and she throws shit and punches things and becomes ‘Bombaloo’. She doesn’t care much for what is good behaviour when she’s Bombaloo, but after she has calmed down, her mother hugs her and helps clean up the mess Bomboloo made, and then she can play with her brother again.
It’s a great book. It helps me remember that kids are not really themselves when they lose their cool, and that everybody needs help cleaning up the mess they made after Bombaloo has come to visit. Even adults. Especially me.
A time out is a great thing, and it comes in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. Here are a few of my favourites:
1) A  bath. Or two or three, depending on how severe the need. I often need to be immersed in water to cope with the outside world. Bubbles are just for show, I don’t think they do anything but cause one to slip. A book is good, but a beer is better.
2) Some stretches. It can be hard to find the calm to stop and sit and try to touch your toes. It be hard to stop, and it can be infuriating to try to touch your toes. What a way to make things worse, when and you can’t even touch your fucking toes. It’s a real testament to the deep level of failure when your body is stuck in a hunched or hanging position and you can’t breathe. Often I feel worse about myself as I change positions, moving from the impossible goal of toe touching to the even worse challenge of sitting straight while keeping my hip flexes loose. Call me crazy, but that position makes me want to throw up and I’m literally just sitting there. True to it’s shape, I sit like an L and think of Lame, Lack, Loathing, Loser. It’s a real doozie on the self esteem, that position. And how is this a time out? Oh, because I spend so much thinking about my own worthlessness, that I forget  whatever created the need for a time out in the first place.
3) TV and chips. Speaks for itself. Turn on the tube and turn off the world.
4) Social stimulation. Obviously when the going gets tough and all you’ve been asked all week is for bowls of yogurt, it’s imperative to reach out and beg for friends to provide company. Be bold, swallow your pride and ask to be invited over.
5) Read. From the latest FB status to the Huffington Post, to a glorious novel about dysfunctional marriage, it’s all good.
6) Colour. I’m not trying to make you feel bad, but my colouring skills are epic, and while I have yet to figure out how I can make my fortune with this talent, it’s enough to have my colouring books and special markers to clear my mind.
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The Chronicles: DAY 8

Passing the time so I don’t give my kids the stink eye every time they ask for something means I have to pay attention to the little things. Not always the nuances of how precious they are, but also the nuances that life presents to me and that make me feel equally crazy and sane. I’ve compiled short a list of things that are holding my attention and pass the time efficiently.

  1. Avoid phone calls from the City of Ottawa. The only business they have with me is an overdue children’s book. Their persistence is unsettling, considering the cause.  They leave voice messages, telling me I am accumulating fines and to please drop off the book at the nearest branch. Automated librarians are intimidating AF and I am not going to be the one to tell them my dog shredded the book long ago. That’s what husbands are for. About 30 minutes.
  2. Do laundry in the bathtub. I put myself in the mindset of the early pioneers and imagine the energy it took for women to scrub the family’s garments clean against a washboard. I run the water hot, dump in the detergent and EMPATHIZE. Whilst I do this, think of all the places the laundry card is hiding. Washing: 30 minutes Rinsing: 30 minutes Drying: The rest of the week.
  3. Pluck out leg hair with tweezers. Good for about 1 hour.
  4. Find cheesy work-out videos on YouTube and just do them. You might have to snap at the kids with a crisp ‘Don’t look at me!’ 30 minutes.
  5. Experiment with how far I’ll let the kids get away with just to avoid conflict. So far the boundaries being pushed have included but are not limited to a) not brushing teeth for 5 days b) not changing socks until they smell like Doritos c) letting them drink milk out of measuring spoons, shot glasses, ladles, tupperware, fuck it, the carton d) eating tic tacs for second breakfast e) ‘convincing’ me it’s pyjama day on a TUESDAY, and going to school looking like a person yet to be medicated for mental instability. Spread out over the week, about 1 hour.
  6. …and my most favourite pastime – lying unconscious for 6-8 hoursScreen Shot 2017-03-07 at 10.51.09 PM