Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Go for Goodness

See that picture down there? That's my family. If you're anything like me, you might look at that photo and feel a twinge of envy, mainly because you'll assume that one photo tells a story of our lives, as opposed to the one moment we captured. That was a really, really happy moment. That's why I snapped a shot. I can tell you, so very honestly, that those moments don't happen all the time when raising small kids. I just don't snap pictures of myself screaming into pillows or punching walls, or scowling at my spouse for not doing the laundry *right*.
But this, this was a great moment:
Before I had kids, one of my teachers told me that the greatest spiritual growth I would find would be in having and raising kids. It sure sounded glossy to me when she said it, and I know my heart swelled, but flash forward four years from that shared wisdom to me wiping the kitchen floor for the third time today or getting kicked in the eye, or picking up a turd from the carpet that my toddler left behind. There is nothing glossy about it. But she was right - this has been,  and is,  the greatest edge I've ever encountered in my life, and I have grown more as a person than I could have imagined.

I have often wondered about the Creator's Master Plan. It's ironic you know, that one of the main objectives of raising a human is to foster independence. We live a good portion of our lives being independent and full of ego, and doing what we want, when we want, and then BOOM we have kids and all the stuff the ego thrives on gets completely destroyed.
It's not about you anymore. It's not even about them, really. It's about being willing to give to other humans wholeheartedly, and to jump into the abyss of service.

My two biggest parenting challenges have been:
1) Controlling my temper. 
This means that I blow sometimes. I get full to the brim from sensory overload and frustration and I blow. After I blow I feel like the world's worst mother and I beat myself up for days and days. It's a shitty cycle and it sucks. So I work on it daily: cultivating patience.

2) Knowing what to do with my kids. 
I know that sounds weird, but I have a lot of anxiety around my time alone with them: finding things to do, keeping them occupied, trying new things, getting creative. I realized that I am not confident with my ability to play and be on the spot. So what happens? I get angry (see above) and the cycle continues.
I have told myself that I'm just not good at it. I look at other parents playing with their kids and I compare myself. I zone out when with them, or avoid moments of playtime by doing housework or making busy. Meanwhile, I miss out on all the moments of connection that I long for. 

My older child is almost 4, and it was just a few days ago that I decided to ditch this story of me being a shitty parent and get down on the floor with him and play. What was the hang-up? I've been afraid to fail. Afraid to try things I don't feel good at. Afraid to let go and jump into the moment.

Someone said to me today, "You know what? I think I'm really afraid of failure" to which I replied, "Who isn't?"
I know it's only been a few days, but in deciding to be open to trying new things, to committing to being present and playful with my kids, I feel like someone new. I feel my heart opening. I feel my vulnerability and humanness. I feel like it's okay to suck at this for awhile because then I'll get good at it.

I had a breakthrough.

And here's the wisdom I want to share:
My fear of failure and insecurity showed up in the form of a bad attitude. You know, "I hate playing with them. Playing is so boring. This sucks. I'd rather be doing anything else..."
A bad attitude is like being stuck in stone.
In shifting my attitude, I discovered that the voice of intuition kicks in. This is the voice that knows how to play with my kids, knows what they need, knows how to be present.  It's all there, I just have to keep kicking the shitty voices away.

And hey, look, this is us playing:

I hope I've inspired you to go for some goodness. Seriously, there is awful stuff happening in the world these days. Every act of love matters.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

My Friend, The Undertow

When I was nine years old, my mom took my sister and I to Mexico for a vacation. I remember it as one of the strangest and most chaotic experiences of my life; we were almost electrocuted in a swimming pool, our hotel was broken into one night, my sister and I had a Sibling Fight Club moment that resulted in my head falling into, and breaking, a glass table by the pool, plus I had a bad case of Montezuma's revenge. 
It was also the first time I went into the ocean since being a very small kid accompanied by a parent. I was enthralled and excited by the waves. For most of the trip, I played just on the lip of the shore, going waist-high, and staying close enough to where my mother was.

One day I must have been feeling more bold, or perhaps the tides were stronger, but I got pulled into the undertow. I can still see, so clearly, what the underbelly of the ocean looks like: bubbles and froth and particles of sand and debris. I was whipped around into a perfect circle, my neck scraping the rough floor.
I emerged gasping and shaking. Terrified. It was the first time I felt the force of nature as something big and scary, with the power to hurt me.
Since then, I have never been bold with the ocean. I am timid and usually afraid, and even the smallest waves unnerve me.
I watch surfers and swimmers in awe; jealous of their ease and confidence. They were probably pulled into the undertow a hundred times, but just kept trying.

What does this have to do with anything?
Let me tell you.
My life is in chaos mode. It has been for months and months. I keep telling myself that I'm rounding a corner, or that things are about to get easier, but BOOM - something else comes up that puts me right back into the underbelly.
I'm probably managing what most mothers manage: two small kids, a busy business, a house, getting dinner on the table, picking shit off the floor all day, sleep deprivation. It does not escape me that I am not an exception to the rule. I know a lot of people in a similar predicament - mostly those of us who have demanding jobs and are also raising our families.
It's just too much. I'm sorry to crush the Superwoman Myth, but there - I crushed it.

For a very long time, I have considered chaos to be something I have to defeat or rise above, something that is unnatural, something that I am creating.
I don't believe that anymore. Chaos, a lot of it, is just nature. Small kids are chaos. There is no way to change that. And often there is just too much on the plate to not feel drained, tired, and angry.

The question is this: how do I operate with chaos?
I think of that undertow in Mexico. I remember how unhinged and afraid it made me feel. It was not an unfamiliar feeling, but it was one I never wanted to repeat. This is the stuff of control freaks.
When I am faced with chaos, I try to control it. It never, ever works. Never.

Those swimmers, the ones I told you about before, they do this thing when they go into the water and a wave comes: they dive into the wave before it crashes. Right as it is swelling, they dive in. And then they come out the other side and keep moving deeper into the water.

This is how I would like to move with chaos and change - not conquer it or control it, but go right into it. With grace. Let's face it, the undertow gets all of us sometimes. It doesn't mean you stop swimming. Another good idea, a really good idea, is to sit on the shore every once in a while. The waves can't reach you there.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Right Here

So this is it.

I used to think I'd be a lot of things. I pictured myself zooming around in a fast-moving, important car, meeting important people and being very important myself. I thought that would be my success story. That I'd be famous or highly influential. That I'd be a millionaire or something stupid by the time I reached 40. I thought I would write books that would change people's lives. I used to think I'd be a lot of things.

And then came you.
Then came me.
Then came the truth of everything.

I became a mother.

What does that mean anyway? We get brainwashed into thinking it means we become docile, sweet martyrs who experience divine love when changing a diaper. Images, since we're little girls, show us that we'll be beautiful and calm and perfect all the time - that this is motherhood. I used to think that what's motherhood was.

But no.
Then came you.
Then came me.
And now I know a little bit more...

Becoming a mother is this: you crack open just like the earth does. You storm and shriek and soothe just like the earth does. You bend and fold and fall. You get a real heart: the kind that hurts and feels and loves so much that you think you can't do this, you can't bear this, but shit - how could you ever go back?

This is it.
Right here.
This is what life is all about.

I used to seek a lot. I was never home. I was never planted. I was always out looking for this thing - this thing - and now I know what it is:

it is the perfect imperfection of life
it is the messiness of love
it is the bare, sheer work of raising a human being
it is the rage
the unbridled joy
it is their tiny hands and faces sticky with the day
it is my baby girl's head on my shoulder as I sing her to sleep
thinking this:
I cannot wait to die and be reborn just so I can become a mother again
just so I can crack open again

It is humbling to be here
to let go of the fast car fantasy,
and the oh-how-important-I-want-to-be dream
and just be with these beautiful children
as they grow into themselves
and know that the earth is pleased with my work
that I can sit here now, as important as anyone else who is alive
who gives or receives love
who is born, grows, and dies here

This is it. 

Friday, 7 March 2014

Happy Frankie Day

One year ago, in the very early hours of the morning,  I gave birth to a beautiful girl named Frankie Rose. 
She came into the world as fast as an earthquake, at least it felt like an earthquake...
I woke sometime after one a.m. that night, with the slow ache of contractions in my belly. I waited for some time until waking Brian, and we waited together until after three a.m. with contractions that never picked up too much speed or intensity - I thought it would be the same deal as my first birth, in which there were about twelve hours like that, so I figured I should try to go back to sleep, and stood up to go to the bathroom.
That was when the the earthquake started; it was bigger than me, bigger than my body, bigger than my mind. I couldn't contain the intensity so I let go into it. I've never felt as much like an animal as I did that night.
It was less than thirty minutes like that; back to back contractions as I stood over my father's antique roll-top desk in the den. I couldn't sit or think or stop, I just had to move my hips and breathe and allow for the earthquake to happen.
And then, there she was. The midwife barely caught her. She slipped from her hands and landed on a towel on the floor. I looked down and saw her face for the first time: my daughter. Her cheekbone looked like the moon, like a little crescent moon.
And so it began - I birthed a girl, on the powerful occasion that is International Women's Day.

There is something that happens to me when I look at my daughter. I don't just see a baby, I see a woman in the making.I see the body that will shift and change so dramatically in her lifetime. I see my own dreams - the ones I haven't fulfilled yet, and I see a girl who I hope will not go through a lot of the things I went through in order to find her place on this earth. I finally understand why things between mothers and daughters can be so hard, and so charged, and so full of emotion.  While she is, of course, her own little person, Frankie is also the greatest reminder I have to reach for my potential, birth my dreams, and honour myself. It is easy to look at her and want all those things for her, but if I don't fulfill those desires for myself, I may resent her later on, or grow jealous of her, or compete with her - all the things that run rampant between mothers and daughters.
I don't want those things between us, so that is then my work to do.

Often when I look at her I think of what I want for her, what I really want for her, and it is this: self-worth. Sure I want her to follow her dreams and her truth and have fun and grow and be true to herself, but mostly I want her to feel the value of her being. In feeling and knowing the value of her being, she will not have to go seeking a false sense of womanhood from shady places.

My dear Frankie girl - happy birthday. Happy International Women's Day. Welcome to the sisterhood.  We've got your back.

Monday, 13 January 2014

How to Actually Change Your Life

There is something I've been saying to myself just enough these days that it has become worrisome. It goes something like this, "I hate my life."
Writing that feels bold and scary and so much bigger than the real feeling I've been experiencing, but regardless, these are the thoughts I've been thinking. It seems somewhat crazy to me because, on the surface, I am sure everything looks great. I seem to have it all, right? Two amazing, healthy kids, my own business, a wonderful husband, a great house, a place in the country. All of that. But here's the truth: I have never felt as tired, rundown, or pissy as I do these days. Why? Because maintaining all of the above is more than I feel I can handle - well. At the end of the day I am frazzled and have barely a shred of energy for myself.

This past year one of my beloved teachers, Harley Swift Deer Reagan, passed away. The impact of his death has been, and is, like a ripple on the water inside of me. I keep catching waves of it, and each wave brings with it an awareness of what he taught me. This man was a Shaman, healer, medicine man, Vietnam vet, Martial Arts master, magician, shooter, and probably the most authentic, bold human I have ever met. He said, "your life experiences are not your life. Your attitude and approach are your life."
I keep repeating that to myself these days, in hopes that it will finally click and I can find a way to say something more along the lines of, "I love my life."

Swift Deer's formula went something like this: change your thoughts, you change your attitude. Change your attitude, you change your reality. Change your reality, you change your life. 
The root to change starts with the thoughts that I think. And in changing what and how I think, I can make space for beauty to be seen and felt.
 I am someone who, when faced with an uncomfortable situation, will take measures to change it. I am a doer and a fixer. If you want an image, picture me climbing atop a pile of mess, sticking my hand in the air and saying, "this is unacceptable, let's try it this way instead." My solutions are action-based. They usually involve doing something differently. My husband calls them "eden's systems." I am relentless with them, and sometimes one just has to give in to the pile of mess, knowing that there are more important things to give energy to, like these rascals:

 But let's take stock of my current situation: a ton of shit on the plate, none of which can be eliminated. So what does a fixer do? What do you do when you can't control the mess you're in and there's nothing you can cut out?
There is only one thing to do, my friends. Change the way you think about it. 
I had this realization a few days ago, but it only sank in today while I was at work, doing about 32 tasks that I am not the fondest of. Normally I complain all day about doing these tasks. Today I said, "what if I just accepted that I have to do these things?"
So I shut up and did them and as I was walking home, I actually smiled. I felt really happy.

2014 is not about acquiring more. It's not about achieving and doing. It's not about invoking the agents of chaos and change. No. My 2014 is about changing the way I think, feel, and react to my life experience. This includes shitty diapers, teething babies, aggressive toddlers who hit their sisters (I am not mentioning any names), cheques lost in the mail, delivery vans that won't start, and cookies that get burnt. It's about accepting this version of myself, no matter how rundown, tired, and grumpy I feel.

This is what surrender is all about.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Get a Job

It happens to the best of us. The Us I am speaking of are entrepreneurs. That said, I think this story applies to most people, not just the crazy business owners of the world.
So here's how it goes...
I realized this week that I don't like my job anymore. Gasp.
No, I am not putting the cookie biz up for sale. I love my business, love my cookies, love my staff, love everything - except my job.

On my way up to work this week I realized that I have an office job now. I sit at my desk. I send and answer emails, make phone calls, send faxes, order cardboard boxes and chocolate chips, and swear at my printer. It has been a slow progression to this point, but was solidified after I lost ALL MY STAFF at the end of August. No, I am not a slave driver, and yes, it is a whole other story that I will share very soon.
When I had the crazy staff turnover this summer, I lost both my office manager and production manager. These were the two roles that held down the fort of the business and allowed me to have the freedom to do what I wanted (mostly) within my position of New Moon's Chief. Funnily enough, I remember there being a lot of desk and computer time back then too where I was just wasting time and puttering and stressing about sales and growth and how the heck was I going to take next steps, and what were they anyway? But back then I had people taking care of all of my daily operations so I didn't think too much about things. I thought I was coasting.
Then all those people quit in one fell swoop within a month period, and there I was starting from scratch again. I had to cover all the tasks that both those managers were doing, plus train a whole new staff, plus I had a five month-old baby. It was an act of magic, and now that I'm through it I can honestly say it was one of the best things that has ever happened for my business.
But - I am still sitting at that desk.
That desk.
My desk.
Stationary, except for when one of the bakers needs my guidance, or I have to taste test something, or point out a dust bunny.

This was never the career that I wanted. I made a distinct choice to commit to my business so that it could be a vehicle for my creativity and self-growth.

There is a small story in this beautiful book called The Book of Embraces by Eduardo Galeano about a hamster that is caged its whole life and when the cage is finally opened, it huddles in the back for fear of freedom.
That is why I sit at my desk. That is why I have elaborate and stubborn ideas in my mind about how "no one could possibly do this task" because only I could decode the magic of filling a box with cookies, or pasting UPS stickers properly, or taking an order from that finnicky customer.
These are lies. Tricks. Things I convince myself of instead of pushing the envelopes within myself that have been glued shut for way too long.

If you are an entrepreneur and happen to be reading this, I highly recommend reading a book called The E-Myth which is all about this conundrum that we get ourselves into: the brave and fearless entrepreneur who ends up being a technician in their business.
I don't want to be a technician anymore. No, I want to feel the blood flowing again, the creative juice in my veins, and my heart pumping with excitement. That is what being an entrepreneur is all about.

Would you like to know what career I want?
I want to be the Ambassador for my business. I want to travel with it, make connections, and keep building a network with other inspiring entrepreneurs.

I want to write books: a cookbook, a book about starting and running your own business, and a memoir about postpartum depression and my cracking open into motherhood.

I want to pick up my guitar again and sing.

I want to keep growing my business and creating great jobs for people. Did you hear Canada Post is cutting 8000 jobs? It is a privilege to own a business and to be an employer, and I will keep on doing it.

So no, I am not a baker. Not a cookie packer. Not an order picker or a delivery person. I am not the office manager or the production manager. I'm also not the graphic designer (yeah, my designer should ban me from Illustrator). I'm not the lady behind the scenes.

I'm the face of my business and the leader of my life.
How's that epiphany for a Wednesday night?

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Welcome to the County

Listen. I want to tell you a story.
A crazy thing happened this summer: I fell in love. Now before you get excited about this married mother of two falling in love, let me tell you that I fell in love with a place.
Sometime in June, probably when it started to get hot in the city and that all-too-familiar feeling of concrete claustrophobia creeped in, I reached out to friends of ours that live in Prince Edward County and crossed my fingers that inviting my family of four to their farmhouse would be accepted. It was. And we went.
When we first arrived to their place, looking all hungover I'm sure from our chaotic life here, the first thing I said to our hostess was, "so what do you guys DO around here?" she shrugged, somewhat dismissive, and said "I don't know, lots of stuff."
We spent three days at their beautiful home, swam in their pond out back, ate elk burgers, had a fish fry on the beach, reveled at our toddlers and how well they got along, ran into James Taylor's son in town, made up a crazy song or two, and laughed more than I had in a long time. On the Sunday morning before we were leaving, I strapped the baby in the carrier and went on a walk down a country road by myself. I saw two houses for sale. Before we left we went into both of those houses, and the next night, when we were back in Toronto, we put an offer in on the one across the road from our friends.
I thought we were just going to hang with our friends for the weekend and escape city life. There hadn't been any discussion of buying a property in the country. But we fell in love. And love makes you do crazy things.
We didn't get that house we put the offer on. It was heartbreaking but like all things that fall through, something better came along and we jumped on it during the most chaotic week of the summer, when I was sure my life was falling off its hinges. In a dramatic sweep of change with bank loan denials and all my staff quitting (yeah, that's a whole other story) and the money falling through and time almost running out but the whole thing coming together in the end, we bought a piece of land in Prince Edward County. Land. A sweet little house. A funky old barn. A stretch of green that my little boy and girl can run in. A perfect escape. A home that lights my heart with warmth and contentedness.

Do you want to know what I learned? Here it is...
Brian and I hadn't been talking about buying a property in the country, but we had been deeply questioning our lifestyle and our reasons for working hard and the madness of the daily grind. We'd been living next door to a now year-and-a-half-in demolition reno that has upset our home life tremendously (newborns and renos do not go together well) and hadn't had a sense of comfort or peace in a long time. I knew our dissatisfaction would make us hunt for peace of mind, whether we liked it or not.
This is how intention works. Intention is like sending a telegram to the Universe - one day it arrives and you get dialed in. On that magical weekend, we were dialed in. We were woken up by our own dream and it was time to act.
When dreams come calling, it's a beautiful thing. It's also messy and chaotic and usually has me flying by the seat of my pants. But I now firmly believe that we are meant to live on the edge of our seats. That's when the telegrams to the universe get a direct flight.

We took possession of our land on September 30th. We are just a month in and already everything feels it has changed, or at the very least has a new purpose.
As we were driving home today on the Loyalist Parkway (which is a drive that soothes my soul) I realized it would be tempting to say that purchasing our land is the last piece of a puzzle, but it's not that; the puzzle is ongoing and will keep me guessing and growing for the rest of my life. However, we found the piece that fits with a bunch of the ones that were lying disconnected and turned over. The County is the piece that connected all those other pieces, and now I am starting to see a picture forming.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Happy Father's Day

   It's a humid Sunday afternoon, Father's Day. This morning at our favourite coffee spot (and community hub) I watched as different men came in, got in line, and wished each other a Happy Father's Day. I saw the pride in Brian's face as he accepted and gave the greeting.
   I wanted to hug them all, all those men, and congratulate them for being such incredible fathers. It's obvious to me that Father's Day gets a different kind of attention than Mother's Day, mostly because men (um, er) aren't typically the doters or important-day rememberers (come on, I'm allowed to say that) like women are. But there is something else to this day, at least for me and for scores of people I know. I am surrounded by good, caring, playful, present fathers. This wasn't the kind of father I knew or had, this wasn't a seemingly popular role for fathers with the kids I knew growing up. Meeting a real dad was like meeting a king or celebrity.
   In our home, Brian takes the lead as the more nurturing parent, and I can admit that. I learn from him how to be patient and playful and generous. Times are really changing, and we get to be more ourselves instead of what a gender stereotype dictates.
   I believe that our parents parent us even in the ways they are absent. For example, not having a solid attachment with my dad made me seek fathering in many different (and harmful) ways in order to fill the gaps. I adored my father with vehemence. It was a bruised love between he and I, one that healed after I left home, but truly came to fruition when he was dying.
   Why are parents not around? Not because they don't love, but mostly because they hurt or they don't know, or because personal issues prevail.

   Father's Day is bittersweet for me; I miss my dad so much. I wish he could have met my kids, I wish they could have known him even a little bit. I see some of him in Cedar, and it warms my heart. I have also longed for his calm, collected way of bringing me down a notch - I could use this most days lately as I navigate parenthood.

   There is this prayer, this honouring, that is spoken whenever entering or exiting a sweat lodge for ceremony, and it is: for all my relations. The sentiment behind this being that when you heal, you affect the seven generations before and the seven generations ahead of you. There is no separation or time divide when it comes to love and healing and family. How I make sense of this in my world is by witnessing my son have a father like Brian - who wakes with him every morning, reads, cares, educates, loves, spends endless time with, protects and plays with him. So although my father didn't provide most of that for me, knowing that Cedar has it bridges the gap. This is called healing a family spiral, and in my eyes there is no greater work for us to do here.

Happy Father's Day, Brian, you are the best. Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there who are changing the old story. And Happy Father's Day to my dad, who would have wanted to sit in his garden today, drinking a beer, reading a good book and offering a scratchy moustache-kiss to each off his offspring.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Happy Mother's Day

One of my best friends is about to have a baby. It is her first, and she is due in the next month or so. She had her baby shower on the weekend and her request from the women she invited was for each of us to share some wisdom or advice about raising kids or being moms. I've been chewing on the request for a few days now, and thinking "what would I have told myself? What would have been the best advice?" So here goes, a truthful mustering about motherhood that I wish someone could have told me. Although, like all things real and gritty and life-changing, you have to go through them to know them.

Dear Self,

As you are about to become a mother, there are some things you ought to know. I realize you may not remember all of what I am about to say, especially in the middle of the night when you are rocking a fussy baby and are exhausted and frustrated and think your life is over, but hopefully these words will find you when you can't see through the small moments.
You are about to change. And I mean, really change. You are about to lose a self that you thought you were only to find someone bigger, softer, stronger, angrier, and more giving than the self you are now. You are about to birth, not just this small human who will be your son or daughter, but also this new self of you, and it may take some time to get used to both.
Motherhood will ask you to change. It will ask you to put aside a lot of the shit that you thought was so important in order to do what needs to be done and just be present. You will look different. Your body will change. Try to love this new body: honour it and comfort it and give it what it needs. Your body is now someone else's home for a while and even as your children grow, you will be the shore for them. Always. Your heart will break again and again, and it will keep breaking because it needs to get bigger and it needs to open and expand to hold the love that you have for this child, but also the love you will need to have for yourself.This bigger love will make you see the child in everyone, even in people you think are assholes. You will somehow come to love the assholes because you know that even they have mothers.
You are about to be stripped down to who you really are and who you are meant to be. This might feel very confusing because you'll think you have lost yourself for a good, long while, but really you are becoming, and that takes time. While hanging in limbo, have faith that you will find yourself again and whoever she is will be awesome.
Your kid will sculpt you. This can really suck, but is ultimately good. They will sculpt you into the parent they need you to be. Let them be the teacher.
Most importantly, who you are is exactly who you need to be for your kid. Show Your truth. You don't have to be something you're not. Motherhood is your expression. Let it be messy, let it still be your life, and never sacrifice your needs and the things which keep you happy.
You will find the dark places in yourself. Babies and kids seem to expose this to us. Let those dark
moments be like soil: rich and earthy and holding space for something to grow. The anger comes because you want control, you want to be alone, you want to run away, you don't want to do the work, your kid is driving you crazy, you feel trapped, you need a break, you just can't take another second.  All of this is okay, and all of this is natural. Ask for help from the people around you. They want to help.
A lot of people say that "your life is over" when you have kids. Who are these people and why did they give up? You are starting a new chapter and it will enrich and feed you like nothing else has.
You are about to truly become hardcore, in the softest way.

But the key is this: find the moms. They're often in coffee shops and parks. They all have iPhones and use them religiously. Talk to them, befriend them. This is your new hive. These women, even in very brief moments or words, will be the backbone you can count on and they will count on you. Be honest with them; share your strife. Build your village.
Welcome to the greatest journey of your life.

Linking up with Selena over at le petit reve. '#RealMamaLife - Motherhood Uncensored.' >Find this weeks edition here

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Having It All?

BlogTO just wrote a piece about New Moon (and me) as a featured look behind the scenes at our cookie factory. I must say, getting this jolt of PR while cradling a 5 week-old baby felt pretty awesome, and I am so grateful that they came for a visit.
The article got me thinking though, about how we are creating, within our zillion media outlets, this superwoman power-mama who can do it all and it is oh-so-easy. 

Since having Frankie (baby number two! A girl!) I've noticed a few women comment that I make it look easy, and while it's nice to hear a compliment, I also want to grab that woman's hand and say, "Lady, this is the hardest thing I have ever done."
I often compare myself to that mythical woman; the one who seems to pull it off without breaking a sweat. Although many, many women pull off incredible feats of multi-tasking and having the all, it doesn't mean we should feel we have to, or that the new norm means wearing as many hats as possible in order to feel whole.
In an attempt to debunk a myth, I'd like to share My Having It All with you.
Here is what I have:
- I have an incredibly short attention span and often look like an iguana tracking flies. I attribute this to the complete splicing of my life right now, and the compulsion to get everything done and maintain some small sense of having-it-together. In order to accomplish this I am always doing at least two tasks at once. Like: peeing and texting or eating and folding laundry.
- I have two kids. One of them is a rambunctious, spirited two-and-a-half year-old who is my favourite person in the world and also someone who likes to tear, throw, or break all my shit and is also prone to hitting other children which really helps my social standing.
My other kid is only six weeks old, but judging by her nighttime screaming I think she may be spirited as well. In other words, my ego lies crumpled on the floor.
- I have a cookie business that I am supposed to be running, but these days it feels more like a staggered jog.
- I have a home in Roncesvalles Village. It is awesome and also very messy. There is a kids' bike in the hallway and a utility closet I yell at whenever I have to go in there to get a roll of toilet paper and things like votive candle holders from our wedding four years ago fall out and smash at my feet.
- I have a couple postpartum issues right now, one which I am going to spare you the details of and the other a condition called vasospasm whereby I get pins and needles in my nipples. It hurts. As my friend who also had it said, "it's worse than my craziest night of sex ever."
- I also have a crazy temper these days, which I blame on the hormones, but let's just say that I have been punching pillows a lot and last week my husband caught me about to throw a book against the wall. The book was Guerrilla Marketing; perhaps I should read it instead of throw it. 

I used this analogy after having that Cedar that my time felt more like snacks than a meal. Now with two kids it's like eating snacks really, really fast. So fast that you don't chew them and end up choking on a piece of carrot or something.
It's kind of maddening in the moment, but in the greater perspective it is beautiful to be at the mercy of life these days: to be a tangled mess, to wear the same pants for four weeks straight, to eat a dirty apple off the ground because I am hungry and could care less, to make a playdough couch first thing in the morning with my son before even having a bite of food or taking a pee. To be such a rundown, emotional version of myself: more raw and real than I have ever felt.

I guess what I am trying to say is that having-it-all (career and family) is not exactly pretty. At least not for me. There is so much push-pull around wanting to be at home but needing to work, and also wanting to work and get space from my kids. I feel like I am doing a crappy half-assed version of everything right now, and that's only because my expectations are set way, way too high.
It's a paradox, and yet I am trying to satisfy all the parts of me that need food - even if they are just snacks for now.