ihaveanopinionidliketoshare

thoughts on life, parenting, news, and crazy shit

Category: Children

Seriously, F*ck Trudeau.

This morning I got up and it happened. After 4 months of tyrannical snow fall and and our 999th blizzard of the month, I couldn’t open the fucking door to let the dogs out. After much pushing and clearing a little snow from underneath I managed to open it a crack just enough for the wieners and the hound to squeeze through and go for a piss.

This is a slippery slope, I mean- sorta-literally. I am basically a prisoner in my house . My freedom is lost. My dogs can’t take a shit and I will slowly starve to death. My children will have no future. Next the internet will go down or my phone and without the ability to practice escapism through bad YA vampire romances and getting to the next level of ZooCraft I fear for our mental health. Didn’t you read all those studies by that doctor on YouTube? The ones about mental health and freedom and snow?

Seriously, F*ck Trudeau. I mean, erecting all those 5G towers so he can influence weather patterns in order to invoke Snomaggeddon and hold us all to his dictatorial pleasures. Making me a prisoner in my own home? Expecting me to use the front door instead of the back door or face this imprisonment? Forcing me to exit my home via the driveway or stay inside? Coercion is NOT a choice.

Don’t even get on me about shovelling. That isn’t how democracies work. I don’t care how much snow falls, it is too inconvenient to have to shovel when I can just walk through it or wait for it to pass. I mean, my sister’s husband’s kid’s cousin twice removed by marriage pulled a muscle while shovelling. And did you hear about Dan? His dad had a heart attack in 1983 and they suspect it was related to shovelling. Fuck that. I am in no way going to clear that snow either. I shovelled once and it will just come back anyway and it doesn’t prevent it from snowing again. Fucking Trudeau. He is probably in on this with China. Importing the fucking snow from China so we can all just become slaves in his plan to reset weather patterns forever. If you support shovelling you are a fucking sheep. Freedom!

Don’t even get me fucking started on the ban on snowmobiles within the city. Those are OUR machines. We paid for them with our hard earned money and should be allowed to drive them wherever the fuck we want. I don’t give a fuck if you are worried that driving them at 160 km/hr in the city poses a threat to your kids. Statistics show that only 1% of children have ever died due to a snowmobile accident. I mean, no one can even prove that traumatic brain injuries were even caused by snowmobiles anyway. They fell and were bleeding but like are they in the ICU because of the TBI or with one? I have my rights you know. The First Amendment says so.

And no, I certainly won’t wear a helmet on the snowmobile, because I am medically exempt from protecting a brain I don’t have. Fuck you for trying to prevent my death. I mean, really. Go fuck yourself.

I say we all jump on our snowmobiles and go to Ottawa and the borders and make sure our voices are heard. We have the right to peacefully protest so bring your bagpipes and your rifles and some flares. If the police ask you to move, grab your kids and get in the way. Line them up along the roads and then make sure to scream about how the police are assaulting women and children because of Fuhrer Trudeau. If there are horses make sure to try and block them with your bodies so that someone can film you getting knocked to the ground and send it to Rebel News. They are just the best. Integrity at it’s finest. Make sure to spit on any journalists who aren’t Rebel News because they are the enemy. Also be mad at them for not covering your story. It makes sense somehow, I promise.

In our protests bring your shovels so our snow wall will be the biggest wall of all time. Bigger than China’s. Longer than the one never finished between the US and Mexico. Hooray for Trump because he also hates snow since he lives in a roach infested pedophile conference centre in Florida. He’s our guy.

And if you aren’t following women home from work threatening to rape them or lighting apartment buildings on fire, is it even a real protest? We gotta make sure everyone hates us enough to convince Trudeau to resign so the Senate or the Governor General can take over and instate someone who hates snow and China and shovelling as much as we do. We cannot live like this under this fascist rule anymore. Real freedom means freedom to choose if you want to shovel or not, without the fear of another storm coming week after week. In fact, it means that we shouldn’t even allow street cleaning anymore. I don’t care if you can’t get to work or get stuck and die on a highway because that hardly ever happens and it means nothing if *I* don’t have my freedom to choose whether the snow is cleared or not. I don’t care if it makes life better for others, because I am willing to die on this hill. Fuck you! Freedom!!

I know if we push citizens and law enforcement to the absolute brink or cry real tears that freeze to our faces they will listen. They will believe us that we are peaceful. They will hang Trudeau like we asked. F*ck that guy. Everything is his fault. We will get our way, because praise Jesus.

Or.

I could have just shovelled the fucking snow on the other side of the back door.

It’s time to go home.

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I shared a post on my social media earlier this morning that said something about how our reactions to our children’s behaviors have more to do with a our emotional health than with what they are actually doing.

It was a humbling and thought provoking statement that made me pause and reflect on the job I am doing as a mum, especially over the last two years.

When I talk to my friends, colleagues, and other parents, the common theme is that we are not ok. Oh sure, we all put on this brave face and post pictures doing simple things together and talk about some of the positives that have come to be in terms of our family bonds, or learning a new hobby. Honestly, though, I call bullshit.

I am fucking exhausted. I wake up exhausted. I go through the motions of the day exhausted, I go to bed exhausted. I get up in the morning dreaming about the end of the day when I have completed all the things that need doing that day and I can mindlessly play some stupid game on my phone while I watch old episodes of tv shows I’ve seen a million times. I am so tired and emotionally over everything about the last few years that I can’t even invest enough energy to watch something new.

A lot of things that used to bring me joy suck the life out of me now. It all feels like work, with a few exceptions. I mostly just want to be left alone.

So yes, when I am reacting to less than desirable behaviors that my children are displaying, it has wayyyyyyy more to do with my lack of emotional capacity than it has to do with them bickering about video game controllers or who ate the last cookie. It has almost everything to do with me.

I try very hard to have enough self awareness and honesty about where I’m at to walk away when I feel all of the resentment and anger and frustration about the last two years bubble up and get directed at the people who are the very least responsible for any of it. The fact that they haven’t done their chores for the third day in a row without being nagged is something worth a loss of privilege or consequence somewhere, but lately it feels a lot heavier than it really should.

I actually understand and empathize in some ways with all the fucking people at the borders driving around with their upside down flags and misspelled signs and toothless grins. I am tired of feeling like I don’t have any control over what happens in my life too. I am tired of not knowing what will happen next and have to make adjustments and not being able to plan anything either personally or professionally. If I ever hear the fucking word “pivot” again it will be way too soon. I get it- you are TIRED too.

But like the sentiment I shared this morning about our reactions to our children- this all out temper tantrum that is hurting the people who have the LEAST to do with any of it- the reaction we are seeing in our country is more indicative of our emotional well being than it is about what we’re currently pissed off about.

I guess the difference is that when it comes to having a negative reaction with my children, I love them enough to try and be better next time. I understand that while they are doing things that I don’t not like, the only real control I have is how I react to them, despite every justification I may have for reacting poorly. I choose to do better, because that is what’s best for them, but it is also what is best for me.

We as adults need to learn how to have enough love and tolerance for others to understand where and how to direct our frustrations, and reasonable ways to advocate for change. Just like screaming at my children won’t change all of the factors that have contributed to my exhaustion or make any of it better in the long term, tormenting people who don’t have any say in policies and rules is not going to help in the long run.

It’s time for people to go home. Work on restoring your emotional capacities on a personal level. Rest. Learn patience. Choose love. It will all be ok again if we just fucking let it.

In Manitoba, we’re looking after ourselves now

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God I am so tired.

Of literally everything.

I am tired of wearing every hat- employee, teacher, parent, wife, daughter, friend, advocate, mouthpiece, confidante. I am tired of waiting for it to end and it never fucking ends.

I am tired of not knowing, trying to figure shit out, decision making, mitigation, concession making, pivoting, and fighting.

Mostly the fighting. Everybody, including me has their opinion about how to go about fixing the mess we’re in or how to make it better, and we are ALL experts on pointing out the mistakes others have made and all the coulda woulda shouldas in the history of ever.

In the end I don’t think any of it really matters anymore. Maybe I am just feeling abandoned by a government and a community that seems to have just given up. Maybe I am just feeling disheartened that some people are so greedy and stupid and selfish that they seem willing to risk the well being of others in the name of the almighty dollar. Maybe I am just feeling defeated that after 2 years of this fuckery, even the people who tried so hard in the beginning are too exhausted to continue on.

I get it. This has gone on for a really long time, the current situation is pointing to disease that produces less severe outcomes proportionally and appears much milder in the acute phase.In this exact moment it feels like continuing to take pauses and make more sacrifices is overkill for some people. And as much as I hated watching that complete shitstorm of a cuntboxing match of a press conference this week, one gross truth emerged from it: we really do need to take care of ourselves at this point, because the solidarity that used to exist as we all swam upstream in a body of liquid shit over the past couple of years is clearly starting to crack.

It feels like the province has lost control of the situation because they invested in the wrong strategies and resources and didn’t listen to the people on the front lines. (hint- ALWAYS listen to the people on the front lines when you want to fix something) The current strategy appears to be reminding us that our province was the first to implement restrictions 12 months ago and gaslighting the public about capacity while manipulating data and basically just being a bunch of ignorant assholes. Good reason fell on deaf ears as economic priorities took precedence, but it is a fool’s errand. We are already dealing with a loss of access to essential services due to a lack of human resources that I believe will get worse before it gets better.

So at this point, Heather’s statement is accurate. “It’s up to Manitobans to look after themselves” because the system is in failure.

So as I digest this thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have zero fucks to give about what anyone else does at this point. I don’t care if the province says they expect my kids to go to school. They aren’t going right now. I don’t care if they say I can’t have access to the same short term supports others will get, because I am still not sending them. I don’t give a fuck if you don’t get vaccinated. Fine. Exercise your right to suffer. If you want to take your mask off and walk around some shitty restaurant with a bunch of other dickholes flaunting your rights and exposing your tiny brains and, go right ahead. I don’t care about that either.

I am tired. I am putting on my own oxygen mask so that I can help my own people. I don’t care if you disagree with my personal decisions, or think everything is ok and I am crazy, or wanna explain this data or that data. Not one person needs to justify themselves to me or anyone else. Do what you want to do. Accept whatever risks you choose. Weigh your options. Own your shit and deal with the consequences or rewards.

Cause in Manitoba, we look after ourselves.

Make no mistake, this extra week of remote learning is a giant fuck you to educators

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I’m sure many of you were glued to your devices waiting with baited breath for the education press conference this afternoon in Manitoba. I am also sure that many of you, like myself, were expecting the government to announce further restrictions and a temporary move to remote learning as we ride this newest wave of Covid fuckery.

Dear Heather and Cliff had other plans. She sat there with her cunty smirks and him in his bewildered gaze trying to pronounce hard words in his briefing and announced that they would be moving to one week remote learning not because of the enormous spikes in Covid transmissions, rising hospitalizations, and unknown outcomes yet to happen- but to give the educators more time to prepare the schools to make them safe for the return of in person learning.

I’m sorry. I know I am just a lowly peasant and not one of the anointed stakeholders that are spoken of so frequently in these pressers, but what the actual fuck.

Prepare for WHAT, exactly? WITH what, exactly? Another shipment of improperly donned medical grade masks by hundreds of tiny humans, some more barrels of hand sanitizer and an inspection of windows that don’t open and ventilation systems that do nothing but recirculate the same air around the same building until the end of time? Will they hire more lunch monitors to make sure the kids sit in their spots while they eat maskless twice per day and toss their tiny little aerosols of Covid cooties into the air for someone else to enjoy later? Is there a secret shipment of hazmat suits coming in sizes XXS to XXXL that haven’t been announced yet?

And the 550,000 RAT’s that have supposedly finally been allocated to schools instead of to pompous morons who refused to get vaccinated? How long is that going to last 300,000 students? And what are the protocols for their use? How exactly do we expect this to help?

Whoever decided that going to remote learning was going to give teachers and administrators “more time” is either a liar or an imbecile. How in Satan’s sweet hell are school staff supposed to reconfigure classrooms, prepare material for home learning, inventory supplies and PPE, rearrange cohorts etc etc etc with students in the fucking school and the rest of them in online class? When is this magical preparation (of what I am still uncertain) going to happen?

No. This is the government telling teachers to go fuck themselves. Since being elected 5 years ago there has been a war raging between government and teachers and I feel like today’s announcement was like Heather saying “Oh you need time, we’ll give you time” and she loved every fucking minute of it.

Furthermore, we basically have no new information. Are we reopening in Code Orange? Where is all the extra staff going to magically appear from? What is going to be done with staff shortages? How important will education be then, Cliff? Or will it just give people one more opportunity to call teachers lazy and overpaid babysitters? Once again, there are more questions than answers and no details about what exactly is going to be accomplished.

Teachers and schools have been repeatedly neglected and set up to fail since all of this began and here we are again. Politicians self congratulating themselves and jerking each other off on camera while they talk about all this money they have given to schools. What was it for? Is it the 80 million from the federal government from last year that wasn’t “invested” in education as promised that you are now taking credit for? Where is the accounting? Why are you so completely full of shit? People just want straight answers and some accountability. We are frustrated. We don’t trust you.

This “extension” is stupid. Pull the plug and do something actually proactive or don’t and live with the consequences of your decisions. But putting schools in another impossible situation so that everyone can be mad at them is a cowardly deflection of our government’s consistent ineptitude and miserable attitude towards educators.

No, I don’t think I will be sending my kids back to school in January.

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Let’s be honest. I personally don’t know of any parent (especially working parents) who enjoyed or felt successful at remote learning. I’m not talking about parents who chose to homeschool their children as a means of regular education and have the time, energy and will to take on this enormous task. I’m talking about being thrown into a poorly supported (by the government) situation where the amount of hours in a day don’t ever feel enough nor do the limitations of our patience.

But let’s also be honest about something else.

I personally can’t envision a situation where sending our children and educators back into the classroom for 7 hours a day, without the resources- both material and human- to make it a safe environment for the students or the staff.

Our provincial government is once again busily dropping the ball and keeping parents and school staff in the dark about what the actual situation is and how they plan to address the challenges before them. In fact, it feels like they have been very blatantly gaslighting us all into believing that everything is just fine, and that they have it all under control. Just be honest for once. Please. It is so painfully obvious that we are making public health decisions based on political outcomes and I am absolutely so fucking sick of it.

I don’t know about you, but being repeatedly and consistently bullshitted by what is probably the worst political leadership in the history of ever in Manitoba feels like a slap in the balls already.

Around the country and around the world, we are seeing staffing crises in multiple sectors. New York City has an emergency workers shortage of 30%. WestJet just announced a reduction in services as they struggle to staff flights. London has reduced tube services as they also face a large number of train conductors and staff off sick.

As usual, the tits in charge of Manitoba have set up a scenario where they will try and tell us that they aren’t seeing transmission in schools, they are safe, blah blah blah. They have instructed those under 40 to not get tested, opening up a door where they don’t have transmission and case data for school aged kids, so how will we know? We still don’t know how and when rapid antigen tests will be used, the schools are scrambling to implement the distribution of them, N95 masks are difficult to find and certainly not handed out in an equitable manner, and the schools have a whole extra TWO FUCKING DAYS to figure it all out.

So what is the government assessing in those two days? Are they figuring out how to help the schools split all the classrooms in two? How to use the limited staff and resources they have to try and distance and manage classrooms using EA’s to supervise as teachers run back and forth from room to room? What about how they will manage the inevitable staffing shortages that will occur as the adults get sick? Are they getting ready to keep the essential workers’ kids in person and organize remote learning packages for others? Or are they going to just pretend that they don’t have to worry about children getting sick anymore despite the alarming increase in severe illness in children in other jurisdictions – or continue to not report the outbreaks currently underway in our Children’s hospital here?

We are 10 days from the start of the winter term. Educators need better communication. Parents need better communication. This province deserves better communication than a Premier who shows up once her tan has faded enough to not be so obvious, a health minister who only shows up to deflect every single question ever asked of her once her nails are fucking dry, and an education minister who seems to feel like his role is purely ceremonial.

Personally, I don’t have any trust left in the system. Our educators are worn out. They are getting sick. Two staff members DIED at the same school this week. Parents are worried. I AM WORRIED.

I don’t actually give a shit if Omicron is mostly less severe. Less severe than what? Than dying? Than needing hospitalization in the acute phase? A lesson in proportionality: a smaller percentage of an exponentially bigger number is still a whole fucking lot. More than Manitoba can handle, and more than is fucking reasonable to risk.

So no. I don’t think I will be sending my kids to school in January. I fucking hate that this is where I am at again, but it is what it is. I actually feel safer sending my kids to extra curricular activities that provide shorter exposure, better ventilation, smaller numbers and business owners who hare able to control some variables in the name of keeping everyone safe and keeping their doors open.

And once again, those of us privileged enough to be able to say “NOPE” will have a better chance of escaping this wave that those that rely on schools to not only educate their kids, but care for them. There is no equity given to those already underserved in terms of resources, care, funding or options. I can’t find all the answers for everyone, and I wish to God I could. All I can do is be part of the solution by trying to keep our little family safe.

And PS, I will participate in “remote learning” as it it provided or not provided on my own terms. I am not killing myself or my relationship with my kids to meet some made up standard of what they need to know about the history of Egypt when they are 9 years old. I don’t give a fuck right now. My priorities will be happiness, survival, coping, health, inquiry based learning and fun. I will try to facilitate work sent home as we can tolerate and that is IT. If that makes me a bad parent then there is a place reserved in my mind for you to go fuck yourself.

I hope this is the last time I have to vent this type of frustration, but I suspect our leaders will continue to suck ass. So until we get new leaders, I’m gonna take matter in my own hands and do the best I can.

Solidarity to all the educators, staff, parents and kiddos out there. I hope you all stay well and we see the actual beginning of the end after this.

This is why people are mad at you for not getting vaccinated

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The past two years have felt very, very long. Living in a state of constant uncertainty, trying to manage the unknowns both personally and professionally, and coping with the rollercoaster of rules and restrictions has not been easy for anyone. Most of us have made constant sacrifices to try and protect ourselves and others often at the expense of our own well being or mental health and in some cases our careers or businesses.

And yet, there was hope.

The best, smartest and most dedicated scientists in the world worked tirelessly to try and find either preventatives or treatments for Covid so that we could start to put this whole thing behind us. Using decades old technologies and combining them with new knowledge they were able to develop vaccines that had good efficacy and safety.

And we hoped some more.

In the meantime, a small pocket of people were determined to shatter that hope. They were loud, and abusive, and just plain wrong.

And while this post is not about the science behind the vaccines, I will acknowledge that vaccinating against coronaviruses is a difficult thing in terms of efficacy and long term immunity- I myself believe that vaccines alone won’t fix things. First, because vaccinating against diseases in the upper respiratory tract is problematic, second because coronavirsuses mutate quickly and often, and third because the resulting immune response wanes relatively quickly. I think that research should also continue to focus on therapeutics and “cures”, and understanding long term effects of the disease while ALSO knowing vaccination remains one of the most important tools we have in this fight to get back to a normal life.

Having said all of that, I think those opposed to immunization don’t understand (or don’t care) why those of us in support of it are frustrated, disappointed, or in some cases really angry at them.

It’s frustrating when someone you care about shows a lack of concern for you. Having someone in your life who appears to put their own fears, investment into conspiracy theories or self indulgent Dunning-Kruger behaviours ahead of the care of others is disheartening. Watching someone be willing to increase the risk of others around them is disappointing. Having a loved one willing to put themselves at risk in the name of being *right* makes us sad and worried.

Having to make a choice that you can live with in terms of your risk tolerance for a novel disease with so many unknowns and being accused repeatedly of being divisive is shit. Having uncomfortable conversations with friends or family or clients explaining why you can’t have them in your home not because you are mad but because you aren’t willing to put your children at risk- or them for that matter is SHIT. Being made out to be the bad guy when all you are trying to do is mitigate risk and keep your family from harm is fucking shit.

It’s worrisome to think about losing someone you care about when it is something that you can improve your odds on. We have grieved the loss of so many things these past two years and do not want to watch loved ones get sick, die and suffer. It is avoidable.

Listening to the absolute arrogance of ignorant people who should have stayed int their lane way back at the starting line is fucking irritating. Watching health care professionals be harassed while they care for people who refuse to get vaccinated is an abomination and the stupidest thing ever. Being threatened online by strangers for choosing to get your child vaccinated is horrifying.

Watching our medical system (which albeit was already a mess before) sag and almost collapse as the added strain of unvaccinated Covid patients exploited every weakness it had is scary. Knowing that it will probably be a decade before we catch up with non-Covid related illness and conditions and the weight of treating those who are now sicker and will require more care is daunting. Knowing that Covid maybe could have been “just a cold” for most of those people is hindsight nobody wants to think about.

If you’ve chosen not to get vaccinated not because it was a decision your physician made with you but because you’ve decided you know better-you still deserve love and compassion and care. But if you wanted to understand how your decisions have affected others, not just in terms of their health or access to healthcare now you know. It feels like a betrayal on a lot of levels- in terms of who we thought you were, your character, your willingness to protect the things that need protecting. It feels like the hugest disrespect to all of us who have made every efforts to protect ourselves and YOU.

Back before there was an internet, before the Chris Skys and Maxime Berniers we listened to the experts because they were the experts. We took care of one another. We listened to reason and tried our best.

A big part of me wishes we could go back to that. Everything is so toxic now.

But let’s go back to trying our best, and remembering that just because you are mad at someone you can still love them.

This is fucking bullshit already

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Jesus Christ.

That’s not a swear. It’s a heartfelt plea that we get some guidance and salvation from the absolute fucking idiocy that we are plagued with in terms of leadership in Manitoba.

You would THINK that by now, in the fourth round of this pandemic spawned in the pits of the darkest corners of Hell, punishing humanity for its arrogance and entitlement that we would have the sense to do things a little differently.

You would THINK that by now, instead of letting these absolute fuckpastries of politicians make the decisions that we would start to think hey, maybe, just maybe, it would be a good idea to listen to the people working in hospitals, laboratories, and otherwise highly specialized areas of lifetime study instead?

That maybe instead of blowing billions of dollars on knee jerk reactions we could clue in to the fuckery of donkey ass that is about to happen because of Omicron and invest our efforts in prevention, testing, ENFORCEMENT, infrastructure (a little ventilation, anyone?) and capacity.

That maybe the last thing we need is another goddamn task force with a million dollar pricetag and a new pants suit for our minister of health?

I.Don’t.Want.To.Spend.Another.Year. Locked.In.MyHouse.With.My.Children.

I love my kids, god help me I would fall on a thousand swords for them and throw a verbal assault that would sink a sailor’s ship if you messed with them, but I can’t be all things for all people and continue to keep my shit together. I finally just felt like I was getting my groove back. Like Stella. If you know, you know.

So many of us did the right things. We tried SO HARD to do the right things, despite the whining and stupidity of the right wing cousin humpers and the inadequacies of our governments. And still the barn orgies churches were allowed to go on, nobody got shut down, the test positivity soared, and the politicians gave zero fucks because the VOTES.

Now we have less nurses and doctors thatn we did the last time, the doubling time of the virus is 3 days instead of 34 and even if you aren’t good at math you must be able to understand how utterly jacked in the ass we are going to be.

In the meantime our Premier went to football games and opened hospitals that can’t be staffed, and complained about the lack of an omnipotent crystal ball and told us not to see family while she planned a party at the stadium with 30, 000 friends.

The health minister got her nails done, baked cookies and refused to answer questions. She gave a beautiful performance of getting her booster shot and fucked off to the flower shop to kiss the ass of her potential voters while she passively signed the death warrants of others.

There’s only one thing left to do. I can’t even read the news anymore because DUMB PEOPLE.

I’m going to the LC.

It’s not even Halloween and I am already so tired of all the things

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We are less than two months into the school year, and I gotta tell you, I am already over everything.

I’m over the 50-60 hours work weeks. I am over managing that with the needs of the kids and their activities. I am over packing lunches and early mornings and running for the school bus and arguing about bedtime. Especially bedtime. Bedtime can go fuck itself. The End.

Mostly, I am over feeling like I am stretched so thin that I suck at everything I do. Maybe it is leftover trauma from all the lockdowns and a feeling of being so permanently overwhelmed that doesn’t want to let up.

Or MAYBE the last 18 months have enlightened us to the fact that we (in particular working mothers) have lost sense of a life balance that is even remotely reasonable and sustainable. I can’t help but feel like this was something we always knew was a problem but didn’t want to admit to ourselves, to our employers, to our spouses or to each other.

Seriously, who the fuck decided that working full time, plus commuting while raising children was really going to be good for us? Who decided that starting every day at 6am, rushing around to get everyone ready for the day, sending off the kids, working our asses off all day, rushing home to do pick ups, feed the people, rush to get to the next thing, rush home to bathe and go to bed -was a good idea? God forbid you don’t work a regular schedule either, because who really does anymore anyway?

I honestly don’t know what the answer is. I mean, obviously as a fairly *successful* working mom, I fully advocate for women to have meaningful and fulfilling careers WHILE being able to raise a family. So why does it feel like these issues of balancing family and career are so heavily skewed towards women? I don’t want to discount all the dads and their efforts, but it certainly feels like the assumption to this day is that the mother is the primary caregiver and it is us that make the bulk of the sacrifices and carry the heaviest part of the emotional load.

At the risk of sounding like I just want to bitch because I am tired and burnt the fuck out ( I am) I am also truly wondering how to better support families and working parents.

Can work days be tailored to accommodate school hours? Can employers be mandated to offer on site childcare options for employees? Can we job share more commonly? In light of what we learned during the pandemic can we offer a hybrid model of working remotely and on site to reduce commute times?

What about restructuring societal norms? How do we normalize fathers taking paternity leave? How do we normalize it being ok for women to ask for help and admitting that they are struggling? Multigenerational homes? Cooperative living communities where childcare duties are shared?

I certainly can’t wave a magic wand and solve all of my own problems, so I won’t pretend like I have all the answers about this most challenging season in life. All I know is that I am tired, so I will share what I think might help in the meantime:

Bitches, give yourselves a fucking break. Stop making the gold standard so fucking hard. Give yourself permission to heat a store bought, frozen lasagna for dinner. Feed them hotdogs and pre-made subs from the deli. Hire a house cleaner. Skip the gym without guilt when you feel like you can’t add another thing to your plate. Build a village and take turns with the kids. Have your groceries delivered. Do the things that make all the bullshit easier however that looks like for you, and focus on spending time on the things that matter more.

And don’t forget to do a shot of tequila. Wash, rinse, repeat.

True gratitude includes being thankful for the stuff that sucks too.

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We all know the things we are supposed to be thankful for. We celebrate them as often as we can- having food, shelter, family, love, good health etc. That’s the easy part.

True gratitude and insight, I believe, comes from being thankful for all the things that suck too. Without the dark there is no light, so to speak. After a three year stretch of navigating rough seas, I am trying to find light in the darkness, and understand how to be grateful for the things that haven’t been easy.

Today, I am thankful for suffering multiple losses in a short period of time. The grief was a testament to the fact that I am a well loved human. I had grief to wade through because I knew love. I knew companionship and support and joy through others, both human and animal. I loved sincerely. I am grateful that even though the loss is painful, it is there to remind me of love, and not everyone has that.

I am thankful for the lessons that the stress and uncertainty of this pandemic has offered. It showed me that we are capable of doing hard things together for the sake of others. I am grateful for the people who disappointed me during all of this, because it helped me reevaluate relationships that were draining me and helped me to better appreciate the ones that filled me up. It allowed me to learn how to say no. It gave me strength to stand up for the things that I think are important to stand for, and the tenacity to see them through.

I am thankful for pants that are too tight, or feeling guilty for not exercising enough because it means that I always have enough to eat. It means that my children don’t know what it is to be hungry. It means that my dogs eat better than some humans.

I am thankful for balances on credit cards and lines of credit and sometimes having to wait until next payday to make a purchase, because it means that I have appreciation for the things we have. It means that I understand the value of hard work and the value of privileges we enjoy. It means that I value the time of others, and don’t take them for granted. I am thankful for the lesson it teaches my children of having to work for what you have instead of expecting it to be handed to you.

I am thankful for illness and injury because it gives me empathy for others who are suffering.

I am thankful for mistakes because without them we would never learn anything new. I am thankful for doing it wrong a million times before getting it right because it teaches us perseverance and hope and determination.

Today, I want to be thankful for the things we usually wouldn’t want to acknowledge, because it’s been a rough few years, and I think the next few are likely to be challenging, and finding the calm among the storms fills me with hope.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Vaccine Mandates for the Win

Photo by Artem Podrez on Pexels.com

This past week has been swirling with news and discussions about mask and vaccine mandates and the ever evolving situation with this pandemic from hell which feels like it will never ever, ever end.

I was asked yesterday in an interview with cbc radio where I stood on vaccine mandates. The answer is, right in front, leading the charge of YES PLEASE.

I’ve been sucking up my opinion about this the past few months because I work with a lot of different folks with different beliefs and I thought it would be cool to try to be respectful of that. I will also say that there are a lot of people who are choosing not to get vaccinated, but are also respectful of the hesitation of others to have contact with them due to that decision, and even others who are basically preferring to continue to isolate themselves rather than get vaccinated. This is not about them, because they are making choices based on their personal situations and willing to accept the limitations of those choices.

HOWEVER, if you are working with the public, or any vulnerable population which includes but is not limited to children, medically fragile, elderly, or impoverished folks I believe it should absolutely be mandated that you are vaccinated. By not doing so, you are putting those who have limited choices in receiving the services they require and have a right to (such as education or healthcare) at risk. Let’s put it this way: all children have a right to a public education and all people have a right to healthcare in this country, but we are not entitled to work in any given field. That puts the onus on the employees, the teachers, the doctors and the therapists to fulfill their mandate of providing a safe environment and making the well being of those they care for a priority.

In short: It is your right to decide what goes into your body, but you do not have a right to inflict that choice on others.

Employers create and implement policies for their staff ALL the time. The restaurant I worked at once upon a time had a strict policy about how many piercings you could have, how big they could be, no visible tattoos, and what colour your hair could be. It was based on the clients’ comfort level and response to said body modifications. To put that in terms of Covid vaccines, the “clients” have a right to feel safe in their environment and I think that gives employers the right to determine that their staff needs to accommodate the protection of their “clients” in order to be employed in that sector. While the vaccines are not perfect, especially with new variants in play, they remain one of our best tools to reduce transmission and the risk of severe illness. It will help us begin to focus on care for things other than Covid and emergencies in our health care system. It will help our kids stay in school and our economies to thrive again. Isn’t that what we all want? When we have cancer do we refuse treatment because we don’t know what’s in it? When you have a headache do you spend hours on the internet “researching” the ingredients and looking for adverse reactions of Tylenol? NO. Because many believe in the science when it is convenient for them. I can guarantee when someone refuse to take a vaccine due to lack of trust in the doctors recommending it, they will have an expectation that all of a sudden the same doctor will have enough skill and knowledge to help them get well. It’s all so fucking maddening if you ask me.

We are starting to see post secondary educational institutions mandate masks and vaccines with some school divisions following suit. Which leads me to congratulate the insight and leadership some institutions are showing, but ALSO begets the questions: Where the fuck is the leadership from our provincial government on this? Why is this being passed on to superintendents and university boards? We haven’t we seen hide nor hair of our “Health Minister” for months until all of a sudden she wants to be the Premier, holds a press conference and refuses to address or even acknowledge the crisis in our health care system. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

People get confused about rights and freedoms all the time. We tend to forget that just because we can, doesn’t mean we should, and also doesn’t mean we are entitled to. The only thing we seem to be experts at these days is finding arguments to confirm our own biases about anything. We are so focused on the ME, that we have no tolerance for the WE.

As members of society and communities, we have a moral obligation to care for others. How our selfishness has grown so deep that minor inconveniences have ballooned into heated political divide and such a severe lack of empathy that we are more willing to risk our children’s well being than implement the easiest of safety measures weighs heavily on me. How an unwillingness to protect our most valuable and vulnerable has evolved into an acceptable “opinion” is unfathomable.

So yes. I truly believe that vaccine mandates should be implemented in many sectors. It’s not even a new thing.Health care professionals when applying to study and children entering the public school system have historically been required to show proof of up to date immunizations, so this should be an easy transition.

I am grateful that my children’s school division has blazed the trail to mandate both masks and vaccines. I am relieved the campus I teach on has done the same. I am hoping our leaders will see what is occurring in other parts of the country and world and will act proactively this time around. There’s still time to prevent the disaster that is waiting for us this fall, so here’s hoping our government will listen a little harder this time around and do the job they promised to do.

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