What I like right now.

I've been meaning to write a #FridayFavourites post all week, but with kids having nightmares and keeping me up at night, binge watching Netflix shows until after midnite, and dealing with a bunch of jerky MRAs and Gamergaters Friday morning, I just didn't have the energy to finish this one until today!  

And it's full of good shit! Trust, me you are really going to want to read it. :)

So without further ado, here are some of my favourite things right now.

1. Sometimes you go shopping with your twenty-something, absolutely gorgeous cousin-in-law and she convinces you to buy a hair product that you didn't know you needed until that moment. That is what happened a few months ago and, what can I say, the girl knows her hair products! The Bumble and Bumble Pret-a Powder is quite simply AWESOME! I always thought that dry shampoos or powder volumizer products where only for people with long flowing locks, but I was wrong. Very, very wrong. A quick shake of powder into my hands and then rubbed into my roots gives my short style just the right amount of volume it needs, whether it is a no shower day, or after the gym or just to zhoosh up my coif before I head out the door! A little goes a long way with this product, and I think it is well worth the $30 price tag for the 2 oz bottle. 

Before and after 

Before and after 

2. I really like coffee. Not drink a whole pot kind of like, more of a "make me a nice latte and sip it in a cafe" kind of like. The problem being that $5 a day for a coffee eventually adds up to $1800+ a year and that is just plain ridiculous! When I cracked the carafe of our 11-year old coffee maker earlier this year, I crowdsourced my friends online as to which machine I should replace it with. Turns out you don't actually need a machine to make the perfect cup of coffee. You just need an Aeropress! And it only costs $35 from Amazon.ca. I am pretty sure that now, after only a few months of using it almost daily that my barista skills have improved to the point where my home Flat White is pretty much on par with one from Starbucks and costs me a fraction of the price! I make mine like this guy - minus the 3 minutes of steeping, because I don't like my coffee to taste too bitter, and I add warm milk instead of more water - and I am never going back to drip coffee again! 

3. I am spending a lot of time at my gym lately and as such, I am in leggings and workout gear 4-5 days a week. I caved a few weeks ago (after many newsletter emails and ads on Facebook), signed up for Fabletics and ordered 2 outfits. They arrived late last week and I immediately tried them on and was pleasantly surprised by how much I really, really liked most of it! I say most, because I am returning/exchanging two items (a tank top that really doesn't have a back and falls weird on me, and the bra top that I need in a bigger size). The capri leggings that I ordered are AMAZING and are a bit compression-like with a lovely fold-over waist and the black joggers are threatening to become my spring/summer wardrobe staple this year. The other top I am keeping is wonderful (see picture below) and a total keeper. I am not sure I'll be up to getting a new outfit every month and will likely opt-out more than I will opt-in for the monthly subscription, but so far I am loving my purchases and will definitely get a few more of the pants/leggings! And if you use this code, you'll get a discount on your first purchase too!

Image from Fabletics.com

Image from Fabletics.com

4. I have a thing for any and all movies about dance crews, cheerleadering squads and drumline bands. And it seems I have passed this down to my kids as well. A few weeks ago, we all sat in front of the TV completely enthralled with the struggles of the rag-tag dance crew of the latest in the Step Up dance movie instalments, Step Up: ALL IN. Something must have clicked for my son while watching the smooth moves of the SYTYCD contestant-filled cast, because as soon as it was over, he asked if I could find him a hip hop class, so he could dance "like those guys in the movie".

Enter 3rd Street Beat Studio, "...the first all hip-hop dance studio in Edmonton, designed to educate and train students in the many diverse dance styles authentic to the street dance culture.  At 3SB students are immersed into this culture from the moment they step into the classroom."

This is 100% true! C has been going to the youth drop in class for the past three weeks and it really is the coolest place and he is learning and discovering a dance style that speaks to him and he is loving it. And I can not tell you the joy I feel when I see him conquer a complicated new move or routine! If you are local to Edmonton and looking for something different for your kids, you must check this place out. They offer all kinds/styles of classes from "Funky Tots" toddler classes, to competitive adult classes, and every style that you can think of in between!

5. One of my favourite days on our recent trip to Maui was when we ventured into Upcountry and spent the day exploring the Kula area and the wonderful old town of Makawao. The shops and art galleries in this town really are a special treat and it is so nice to be away from a lot of the more tourist-y areas on the island. In one of the shops we found the most amazing candles and I fell in love with one in particular. We decided not to get it that day because it was in a glass jar, and one or both of the kids were complaining loudly about their inability to find yet another shave ice place. When we got home, my lovely husband surprised me and had ordered the candle online. It is now my most favourite candle ever and makes my house smell ridiculously amazing and reminds me of that lovely day (and yes, we eventually found the shave ice place). You too can find such bliss, at least in candle form, online at paddywax.com.


That's it for this month's favourite things. What about you? What do you love right now? Share you faves with me in the comments!

Cheers, all!


Unleash the fury... or not.

Hell hath no fury than that of a mob of angry mothers reading their Facebook timelines!

This is what is happening today and again, much like my last post, I find myself faced with the dilemma of just staying out of it and letting the internet have it's way with the whole thing and jumping in and attempting to be a voice of reason. 

So, obviously, I am jumping in...

It's Spring Break and the Easter long weekend in our city. The weather is not that great for a lot of outside activities and that being the case, practically EVERY indoor playground or play place in the city is packed with kids and families just trying to make it until Tuesday when we can all get back to normal and....

Oh My God! Now I GET why my kids love recess so much! (SO much energy, so little jumpy castle/playground structure in my house!)

So, let's just say you are a mom of three young kids and you decide to go to a local play place. One of your kids is only seven months old and at some point during your time there, as infants are apt to do, he gets hungry. So you feed him. With your breasts. Because that is the way you do it. And you can't really go to the lovely little quiet room that the establishment has set aside for just such a case, because you also have two older kids who are quite happily playing and who are NOT hungry at this very moment and you have to stick around where they are and supervise. So you nurse your baby. No biggie. 

But another mother at the establishment sees this and is uncomfortable about it. She decides to go and complain about you to the management. She gets quite angry and confronts both you and management and it gets ugly. Words are exchanged, some of them racist in nature, some perhaps misunderstood, some arguably seen as unsupportive and unconstitutional of a mother's rights. One need only imagine the heights of everyone's emotions during this incident. 

The employees and management try to defuse the situation as best they can and/or know how to. They ask the complaining/racist mother to leave (they are in fact very supportive of breastfeeding in their establishment), and they offer you, the nursing mother, a space to get away from the conflict. You are angry and you refuse and decide to leave of your own accord, feeling judged, shamed, insulted and discriminated against. 

And then, emotions still high, you take to Facebook and write about your experience and ask everyone to share it and boycott said establishment because of your terrible, horrible, awful, very, VERY, bad experience there.  

And the internet complies. In droves. 

In a matter of less than 24 hours, one mother's shaming experience has gone viral. 

And another mother's business and livelihood is likely going to suffer because of it. 

People are flocking to said business's Facebook page and leaving 1 star ratings. Not based on their own experiences or opinion of the establishment, but because they saw a post about one person's unfortunate time there and decided that was enough/all the information they needed. 

Please know that I am not diminishing that nursing mother's feelings or her right to be angry about what happened. She has a protected human right to breastfeed her child anywhere and anytime she needs to and was completely correct in her assertion of these rights. I fully support her and all mothers who need to feed their babies, however they choose to do so and where and whenever they need to do so. 

What I fail to see as helpful for anyone in this situation is the shit storm of epic proportions that is falling upon a local, family-run business that specifically caters to families and children in our city. This particular play place has made it a priority to have a nice, comfortable and quiet room for mothers and babies IF THAT IS WHAT THEY NEED/WANT. This is far more than any mall, big box or department store that attaches it's "Mother's" rooms to the bathroom does. Where is the outrage at the mom who made the complaint and the racist comments? Where is the acknowledgment that management asked this person to leave, because HER behaviour was unacceptable in their establishment? 

Did the staff and management of this facility do everything right in the heat of the moment during this incident? No, they did not. Does there need to be a concrete policy in place for just this kind of incident. Most definitely. Was some of the conversation that occurred between the nursing mother and the staff taken out of context or misunderstood? Well, honestly, we'll never really know that, so it's no use contemplating it and getting into a big he said/she said debate over it. 

What I do know, is that this establishment is being as pro-active as they can be in regards to responding to this incident and has set up a Breastfeeding Information session for later this week and is trying to work with the mother in question to apologize to her and move forward from this. I will be at this event to both support the mother and her right to breastfeed her child wherever and whenever AND to support a local family-run business and help them become an example of a breastfeeding-friendly organization with full policies and procedures in place for all employees and patrons. I encourage all those who are planning to come to this event to keep both of these objectives in mine.

But, I've got one more thing to say...

And it goes back to that word, shame (and again, please see my last post for more on that). 

These days, our immediate reaction to "bad things that happen to us" is to pop it up on social media and gather ye thy mobs and pitchforks and torches and ATTACK! If and when we feel shamed in any way, our knee-jerk reaction is to fight back with more shame. 

In an interview about her book "Women & Shame", Brené Brown says;

...the greatest challenge to developing shame resilience is the way shame actually makes us less open to giving or receiving empathy. Shame protects itself by making it very difficult for us to access its antidote. When we are in shame, reaching out for empathy feels very dangerous and risky. And, when we are in shame and someone reaches out to us, it is unlikely that we will be willing to dig deep and find anything besides fear, anger, blame and confusion.

Today, I have seen so much anger and blame and confusion online. It's messy, it's disheartening and it's frustrating as well. Because in all of it; all the comments, the news interviews, and the shared posts, empathy is the very last thing that anyone has on their minds.  And it is the one thing that is needed most in these kinds of situations. 

Social media is a great way to get your voice heard and I would never take that away from anyone, especially women, mothers and marginalized and oppressed communities or peoples. I would just really like it if along with the "making of a big fuss", there also came a "making of a big effort to find a solution to all the fuss". And by solution, I mean one that moves everyone forward, that makes us all better human beings and that doesn't resort to tearing down people and places and threatening to drown us all in the big bad sea of shame. 


The life-preserver we all need thrown out to us at these times. 



P.S. Are you or do you know of an organization that would like to become a Breastfeeding Friendly Community Partner? If so, please check out this handy Toolkit created by the good folks at BACE, The Breastfeeding Action Committee of Edmonton. 

Free Gift with Purchase

It's been another one of those weeks online. You know, the ones where one woman posts an article about why HER choices as a mother are the BEST ONES and everyone else is just so, so selfish and then the internet erupts in yet another round of She Said and then She Said and then SHE Said. (In all seriousness, please do go read that last one.) I swear this shit happens on a cyclical basis, and by my casual observations, it's usually around every three months or so. 

I have a theory about this cycle and why it happens, and after much thought about whether or not I should add to the #shesaid noise of this particular cycle of ridiculous link-baiting, CRAP, I have decided to share it with you all.

My theory is this:

Motherhood comes with a Bonus Gift. Kind of like the ones you get at the cosmetic counter at the department store, but without the cute toiletry bag to carry it in. And what exactly is this lovely bonus gift you ask?

It is SHAME. Or to be fancy we can call it La Honte.

I know. It's not exactly the gift you want and not one that you can give back either, but EVERY MOTHER gets it. I am sure some Fathers get it too, but their gift is usually just the sample size and it gets buried deep down in the bottom of a briefcase somewhere. Moms? Well, we seem to get the full size jumbo bottle. Lucky us!

Some days we just dab on just a little bit of shame, cover up our perceived "flaws" with a good concealer and then get on with our days. Other days, we bathe in it and the shame overwhelms us and it takes all we have in us to not pass out from it's miasma. And then there are times when, even after the bonus gift has run out, we go back for more and keep putting it on and don't even realize how much of it has seeped into our skin and unbeknownst to us, this shame becomes a part of who we think we are.  

The problem with motherhood and this bonus gift of shame is that it is assumed that they go hand in hand. That you can't have one without the other. It's just another one of those things that comes with being a mother. Sleeplessness - check. Some form of bodily fluid on you at any given time - check. Disproportionate sense that somehow you totally suck at this, you are going to fuck it all up and you will indeed completely mess up your kid(s) - CHECK, CHECK, AND CHECK. 

This week, the internet has given us yet another rehashing of the "this is why I work/stay at home", dumb-ass, link-baiting, PLAYED-OUT, SHAME-FUELED, mommy-wars rhetoric.


No, I really mean it. STOP.

These posts are nothing more than cheap vessels to ship out even more shame to others and they are not needed or appreciated. Remember, we have all received our own free gift to deal with already! We DO NOT need anymore.

My initial response to this ongoing and seemingly on perpetual repeat discourse was one of anger and seething feminist rage. And judging by a thread in one of the feminist groups I belong to on Facebook, this is the knee-jerk reaction of many, many others. It has been two days now since I read that damn "Dear Daughter" post, and I have calmed down and realized two things. One, I am at a point in my life where my compassion for other women far outweighs my scorn for someone else's personal choices in their life. And two, I am SO OVER the scent of Eau de Motherhood Shame. 

As human beings, we seek connection and attachment in all things in our lives. This is a scientific fact and it is hard-wired in our brains. Motherhood is no exception. We seek to find out "tribe", our fellow mothers going through this life-altering process and who can provide that connection for us. And you thought all those play dates were for the babies and that attachment parenting was just about which kind of carrier you had! 

What I think happens a lot of the time in this quest, is that we often mistake sameness as connection. And when we start seeing motherhood as US vs THEM, this makes it very difficult for us to connect with others. We are focused not on what makes us human and what will connect us to others, but on what makes us feel better than others, or perceiving someone else's decisions to do thing differently as a criticism of our choices and not simply as a another path along the same journey. In other words, we try to displace our own shame and regift our bottle to someone else. Let me tell you something, this doesn't work. When we isolate ourselves in sameness, we lose our ability to feel empathy for those that we perceive are not like us. 

We don't have to be this way. We can find connection without sameness, in Motherhood and in all things. Once we rid ourselves of all the expectations that we put on ourselves and that we feel from the world around us, once we can truly see each other as we are, once empathy replaces judgement in our minds, only THEN we can find a way out of that awful cloud of shame stench that we sometimes get trapped in.  And when we strip is all down to the bare bones of what makes us human, it is just like the song says folks, 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is to love and be loved in return...."


Namaste my friends, namaste.