thoughts on life, parenting, news, and crazy shit

Month: May, 2020

A White Woman’s Perspective on the Aftermath of George Floyd’s Death

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By now you’ve all heard about and likely seen the death- sorry– murder of George Floyd. It has all but consumed the internet.

We watched a man who was completely incapacitated cry for his mother.  We watched him struggle to breathe.  We watched him beg.  And ultimately, we watched him die.

And now we are watching the United States erupt into a hellfire of rage and disbelief and outright desperation at an issue that is neither new nor quiet.

And so of course the internet has dismantled into a series of posts displaying the protest, the response, and the riots. Everywhere you look there are photos of the carnage and the violence.  Our neighbours to the south have literally torched themselves in protest of the racial injustices and inequalities that continue to persist generation after generation.

It’s interesting to see people suddenly so fucking horrified at the blatant violence and looting. Where was that same horror at the everyday violence that people of colour face?  Everybody seems to suddenly give a shit when physical things are being destroyed, but our fucks were all using vacation days when people of colour and other marginalized groups faced violent discrimination and hurdles just to be recognized as equal humans deserving of equal rights, or to simply exist.  Think about your reaction to the violence that is erupting.  Are you angry about it?  Are you afraid for your well being?  Now pretend that you have felt that discomfort and fear your entire life and try for a minute to understand the desperation that is the root cause of what you are seeing.

As a white woman, my perspective is this:

My perspective doesn’t get a fucking vote.  It doesn’t get a seat at the table.  I don’t get to decide what is appropriate and what is not. I don’t get to judge the response to systemic racism and violence against individual people of colour.  I don’t get to say “well, you see, Barbara, if only they had just tried talking to their representatives and writing some nice letters explaining that it isn’t ok to kneel on a man’s neck until he dies.”  

My perspective isn’t really worth shit.  If you aren’t living this as a person of colour, yours doesn’t really mean shit either.

I do know this.  People of colour are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. They peacefully protest, they are met with rubber bullets, tear gas and riot gear. Public figures make a statement and they are accused of being unpatriotic and traitors. Folks beg for their lives, they get killed.

If you are a white person living in this world, you need to place your rage in the correct arena.  If we had been half as interested in the social injustices occurring everyday as we are in the violent response to George Floyd’s death, we might have figured some of this out before anyone had to light the world on fire to get our fucking attention.

If we want to be allies, and we want to support or ignite change, we need stop *reacting* to the reactions of folks who are so desperate to be heard and take the time to hear them before they are screaming.  If we want to be allies, we need to accept their experiences as truth and stop trying to invalidate their experience away.

Our perspective as white people should just be:

We should have listened before, but we hear you now.  

An Irritated Rant About The Mishandling Of Education In Manitoba During Covid19

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I’ve been mostly keeping my mouth shut about shit on Facebook that I don’t have control over.  I’m trying really hard to assume that while I don’t agree with a lot of the political decisions being made or many other arguments in circulation, that there is a very good chance that as a lay person, I likely don’t have access to enough knowledge or information to make decisions that are any better. I feel fairly certain that despite my ability to read and search for resources that confirm my own biases, perhaps it is wiser to trust experts in the field that have dedicated their life to the interpretation of the required data that helps make the required decisions for the population at large.

However, when it comes to education and children, I feel like I have a reasonable amount of experience, training and knowledge to have some insight, at the very least when it comes to my own children and what they need.

And if I’m being honest, what I’ve seen regarding public education in Manitoba during this pandemic has been a disorganized mess at best and an absolute embarrassing shit show at worst.

This government is so fucking concerned about balancing its budget that it has worried itself with saving money at the expense of our kids.   They haven’t seemed to make any standardized decisions regarding how to ensure accessibility to all kids in each school or division, let alone across the province. Instead of using teaching assistants to reach kids and work with them online individually where needed, or to assist teachers in creating and distributing work packages to kids, they worried more about policies regarding contact and saving a few provincial dollars by laying off hundreds of EA’s.  The time that children have been off has been squandered without much planning for how to navigate this or how to enable teachers to actually teach their kids online consistently.  Teachers have been asked to repeatedly reinvent their entire teaching curriculum on a whim, with the brunt of the teaching actually falling on the parents shoulders or on the kids to work independently.

Some kids have regular daily online classes with their teachers, and some have none.  Some parents receive an overwhelming amount of email correspondence with website logins, sign in information, worksheets to be printed- but no online teaching is happening.  Some teachers are doing an amazing job at creating lesson plans- but without any plan for delivery ( NOT THEIR FAULT).

And NOW, teachers are being sent back into the classroom, some supposedly to resume regular classes, some for individual or small group work, some for assessments, some for recovery learning, with 9 days notice.  Most of the teachers have no idea what is supposed to happen other than they have to be at work, with no plan for what to do with their own children.  Here they are, being asked to reinvent their wheels all over again.

Here’s what I think should be happening:

  1. They need to let go of this year.  You do not have time to meet, assess, plan and implement any sort of learning over the next 30 days while creating any sort of effective plan for the following school year.
  2. The focus should be on September.  This province needs to get its shit together and have 3 solid plans ready to be implemented at the drop of a hat.  This includes, *business as usual*, *100% distance learning* and * some hybrid of the two*.
  3. Distance learning must include actual online classes that are scheduled and accessible to all.  In places where kids don’t have technology, it needs to be provided.  If it isn’t possible for it to be provided, then reasonable at home support must be implemented with printed work and phone meetings with teachers or EA’s.
  4. Just like funds are being re-directed into health care, funding needs to be redirected to invest in Education. Cutting here is not acceptable. I don’t give a fuck about our debt right now.  The forest is on fire, stop praying for rain and get to work on putting it out. 
  5.  Stop talking about shit until you actually have shit to talk about.  We “might go back August 31”.  No.  Either do it or don’t.  Justify your decision with a solid plan with what you will accomplish specifically in that time that outweighs extending the longest term of the school year and potentially burning out your staff, students and parents.
  6. Create and implement a plan for next year that assumes the school year was finished on March 13.  Anything that was given to students after that was done so inconsistently that one cannot assume anybody learned it effectively. What learning concepts and tools were leftover to present to students in order for them to understand concepts presented in the next grade level?  How are you going to include these concepts into next year’s curriculum?
  7. MAKE THE TEACHERS PART OF THE PLANNING PROCESS.  If a bunch of administrative people who likely have not been in a classroom for years or at all are the only ones making the decisions, you will fail.  You need input from those who are living this mess. Period.

As an educator, I am appalled at what this province has managed to NOT accomplish during this time.  You’ve had  8 or 9 weeks to get your shit together and YOU HAVE NOT.

As a parent, I am furious, frustrated, and exhausted at the lack of planning, ingenuity, and guidance from the province’s policy makers.  The teachers are doing the best they can, and from the conversations I’ve had with them they are largely on their own.  Realistically, they have been working their asses off to get information to parents, but many of us are left to do the teaching of that information on our own, just to be told now that the kids will be assessed.  Don’t even get me started on this nonsense about sending report cards home this June.  What a bunch of shit that is a complete waste of time.

In my opinion, Manitoba is so stuck inside the box, that they haven’t been able to use any sort of creative problem solving to tackle the issue of actually educating our children properly.  Stop worrying about the rules, get out of the goddamn box, and FIX YOUR SHIT.


An Exhausted, Irritated Parent Who Also Knows Thing Or Two About Education In A Non Conventional Way

The Dichotomy of Being Motherless on Mother’s Day

grayscale photography of woman and baby

Photo by Nicolas Postiglioni on Pexels.com

If I’m being honest, I’ve never been a fan of all these made up holidays.  I understand the sentiment behind it, and definitely love the sincere excitement from my kids on Mother’s Day, but it has always irked me how it’s really just a bunch of companies capitalising on what we should really be doing every other day too- loving and appreciating the people in our lives that we cherish.

Maybe it’s just too many years working in the service industry and missing out on days like Mother’s Day- both with my own Mom and as a new mother myself.  Maybe it’s all those times in high school where I didn’t receive flowers or valentines or get noticed for anything.

Maybe I just find it annoying that there is all of a sudden this day where we are obligated to spend money of gifts that nobody needs or wants instead of noticing those things and reminding them they are special every day.

All of a sudden, 15 months after losing my own mom, I notice this day with a new perspective.  It makes me wonder if I was good enough to her for her to know how much I really did love her.  It makes me want to take back every shitty thing I said to her, or times when I could have been kinder, more patient, or less selfish.   Mother’s Day has become this annoying dichotomy of  being so happy about becoming a mother, and sorrow at having lost my own.  It eats me to wonder if I truly ever appreciated her enough, and was able to remind her of that regularly.

So yeah, made up holidays are still not my favourite.   It’s nice to celebrated, it’s amazing to be loved.   I just wish it wasn’t a reminder to me about my own perceived shortcomings as a daughter and the realisation that I can’t ever go back and make sure that she new she did a good job.

I miss you Mom, everyday.   I hope you knew.


What Are You Doing With This Time?

You guys, I am so over this pandemic.  Like really over it.   But not for some of the reasons you might think.

Sure.  I’m tired.  I’m working and teaching, and schooling my own kids, and nurturing and cooking and cleaning and basically on task every minute of every day. So I am definitely earning the new bags under my eyes.

But I am actually more tired of people’s shit despite the fact that I never see any in real life besides my own family and my neighbours over the fence.

Keeping up with everybody else’s brand of crazy and anxiety is a total shitstorm of fuckery while I try to manage my own.  The internet is full of so much anger and fear and bickering that I am actually becoming ashamed of how much energy I waste on it.

And waste is probably the operative word here.  What the actual fuck are we doing, kids?  Why is it that everywhere I scroll, someone is screaming out all sorts of accusations at each other, the government, the doctors, the scientists,  etc etc etc?  Why are we wasting all of our time and energy trying to solve problems that we aren’t responsible for?  Or trying to be the first to uncover the deepest lie we’ve all been told?  Why are we all so hell bent on learning the impossibly finite details of fields that we don’t even have a basic understanding of?  Why do we want to wear all the capes and bear all the burdens? I don’t know about you Bitches, but I have exactly way too many capes and shit to do right now before I start to even THINK about solving the world’s problems.  Above my pay scale, much?

I think deep down we all know what the answer is.   We’re afraid.

We are terrified of being controlled by someone or something else, and yet here we all are, in the midst of the greatest lack of control we have seen or likely will see in our lifetimes.   And it is terrifying, so we grasp at any thing we can so that we have something tangible to fight and argue about.  A virtual punching bag, if you will.

I don’t know about you, but I am scared of a lot of things right now.  I’m scared that someone I love will get gravely sick.I’m scared I’ll get gravely sick. I’m scared that my livelihood is in danger.  I’m scared that the simple things we took for granted may never be part of our normal lives again.  I’m worried that the scientists are right and that the worst is yet to come. I’m worried that the scientists are wrong and that all of the mild cases of this disease have long term and severe health implications that we can’t know about yet. I’m afraid that the protests we are seeing are going to escalate and become more violent.  But ultimately, I have pretty much zero control over any of those things, so I am making a constant effort to just not try.  It has done wonders for my mental health.

What if we could just all back off?  What if we could stop trying to bear all the burdens this world has to serve up and just let some shit go?

What are we doing with this time that is given to us?  What if we focused on the things that we are called to do and continued to just be generous to the world with the gifts we have been blessed with?  What if instead of focusing on everything that others are doing wrong and trying to justify our opinions by proving everyone else wrong, we just tried to find something positive to give to others around us?

Or better YET, what if we spent more time figuring out how to make the world a better place through things we actually have control over?  What if we were 1/100000th as interested in how to make the world a better place as we are at trying to discover what is actually wrong with it?

Cause we already know the answer to that too.  We’re what’s wrong with the world.  People start out with the best of intentions and literally fuck it up every single time.

And don’t think for one second that I am obtuse enough to think I am any better at not being an asshole than everyone else.  I probably had a hand in writing a chapter or two of that book.  What I’m trying to say is that I am trying to work really hard to make sure that I come out of this experience a more gracious, trusting, and reasonable human being.

Gandalf was right all along:


All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us ...

I am trying to decide what to do with this time that has been given to me.  What about you?

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