Saturday, October 5, 2013

Parenting - Actions Speak Louder

I learn so much from parenting.  

Sometimes, it's humbling.

Sometimes, it's downright embarrassing.

Since forever, Q has had a difficult time reading and writing.  He hates reading.  He hates writing.  And he has to work really hard at both.  Last year, we had the school do some testing, because I was really concerned that he has dyslexia.  Studying for spelling tests were a daily struggle and I felt like I was waaaaay out of my league.  I needed help in helping him.  The testing revealed that he was reading and writing at a grade level lower than he is in.  This spiked my anxiety.  Reading and writing at a grade level lower can be an indication of a learning disability.

Q is always so good at everything he does.  He's awesome at sports, he can do math in his head, he beats me at board and card games all the time.  Everything comes so easy for him.  I knew it must be so frustrating for him to have such a difficult time with spelling.

So I did everything I could do to help.  We studied those 20 words for hours every week.  Hours.  Like, I'm talking hours.  On average, we were spending 30 minutes to an hour every night practicing the words.  I would have him stare at the word, write the letters, say the letters - all in an attempt to help him succeed on the spelling test every Friday.  And then I would stress that it didn't matter what the mark was, as long as he did his best, I was super proud of him for doing his best.

We finally hit out breaking point.  

I called the principal.  

She reviewed his file.

She called his teacher, a learning specialist, and me into her office so we could discuss how best to help my child with his learning disability.

So you know when you take your kid to the doctor because he's super sick and the second the doctor walks into the room, your kid is fine.  Totally fine.  And you look like the paranoid, overprotected mother??


This meeting was kind of like that.  

It was Friday, so Q had a spelling test.  He got 26/30.  Twenty six out of thirty words that have* ie* and *ei* (and don't follow the rules).  Words like receive and believe.  And he got 26 of them right.

Pretty fricken awesome, right?

Then the learning specialist had him read...where he read perfectly at a grade 4 level.

He's in grade 4.

The LST says, "So where's the problem?"

The principal says, "Does he have a lot of pressure from home to do well?"

The teacher says, "I've brought his journal.  It's very well written."

I started to sweat.  

What was going on here???

"Yes, but we had to study an hour every night for him to get 26/30..."  As the words are coming out of my mouth, I'm trying to grab them and put them back.

The principal says, "Does he enjoy sitting and practicing for an hour every day?"

Uh, no.

The teacher says, "He should be practicing for no more than 20 minutes per night."

They all just stare at me.  

As I'm sitting there, it finally hit me.

I'm telling Q that it doesn't matter what he gets on his test as long as he tries his best, but my actions are telling Q that he needs to try harder, do better, and sit in that chair until he gets every single word right. Because as long as your best is perfect, we're all happy.  

I wanted to crawl under the table, slink my way to the door, and then run for my life.  

Suffice it to say, my son does not have a learning disability.  He has an insane mother with outrageous expectations.  We're going to practice spelling for 20 minutes a day.  We're going to read for 20 minutes a day.  We're going to celebrate (one of his spelling words, btw) no matter the results.  We're going to practice what we preach.  As long as we do our best, we're super proud of ourselves.

I'm also going to stop reading Harry Potter to him while he cries that he's soooooooooo bored and hates Harry Potter.  I'm going to stop telling him I'm doing this for his own good - to inspire his reading and if he would just listen, he would love it, and he would love reading, and he will feel passion for reading.

Like I do...

Oh...and one more thing....

Momma, you were right.

Friday, October 4, 2013

What's Pissing me off This Week - UPDATE

I was frustrated recently at the amount of angst I still have towards my ex. The problem is I really want to forgive him for being an ass so that I can be free. Seriously, folks - nothing makes me a raging b**** more than my ex. And I was thinking ‘c’mon, it’s been almost 10 years, just let that stuff go. What’s the hold up? It doesn’t matter, free yourself from the hold he has on you.’

It was then I realized I have let it all go. I’m no longer angry that he called his ex-girlfriend 10 minutes after our son was born (because they’re still friends…). It truly doesn’t matter that I was in the hospital for 10 days and he didn’t visit me once (yes, we were still together). I have even forgiven the naked pictures of another woman I found in his briefcase when I was 8 months pregnant (what…those pics? They’ve been there forever…)

I have forgiven it all.

For me.

No. I’m still mad at my ex because he continues to do totally idiotic things all. The. Time. to piss me off. I am continually trying to forgive him for the most recent act of stupidity.


1. Q’s been having a rough time with reading and spelling. It’s super frustrating for all of us. I don’t understand it, because I’ve been reading for like 30 years and it seems so simple to me. But it’s a huge deal. We’re getting help for him, but in the meantime, Mr. Ex tells Q that if he doesn’t try harder he will be kept back a year. This is horrible, because #1, they don’t hold kids back anymore and #2 Mr. Ex knows that. He was just trying to scare Q. I said, “Well, I don’t think it makes sense to lie to him. He’s stressed out enough about this without a false threat looming over his head.” Mr. Ex says, “I was trying to show him what’s at stake.” Uh, nothing then…nothing’s at stake….because you told him a lie. How about not knowing how to read a driver’s exam or a job application?!?!?!?! Those are all valid and true. But how about ENCOURAGING him instead????? I mention dropping a sport and doing tutoring instead, and Mr. Ex gets all antsy. Sure, let’s stick with the idle threats. Those are working so well.

2. Mr. Ex brings the girlfriend to Q’s hockey practice. They sit on the opposite side of the arena (away from everyone…), and he has his arm around her the whole time. They were practically sitting on top of each other. Ewww. She also came to Q’s soccer game on Saturday morning. Mr. Ex thought I didn’t see her sitting in the car, so kept making excuses for leaving the game to ‘get something from the trunk’ throughout the game. Then he had to leave the soccer game early, so he could get Q’s hockey stuff ready. The soccer game was at 11am. Hockey was at 6pm. What are we? 15??? If you want to leave the game so you can go have some *alone* time with your girlfriend, say that. Don’t treat me like an idiot and lie. Oh, wait….see point #1. Even Q says…”C goes everywhere daddy goes. It’s getting annoying.”

3. On Wednesday, Mr. Ex drops off Q at the wrong babysitter’s house. Apparently, this is my fault because I did not remind him the night before (evidently, a text the week before, and the night before was not enough). It’s also my fault because I send emails to the babysitters, and then do not tell him what we discuss. I’m going behind his back. Right. That’s right. I spend hours of my time organizing a babysitting schedule for my child and then do not tell you what I’ve organized. That makes sense. Why wouldn’t I tell you? What possible joy to I have to gain from not telling you what I’ve organized? Who would that really affect? Me??? No. You???? Nope. Q???? Yes. So why would I do that??? Why? I’m not out to sabotage my son. I organize a schedule specifically for my son’s well being. How about Mr. Ex spends his time organizing Q’s schedule and then send it back to me. Riiiiiiiight. That would happen. So now, apparently I have to remind him by phone, text, and e-mail because he gets confused by all my back handed dealings.

And I feel like I’m going to explode because in an attempt to be the bigger person….I did not say ANY of this to Mr. Ex. Nope. I kept it alllllllll inside. Deep breathing techniques have been my best friend today. And to top it off, I have at least another 9 years of this.

What am I going to do?

UPDATE: okayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, probably waaaaaaaaay too much information there. And instead of feeling better for the release, I actually feel worse. Most days are tickety boo for me, and others (like today) feel I'm climbing up a mountain backwards in a hurricane. Yup. That's kind of how I feel today.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Q-isms: War - Get on the Phone

As Q was falling asleep tonight, he said "War sucks. They should just do war over the phone."

This got me thinking...

Israelis - this is our land
Palestinians - no, it's our land
Israelis - nope. It's our land
Palestinians - nope. It's ours
Israelis - ours
Palestinians - ours
Israelis - ours
Palestinians - oooooooouuuuuuurrrrs!!!!
Israelis - you're so immature. This is the land of our ancestors. It's ours.
Palestinians - ours

Syria - we don't have any nuclear weapons. We don't know what you're talking about.
US - yes you do. 
Syria - no, we don't. We promise. 
US - ya well we heard otherwise
Syria - I swear on my dead mothers grave we do not have nuclear weapons
US - *whispering* check with intel to see if his mother is dead...
Russia - uhhhhh, hello? Hello! Yes, this is Russia. It's true. We were there last week and there are no nuclear weapons. We checked. 
US - oh ya??? Then how come all those people died??
Syria - uh, well you know we did have a bad case of the flu sweep through the country. 
US - hey....we checked...your mother is still alive....

US - give us Hussein
Iraq - no
US - give us Hussein
Iraq - no
US - give us Hussein
Iraq - no
US - give us Hussein
Iraq - no
US - GAH!!! Give us HUSSEIN!!
Iraq - no

Afghanistan - we hate you and your western ways
US - you're talking on the phone right now, aren't you? You're welcome. We invented that. 
Afghanistan - ...
US - ya, and how's that toilet working for you???
Afghanistan - we mean your western values, okay?!?!!
US - ohhhhhhh, like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!!?
Afghanistan - ....
US - how do you like the iPhone 5?? Good reception??

Quebec - we just want to be alone
Canada - but we love you...
Quebec - it's just not working for us
Canada - but, you're a part of us
Quebec - it's not you, it's us. We're just better than you
Canada - no we can work this out.
Quebec - you can have your flag back
Canada - no. You keep it.
Quebec - we don't need it anymore 
Canada - you might change your mind. Sleep on it. You might feel differently tomorrow...

Q-isms: Smart A$$

Me:  Hey, Daddy is taking you to hockey tonight but do you want me to come and watch too?
Q:    I don't care
Me: don't care? if I stay home and watch t.v., you're okay with it?
Q:   Well I want you to come, but if you have other stuff that's fine.
Me:  How about, "Mommy, I'd like for you to come"?
Q:    Okay

Me:  How's dinner?
Q:   Fine, I guess.
Me: Well, I guess you don't have to eat it and can go to bed without dinner...
Q:   No, I really like it. It's good.

But then...

(after a trip to Hawaii where he went snorkling every day with his dad)

Q:   Mommy, remember Dory from Finding Nemo?
Me:  Yep, I sure do...
Q:   Ya, I saw her!

Oh my goodness, what a conflict that must be going on inside that little 9 year old head of his. One day, moody and too cool and then the next, he's calling me mommy and thinks he's met a fish from a cartoon. It reminds me he's still my little boy, even though he swooshes his head to the right to get the hair out of his eyes, and says "I don't care" more than any one I know.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

What is Going ON?!?!?!?!?!?

I've been so troubled this past week by things going on in this world.  Not even this world, but in my city, my country.  It makes me sad that this is the way things are going.  My heart breaks and mourns for my son's generation, and every generation after because we're losing some fundamental values - like compassion and respect. 

Earlier this week, a friend of mine who is almost seven months pregnant was walking across the street, when she was hit by a car.  Now, she's fine, completely fine.  But the point is, the guy who hit her rolled down his window and yelled, "Sorry..." as he drove away.  One witness didn't stop but asked if she was okay as he passed on by.  Even the police didn't feel the need to investigate - because she wasn't in a coma or worse...  I guess they're too busy arresting people for having parking tickets and such.

A friend of mine wrote on her fb page that a car was in the middle of an intersection blocking traffic.  Car after car after car drove past, not bothering to see if they needed anything.  My friend stopped to see if she could help, only to find one of the passengers was having a seizure.  Everyone else just drove on by...too busy or just not bothered enough to care.

Five children (that we know about) in Canada in the past year have committed suicide over claims that they have been bullied to the point of no return.  The victims of bullying.  Let me state the obvious for what I will say next maybe will shock some.  It is horrible, horrible, horrible that anyone thinks it's okay or derives any delight from belittling, teasing, or hating someone else.  Especially to the point where someone thinks the only out is to kill themselves.  It's horrendous.

However, it's also horrendous that no one thought to do anything about it until these children killed themselves.  All these anti-bullying commercials, in my opinion, glorify the bullying and glorify the bullying.  Instead, let's teach these children how to defend themselves (with words, of course), how to stick together.  Let's teach children self worth, so that when they're met with adversity - they know otherwise.  Let's teach children that shitty things are going to happen in this world, that not everyone wins, that succeeding in life is really, really hard work.  Let's teach them that failures happen.  Let's help them find somewhere to fit in.  If I had tried to fit in with the popular kids in high school, I would have been teased for sure.  Instead, I found a small group of like minded souls who enjoyed the same things I did, who had my back - and so it didn't matter when people laughed at me, or said something bad about me.  They weren't my people and so what they thought didn't matter.  And to this day, it does not matter.  

Then let's teach them how to get up, brush themselves off and try again.  Let's show them what competition looks like and how to practice even harder when they lose.  Let's show them how to work hard, fail, work harder, fail, work harder and fail again.  Because it seems to me, kids don't know what adversity is.  Everyone gets a ribbon at the race, because everyone showed up.  

What worries me even more is that I fit into this group just as much as anyone else.  I try to shield my child from everything, because isn't that my job as a parent?  Q thinks bullying is when someone thinks something other than him.  "S wanted to play on the swings at recess, but I said no, I want to play soccer.  He's such a bully."

Dinner with some friends this week was also quite enlightening.  No longer can anything with any inkling of Christianity be in a public school.  I understand the separation of church and state, whether I agree with it or not, but you cannot even mention Santa anymore.  Children refuse to stand for the National Anthem, because it's not theirs or because it mentions God in it.  


These same schools will equally celebrate Eid, Ramadan, Chinese New Year, Diwali, and Vashaki.  Don't get me wrong...I don't mind this, and even welcome it, because it's so fascinating to learn about other cultures.  The problem that I have is that our culture is becoming *offensive* in our own schools, our own country.  Our culture is slowly being erased.

What's going on?

How do you make a difference in a world where people no longer care?

Where do you even begin?

How do you teach your children to care? 

What do you teach your children?

I think we're teaching our children to be pansies.  We're teaching them to give up when the going gets hard.  We're teaching them not to stand up for what they believe in, because we're not doing it ourselves.  We're leading by example.  We're walking by people who need our help without a second glance.  We're every man for himself.  It makes me so sad.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Parenting a Tween - Separation Anxiety (mine)

More on the ever evolving relationship between me and my son...

My Q just came home after spending a week in Hawaii with his dad, and dad's new gf.  I missed him like crazy.  It was the longest we've ever been apart.  Eight whole days.  

He says he didn't miss me (even though he's been sitting on the couch beside me every chance he gets).  And I kind of get it...I mean, he was snorkeling with turtles and Dory for a week.  I wouldn't miss me either.

It's also a natural progression in our relationship.  

Wouldn't there be a problem if he cried himself to sleep every night because he missed me?  

I imagined him coming home and us spending quality time together playing board games and watching movies and laughing over milk and cookies.

Instead, he asked if he could go play with the neighbor's kids.

I realized that this is how it's supposed to happen.  This is how it always happens, with every parent and every child ever in the history of parents and children.  Children grow up, and eventually they move away.  It would be unnatural if they didn't.  While I'm mourning the loss of my baby, he's feeling pretty okay with venturing out on his own a little more.  

My job now as his momma is to just be.  

I mean, he is only 9 so it would probably be pretty irresponsible of me to leave him home alone and have him make his own dinner.  


I should be proud that there's a pretty huge chance he's not going to be living in my basement, with an extensive action figurine collection when he's an adult.  

It's my perspective that has to change on the situation.  

I think this is probably why God imagined a husband and a wife raising children together.  As the children grow, the parents' relationship with each other changes and evolves, and grows stronger.  Meanwhile, my relationship with my blog is growing...

Monday, September 9, 2013

What You Gonna Wish For?

Last week, I was in need of a plunger.

We have one of those new toilets, where you can flush a lot or a little.  Every time I flush a little, I feel like I'm saving the world, so it's awesome in that sense.  But...if you flush a little when you should have flushed a lot, it tends to get baaaaaacked up.  Add a nine year old boy who feels the need to use half a roll of T.P. - well, we were in need of a plunger.  

I go to the hardware store in my wedges and my cute polka dot skirt, and I'm all like, "How on earth am I going to find a plunger in here???  This place is huge..." when I stumble upon plungers all the way down the aisle.  This adorable little boy had decided to plunge the whole plumbing aisle, yes, but I prefer to think someone upstairs with a humour was looking out for me, and kind of went "uhhhhhh, here they are!!!!"

So I go home and I plunge.  And I plunge.  I plunge for a good ten minutes.  There were a few dry heaves in between, I'm not going to lie...but I plunged that toilet until we could flush without any fear of overflow.

And I thought to myself, "Well, well, well, reason 593 why I do not need a man!"  

Here's a funny thing:

When I fell for Mr. Ex, I was really looking for someone to take care of me.  In fact, I've always been attracted to men that were older than me, for that very reason.  I wanted to be taken care of.  Mr. Ex was financially stable.  He had a career.  He owned a house.  To me, these things seemed to equal security, safety and happiness.

Turns out...they didn't.

My dating life has been a search for someone to take care of me.  I realized this recently.  I've silently been asking for, waiting for someone to take care of me.

The funny thing?  While plunging that toilet, I realized I found that person.  

She was with me all along.  Somehow, without even noticing, I became the very person I needed.  

I'm not quite sure if I was crying from the overwhelming smell or from the overwhelming pride welling up within me.  It's funny how you get what you ask for.  Sometimes, you need to be prepared for what you ask for.  I was looking for a knight in shining armor.  

Instead, I found myself.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Back to School 2013/2014

Where does the time go?
My baby, who it seems like just started crawling yesterday, is in grade 4.
Grade 4.
Back to school is notoriously hard for us in the M household. 
The week before starts with major anxiety (Q's yes, but I'm not going to too...), tummy troubles, mood swings and tear.
Oh, the tears....they kill me.  They break my heart.  I want to say, "Okay, okay, you do not have to go to school.  Ever.  Who needs to read and write?"  And then common sense gets the better of me and I remember that even if I want to keep him home, it's kind of well, isolating and uhhhh, illegal. 
Sooooooo, we try to deal with it in other ways.
We do some cognitive therapy (who knew that depression in my early 20's would come in handy when parenting!!!).  As in:  What is the absolute worst thing that could happen?  Like the most outrageous, ridiculous, impossible thing that you can think of?  And then let's work our way back from there.  Forgetting your homework isn't such a big deal when you stat by being kidnapped by aliens.  And then we can kind of laugh about all the ridiculous scenarios.  Not to make light of the situation, but to acknowledge that by talking about things, you immediately take some of their *scary* away. 
We went to the school early on the first day so that we could walk around before too many people were there.  We became familiar with the surroundings again.  We found his class.  We came prepared. 
He was super moody the night before, and I was beyond frustrated.  I received some really good advise though, from some moms with 8 kids combined.  And so I tried it.  Even though I was irritated and angry, I said...
"Q.  I love you so much.  I always have and always will.  Nothing you do will ever, ever change that." 
Slowly, his mood changed. 
He said..."Mommy.  Can we talk about school before I go to sleep?"
And so we did.  We talked about his friends, the teachers through the years, his classmates, his favourite class, recess, lunch, everything.  We talked about everything.  For a long time.  I told him I was so proud of him and he was so brave for tackling this fear head on.
There were minimal tears.  A few the night before, but he did not burst into tears while standing in line.  He did not cling to me.  Even other parents commented on how well he did. 
I think I'm getting the hang of this parenting thing...although every time I think I've reached a comfort zone in parenting, everything changes and I realize I have no idea what I'm doing. 
Here's to Grade 4.  May it be the least stressful year yet!!
Well....there were no tears but I guess a smile was too much to ask!!!  Cool kids don't smile, and I'm pretty sure I was lucky the two of them stayed still long enough to take a memory :) 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Q Makes me Brave

It is sometimes the smallest things that teach you the best lessons.
The other night, it was super hot and muggy in the house and so I went to open the window to get some fresh air in the house.  I had to think twice before opening it because I was a little scared that it wasn't safe. 
The funny thing is that when Q was home the night before I didn't even think twice about having the window open.
I wondered why.  I mean, it's not like Q was going to protect me if a raccoon decided to join me in my bed, or a burglar decided he just had to have my uh...extensive collection of cardigans...
And then it hit me...
Q makes me brave.
With Q, I am a momma bear. 
I am his protector. 
His defender.
He makes me stronger than I ever knew I could be. (and that's saying something...because I'm kind of like, a scaredy cat...and I obsess over everything...I mean, sleeping with a open window scared me for crying out loud!)
But I know that I am capable of protecting him with all of my being.
I would run into burning buildings, I would lift a car over my head, I would fight swarms of bees (even though I joke otherwise about that one...ha...ha...ha..), I would fight the bad guy, I would wrap up a gaping wound (without puking), I would defend his honour, I would give him a fighting chance.
I love him more than I could ever imagine possible. 
So, Life Lesson:
Don't mess with momma. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What's Pissing me off this Week.

So the list might be small, but I feel veeeeeeeerrrrry strongly pissed off about them, so...ya...
1.  Uhhh, I called my cable company today because they were robbing me blind just so I can watch "Say yes to the Dress" and "Doc Martin" on Friday night.  And this is so cliché, but of course, I was put on hold and they said the approximate wait time was 4 to 8 minutes.  Ya.  It was 22.  22 minutes.  That's like triple the time.  Anyone who lies about stuff like time cannot be trusted.  Anyways, by the time I got off the phone (44 minutes later) I had shaved almost $75 off my bill per month.  PER MONTH.  That means they were uber gouging me.  That pisses me off.
2.  Miley Cyrus' little stunt at the VMA's.  It wasn't just was ridiculous.  She looked like she was having a seizure, a dirty, nasty seizure, but a seizure none the less.  Okay, we get it.  You don't care.  About anything.  Not your family, not yourself, certainly not your self respect.  Women around the world get thrown in jail for exposing their faces and not wearing burqas.  Women around the world have fought for basic rights like education and voting.  Women around the world are survivors of abuse - sexual, emotional and physical - but Miley, instead of using her status in life to promote and protect women less fortunate than her, decides to wear a nude suit and use a foam finger for purposes other than those intended, I'm sure.  I get that she's a performer.  I get that she is young and trying to 'find herself'.  But there are millions of girls out there trying to find themselves.  And they don't feel the need to do whatever it is she thought she was doing.  Her little act didn't just show she doesn't respect herself...I think it was a disgusting slap in the face to women everywhere.
3.  Justin Trudeau.  Okay, okay, okay...I get it.  Everyone thinks that Marijuana is not bad for you.  Everyone thinks it should be legal.  Everyone thinks that alcohol is just as *dangerous*.  Everyone does it.  Here's the's still illegal.  Let's argue semantics because oh. that. is. super. fun. right???  The 'law' says that possession is illegal, smoking it is not.  Hmmmmm, if you're smoking it, your holding it in your hand or your mouth which means you're in possession of it, okay?  But ohhhhhhh, Mr. Trudeau is above the law, because his father used to be the Prime Minister and he has great hair.  Ohhhhhh, and he's honest about it, so that's okay, right?  It's so refreshing that a politician is so honest about his drug habits.  And you know, everyone says such horrible things about Stephen Harper.  I have one thing to say about that - the WORLD ( the whole wide world....) was in a GLOBAL recession...the worst anyone had ever seen since the great depression.  Countries declared bankruptcy, hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs, had no way to support their families...and their countries were too poor to bail them out.  Everyone in the world, except for...oh. what. country. was. that?????  Oh that's right, CANADA.  We excelled.  Our dollar went crazy.  I didn't lose my job.  Did you?  Did you have to stand in a line with your food stamps, hoping food was left when you got there?  I bet not.  I think I'd rather vote for a guy who can successfully keep our economy running instead of a guy who tells everyone he smokes pot because it gets him popular with the 'in' crowd.  We're not in high school anymore people.  Do you want to belong to a frat or live in a country?  How about - you want to smoke pot, you make it legal and then do it.  Then it won't bother me in the least.
I am so glad I got that off my chest. 
It was driving me crazy.
Seriously.  I feel so much better now. 
I'm almost not annoyed by...
4.  One Direction (or 1D).  Was I really as ridiculous over the Backstreet Boys as girls these days are over 1D?  These are boys who do not have facial hair yet singing songs with stupid lyrics.  Ugh.  Talking about stupid lyrics...Katy Perry just wrote the most fabulous song for victimized women everywhere with the most over used clichés if you stand for nothing, you'll fall for many millions of times have you heard that?  And then, let's use the eye of the tiger phrase from another song...and say I'm the eye of the tiger and you're going to hear me roar.  Eyes don't roar.  Mouths do.  Lions do.  The eye of the tiger can refer to emotion and passion, but cannot reference vocal sounds.  Idiots.  And this is at the top of the charts right now, so the radio plays it all. the. time.


I feel so much better.

I'm not even going to start on my ex because he's just not worth it...

(And also, that list was a little longer than I thought it would be!)

What's pissing you off this week???

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I Have a Tween

(which is nowhere near as inspirational as "I have a Dream...")
I've always thought boys are waaaaaaaaaaay easier than girls to raise.  Boys are a little more difficult during the toddler years because they're so active and have so much energy, but once you find a way to channel that little something extra, you're golden.  Easy sailing for the next 15 years.  I've also been so blessed because Q has been such an easy kid.  I mean, I can count on one hand the number of out of control temper tantrums he's had.  He's always been very active - he started walking (and by walking, I mean running) at 9 months -  but by keeping him busy in soccer and hockey, parenting him has been a breeze.  He's polite, remembers his pleases and thank yous, does what he's asked (usually with me only having to ask twice...haha), and he has a very strong sense of right and wrong. 
This whole tween thing has knocked me over on my ass
At first I thought there was some sort of outside source that was influencing my sweet little angel.  Then I thought he needed a nap.  Or maybe he was just hungry.  I thought of blaming his dad.
But this nasty attitude is just not going away.
So, I googled the symptoms....
...and I found out I have a tween.
And that this is...
(pause for effect)
I feel sick to my stomach.  My heart actually physically hurts.  I do not recognize this mopey, insolent, miserable person living in my house.  I mean, don't get me wrong - sometimes, I see the kid that I know and love and we have some really great times.  But other times, he's a monster.  Last night, during a calm spell, I said to him..."Q, be the kind, funny kid that you are deep inside, the kid that everyone wants to be around.  Don't be the mean, grumpy kid."  To which he responded, "I know, but I just don't think twice.  It just comes out."
I get that he's starting to *find himself* and that can be a daunting task for anyone, let alone a 9 year old boy.  I get that the testosterone is starting to flow, and he doesn't know what to do with all that man-ness yet because he's...well...9.
Is there a solution?  Because I seriously don't think I can handle this attitude 24/7.
There bloody better be.  I think there is...
First of all, we had a visit recently with Nana and Grandpa.  Grandpa tried everything to cheer Q up and when nothing else worked, he put him to work.  After Q moved firewood for about 15 minutes, it was like he was a different kid.  He was talkative (no grunting), he was smiling (no perma-frown) and his eyes weren't rolling at everything I said.
Secondly, I am giving Q more responsibility around the house.  He wants to act like a moody teenager, well then I'm going to give him moody teenager chores.  Active chores like taking out the garbage and organizing the recycling...
Actually, I'm kind of at a loss for some more active manly if anyone has any ideas, throw them my way, please!!
Hand in hand with more responsibility comes more serious consequences.  I've explained to Q that he's the man of the family and men need to take care of their household.  There are no more time outs as punishment - there are privileges that get taken away, there are video games that disappear. 
We are going to be more structured.  We're going to have routines around here so Q knows what to expect and what is expected of him and for him. 
Of course, sports start up in the next few weeks and that will help his energy levels.  He's going to busy almost every day with some sporting event or another, and this will help channel that wayward testosterone.
To Re-Cap:
1.  Put him to work
2. Give him more responsibility
3. Give him more serious consequences
4. Create structure and routine
5. Lots and lots of organized sports
I'll keep you updated.  Hopefully, we'll both make it through this phase without going me mad myself.
Now if I could just figure out how to stay on top of him eating me out of house and home, because oh. my. goodness. the kid is hungry all. the. time. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Happy Birthday to Q

My little bug turned nine last week.  Nine whole years of wonderfulness filled with Q.  I cannot imagine my life without him.  He makes everything better in a million different ways.
I'm having a really hard time with Q turning 9. 
And going into grade 4.
I'm mourning the loss of my baby.  My toddler.  My little boy.
Because now he is 9.
His feet smell (worse than before)...
He'd rather hang out with his friends than with his momma.
He says I'm weird.  There was a time when he wanted to marry me - I guess it's a good thing he doesn't want to do that anymore - but still how do you go from that to *weird*?
He has opinions on everything from his hair (it's long) to his clothes (baggy). 
I'm flooded with memories of him being a baby lately, and it makes me so sad that I can barely remember the smell of his sweet skin, his new voice, his soft skin.  I miss holding him in my arms and rocking him to sleep.
Plus, he's going through this really annoying phase (Eeps, at least I hope it's a phase...).  It's like his goal every day is to annoy me.  He sass talks me.  He's loud. 
I guess that he's going through this little thing called...growing up.  Whether he or I like it or not, this is a process we cannot ignore or think won't happen.  I read somewhere that boys go through a testosterone surge at 2 (sooooo funny, my friends son started grunting everything at 2 - like from "owwww, I stubbed my toe" to "hi! how are you?") so maybe they go through another one at 9?
I am no longer the center of my son's universe.  I know it's normal for this to happen.  It's even really good for this to happen.  I knew it was coming all along.  But nothing could prepare me for it.  Especially because he is still the center of my universe. 
I am so dreading the teen years. 
At least I cannot legally leave him alone yet.
At least he can't drive.
Or drink.
Or do long division...
I guess we've got a while to go yet. 
And he still sleeps with his favourite blanket...
So, no matter what, he'll always be my baby.  Even though he can't see through his hair...
Happy Birthday to my beautiful (baby) boy!!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Parenting - The Trouble with Growing up

Parenting gets harder as Q gets older. I thought it would get easier, and I suppose in some ways it has.

There are no midnight feedings or messy diapers. There are no temper tantrums or toddlers with boundless energy. Babies and toddlers are just sooooo needy. I mean, Q can feed himself and dress himself. He can go *potty* without assistance. 

So that’s something, right? 

The thing about the younger years that I like is the amount of control you have over the circumstances and events surrounding your child. You can protect them from outside forces. You can control who has influence over them, by limiting/screening what T.V. they watch, who they hang out with. Even so called “un-controllable” temper tantrums are really within control, because you can shut them away in their bedroom until they stop being ridiculous. You can control their behaviour with consequences and discipline. 

I think I used control at least 5 times in that paragraph…do you think I have control issues? 

No. Me neither. (I think by *control*, I mean *protect*…that sounds better…) 

The point I’m getting at is that as your children get older, I’m finding, you begin to lose control over their lives. And I guess this is the natural progression of aging. I suppose it’s healthy. I’m just not sure how much I like it. 

Q has a new friend, a neighbourhood boy. This boy I do not like. At all. But he’s 8. How do you tell an 8 year old he cannot play with your child because he’s a rotten little shit? It’s kind of impossible. He yells at his parents (they lead by example, always yelling at him…), he’s rude to his little brother (“Move your fat head”), he’s impolite and mean. 

He comes to play video games with Q – I would much rather they play in my house than theirs – so I can….uhhhh….supervise… While playing video games, his dialog with my son is much similar to this, “Awww, what are you doing? You’re so dumb. Do you even know how to play this game? That was a stupid move. This is so boring. I hate this.” And on and on and on it goes. When he goes home, I tell Q he needs to stand up for himself when this kid says these things. I don’t really know how he does this. Admittedly, ‘don’t say mean things to me, it hurts my feelings,’ sounds lame, even to me. I’m torn between refusing to let this kid play with my beloved son and acknowledging that as an only child, Q needs other kids to play with. This one just happens to be the only one we can find… 

Not wanting to appear to be an uber-controlling mom and in an attempt to try not to embarrass my child, I keep my mouth shut. Most of the time. Occasionally, I cannot bite my tongue any longer and have to say something. Like in this instance: 

Neighbourhood kid: Q!! You’re such a PUSSY. 

Say what, now? Are you effing kidding me? This child is 8. 8. Eight!!!! While I’m sure he didn’t know what the word really meant because he looked at me like “what’s your problem, lady? I called him a cat…” I’m still so shocked that this word was even in his vocabulary. Q just the other week stuck up his pointer finger and asked me if that meant he was giving someone the finger, by pointing at them. (Yes, yes, it is…by the way…).

What is going on in this child’s life that he knows words like this exist? I’m still shocked. 

Me: (Internal Dialog…) Listen here, you little shit. A word like that comes out of your mouth again towards my son and I will kick you so hard, you’ll land in next Friday. Got it? 

ME: (External Dialog…) Excuse me? We DO NOT use words like that in our home. Do you understand me? You use it again, and you’re going home. Got it?

The kid just looked at me. The thing is, I kept my voice low and calm. He’s so used to being yelled at, he didn’t know how to react. He kept his mouth shut after that, and each subsequent time he’s been in the house. He keeps looking at me too. So I stare him down. That’s okay, right?? 

After he left, my kid says, “I think you should write a letter to his parents. He shouldn’t say things like that!!” Oh, how I love Q. So eager, just like me, to make sure everything in life is put right, with no loose ends. I did consider it, but what were his parents going to do? Yell at him? Give him a pat on the back? Chances are this horrible word came from them. In the end, I figured my method was much more effective. 

I got to experience it this time, but what about the next time…when I’m not there? What happens then? I know that I have to trust that the parenting I’ve done thus far will sustain my child through these events. How? 

• My son knows what’s right and what’s wrong: He knows. I’ve modelled it. I’ve guided him when he’s been wrong. He has had to endure consequences when he steps out of line. And while a conscience isn’t built into children, a strong knowledge of right and wrong somehow helps one grow. I need to remember this. 
• We’ve built the communication lines: Q can tell me anything. We’ve built this road over the past almost 9 years. He tells me the little things, the big things and everything in between. There is no filter. And truly, for an 8 year old, there are no little things, are there? Everything is pretty significant. We talk things through. We rationalize, we debate, we come to a resolution. Every time. 
• I’m a safe haven: Well, first of all…I’m his momma, so you would think it obvious that I’m a safe haven, but is it? I’ve created a non-judgemental environment for Q. We have no gender bias, no race bias. We have guidelines and routines and rules. This allows him to bring home new/different ideas and share them with me, without fear of my reaction. This way, we get to figure things out together. He doesn’t have to go to his friends to find out what this means or that means. He can come to me and KNOW he’s getting the truth. And, he know I love him. Always have, alway will NO MATTER WHAT. I tell him often. Like, all the time how much I love him. 
• I have fear on my side: Seriously, I use everything I can to my advantage. We’re watching COPS – see, cops catch you every time. This is why you don’t do anything illegal. They will catch you. We’re reading the news, and someone has died of a drug overdose – see, this is why you only take drugs that come from a doctor for a specific reason. Otherwise, you die. 

And then I remind myself that a mustard seed is soooooo veeeeeeeeeryyyyy tiny, but once planted it grows and grows and grows. I believe it’s much the same with Q. I have planted the seed of goodness, and I know it will grow and he will grow into someone amazing. I also hope, that by allowing this boy into our home, I am planting a seed in him as well and one day good will prevail over evil. 

How do you sleep at night, knowing that this is just the beginning? What are we going to do, once they’re teenagers in high school or they move away for college? 

How do we control them then????

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I will say this:  Before you have children, make sure you can see yourself raising them with the person you choose to procreate with for at least 18 years.

(well that's a loaded first sentence, isn't it??)
Seriously, take a look at that person sitting beside you.  With those annoying little quirks that you think are so lovable.  With that ridiculous habit/hobby/nervous tic that you tolerate right now.  With those questionable (at least to you) values and/or morals that don't really matter, right now.  With his aloofness, his baggage.  Because right now, you love him (or you think you do...) and these things don't really matter right now.  They're tolerable right now...they might even be endearing. 
I know they were for me...
So fast forward 5 years.  10 years. 
 Now you can't stand the sight of him.  You can't figure out why this guy won't grow up.  But guess're stuck with him in your life because you ignored that inner voice and you had a baby with him. 
This man has equal influence in your child's life.  He takes equal time. 
And so, okay maybe you've made peace with this guy in your life and in your child's life for the next 18+ years.  You tolerate him.  You have found a way of explaining away his broken promises to your child in a way you almost believe.  He's there, at least, for his son.  A male role model is a male role model, right? 
But then, he brings another woman into your son's life.
You can't do anything about it.  In fact, you don't even know about it until after your child tells you *daddy's moving in with C and they're going to buy a big house with a pool in the back yard!!!*
So much fun, right??
Now not one, but two people are in your life.  They're at your son's play at school.  They're at his graduation.  They're at his wedding.  At the hospital for the birth of your first grand child.  These people are in your life forever.
You need to think about that.  Because I didn't give it enough thought.

In my life right now, the *thing* I struggle with the most is co-parenting Q with Mr. Ex.  The biggest problem for me is the loss of control I feel over the influences others have over my child.  There is half of his life I know nothing of, unless he tells me.  For now, he does tell me, because he's 8 and he tells his mommy everything.  What about when he's older?  Will he tell me about the dinner party where some weirdo named *sing* reads his palm and tells him he was a tree in his past life? 
Decisions regarding his education, his extra-curricular, his future - all of those need to be made with someone who's opinion I do not respect. 
You know, it's not just that.  It's the fact that I can't offer my child the life I always expected I would give him.  I can't give him a home with two loving (towards him and each other) parents.  I can't give him a home with a pool in the back yard. 
I get that in the end it probably won't matter about the pool. 
I get that.
It's just taking a little while for everything to sink in. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

International Woman's Day

Since I'm a woman, and I have several women in my life who I love so, so much, and have many, many more who I really like, I feel it's important that I at least acknowledge International Woman's Day.
Women, we're wonderful.  We have so many amazing qualities.  We're the care takers of the world.  Women like Mother Theresa stand amongst us.  Women who nurse the poor and the dying without even a second thought.  We have this amazing ability to grow little humans inside our bodies.   And then we have even greater strength to push them out.  We can love them with everything in our being, more than anything in the world.  We can sacrifice things important to us for the ones we love, and not lose any sleep over it. 
Women, we're brilliant.  We can multitask like nobody's business.  We can do 5 things at once while also thinking of 5 other things that we need to do.  We can decorate cupcakes and set tables and braid hair and paint our finger nails with tiny little brushes.  We can design our wardrobes.  We can take little brushes and draw perfectly straight to outline our eyes and lips.  We can spend an hour doing our hair.   We can run a multimillion dollar company (not me, but some women) and raise children too.  We can commute in four inch stilettos.
We're graceful and sensual and (oh, come on...we are.  How many men do you know could be described as *graceful*) passionate.
We can change our minds in a second.  Four times over.  We can talk about our periods and our uterus' and that bump on our boob without embarrassment.  We can relive our birth stories 50 times over.  We can laugh through our tears.  We can tell the same story to the same person five times and not remember.  We can lose our keys inside our purse.  We can get lost on the way home.
We can hold a grudge for years.  We can remember things someone did like 10 years ago and bring it up like it was yesterday.  And then act all surprised when no one else remembers it, like it wasn't important.  *Eye roll*  Of course it was important.  Oh wait...never mind.  We do not do this.  Ever.
We can change the subject really, really fast.
I'm proud to be a woman. I'm so glad that I'm a woman in Canada, because the opportunities that I have are far beyond that of many other countries.  I have an education.  I can vote.  I have a management position.  I'm a single mother and I'm not shunned or written off by society.  I can walk down the street without fear of walking down the *wrong* street or sitting in the *wrong* bus and *asking* to be raped and killed.   There are women around the world who dream of these things I think of consider the norm.  They're not luxuries to me.  They are just the way things are.  It breaks my heart that baby girls are still left by the side of the road to die, simply because they're girls.  It breaks my heart that a little girl was shot on a school bus, simply because she wanted an education.  It breaks my heart that women need to be covered up with only their eyes showing, so they don't tempt men.  It breaks my heart that women are raped and then blamed for bringing it on.
Women, we have come so far, but we have so, so far to go. 
We have to remember that as women, we need to be each other's advocate.  We need to stand up for each other instead of tear each other down.  We need to give women credit where credit is due.  We need to assist making each other stronger and successful in whatever we dream possible. 
And really, we shouldn't need a day to remind us of this.  Every day should be International Woman's Day, just like if you're in love, every day should be Valentines Day (blah, blah, blah). 
Think of how much more we could accomplish if we worked together. 
Go give a woman you love a hug :)

images via Pinterest

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What's Pissing Me Off This Week

Why yes, yes it is that time again.  Surprise, surprise.  Interestingly enough, I have more views with my *What's Pissing Me off* than any other post I write.  This must mean that you guys like seeing me pissed off.  Or maybe you relate.
So, what is pissing me off this week?
The Skytrain. 
Yup public transit.  Like I am pissed off to the point that I want to write a letter to the Skytrain gods and tell them just how mad I am.  Maybe I will.  Maybe this is my trial run.
I have seen everything on the Skytrain.  People having sex, drunk people throwing up, oh my goodness, once I saw a homeless man (I assume he was homeless because he smelled horrid and had a garbage bag full of pop cans, etc) doing stripper moves on the poles people use to hold onto so they don't fall over.  Seriously, he was gyrating. 
Today was a perfect example of how my Skytrain rides usually go...
This morning, actually get a seat.  Beside a really smelly guy.  Like stale beer and smokes and b.o. (yes it's unpleasant, but this isn't *what made me super happy today*).  Anyways, I'm just happy I have a seat.  It's easier to use my iPhone, drink my extra large double double (Canadian for coffee double cream, double sugar) and hold my computer bag and lunch bag.  About half way through my ride, this old lady gets on.  She's got a mask on and is missing huge clumps of hair, so I'm thinking she's going through chemo and no one offers her their seat.  In fact, people are purposely avoiding contact because it's obvious she a) needs a seat and b) is actively looking for a place to sit down.  Of course, because I'm a super nice person, I call her over to where I'm sitting and give her my seat.  She looked so grateful.  So, I stand near a bar so I'm not flung across the train when it stops.  This girl keeps creepin' up on my space to the point where I actually have my arm around her so I can hold on to the bar.  Get this...she glares at me, like I'm invading her space. 
But wait.  It gets better.
Without a word of lie, I had decided to do this post before my ride home.  I almost started laughing out loud like a crazy woman while on the Skytrain because it was almost vindication - like I'm not wrong for being pissed off about this.
Luck would have it that I found a seat on the uber packed train on the way home.  The very next stop, this guy walks on.  He's grossly overweight, his pants are cinched underneath his every ample gut and his fly is open.  The guy stands right in front of me.  He stinks.  Like he hasn't showered in a week and just went on eating/drinking/smoking binge - actually, if I'm being super honest - he smells like a fart.  A serious fart.  He keeps coughing, too and I can feel the germs landing on me.  I can feel it.  So, I'm trying not to stare at the unzipped crotch right in front of me.  But it's at eye level.  And every time the Skytrain stops, he's lurched forward and his gut comes within inches of my nose.  As the train gets fuller it gets to the point where his one thigh is resting on my arm.  His other thigh, touching my knee.  That belly...right in my face.   It's intimate.  To say the least. 
But then I'm distracting by this loud high pitched noise.  I look over the train trying to figure out where it's coming from and I can see this huge guy sitting in a scooter, by the door.  He has his face covered by his coat and he is singing to his *walkman* at the top of his lungs, completely out of key.  He must know it's wrong because he's covering his face so no one can see it's him. 
Seriously, so much excitement in one day.
This in an of itself isn't the worst part.  Sure, it's the slap in the face, but the kick in the gut is that there is no incentive for me to take the Skytrain. 
Financially, it's MORE expensive than driving.  Sure there is a tax incentive if you buy a monthly pass, but it is not significant enough to be considered a benefit.  If you buy a monthly pass, it's a little cheaper, but not by much.  The monthly pass is only beneficial financially if you use it every single day.  And I still have to pay for parking, which adds another $3/day.
It doesn't save me time, because I have to give myself extra time in the event that I miss one or two trains because they're too full.  We need those guys they have in Japan who just keep pushing people on.  But then I wouldn't be able to drink my coffee.  Don't even bother talking to me until I've had my first cup of coffee.  Even Q learned that early on.  No matter what, I need to leave an hour and a half ahead of time.  That's three extra hours every day.
They just raised the Skytrain rates.  Because they're not making enough money.  How about instead of making it more expensive, making it more convenient, making it more efficient.  Then maybe people would want to use it.  You know, because it's cheaper or faster or more pleasant.  I don't know maybe it's radical thinking.  Some people think I'm a genius, so maybe I'm making it a little more simple than others. 
Fast forward to me, nice and warm in my car.  Listening to the radio or iTunes.  Or maybe talking on the phone with one of my girls.  (Yes, I have bluetooth, geez...I follow the rules.  I like rules.)  I can drink my coffee in peace.  I can even eat some breakfast.  It's relaxing. 
No one's fat gut or smelly armpit is in my face.  I can sit the whole time.  In a comfortable, clean seat.  I don't think I'm asking too much Translink.   
Seriously.  Don't make me write a letter.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hey, You Big Bully

I feel like my last post seemed really judgemental.  It wasn't meant to be.  I mean, seriously, I feel like I've been judged enough in my life.  It's a horrible feeling.  It was more meant to be an observation.  People in this world are hurting and they'll do what ever makes sense to them in order to feel happy and to feel alive.  And I am not judging them.  I get it.  I really, really do. 
So, tomorrow is anti-bullying day in Vancouver.  I'm not sure if it's just a BC thing or if it's country wide or what, but we'll all don pink shirts in support of everyone who has ever been bullied. We all stand up together and we say, "No, it is not okay."
I've been bullied.  I remember as a kid in elementary school, my best friend all through out grades 1-6 became 'popular' and I didn't.  Her new friends were not friendly to me at all. 
I've bullied.  I remember when I was in my tweens, inviting a girl to my birthday just because a friend had to cancel at the last minute.  I was super mean to that girl.  I still feel horrible about how mean I was to her.
I totally agree that bullying is horrible and needs to stop.  I just wonder if we've over advertised bullying to the point where kids don't even know what real bullying really means.  Q often comes home from school and says he's been bullied by so and so over such and such.  Every single time, this kid has kind of gotten the idea wrong...."So and so got mad at me..." or "Such and such is so bossy..." or "This person said he didn't like what I brought for sharing."  I'm like, Dude, people are allowed to have opinions that are different than yours.  Just because he likes different things doesn't mean he's bullying you.  Or just because someone starts bossing you around doesn't mean he's a bully.  It means you need to stand up and speak your mind too.
It seems to me as though kids think any form of adversity is bullying.  And it seems to me that by glorifying bullying we're allowing kids to play the victim.  And I can't speak for all the other parents of all the other kids out there, but I will not allow my kid to be the victim.  He needs to find his voice, and stand up to people.  Instead of being anti-bully, I am totally pro-strength. 
Q and I have had the opportunity to have some pretty awesome discussions around bullying.  Because here's the thing...every bully has a reason why he/she is a bully.  People don't just wake up one day thinking they're going to be mean.  Something pivotal happens in every life that makes a person a bully.  For example, Q has a *friend* who says he's the best ball hockey player ever and everyone wants him on his team and he scores all the goals.  But then Q realizes that this boy doesn't even know the rules of the game and he wonders aloud to me, "Why would he lie about something like that?"
Feelings of inadequacy, the desire to be something you're not or something more start really, really early.  Those feelings start when you're 8 years old.  Why can't we address that?  Why can't we talk about the fact that Q's friend is a habitual liar at 8 to make himself look/feel better?  Why can't we wear a yellow shirt or a purple shirt in support of every body being able to find the strength to be who they really are?  And why does it have to be so early?
Let's address the parents that aren't giving their children the attention or the validation they so desperately desire.  Let's address the fact that children are bully's because someone somewhere doesn't care about this little life with the care that they deserve. 
Bullying makes me mad, absolutely it does.  But the bully makes me sad.  It breaks my heart. 
So yes, let's say "No" to bullying.  But can we take care of the bully too?  If bullying starts with 8 year olds...can we take care of an 8 year old?  Can we take care of their hearts?  Can we get them to the point where we they don't need to be a bully in order to feel better about themselves?
Can we do that?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Being Happy

This post has been swirling around in my head for weeks now.  I wouldn't exactly call it breaking news, because the pursuit of happiness certainly isn't something new, but I've been amazed by journey many have taken in order to find happiness.
It sounds so simple, doesn't it?  Be happy.  Just be happy, it's not that hard.  Smiley face :), LOL, it's all good. 
The thing's not so easy.
I realize there are so many outside sources and inside forces that can determine or take part in our happiness or lack thereof.  As someone who has suffered from diagnosed anxiety and depression to the point where it affects my daily life, I understand that being happy isn't something that comes all that easily.  Having said that, being depressed and being sad are two fairly distinct events.  Being depressed is an all encompassing experience.  For me, it's like a horrible dream I cannot get out of on my own.  Now, I am sure that being sad can feel as overwhelming, but it's easier to climb out of...or so I thought.
Now I've been sad...not depressed, but sad.  Like I've had to pull over on the side of the road because I was crying so hard because my heart was broken after a break up.  I've cried over failing marks in class.  I've been disappointed over jobs I've not been offered.  Things like this are all a part of life, and the sadness comes, but it's never settled inside me.
Recently, I've been amazed at the number of people I've met who are sad to the core of their being.  And it's not a depression, that I'm aware of  (I mean, I'm not a certified doctor...), it's that they've never learned how to be happy.  They settle deep into their sadness, because it's familiar and they find comfort in their misery.  And they don't know how to be happy, because they've never known anything but sadness. 
I had this conversation with a coworker the other week, who admitted he was one who had settled nicely into his sadness, and it was hard, miserable work to find his way out of sadness and into happiness.  He had to learn how to be happy.  He said he tried everything else to fill the void that was to be filled by happiness - drugs, alcohol, women, and nothing worked.  He found his happiness in Buddhism, which really isn't for me, but seeing the difference in this man was amazing to see.  He is like a completely different person, even the features of his face have changed and have a more relaxed, happier tone.  
I've watched as a new coworker has left his marriage to be with a woman fifteen years his junior because he thinks she will be the answer to his longing for happiness.  The sad part for me, is that she finds her happiness in men who are married to women other than her.  I watch men try to find their happiness in status cars that cost a fortune, but do nothing more than take them from point A to point B.  I watch my friends try to fill the happiness void with nights out at clubs, forgetting the evening with vodka and rum or with men they'll never see again.   My friends who think that life will be complete once they find a boyfriend.  I've even watched as people have tried to take money from those who either have money or are perceived to have money, never in an honest way.  I'm watching the Oscars right now, and I see all these people with all this money, posturing with really big jewels, but fake smiles and blank eyes, and I wonder what they've sold in order to sit in those seats tonight.
And I've been there.  Oh, how I've been there (well, not at the Oscars - hahaha, but at the bars, in the one night stands).  I found, though, that the path I took to find happiness was destructive in the long run.  Men do not make me happy.  Money, certainly, does not make me happy.  Things do not make me happy. 
But I've found that in the past year or so, I've been happier than ever in my life.  My happiness is found in my beautiful son, my wonderful family and my faith.  I realize that I have no special formula for happiness.  I find that I have no holes to fill, and no vices - except maybe chocolate.  But I am happy in my own skin.  I am content in my own company and in fact, I cherish the time I get to spend on my own.  I think I'm fricken hilarious (well, I make myself laugh like all the time).  And I couldn't be happier. I find when I am happy, all the stupid little things don't matter.  What other people think of me doesn't really matter.   Brand name clothes, don't matter.  Huge bank account?  No big deal.  A husband?  Well, God willing and only then.
Where do you find your happiness?  Are you happy?  Are you stuffing your sadness with things?  Have you settled into your sadness?  What would it take to make you happy?

In Which I Shamelessly Promote a Product I Love

You guys know I am a consumer.  It's true.  If it's for sale, I want to buy it.  If it promises to make my life easier, me prettier, my hair silkier, lose inches, weight, I am all over it.  The thing is, many times it's just a fad that I go through.  I go all crazy over something for a week, or maybe a month and then as fast as I fell in love with it, I'm on to something new that promises something even better. 
The past 6 months my face has decided it's a 14 year old boy.  There is nothing more embarrassing than being a 35 year old woman with the skin of a teenager.  I've stopped eating red meat, because I was convinced the hormones were one of the main reason I kept breaking out.  We're talking huge, cyst like zits all over my cheeks, chin and forehead.  As soon as one went away three more would pop up.  Here's the thing - it was so bad people actually feel the need to comment on it.  Like I didn't notice.
And if being embarrassed weren't enough, it has been uber painful.  Like so much pressure, I can feel my heart beating in the center of this big assed zit.  Like tears running down my face if I hit it by accident, and throbbing pain the rest of the time. 
Is there some perception that people with adult acne don't wash their face?  I don't know, maybe there is.  But I was seriously tempted to start every single conversation with, "Hi, yes I know I have something going on here.  I'm not sure what it is, but I'm clean.  I totally wash my face and shower daily.  It's not my fault."  It's a little too much information, but this is what I'm thinking people are wondering and maybe need to hear from me. 
At the end of the day, it was starting to affect my confidence.  I was finding ways to creatively hide my face while I was talking to people - pretend I was playing with my hair, rest my chin on my hand, pretend I was stifling a sneeze, I had thought of it all.  The thing was, what kind of guy wants to date a woman who...well....has acne like a 14 year boy.  I grossed myself out, I'm not gointg to lie.
I've seriously tried everything. 
I went to the doctor to get a topical antibiotic cream for my face.  It did nothing more than dry my skin out.  I tried Bare Minerals because they advertised how amazing their skin care products are, and how they actually moisturize and heal damaged skin while you wear it - it just dried my skin out.  I tried Clinique - also advertising how awesomely moisturizing it was and how it fights acne.  Really, didn't do much more than dry my skin out. 
I determined that the reason my skin was breaking out so horribly was because it was dried out.  Having used Proactive in the past, I absolutely refused to do so again.  It saps all the moisture out of your face and your lips crack when you smile.  So you might not have acne, but you can't laugh without bleeding.  Not really my idea of a solution. 
It seemed as though my issue was that my skin was too dry.  So I bought 100% argon oil by Josie Maran.  I thought I had found the miracle healer for my face.  And for a few days, it really appeared as though my acne flares and settled down and my face wasn't feeling as dry.  But it was $20 for a tester size and I didnt' see results to the point where I was willing to spend $70 on a full size.  Once I stopped using it, I realized my skin wasn't actually absorbing the oil.  The oil was sitting on top of my skin.  It wasn't moisturizing.  It was masking the real issue.
In a last ditch effort, I found some old samples the RE9 line from Arbonne.  I used this stuff in the past and had some amazing results, but I kind of thought that it wasn't really the Arbonne, but more so that my skin had matured and decided it didn't want to rebel like a teenage boy anymore.  I also thought that eliminating the red meat and extra hormones had worked and I was in a zit free zone!!  Time had shown me I was wrong, though, so I thought..."What the heck!  I have nothing to lose, let's just try it."
Oh. My. Goodness. 
Within 24 hours, I noticed a difference. 
And I'm not just saying that you guys.  I wish I had taken before and after pictures just to show you the difference 24 hours made.  The dry, flaky skin was gone as my skin actually absorbed the cream instead of it just sitting on top.  The acne scabs (gross, I'm sorry) that I did have were noticeably smaller and healed.  I've had a few surface zits since starting but I've heard that it takes a month for a zit to pop up, so I'm convinced those were there before. 
I'm going to be honest...the trouble that I have with Arbonne is that I can't just go to a store and pick it up.  It requires a bit of forethought to purchase it before you're actually out of the product.  Also, it is expensive.  It cost more than the $20 cold cream that you buy from the local drug store.  However, that being said...the so called trouble is absolutely worth the results.  Nothing I've used even comes close to the results I've noticed in a week. In terms of cost, I find that I am spending $20 here or $40 there and in the end, it equals waaaaaay more than the $60 that Arbonne costs.  It's not being thrown away or sitting idle on my make up table.  And they don't contain parabens and other such gross, unhealthy ingredients.
My confidence is back.  I feel prettier.  My skin is glowing and pretty and even the red scars are beginning to fade. 
So, here's my PSA:
Do you suffer from adult acne?  And don't know why?  Is your skin dry, sore and flaky with huge cyst like zits?  Are you embarrassed by your skin? Then seriously, use RE9 by Arbonne.  I know a seller, I can totally hook you up (no seriously, I can!!  Inbox me.  I'll give you the deets!)  Tell your friends, tell your family, tell the stranger on the street.  There is no need to suffer in silence, when the answer is just 24 hours away :)