modernwomanshow

I Should Feel One Way But I'm Guilty For Feeling the Opposite

As I sit here typing this, I’m 17 weeks pregnant. I can feel this little bean moving around now and my husband has felt her/him kick twice. My breasts are bigger and tender. I’m still nauseous and eating is a struggle to keep the food down. I’m emotional and weep at most movies, regardless of the genre. I have a small bump but really, it’s mostly a layer of fat from winter hibernation. The reality that I am pregnant after four recurrent losses should excite me. I’m FINALLY pregnant! I should be ectatic! But I have a confession: I’m not excited. I’m scared senseless.

Pregnancy #6: 14 weeks here and the night before my husband and I both felt baby kick! 

Pregnancy #6: 14 weeks here and the night before my husband and I both felt baby kick! 

For a long time, I thought I needed a second child to complete my family. The primitive and physiological desire for a baby overrode my logical mind. I had to have two kids and they had to be no more than three years apart and boy, did I try to make that happen! The need consumed me for almost five years and like I’ve mentioned previously in other posts, 2017 was full of loss and grief but also of acceptance and peace. A second child no longer holds the same weight it once did. A second child doesn’t feel necessary anymore. And I feel incredibly guilty for saying that.

 

Just because I wanted this doesn’t mean it won’t be hard

We have a good life as a family of three. We all sleep through the night, our daughter is toilet trained and she can independently play without me worrying what she’s getting into. She goes to daycare two days a week so I can work and write and clean without distraction. We can travel without hassle and she can communicate her needs and frustrations. We have our routine and our life and it’s perfectly imperfect for us. This new baby will change everything!

I’m scared of losing my autonomy as a person, as a woman. I’m afraid this baby will be a nightmare baby; one of the ones that are colicky and don’t sleep and grow into wild, difficult toddlers (re: the opposite of our daughter!). I’m afraid of the toll sleepless nights will take on my marriage. I can confidently say I’m a horrible person when I’m tired. Exhaustion seems to be the one common thing other moms are telling me about the transition to two kids.

The early days when I believed even having one child would ruin my life because I'd be the worst mother ever. I think we're doing okay though. 

The early days when I believed even having one child would ruin my life because I'd be the worst mother ever. I think we're doing okay though. 

I’m scared I won’t have time for my business, Potions, or my non-profit, The Family Fertility Fund of Saskatchewan. More, I’m worried I’ll no longer make time to fulfill my dream of becoming an author and that the book I’ve been working on for months now will fall to the back burner among the other things that will become neglected: exercise, self-care, showering and probably laughter.

I’m scared I won’t be able to manage my priorities and I’ll become that person who loves the “I’m too busy” or “I’m too tired” excuse. I worry that the things that are important to me as a woman now will become obsolete as I try to keep a newborn alive while simultaneously taking care of my daughter, husband, two businesses and home. And my dreams? What dreams? I've always wanted to be a writer but put those dreams on hold because of my fears and beliefs that I was inadequate. Now that I'm facing those fears and writing anyways, I'm scared to lose the momentum and that those old beliefs of not being good enough will resurface.

I’ve met countless women who, when asked who they are, automatically start with “I’m a mother of two, (name) is (age) and (name) is (age).” I’m afraid I’ll become her: the one who identifies solely as a mother and who has forgotten who the woman underneath is. The mother who believes she isn’t worthy of a quiet bubble bath. The mother who gives so much of herself, selflessly, that she doesn’t feel like there’s time or money or even the energy to invest in herself. I’m scared I’ll lose the person I’ve grown into. I’m scared it’ll take me years to find her again once the second baby is in school. I can’t imagine 3-5 years of just “momming.” Being a mother is an amazing gift and one I am blessed to have received but I don't want to lose myself in the vomit, poopy diapers and haze of exhaustion. I'm horrible for it, I know. 

I wanted another baby with such a desperation and hope that I looked crazy to those not involved in the infertility community. I wanted this! But I’m so scared. And I’m not sure if that’s normal because I’ve been too ashamed of these feelings to ask fellow mothers (of 2+ kids) their opinions.

Amidst all of this swirling anguish and worry, deep down I know I’m speaking from a place of fear. I know once this little rainbow baby is in my arms, I will fall madly in love and all previous doubts will vanish. I will probably willingly accept the sleepless nights and constant sleep interruptions. I know the primitive side of me will awaken and I will just know what to do and how to do it and I’ll mostly do it with love as my motivation. I know my husband and I will argue and fight and probably sleep separately for a long time and I’m sure there will be some nights when it’s welcomed.

Our family of three on vacation to Vancouver Island in June 2017. Vacations will be on pause for awhile but I hope we can take both kids back out west to enjoy!

Our family of three on vacation to Vancouver Island in June 2017. Vacations will be on pause for awhile but I hope we can take both kids back out west to enjoy!

I know this baby will complete our family; probably in a way I can’t even comprehend right now. She or he will be a delight some days, a nightmare on others. And somehow, I know we will all survive these next few years. I hope my tribe will remind me that underneath the messy hair, vomit and soaked breast pads, there’s still a woman in there. She’s just busy right now trying to raise her family but she’s there. She’ll emerge eventually. My time will come to focus on me. My dreams will just be on hold, not crushed as I’m imagining now, as I try to raise the best children I can for my community and planet.

I’ll probably worry and continue to feel scared for these huge life changes coming our way. In the meantime, I’ll be shopping for better breast pads and sleep training books. Wish me luck!

post with purpose

post with purpose

Being a small business owner means wearing all of the hats. You are the accountant, the human resources, the boss, and the marketing director. It can be difficult to figure out where to put your advertising dollars or your marketing concentration in this ever changing tech world. Jocelyn and Chantal are taking a look at a few platforms that can be cost effective for your business and will help you bring your company into the online future. 

Cold coffee + late nights - The reality of working from home.

I am a jewelry designer, an entrepreneur and a business owner - and I work from home. I am so fortunate - and I know that, but there is a common misconception that working from home is the best ever.... I often hear something along the lines of :  "That's soooo great! How nice you can stay at home with Asher (my one year old son, aka the cutest little mofo in the world) and work when you want to! ". Yes - I am lucky, and it is great...  but I most certainly do not get to work when I want to. I am an entrepreneur and business owner - and I am also a stay at home mama. That means I work when I can, which is not always when I want to. I manufacture and fill orders when Asher naps, I return emails and draft Instagram posts at 5:30 a.m. when he wakes me up for the day, and I update inventory and order supplies late at night while the rest of my house is asleep. Of course, like anything, there are pros and cons to working from home. Pros? I don't have to scrape car windows in the freezing cold everyday and I likely don't even have to leave the house at all in minus 40 weather if I don't want to (huge pro!). I don't have to pack a lunch, punch a timecard, or answer to a boss. If I am caught up, ahead of schedule and don't have any pressing to-do's I can take a random mid-week day off. Cons? Sometimes there are days that go by when the only interaction I have with other adults, besides my partner, is when my parents call to FaceTime with Asher. I drink way too much cold coffee and I'm running out of podcast episodes of True Crime Garage. I'm on my phone much more than I want to be and the struggle is that I run my business through it. 

I won't bore you with my daily routine because it changes every single day. I go from "jewelry designer boss babe" to changing dirty diapers and cleaning up a floor full of toys in seconds. I tag jewels and make phone calls while Asher eats lunch in his highchair. I lug him to the post office weekly to ship orders, he comes with me on drop-offs, retailer visits and generally every errand I need to run. He bangs on the window and waves when he sees the mailman and the DHL and Canada Post delivery drivers know his nap schedule #dontringthedoorbell. I do not have set work hours, which can be super amazing, and also very challenging. It means I have to be consistent and super organized, which is not my forte, so I make many lists in order to maintain order in both my business and my day-to-day momming. It took me a few weeks and some sleep training to get somewhat consistent in my morning routine and, because I get the bulk of my hands-on work (aka manufacturing, tagging and packing orders) done while Asher naps in the morning, I need to be very intentional with my time. No one is more surprised than me at how much I can get done in 1.5 to 2 hours - except for today when he refused to nap at all and I got nothing done.

Over the past few months of working from home I have learned a few things that make a huge difference in my productivity and, as anyone who works from home knows, it is very tempting to stay in your cozy pj's,  but the days I actually do are very few and far between.

Here are few of my personal top tips for working from home: 

LEAVE those pj's in the bedroom! Shower and get dressed like you would if you were leaving the house. Leggings and a sweater totally count, makeup is optional. 

SEPARATE your workspace from your main living space -- this is KEY to eliminating distractions! Maybe it's an office in the spare room, a studio space in the backyard or a desk in the corner area of your basement (that's me!) - wherever works for you and your home. 

MAKE your work space somewhere you want to spend your time. I used to settle in on the couch, throw on Netflix and #makemakemake. Now that doesn't work and my workspace is a desk (and surrounding area downstairs in our less-than-cozy basement) so I added some cute décor + prints to the shelves of jewelry supplies and spools of chain, I burn a soy candle or diffuse essential oils while I work, and I listen to podcasts on speaker because I can.

POUR your coffee in an insulated mug to eliminate having to leave and reheat it when it inevitably gets cold. Better yet, move your coffeemaker to your workspace. #brilliant

KEEP snacks close. Wandering to the kitchen leads down a rabbithole of distractions.

DON'T multitask. A very wise person once told me - multitasking makes you stupid. She's right. Don't start loads of laundry because you will have to stop working and switch them. Don't put anything in the oven because you will go back to work, forget and burn it. 

INVEST in a good old fashioned day planner, one that has room for notes, lists and your week at a glance. Yes, I know our iPhones can do that, but I personally find it more functional to use a day planner. I like old fashioned pen-to-paper and the feeling of victory that comes from physically crossing something off a list.

FIND a system that works for you, whatever your line of work. Now, step back and look for ways to improve it further. Time is money, honey, and the more efficient your system the more you will get done. There are always ways to streamline and save time and energy.

SCHEDULE to get out of the house. Meetings, errands, a coffee break. This is VERY important - it's easy to stay inside for days on end and it isn't healthy. 

POUR yourself a glass of wine Friday afternoon - because you can drink at work when you work from home ;) 

 

xo, 

Megan

 

 

 

 

 

The Curse of Woman

I recently attended my first women’s retreat just outside Saskatoon, SK. It was a wonderful getaway filled with crafting, laughing and connecting. I have never spent that kind of time with a large group of women before and I was blown away by the similarities between all of us despite all our many differences: when asked “who are you?” 17 out of the 19 women started with “I’m a mother of (number of children), (name) is (age) and (name) is almost (age).” The second similarity I found was this: every single one of them could name 4+ flaws about themselves but yet, they struggled to name one positive thing that made them special. The third similarity I discovered was that they all loved so deeply but were almost cursed by it because they felt either taken advantage of, felt guilty for taking personal time or felt it wasn’t reciprocated the way they wanted. The fourth, and maybe saddest, similarity was each women’s confusion when asked what made her happy.

MIND BLOWN.

I started calling these similarities "the curse of woman". Over 98% of us identified ourselves as mothers first. We all felt lost trying to find a special quality and we were quick to berate ourselves. Most of us saw our loving nature as both special and flawed. Few of us could remember what made us happy.

If that many women felt that way in that small room, there must be more of us.

Think of how many people you know whose entire existence revolves around motherhood. I’d bet she feels guilty for doing things for herself. I’d also bet that she gives and gives and gives and has a cup that seems to always be dry. I bet she’s exhausted but happy to dote on her children. I bet she doesn’t spend much time away from them. She probably feels guilty for leaving them with Dad or Grandma or a babysitter. I bet she doesn’t know what makes her happy anymore because she’s been trying to help her kids find theirs. I bet she feels happy that they are happy but utterly lost when she takes a small, fleeting moment to contemplate her own. This is the curse of woman.

motherhood.jpg

As mothers we have the most important role in life. It’s our job to keep them alive, fed, clothed, hydrated, healthy and clean. We ensure they use their manners, do their homework and try at least one sport a year. We kiss them, cuddle them, tickle them and sometimes want to throttle them. We are trying to teach them how to be functional members of society while also fostering their innocent wildness so they become the unique individuals they are destined to be. We are the teacher, the moderator, the voice of reason, the judge, the boss, the discipliner, the nurturer, the driver, the coach, the rememberer, the confidant. It is exhausting. But want to know what’s more exhausting? Trying to do all that on the fumes of the person you used to be. This mom guilt over self-care needs to end now. We are no good to anybody if we haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in months or haven’t had a shower in a week. You need energy and vitality and, even more than those, you need a life you don't want to escape from. 

I don’t berate mothers for putting their role as mothers first. It’s important and special and wonderful. For some women, it becomes more than a role. Motherhood is their life. Motherhood is their identity and reason for living. That’s a beautiful sentiment and belief. BUT, is she also making time for herself, as a women, as an individual or even as a wife? Is she setting a good example for her kids if she’s frazzled and unkempt and not doing anything outside of motherhood to benefit herself?

You can't fill another's cup if your own isn't overflowing with energy, love and self-respect. Honour your body. Love yourself. Mothers need it most. 

You can't fill another's cup if your own isn't overflowing with energy, love and self-respect. Honour your body. Love yourself. Mothers need it most. 

Also, the flaws! Goodness, the flaws these women see in themselves is bonkers! When asked what made them special, many floundered and couldn’t come up with anything to say confidently or with surety. But when asked what their Darkness was, they had lists.

WHY?

Is it human nature to do this? Is it societal influence that’s molded us into belittling ourselves? Has some collective unconscious shift happened that makes us focus on our Darkness instead of our Light?

It seems we all do it. And those that don’t get judged as conceited or arrogant or self-absorbed. It’s a lose-lose, really.

When prompted to acknowledge their special attributes, many said their ability to love. Is the influence from motherhood or the Divine Feminine running through our blood that makes so many of us love so fiercely? We love our partner and our children and our families and friends and pets so hard that sometimes we look at the actions we’ve taken in the name of love and wonder, was it worth it? Was giving my all in that unreciprocated friendship worth all that time? Or did it benefit me to lose half of myself in that man? Did dedicating myself so fully to motherhood for so long leave me bereft of pieces of the person I use to be?

Which leads to the last similarity: few women could confidently list what makes them happy. It’s understandable when you’re so busy raising children; Who has time to focus on what makes them happy? Even when we know, we feel guilty for indulging in it. It’s a common story for moms who spend so many of their hours dedicated to their family. We spend a lot of time putting others first. Actually, it may be fair to say we spend all of our time putting others first. What is happiness on a personal level when you’re wanting your kids to be happy and maybe also your husband, pet, co-workers, boss, friends and/or neighbours?!

These curses all tie together.

Woman + baby + societal influence (or some other factor) = a Mother with no time to herself, guilt over the time spent on herself if she takes it but she’s not actually sure what makes her happy because she’s so busy and involved with others and because of that, she’s lost her personal happiness and a small bit of the person she was Pre-Mom life

 

 Does that resonate with you? It sure does for me!

I used to feel guilty for wanting alone time. I used to feel guilty for spending money on myself. I feel like motherhood has given me so many blessings but has taken a lot from me. My freedom is gone, my carefree lifestyle is gone. My independence is gone. I obviously wouldn’t trade it for the world but there’s this dark side to motherhood we rarely discuss openly, let alone on a public forum like this! I’ve spent so much time focusing on my husband and his business, my daughter and her upbringing, our new house and maintenance, my business and its success that sometimes when I stop and reflect, I’ll think, “Kelsey, are you still in there? What can I do today to love you?” Lately, I've been committing to small steps that lead towards my best life. I'm cooking for pleasure more. I read more books and do yoga in the living room where my daughter can see me. Sometimes I just like to scroll social media and watch Instagram stories. The guilt will attempt to weasel its way in but I can quickly squash it because I know that it’s important that I make time for myself now. Self-care is more than escaping the chaos. Self-care is doing little actions that have big benefits, specifically long term. My dream life requires a lot of work so self-care is a priority. So my mornings consist of exercise, yoga, journalling, working on my business, planning blog posts, cleaning my house and/or snuggles with my daughter. My family knows when I’ve been putting my self-care on the back burner; it shows. So I also make conscious efforts to spend time with myself. From bubble baths to daytime naps to having a hot cup of coffee before the rest of the house wakes, I am loving myself by filling my cup as best as I can. My advice, despite my lack of expertise: take more bubble baths. Find a monthly women’s circle. Massage your own feet. Read ten pages of a book each night before bed. Walk in the forest.  Show your kids how amazing life is. Make time for yourself. It’s allowed. Hell, it’s welcomed! There should be zero guilt when you are teaching your kids the importance of loving yourself. Lead by example and the kids will thrive in their own journeys towards self-fulfillment, self-love, success and self-care.

Little eyes are always watching, absorbing and processing. They mimic. Let them mimic love. Photo cred: Ellen Elizabeth Photography

Little eyes are always watching, absorbing and processing. They mimic. Let them mimic love. Photo cred: Ellen Elizabeth Photography

So it’s time to break the curse of woman. It’s time to love yourself like you are your most sacred, most beautiful best friend in the entire world. You need to love her like she deserves to be loved. You need to be able to confidently and loudly say, “THIS is why I’m special. And this is too. And that too. I am all kinds of unique and awesomeness.” The time has also come to accept our Darkness. You can’t have Light without Dark, nor Dark without Light. We are imperfect beings. We always will be. Trying to shine Light and illuminate every single little flaw will only drive you crazy with self-loathing and be a waste of your time. So own your flaws. The people who love you know them and accept you for them regardless. More often than not, your good qualities will far outweigh the bad. If they don’t, well, that’s another post! It’s also time to welcome acts of self-care into your world. Motherhood is hard; motherhood is harder when you’re running on empty. Ignore the guilt that tries to encroach upon you and see the benefits to everyone around you when you fill your cup. Your filled cup is what paves the way for an incredibly full and vibrant life for many around you, especially your children. Self-care shows them the importance of doing the crappy little jobs that lead to big rewards later (like saving 10% of each pay cheque or getting up at 6 am everyday)! It teaches them the value of honouring your body. It's teaching by example how incredible life can be when you work towards the things you want and desire. It's so much more than bubble baths and chocolate -- although, both are wonderful!

The time for the Woman to rise has come. It’s time we rise up to meet our full potential and embrace the dirty, messy, glorious, wonderfulness that is Her. Mothers are the most special creatures on Earth; they deserve the bubble baths and girl's nights out and make-out sessions and sleep-ins and yoga memberships. So rise, Woman. Be the divine, loving, happy woman who shines so brightly, others want to know her and are inspired by her. Be your best self. Do it for your family, your community and more importantly, do it for yourself.

 

 

Everyone knows a Weinstein...

Let me just preface this by saying that I am (unfortunately) only one person, and my views are mine and mine alone. That being said, we are a blog centered on women’s lifestyle etc. and this is something we’ve been seeing all over the news, social media and pretty well every other screen we own.

The Harvey Weinstein scandal that recently shook up Hollywood is causing a metaphorical waterfall of sexual harassment accusations all across North America, chiefly pointed towards the entertainment industry but slowly moving towards other industries.

Honestly?

Good.

Girls, if I asked you how many times in the past week alone you’ve altered how you live your life because of this fear we have instilled in us, what would you say?

Did you walk to your car in the grocery store parking lot with your keys in between your fingers?

Do you walk with only one headphone in to hear if you’re not alone?

Changed your route home to a busier street?

When you start to think about how often we do something with the motivation of fighting back it’s absolutely mind boggling. 

We see people like Weinstein all over damn near every industry in the world, people who build their careers upon this confidence that they’re untouchable. Sexual harassment in the workplace has been ignored, even at times expected, for far too long. This is a man whose net worth is roughly 250 million. 250 million dollars. So, to put it in perspective, someone who has built a skyscraper of a career out of alienating female employees makes enough money that he could pay off my student loans 12,500 times. That’s a lot of culinary degrees.

And yes, I did the math.

What has come from this little news blip is that we’re seeing all of these women come out to say that they’ve been sexually harassed, abused, or worse, because we’ve been working with this thought that sexual abuse survivors are attention-seekers and overdramatic. What’s happening is people who have felt they have never had a voice, or maybe had their voice taken from them, are now getting the microphone. 

This is important to me, and I hope to many other people, because with the power of a few women standing up and saying “this is not okay anymore”, we’re hearing a cheer from the bleachers. Other victims can see someone brave enough change the expected result to a result they deserve, and it feels powerful. 

I know I preach an idyllic society and some may call me a wishful hippie. They’re right, but for entirely different reasons. I want to see this trend of feminism, of women fighting back, and of abusers being called on their vile behaviour grow. You should never be afraid to walk home from the pub because it’s dark. You shouldn’t be nervous to take too long putting your groceries in the car. 

Did you know the grocery store is, statistically, the most likely place to be assaulted as a woman? 

Of course you did, you’ve known that since you were little. Since you were young enough to look up self-defense moves in books (an age before computers — throwback, I know) and maybe look at signing up for a class at the YWCA.

This is just my experience and I’m generalizing, but I don’t know any female-identifying person that hasn’t felt like this once in their life. Once this month. Once this week.                         

JULIE1.jpg

As demonstrated by the media outpour we’re going through right now, which I like to call “Hell Yeah, Call Them On Their Bullshit”, people aren’t feeling this fear just when they’re out at night or shopping. This happens in workplaces, in homes and everywhere around you. No one should be afraid to say something because of this thought that you won’t be believed. Because it could damage your career, or your life in some way, if you came forward.

We make light of victims coming out to tell their stories, saying that now it’s a “trend”, or maybe they’re just looking for the press. This isn’t a light matter, this is someone having the bravery to step forward. It’s something that commands respect, if nothing else. 

This is funny to me, I was coming at this blog-writing idea thinking that I was going to try to be some comic relief in a very serious world. Be the girl who works in legal weed and has some crazy, funny baggage. 

Not so much, hey?

I can wax philosophical about opening your mind to new experiences and the effects of illness on a young psyche etc. etc. but this is the important stuff to me. This matters. 

What drove me to write this blog post (at 2am, lit up by the light of my laptop, fuming to myself and my cat) was because I recently had plastic surgery on my chest due to previous cancer treatment. It’s a whole thing. However, I find myself laying here feeling sorry for myself because, as a single white female (knife emoji) I’m wondering how I’m ever going to be attractive to someone, or god forbid get married (the ultimate end goal for young women, amirite?), when I look like Frankenstein’s monster. Then it occurred to me…

Why do I care? 

I’ve been raised in a society that has measured my worth by my waistline and my intelligence by how I dress. We’re no one’s property but our own and that’s something I’m coming to learn as I look toward my late 20s; I learn this by watching these women in the news calling out their abusers, holding them accountable to what they did and how they changed the way that woman looked in the mirror and woke up in the morning.

I’m hoping that this becomes the new normal. Hoping more than anything, because I don’t want to have a daughter some day that experiences some of the things I know happen in this world. In this city, for that matter. I walked six blocks at 1:00 a.m. a few Saturdays ago, after going for a drink with some friends. In that six blocks I was called fat twice, a slut once and told to get in some guy’s truck. They laugh with their friends and think nothing of it but, holy hell, the toll that takes on someone’s self-esteem. Now I know there’s going to be that one person saying “Well, how short was your dress?” “You shouldn’t have been alone that late at night.” or, my favourite, “They’re boys, they’re just having fun.”. 

Here’s an idea: 

How about instead of teaching people to dress more conservatively, take the long route home or to stop being so sensitive, how about we teach people not to be assholes to each other.

Real simple stuff.

To finish this much-heavier-than-I-expected rant, allow me to say:

Things like this happen to every person, of every gender, and life circumstance. They shouldn’t, but they do. So, when they’re ready, let them tell their story. 

And maybe it’ll change one day. 

featured_art_chimamanda.jpg

Julie XOXO