I have made an observation of my life these past few months as I creep closer and closer to the "official" beginning of middle age. It seems my level of righteous indignation at the injustices of this world is increasing at a rate proportional to the amount that I am sweating at night. Which is to say - a whole damn lot!

One particular injustice or societal trend I keep seeing over and over, is something I call the fetishization of men who assume roles of caregiver/feminist/allies. I don't know if there is a technical phrase for this phenomenon, so I kind of made one up. I like to call it, #givingmenallthecookies.

This is why women can’t have nice things in this world. And by nice things, I obviously mean economic, political and societal equality. 

You know what I am talking about. You see the one man wearing a baby in a baby carrier at the playground or the mall, something women do all the damn time (while also doing many other things I would add), and he gets fawned over like he might actually be the ONLY man on the planet at that very moment. 

Or how about the man who got invited to the White House to talk about parental leave because he was denied leave from his employer when his child was born? A few years ago, I sat in a giant conference room full of American mothers, all of whom had zero leave when they had children, as they unironically applauded this man like he was some kind of parental-leave messiah. As one of the few Canadian women in the room (I actually had a full 52 weeks of parental leave - twice!!), I was very confused by this. Why is it that thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of women can fight for something for decades, but the minute it affects a man, and he has something to say about it, it becomes front page news and is White House invitation worthy? Why are the feels of this one new father so much more important than those of the countless mothers who have come before him and have been fighting, seemingly unseen and unheard, for maternity leave in the USA forever? 

The most recent example of #givingmenallthecookies that had me all hot and bothered, was at a recent blogging and social media awards presentation. The list of nominees was impressive. New faces and established bloggers alike, and included many women changing the world through their words, businesses, and online presence. These awards are an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of many in making these spaces for themselves and others, and at THIS conference, which is primarily targeted at women in the parent blogging community, we celebrate our own. Or so I thought.

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Where have I been before today? Reflections on the #WomensMarch.

where have you been? Where have y’all been? Why is this your first protest? I cannot put into words how heartbreaking it is to see grown adults that I know and love decide only now to take to the streets. I’m glad you’re there. I’m glad you’re doing something. But weren’t we enough? Weren’t we worth it before? Why weren’t we reason enough?

Where have you been? And where will you be once this doesn’t impact you directly anymore?
— Ijeoma Oluo on Facebook


Today, Eight and I went to the local Women's March on Washington in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, along with about 4000 other folks in our chilly, weird zombie-fogged-over city. And here is the truth. This was not only my 8-year-old daughter's first real rally/protest/march, it was mine as well. 

So when Ijeoma asked the above on Facebook (and Twitter) tonight, I had to sit my privileged, cis, white-lady butt down and really think about this. Why am I a 45-year-old, loud and proud FEMINIST who carried out my first real, in-life, tangible act of defiance and activism today?

I hate to admit this, but I don't have a good answer for her. 

I think for many people of privilege, "the wall" is already there. Separating us from those who are not US. Oh, we see you, we see your struggles, the injustices and inequality, and we talk a good talk (or write a good blog post or FB status), but our activism ends when we close the tab, or get enough likes to make us feel good about ourselves. We look over the wall, but we rarely climb over it. 

It's easy to sympathize with people from afar. It is much harder is to empathize with them. To put yourself right next to them or right in their shoes, and REALLY know what it's like to be truly marginalized and dehumanized. To bear witness and feel the pain of black and brown mothers losing their babies to police brutality. To step in (online or IRL) when a trans sister or brother or non-binary person is being attacked for the mere fact of existing. To send that email or make that phone call to our elected officials demanding action for our Indigenous people living in third-world-like conditions in our country. It's easy to say, who am I to say or do anything? It's not MY issue. 

I guess what I am trying to say, and what Ijeoma's post made me realize is; why have I been choosing easy? 

All week I have seen post after post from the Women of Colour on my timelines saying that they were not going to go to the Women's Marches. That they were TIRED. TIRED of doing SO MUCH WORK, and being attacked time and time again for standing up for the rest OF US. SO tired of showing up, only to be upstaged by white women, taking the credit (and all the selfies) for their work. 

Photo credit: Angela Peoples and Kevin Banette

Photo credit: Angela Peoples and Kevin Banette

This is when I knew I had to go. Because it is WAY PAST time that I step up and into the fray, and let my black and brown and indigenous and LGBTQi+ and disabled sestras take a GOTDAMB break. Time to let them be the ones at home, safe with their loved ones, watching the Live feeds on social media. IT WAS time to PUT UP or SHUT UP.  Hell, it was SO way past that time and I am ashamed it took me this long to put my body and my being on the front line. I am sorry it took so long for me to use my privilege to protect you. To be the RIGHT KIND OF WALL that stops the bigots and racists and xenophobes and sexists from getting to you. I am sorry it has taken me this long to physically lock arms with you and say to all the people with hate and ignorance in their hearts and minds, NOT ON MY WATCH MOTHERFUCKERS!

I know these words are not enough. I know me showing up today is not enough. I know being in the echo chambers I curate online or the "barred rooms" I visit with fellow feminists and friends (as one of our local speakers called them today) preaching to the choir, is NOT ENOUGH. 

I wrote a post a few years ago saying our world needed a revolution. Well... here we are. It's been a while since most of North America has been this OPENLY divided. It is time for us, FOR ME, to make some choices about what side we are on and if we really are who and what we say we are. 

So... Ijeoma, Addye, Kelly, Elisa, Stepha, Aja, Syreeta, Asha, Marni, AJ, Janelle, Amanda, TJ, Jenny, Alexandra, Eight, Ten and SO MANY MORE...

Please accept my apology for not being a TRUE ally until today. My pledge and promise to you is that from this day forward, I am with you, beside you, in front of you (if you need me) and behind you when you don't. 

I promise to do better. You have always been worth it, I was just too shortsighted and walled in my own privileged world to see it and do something REAL about it. I own that. No excuses.  

Love and solidarity AND ACTION.

Eight's protest sign. 

Eight's protest sign. 


On butterflies and unlucky numbers.

Do you ever wake up and have that feeling in your gut that SOMETHING is going to happen?

Like you have butterflies in your belly, but you don't know why. 

Everything around you feels like it is in super sharp focus and you are just waiting....

for something. 

Or maybe I am confusing that feeling with having had too much coffee and the uneasiness is simply a caffeine rush and I have to poop. 

Either way, this is how I have been feeling since Sunday.  

It could be the change in the season affecting me, as it tends to do this time of year, and the tingling in my brain and my belly is that of increased anxiety and the onset of SAD.  

October is kind of a weird month for me. The fall colours surrounding me are soothing, as is the crisp air I inhale deeply as I walk Willow every day. It is a month of celebration in our house with Seven's (soon to be Eight's) birthday, Canadian Thanksgiving, and our wedding anniversary. 

It's also the month of preparing for winter. Putting away the yard furniture, raking up all the leaves and making an appointment to get the winter tires installed. And while I like to be proactive about these things, so I don't get stuck at the bottom of the hill by our house during that first big snowfall - AGAIN! It also feels like I am reaching for those last days of sun, of playing outside with only one layer of clothes on and soaking up the last bits of our way to short fall season, on our way to a long, dark, winter. 

This month also marks our 13th wedding anniversary. I've always thought of the number 13 as unlucky, mostly from buying into the usual superstitions, and all that Friday the 13th movie stuff as a kid. And possibly because I got my damn period when I was 13 - so you know, that was great. When I think about it, something feels a bit off in celebrating this "unlucky" number. In an effort to turn around my thinking and subdue any silly superstitions, I've been researching the numerology meaning of 13, and lo and behold, it is surprisingly fitting for where we are in our lives:

The number 13 in numerological terms is (1+3=4). Thirteen describes a pattern of new beginnings (1) + creative expression (3) = building and structure (4). It is actually a theme of solid, grounding movement. So in essence, number 13 is a strong vibration representing organization and accomplishment in a creative and unique way.

I can't think of a better way to describe our life right now. New beginnings, and building, and creative expression - yup, that is us. New house and renovation, the kids starting a new school year, and ahem... as of tomorrow, a new job for yours truly. 

This "new" development is also contributing to my October anxiety/butterflies. I didn't quite plan on getting a job outside the home this year, and I have to admit that this one kind of fell onto my lap in the most serendipitous of ways. It's a job taking me back to my sales roots (retail), in a place I love to shop, and working for a strong, incredible woman whom I admire, and whose philosophy I believe in. 

As I sit here and watch the leaves change and fall, and the tall grasses sway in the breeze of this cool fall day, I am trying to reframe my usual October anxiety and embrace the butterflies. I am breathing deep into by belly, and getting ready for new patterns in our lives. I am choosing to open myself up, rather than cocoon into hibernation-mode as I traditionally do at this time. 

Basically, what I am saying is:

Or at least I will...