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Category: family

Rosemary was her favourite herb

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Celebrating holidays without important people in your life is a tough thing. This is the fourth Easter that has come along since losing my mom in 2019 and if I am being really honest, I only really remember one other of them. Oddly enough it was the 2020 holiday that sticks out in my mind because we were in full lockdown, unsure of what the future held due to a new pathogen circulating the globe. I remember it because I spent the afternoon walking through the urban forest with my dad, a rare time we’ve spent alone just chatting about nothing much of consequence that I wish was much more frequent.

Easter for us Christians is supposed to be a time of rejoicing and reflecting. We are celebrating an omnipotous love that is rooted is ultimate sacrifice. Someone who supposedly died for us so that we might not have to suffer. Someone willing to endure great pain and sadness in our stead. Someone who loved us more than we deserved and more than we will ever truly understand.

For some Easter is simply a secular holiday where we get an extra break from work and celebrate family with goodies and treats and laughter.

Either way, I sometimes wonder if we are worthy of any of it. Over the past few years, I have seen people claiming to have the deepest understanding of their faith and acting as if they know the rules and the advice and the love of God better than most. They study and go to big churches and tithe and toss their beliefs in your face every chance they get. They accumulate wealth but begrudge anyone asking for help. They are unwilling to make any sacrifice of their own interests or desires for their fellow human, putting themselves above everything else. How are we so good at constantly failing each other? How easy it is to forget what started it all- a love beyond all comprehension that serves as the example of the lives we are to lead.

And so today, I think about my dear mum, who suffered so horribly with chronic pain and trauma for so long and how even so she tried incredibly hard to make this world a better place for everyone around her. I think about how she deflected her pain by diffusing the pain of others. She fed and clothed people. She made them feel special. She never let anyone feel lonely. She helped anyone who asked her. She loved all creatures great and small and showed compassion to every living thing. I mean sometimes she was so fucking crazy bu she truly exemplified the idea that faith without works doesn’t count. You can quote a million Bible passages but if you don’t sincerely act on them, what is the point?

This week I remembered her and her exemplary faith with little acts. I took in a sad dog even thought we don’t really have time, money or space for her. I invited an older gentleman to move ahead of me in a very long line as he struggled with his cane. I chatted with a lonely stranger. I mended fences with someone because we all deserve second chances.

And today, while getting ready for a holiday dinner tonight, I couldn’t find any dill for a glaze. But underneath something else, I found a bunch of dried rosemary in the fridge. My mom fucking loved rosemary. It was her favourite herb.

It’s stupid, but I felt her with me just then. It made me miss her, but it also made her feel closer.It reminded me that we can be better and do better with little things. That is what love is.

Alleluia, He is Risen.

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.

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.

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.

Dear Manitoba, start enforcing restrictions or STFU

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Fuck restrictions.

Honestly. Closing retail spaces and restaurants and gyms again isn’t going to do anything further unless a few other things happen.

  1. Close the borders for real. Redefine what essential is and make sure that you monitor it. Yes, the variants are already here but adding new sources of infection is just plain dumb.
  2. Go to remote learning, at least for high school. Stop allowing team sports to practice. This is one of the fastest growing age groups spreading infection, and the data showing limited spread in schools no longer applies as variants are changing the game.
  3. Vaccinate everyone who works in a manufacturing or factory setting. These people are essential to supply chains and work in small, poorly ventilated environments and have a high proportion of new Canadians or folks living in multi-generational homes. This immediately makes close contact numbers high, exposes those more vulnerable, and continues to put at risk those that have no other alternatives for income, no sick benefits and do not have the option of working from home.
  4. Mandate anyone who is able to work from home to WORK.FROM.HOME.
  5. Vaccinate teachers.
  6. Vaccinate bus drivers and taxi drivers.

And here’s the big one:

It really does not matter one bit what restrictions you impose if people refuse to follow the rules. Increasing the restriction levels does nothing but further punish those who are already doing their best: wearing masks, limiting contacts, only seeing people outside their household outdoors, limiting non-essential activities. The people who aren’t doing this and are organizing anti-mask rallies, or spreading mis-information online, having personal gatherings, and basically anything else to effectively thumb their fucking noses at public health officers will continue to do so no matter what rule you make.

They are LAUGHING at you.

To be honest, we all are. You sound like a bunch of idiots. Nobody trusts that you know what you are doing or are prepared to actually back up these rules.

Until this government gets out there and actually enforces the rules they are making, not one of these anti mask “BUTMYRIGHTS” wads from a rancid dickhole is going to give a shit.

As we speak, there is an anti mask rally happening at the Forks. No cops, no bylaw officers in sight. Not one ticket being handed out, not one arrest being made. THEY.ARE.LAUGHING.AT.YOU.

If the Manitoba government wants people to take their Covid actions seriously, they need to get serious about them. Ticket every fucker who breaks the rules. They don’t pay the ticket? They can sit in jail until the 14 day quarantine period is over.

And I don’t want to hear anymore about how they are worried about people lying to contract tracers for fear of being fined. They are lying ANYWAY. If you had your shit together, you could easily investigate this.

Get your shit together, Manitoba. Or we are about to be Ontario, Part Deux.

On the subject of appropriateness and other bullshit

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I read something this morning that hit the nail on its fucking head.

https://bcmj.org/presidents-comment/nature-being-professional

Basically, this doctor in British Columbia talks about how we have these standards of “professionalism” and “appropriateness” and I swear to fucking god this man nailed it so hard.

I’m not a doctor, obviously, I am a teacher. A parent.

Both of these titles comes with this list of expected and accepted behaviours that people like to hold over your head not because they mean anything, but because it makes them feel better about themselves if they can have some criteria to judge you by.

“Teachers don’t get frustrated. They don’t get angry. They are always calm and patient and never swear. They engage in professional, arms length relationships with their students and their families. They don’t share personal experiences or stories. They don’t reveal personal details about faith or family or belief systems.”

“Parents have endless supplies of energy and selflessness and love. We shouldn’t yell, or consider ourselves. We are capable of knowing when library day is and whose laundry basket is full. We keep track of what time is swimming lessons and soccer practice and what day are we meeting friends at the park and who needs a new jacket and did you brush your teeth today and we’re almost out of ketchup. Our energy is endless and we take the time not to discipline our children but just have meaningful conversations with them and it’s ALL FINE ALL THE TIME HERE IS A NICELY EDITED PHOTO FPR SOCIAL MEDIA.”

It’s all fucking bullshit. They are impossible standards that are built on a mountain of lies we tell ourselves that do nothing but hide the truth about our personhood and all the beautifully real and messy thing that go along with being human.

Here’s the thing. The second you stop pretending that you need to live up to any of these standards is beyond liberating.

I literally break every rule, every fucking day.

Like Dr. Chow in the above article, I refuse to live behind a set of barriers between myself and my students and my children. I wear leggings and messy buns. I share my struggles and successes as a musician and a parent. I ask about their day and their feelings and I actually listen to them. I give them a safe place to fall without judgement.I say fuck in front of my kids and in the company of adults. I fuck up and get mad and take ownership of myself and say I’m sorry. I tell the truth about who I am every single day and in return, people feel like they can tell me the truth about who they are.

And while I may not be everyone’s favourite flavour at the ice cream shop, at least you know I’m not full of shit. Professionalism? No thanks. Realism? Yes please!

In return I feel an enormous sense of community around me. When my mom died two years ago, my students’ families took care of me, because I at some point had taken care of them. They fed me and cried with me and took care of my kids. When my dog died and my students came for their lessons, they hugged me and forgave me for being the worst teacher ever that week. When my students became teenagers and they needed an adult to be on their side when they made bad decisions and to give them advice, I was there. When they were hurt and needed help, they asked me. When my families were struggling as units, they shared their hardships with me and I loved them anyway.

When I was a terrible parent and was exhausted and shitty to my kids, the other moms reassured me. When I couldn’t find a solution they offered advice. They didn’t judge me. When they saw me failing or bitching or asking for help, they shared their own problems and complained in solidarity. We supported each other.

And honestly, I think being real and transparent and sincere is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and each other.

Personally, I don’t give a fuck about the details, as long as you own yourself. Being real and authentic can’t live in the same house as “appropriateness”.

And yes, I get it- there are obviously situations where we respect the boundaries and limitations of others. That’s a given. I’m just saying you can’t exist authentically in a bubble blown up on the expectations of others without being in fear of it popping all the time.

BE MESSY. BE HONEST.

Throwing shade at parents who can’t afford to “make sacrifices” to do a School Trustee’s job for free is Pallister’s latest gross thing

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

“A great many Manitoba parents who are heroic in their behaviour make the decision to back their kids in their pursuit of a better life through education…….made sacrifices to make sure they were involved in their children’s education, read to their children, made the sacrifice of learning themselves…..”

These are the words our Premier chose to use when asked about how parents facing various social barriers to becoming members of school councils are going to have equitable voices with the proposed changes of Bill 64. As Dougald Lamont so eloquently pointed out, many parents don’t speak English, or work long hours or multiple jobs to make ends meet, and the reality is that communities lower on the socio-economic scale will be disproportionately challenged to find enough parent resources to take on the new responsibilities proposed in Bill 64.

The statement above is insulting at best and shows a complete lack of understanding of the struggles of many people in this province. Coming from a place of extreme privilege and refusing to see this Province through anything other than is his narrow field of vision, the Premier seems to be only capable of speaking from his own life of comfort without expressing any empathy or understanding for those who do not.

The average price of a house in Winnipeg is almost $300,000 and the average cost for a 2 bedroom apartment in Winnipeg is almost $1,300/ month. Minimum wage is $11.90. From my calculations, if you work 40 hours a week, your gross income is about $1,900/ month. Even if there are two parents in the home, working full time you are grossing $3,800. BEFORE tax.

Let’s assume that the parents have 2 children. According to http://www.numbeo.com, the average cost of living per person in Winnipeg NOT INCLUDING RENT is $1,137.22. Multiply that by 4, and add in rent, and you get $5,848.

Tell me, Mr. Premier, which part of their well being should the parents “sacrifice” so that they can do the job of trained professionals for free, because you think that we are all just lazy fools who don’t love our children? Should one parent quit their job to “back their children” and either forgo food, shelter, heat, clothing or transportation?

Tell me again, Mr. Premier how two parents working multiple jobs in order to just be able to scrape by are supposed to sacrifice anything else than they already have to prove your ideals?

On a personal level, I have struggled with being a working parent. My particular field of work involves almost exclusively annual contracts that are not protected by labour laws and have no guarantee on renewal depending on individual clients, the economic climate and funding. I acknowledge that this comes with the advantage of being able to decide how much work to take on and being able to schedule ( to a small extent) around my husbands rotating shift work. But it also means I have no sick time and any work I do not complete has to be made up or refunded. We were extremely fortunate to have incredibly supportive family (parents and chosen) that minimized our childcare costs, but most people are not that fortunate.

And you know what? We still struggled financially at times, even with both of us earning decent livings. We still made sacrifices. I worked a part time job on the weekends as a bartender just to help things along. Doesn’t leave much time for developing public school curriculum and disciplining teachers for poor performance, despite my efforts to be a “heroic” parent and do it all.

And even though I said a million times that I would have loved the opportunity to stay home with our kids, there was absolutely no way that was financially viable without tossing us into a situation where we couldn’t pay what is considered a very modest mortgage and living expenses.

We are now middle class, hard working parents, live full and busy lives, give our children every opportunity we can afford, and the AUDACITY of this Premier to insinuate that we aren’t prepared to make enough sacrifices to enable our children’s ability to thrive by doing the work of paid experts for free is absolutely ABSURD.

Some of us can’t afford to turn down a shift, or not accept a new client, or take an unpaid day off to do the job of a public education trustee or superintendent because our premier wants to throw ignorant insults at us. For the kids who are not thriving in the system, it isn’t because their parents aren’t willing to make sacrifices for them, it’s because we live in a province where our Premier is actively stacking more barriers in front of them. All while he insults their commitment as parents and gives the same old “family values, pull up your bootstraps” speech every right winger likes to throw at anyone who has ever struggled with something other than deciding which Caribbean Island to buy a vacation home on .

This has got to stop, Mr. Premier. You are way out of line, and should be ashamed of yourself and your absolute arrogance on topics you seem to know little about.

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