What I do not regret is this: my struggle shaped me, and changed me, and helped me become the person I am now. That is, a woman that seeks progress, not perfection. A woman who knows that no matter how far down you go, you can come back, a mother that has earned her way back into this precious boy's life, and learns every day how to parent better.
I don't take my grandfather for granted. I soak up every single second I'm lucky enough to spend with him. I often wonder if, when I see him, if that will be the last time. After all, he's the only grand I have left. So what have I learned watching my grandfather? What lessons can I take from a man who has made it to 90 and shows no sign of slowing down? Here are six things.
I don't judge my friends who work full-time (I'm completely proud and impressed by their success) and I don't judge my friends who don't work at all (I'm amazed by their patience and ability to put their careers on hold). The trouble is that moms feel the need to defend their position (myself included) whenever they feel it's being questioned, and sometimes it gets downright vicious. We've already established that there's no "perfect" solution that works for everyone, so it seems wrong that anyone has to compare themselves to anyone else (and feel guilty or insecure), but we're never going to get past it, it seems.
As a culture, we have a weird obsession with women being "selfish." Mothers especially are prone to accusations of selfishness any time they make a choice that doesn't directly and obviously benefit their children. Even when mothers are encouraged to practice self-care, it's often approached with the idea that feeling happy and rested will make them better partners and parents.
I don't talk about religion in our home. Or, at least, I try not to. This is how it works for everything. From bedtimes to toys to language to diet, you can set up the rules how you like them in your house, but once your kids get out in the real world, the rule book is out the window. But when your kids and my kids go to school, those different rules mix.
It's okay to let your kids fall, so they can learn how it feels to get back up on their own. Failure in middle school or high school has a much less drastic effect on their long-term success than failure in their first job, when you're not there to help them. If you never let your kids fail, then they won't know how to innovate and grow.
"Stop the car!" My son's shout panicked both my friend, driving, and I, fearful we were about to collide with something or someone. Liam pointed out the window at a women who had just walked past us, struggling to carry a laughably insurmountable load of grocery bags and boxes. "I need to help her," said Liam. And he did.
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.
I was one of those women who proudly proclaimed, "I bottle fed my kids and they're all fine." And they are fine. The thing is though, now that I work as a postpartum nurse, a great percentage of my time on the unit is spent teaching and assisting new moms. And I get breastfeeding now. I totally could have rocked this gig. But I didn't because I was too tired.
Why, in a time when we have more information available to us than ever, when WHO member states have adopted "a historic" resolution to address violence against women and girls, and when consent is being introduced into school curricula in some Canadian provinces, does violence against women still remain largely hidden?
I don't want to tell you the story of my drunkenness. You've heard it before, or seen it before, or a version of it. It is not unique. I don't have a tale to weave for you of bizarre miracles and angels and heavenly choirs. I want to tell you of simple amazement. I fell, upwards. I fell into a life, once I stopped shaking and twitching and seeing things and vomiting. This has not just been a sobriety lesson, but a life one. At school, with loved ones, even (perhaps especially and most simply) on my writing journey -- honesty, being open and willing to accept some guidance goes a long way.
If you and your teen aren't comfortable talking about sexting, talk to them about online safety by reminding them not to share personal information online -- like their real name, age, or phone number, or any other identifying information such as where they live, or the name of their high school. This includes anything that might show up in the background of a photo. And make sure they understand that there can be a risk in talking to strangers online -- not everyone is who they might seem.
You're finally out the newborn stage, adjusting to your new normal (and maybe even fitting into your pre-pregnancy jeans). Then, seemingly out of nowhere, your sleepy, somewhat predictable little one turns into a fussy, four-month-old all-night party animal. Welcome to the infamous four month sleep regression.
Working with World Vision, I know that too much chocolate available in our stores comes at the heartbreaking expense of some 2 million children worldwide. Here are some of the things I've done this year, to keep the fun in Valentine's Day and honour those I love, while caring for children around the world:
There are no polarities when it comes to twins. No "good" one vs. "bad one;" no angelic child versus evil spawn, no duelling forces, vying for the top spot in their respective categories. There are just kids, warts, scabbed knees and all. Though the mythology and expectation of opposite-minded twin siblings is appealing to some, it is, fortunately, untrue.
Being a new parent means that you are often bombarded with advice and suggestions about raising a child. Family, friends and even strangers will no doubt offer their two cents on all sorts of topics. Problem is, how do you know who to listen to? I debunk some top myths to help soon-to-be moms and dads navigate the world of parenthood.
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.