Kathy Kaufield is a writer, communications consultant and mother of two young girls. She’s a former political reporter, columnist and news editor who now writes about the ups and downs of parenting instead of politics. She’s discovered her guilt-easing mantra “Well, at least I don’t smoke crack” makes her feel better about a multitude of parental transgressions. You can read her regular parenting column at www.welcometobrunch.com. Follow her on Twitter @kaufield.
My soapy hand grazed over the underside of my left breast and there it was. The dreaded lump. And it was big -- just a wee bit smaller than a golf ball. How the hell did I not notice that before? I poked and prodded at it as if that would make it go away. I swallowed my panic. It can't be cancer, I told myself. It's just a cyst. It's fine. I just had a clear mammogram four months earlier for God's sake.
Damn right she did not lose her battle with cancer. I immediately felt a... shared dislike for the language of cancer that labels those who survive as "winning" their battle while those who die as having "lost their fight". What, those who die just didn't try hard enough? Never.
When my daughters were younger and we lived in a smaller house, I dreamed of having a playroom in the basement so I could shut the door, ignore the mess and minimize the noise. When we moved to a new house, I was ecstatic when we dumped the toys in the playroom. Problem was, our girls did not want to play downstairs.
My daughter is a voracious reader and has a fantastic English teacher who is keeping her engaged with reading and writing this year. I don't want to discourage her from reading, but I also don't want her reading books that are too adult.
It's been two years since my daughter cut off the arm of her doll, Brianne. That doll will forever remind me of my daughter's loving heart, her compassion, and her innate ability to know her own mind in the face those who would make a different choice. I hope she never loses those qualities.
Exhausted parents need a little naughty humour to survive never-ending, monotonous tasks like filling and unfilling the dishwasher, changing the kitchen garbage, picking old muffin wrappers off the floor, making lunches, picking up dog poop and shoveling the driveway.
My life as a working mother is dependent on Post-it notes. Put chicken in Crock-Pot. Pick up after band 4:30. Fill in hot lunch order. These bright sticky notes are literally strewn all over my desk. I shudder to think what would happen to our life without them.
Being "cool" won't make me a better parent, but at the same time, I don't want to completely lose touch with pop culture, fashion trends or most importantly, social media and technology. If I want to stay connected to my daughters as they grow up, I must ensure I stay connected to the music, movies, television shows and books they are interested in too.
No question from my oldest daughter has torn more at my heart. A discussion about never taking rides with strangers unexpectedly morphed into a talk about sexual assault. "Mom," she whispered tentatively. "Do you mean that someone can just sneak up and do THAT to me?" My heart lurched into my throat. Until that moment, my bright-eyed daughter lived blissfully unaware of the fact that women can be raped. I was rendered momentarily speechless.
I hesitated when 4th Quispamsis Guide leader Heidi Quinn asked me if I would help with the group this year. Girl Guide leader? Ha! I hate camping. I don't do crafts. I can't sew more than a button and badly at that. What could I possibly contribute? This was definitely out of my comfort zone. Guide meetings are now a highlight of my week.
Before Kids New Year's: Get drunk, dance and share a passionate kiss with someone you love or a new crush at the stroke of midnight. After Kids New Year's: Occupy the kids with fun activities and other children so that you can drink wine and have uninterrupted conversations with other adults.
I made this dreadful realization after a meeting with a new client: half my face was covered with sparkles from my daughter's fairy princess costume and I had forgotten to brush my teeth. Yep, welcome to the world of personal hygiene and style for parents. So, for all you parents who are trying to look halfway decent during this crazy harried pre-Christmas month, this list is for you.
1995 was easily my worst Christmas. I was in my mid-20s, unemployed, living with my mom and in debt after quitting my job to backpack around Europe. On Christmas Eve that year -- exactly one month to...
I had this thought as I secretly stuffed a third mini-Mars bar into my mouth: my daughters are going to smell chocolate on my breath. I better rinse my mouth. That thought was followed by this more st...
Out of the blue, my daughter said: "Daddy, when I get up in the morning, you are always there. When I am hungry, it's you who puts food on the table. When I need someone to play with, you always play with me. Thank you, Daddy." This story should have made me feel utterly happy, but instead I felt like I was simultaneously kicked in the stomach and stabbed in the heart.
Did I take the meat out for supper tomorrow night? Uh, wait, we have no meat for supper tomorrow night. Great. Just great. And skating goes until 6. That's a problem. OK, you can't fix that now, so just go to sleep. I am sooo tired.
I don't have time to hide veggies in everything I cook, and I can make only so many muffins. I continue to offer her veggies often, but I'm battle weary, folks. Ready to admit defeat.
Then I imagine her little body deficient in countless vitamins and minerals, and I strategize my battle plans for the week ahead.
I just sat in the car and had a good cry. I was in the parking lot of my 11-year-old daughter's school on her first day of middle school, but I wasn't having the "oh my child is growing up" type of cry. Instead, I was unexpectedly engulfed in fear about her life threatening allergies to peanuts and shellfish.
Memories are tumbling through my head as my oldest daughter starts middle school this week. I'm trying not to let my past demons get the best of me, but I'm worried. I don't want her to lose herself, to lose her confidence, to dim her own light like I did. Here are my wishes for you, my daughter, as you enter this new phase of your life.