Rulers of Our Own Castles

I have been thinking about this blog a lot lately.

Growing up I was taught that I was a piece of property owned by my parents.

Heads up Mum, I am not racking on you, I am just stating how it was. I don’t really think it was a malicious idea that my parents came up with, it was traditional way of raising children, especially daughters.

I was taught there were certain ways I was to look. I couldn’t dye my hair until I was a bit older (and could pay for it myself…that makes sense) and I also wasn’t allowed to get tattoos (I did when I was 16 anyways) or piercings (which I also did at age 18).

Sex was also a super taboo no-no.

I never really had anyone to talk to about my sexual inclinations or how to protect myself. What I learned about sex was what I learned in sex-ed, TV and from what my older sisters joked about.

So, at a young age, I learned that my body was a temple, but it also wasn’t fully mine… until the day I realized I actually did have complete control.

There came a point where what my parents told me and demanded of me no longer aligned with what I wanted to be. I wanted to control my own self and I guess that came in the form of rebellion. I am also quite the polar opposite when it comes to some of the views of my parents. Piercings and tattoos can be beautiful and also reminders of life experiences. Sex is a fundamental part of life. There is no such thing as sluts.

I find the idea of basing someone’s worth solely on the amount of people they have had sex with completely absurd. As long as the sex is consensual, they aren’t sleeping with your partner, breaking up another relationship, or purposefully spreading STDs, why the fuck would you care what someone does with their body? Also, sex is (mostly) awesome… so… shaming someone for having an awesome time doesn’t make any sense to me.

So, here I am, the mother of two girls. One of my girls is almost 14 years old and the other is 2 and a half. I don’t have much to worry about with the toddler yet… besides keeping her alive and preventing her from tearing our house apart, but my teenage daughter is at that age where she needs a lot more guidance.

My ideas on these subjects could all backfire on me, but I am hoping they won’t.

What I want to instill in my daughters is that when they can fully comprehend the idea – THEY get to decide how they wish to treat their own bodies.

What? Hold the phone. I am not saying my small child knows when she should be able to get a tattoo or anything – there is definitely an age when I think it is more acceptable for them to be able to choose those things.

What is that age? Um, probably different for each of them?

The biggest factor is how the communication flows between us.

  • Are we able to have an open conversation about the repercussions of some of their choices?
  • Is what they are feeling a fleeting idea or a thought coming from peer pressure? Or is it something they have been thinking for a long time and know the pros and cons?
  • Can I trust their judgement and can they trust my advice?
  • 1 MILLION other things that I can’t list here.

I can feel when my oldest is really serious about something. She is probably more mature than most girls her age and it can be a real eye-opener for me sometimes.

So, when the idea was brought forth to me that she wanted to get her nose pierced I thought of all of these things and more. I also had the fleeting thought that my parents (her grandparents) would be pretty upset if their grandbaby visited them with a new piece of ice in her nose. But, it didn’t stop me from having an open conversation with my kid. If anyone is willing to go up to bat for her daughter making the decisions about her own body, it’s me.

The discussion about the nose piercing lasted about four weeks in our house. I had my nose pierced before and flat out told her that it hurts, mine became infected and kind of looked like a big boog on my nose. It didn’t suit me. If the idea of these things didn’t phase her, she was probably more serious than I thought. She also had to pay for it herself… or so I told her.

Then the text came one day from her Dad – we are pretty lucky that we are both pretty rad, because I don’t think my Dad would have ever have opened up this door – and the text said, “Hey what do you think of M. getting her nose pierced?” Since we had been talking about it at our house for quite some time, I told him that when it boils down to it, a piercing is just a hole. A nose piercing won’t change her in any other way besides putting a tiny hole in her face. A nose piercing doesn’t open the doors for undesirable behaviours like underage drinking or drugs or prostitution. It is just a tiny hole in her face filled with a pretty gem.

Lo’ and behold, Teenager and Her Dad were close to a reputable piercing shop – and honestly, I am not even sure I would have wanted to be there in person – so they walked in and she got her piercing. The only request I had was that I got sent a video. She took it like a champ and much better than I did when I was 18.

But, what I am really hoping she got from the experience was that she is the ruler of her own castle – her body. She get to make the decisions of what happens to it, how it is modified and how it is used. I hope with all of my heart that it gives her strength to say “NO” when she means it and “YES” when she feels it. I hope it gives her confidence that she can not be used like a toy and also that she can respect her body for what it is…

Her temple, her castle, her self.


Love Yourself,


PS) She’s a beauty inside and out!

love love love


Guest Post #1 – By “M.”

This is the first Guest Post here on Waking Up Thirty. 

We all go through different trials and tribulations in life – how we battle them is much more defining than the actual outcome in a lot of instances. 

Cheers to “M.” for being brave and sharing their story.

M Gp

By “M.”

In January, I wrote a list of goals for 2016. I am not a fan of resolutions but I do believe if you write things down there is a better chance of them being crossed off and accomplished. The list included items like drink more water, plan trips not purchases, breathe, compete with myself not others, Do Mud Hero, Not Since Moses run and 10km at Maritime Race weekend, Love myself, be in bed by 10pm, Go to church more regularly, more day trips as a family, more get togethers with friends, Seek Joy and At the top of the list, Get Pregnant and have another baby.

Well it is more than half way through the year and I am still not pregnant and we started trying about 6 months before I wrote that list. I’m not sure why it hasn’t happened yet. With my first, it happened quickly. There are reasons I’m sure. Physical reasons, emotional reasons, timing, purpose etc…  Trying not to focus on it is an exercise in futility. Instead I try to listen to all the subtle truths being revealed. Truthfully it amazes me how we multi-task in this life. We carry on in our day to day (jobs, doctors appointments, friendships, family obligations) while just under the surface or behind closed doors we balance the emotions and struggle we experience in the waiting, in the living, in the knowing of not knowing, in the realization that we can only control so much. This is true of so many of life’s experiences not just trying to conceive. I’ve seen it in my friends and colleagues who care for their ailing parents or battle illnesses all while showing up for work , taking care of their kids and all with such strength and grace. It’s Amazing.

As a planner, someone who makes lists and crosses items off and someone who isn’t particularly fond of change, when you are ready to embrace a new life altering change and it just doesn’t happen it’s unsettling. I remember a quote from Ruth Houtby at the pulpit “Losing Control is losing the illusion that we were ever in control to begin with” This quote has had so much meaning in so many situations for me and yet I keep hearing it and learning it in different contexts. It feels particularly relevant right now.

I read this article the other day about how to support a friend through infertility. It made me realize three things. 1. We are not alone in this experience 2. I have some amazing friends. 3. The last paragraph… “At the end of the day, whether you are able to have the family you desire or not you will be made a better person by the experience.” Katie Hintz-Zambrano writes “While that is not an easy thing to tell a friend (or hear), it’s a reality of the experience. You will be a better parent, friend, sister, wife, person in general.” I would extend this to husbands and fathers as well.

I truly feel this. Even though it is hard and a struggle not knowing when and/or if it will happen for us again, it is shaping me and our family, growing us and challenging us to be more appreciative of the family we do have and more willing to explore new experiences and take more chances. We are living life more fully, more presently.

Have you ever written an “I am” list? You know the ones where you write “I am…” at the top of the page and then fill the page with positive affirmations about yourself? It’s big in the self-help world. Anyway I have. I am kind, I am generous, I am a loyal, I am happy yadda yadda… I get about two lines in and start trying to think about how I can re-frame negative self talk to be positive. (Side note: why do we carry such negative self-beliefs) But one truth I know is that I am a good friend. I care deeply about my friends and I prioritize maintaining friendships. It brings me joy to sit with friends and connect, no matter what the topic or context.  It is equally joyful and challenging to connect with friends who are experiencing something in their lives you wish to be experiencing in your own. When you are trying to get pregnant you become that much more aware of all the pregnant people around you. I have experienced so many emotions as my friends experience pregnancy and the birth of their children, some for the first time and others the second time around: excitement, joy, jealousy, resentment, gratitude, sadness, guilt, longing.  I have also become a more sensitive friend. I am that much more aware of the questions I ask or  how I talk about my own child with others. It is so easy to complain about sleepless nights, how whiny your child is or the general struggles of parenting. I no longer take these things for granted.

In the midst of a particularly rough weekend which corresponded with sleep deprivation, PMS and the cycle that is the roller-coaster of emotions one experiences when trying to get pregnant (sorry if TMI) our family sought refuge at my mom’s. After I left she wrote to me. She said “You need to be more kind to yourself and trust your instincts. You are a good person. Sometimes I think you need to reverse the golden rule and do unto/for yourself as you would do unto/for others. Love you”

It meant the world to me to read those words from her. I felt as though she looked at me and really saw me. She saw me where I am currently and said exactly the words I needed to hear.

I know I am so lucky to have had a successful pregnancy the first time around and to have a loving husband and awesome little boy. Throughout and as a result of this experience I have also had the opportunity to cross off some of the other items on my list such as competing with myself and not others, running a few races, planning trips not purchases, taking time to breathe, practicing self-care and mindfully seeking Joy.  What Katie Hintz-Zambrano writes is true. I am a better wife, mom, friend, daughter, sister and person for having this experience. I am learning and growing. I am present enough to recognize that there are so many known and unknowns becoming manifest and in the midst of it all, I have hope.

  • “M.”


Thank you so much for the entry, “M.” 

I think we can all agree that life doesn’t always give us what we want, but it has a way of giving us what we need. 

Here’s to the strong ones who push through!


Love Yourself,


See You on the Other Side

Do you remember us?

We used to be fun, spontaneous and down right self-absorbed. It was magnificent.

Back when we had our childless weekends together, when my oldest daughter would stay at her Dad’s, when we would stay up all night with friends, spend the day in our jammies and make grueling decisions like, “do we go to the grocery store for snacks, or do we just hit the drive-through?” Since one of those options included putting on bottoms other than pajama pants, we would usually go for the latter. 

We had no one to tell us how to live and we did what we wanted. Even our bodies were happily put through the abuse they endured – sleepless nights, too much alcohol, long trips on the four-wheeler, sunburns and bed aches.



Fast Forward to present-day and the table has been flipped upside down.

We no longer get to choose how long we sleep, or when it happens – thanks to a toddler who still does not sleep through the night. Our activity options are also limited. Most of our plans have to include our kids, otherwise they just aren’t going to work for us.

Really, having a childfree night would be nice, but the thought of putting ourselves through an all-nighter on purpose sounds like mere fucking torture. Sleep is so important to us now, but instead of sleeping all day, we try to make sure we get the right kind of sleep at the right time – you know, like at night.

This stage of our lives can be lonely and is really hard.

We are raising babies and teenagers, yet trying to work enough to ensure our future.

It is a grindstone – and even when the weekend comes along, there isn’t enough time in two days to make up for the time missed during the week.

As for friends – OUR FRIENDS –

Since there is barely enough time for my husband and I to be with each other, and also take care of ourselves and our children, and managing our property or what-have-its – my DEAR FRIENDS…

…there is barely enough time for you.

When I do make time specifically for an evening out with friends or an event, it is calculated to the max.

Do I need a sitter? Do I need someone to watch the dog? Am I going to need to take a cab home? If I need a cab, how will we manage to get my car in the morning? If the toddler goes to a sitter, how many snacks do I pack? Do I actually have to wear real clothes or will my yoga pants suffice?

Long gone are the days of trying to decide between the grocery store and drive-throughs. Our priorities are in a vastly different order than they once were and are balanced very delicately.

It only takes one raucous and sleep deprived night to ruin an entire week in this house.

I totally understand that it can be frustrating to not see someone you once had friend-affair with. We were together a lot – almost inseparable at times.

But, do you really want to see us now? Do you want to chill with tired, worn out us?

We promise that we love you. If we didn’t love you, we wouldn’t have so much respect for you to realize that we don’t see you quite enough. We honestly wish we had more time for you all – and we are sorry that this has happened.

But, here is the bright side:

Somehow this will all get easier.

We will figure out how to balance our lives a little better.

Our children won’t be quite so schedule dependent and maybe we will get to sleep easier and with that our days will come easier too.

We will never forget our fun ass times we had together. We won’t forget the memories we made and the histories we have developed with our Dearest Friends.

So when that time comes –

Don’t forget us.

We will see you on the other side.


Love Yourself,



Why Waking Up?

I was telling my husband about the idea of this blog a while ago and I told him what I wanted to name it. He said “Waking up 30? But you are 32 – what does that mean?”

I find it a bit difficult to describe what Waking Up Thirty means to me without absolutely blowing your minds with dullness, so I will try to be as clear with as few words as possible.

There is a legend that says that a woman awakens on her 30th birthday. She is more sexually aware, self-aware, worldly, her true self, blah blah blah.

Well, what-the-hell?

I feel like 30 was probably the least favourite of my years, even 31 was not that great. Yes, I had a lot of wonderful life events going on –  we had a baby, moved – fun things happened… but I wasn’t fully there. (I did/do have some health issues that caused some problems. They are getting better, so let’s just leave that there.)

I just didn’t feel fully connected. I had really felt grounded and awake in my late 20’s when I was focusing on myself – getting healthy and being a bad-ass-bitch all around.


Then 30 came and went. Pregnant as fawk.

Then 31 came and went. Post-part-em bullshit.

Then 32 came and I was like,


I have slowly been poking that Dirty Decade in the ribs for the past few months. It isn’t easy. I have almost forgotten some of things I once loved. No wonder 30 didn’t want to come out to play. I was boring.

I think women are often bombarded with feelings that once your 20’s are behind you, it is time to shut up, sit down and eat the pasture grass. Beautiful and talented actresses get less leading roles in movies. Models basically retire. Working women often have to make the decision to either have children or keep their high-demand jobs.Generally we are told that our fun days are over.

I ain’t down with that.

I have come to realize that passions don’t just die with age. You can be in your 30’s and still learn. You can still discover something new within yourself, or you can ignite old flames.

So, I said – always the rebel – that I am going to do what I WANT. Screw society’s ideals. Screw the notions that 30 is a downhill ride in the back of a semi.

I started painting again. I started playing music again. I started letting go of my reservations that make me feel like I can’t accomplish something I have a passion for.

I started waking myself up.

I started a blog too.

I am learning new things:

  • How to keep my mind in tact while being a stay at home mom. (My kids are relatively easy, it is the day in and day out that drives me off the edge.)
  • How to make time for myself even when the guilt tells me not to.
  • How to love fully and not be resentful for the things I lack.

I don’t have it all together. I have none of my shit in the same wheelbarrow. I make rash decisions – like buying chickens when we have no mother-effin clue how to raise those. I paint over perfectly good paintings because even though I liked them yesterday, I didn’t like them today.

I am working on my patience, honesty and judgmental tendencies.

I am working on it. I am working on everything. I am a work in progress.

I don’t want to be satisfied with just being. I want to learn and I want to grow daily. and the only way I know how to do that is with practice and time.

I have eight more years with this 30 thing. I call it the Dirty Decade because I like playing with words and I feel like the 30’s can be such a time of self-reflection for so many… and that self-reflection can be freakin’ terrible.

Here is to laying it out, not letting any fear of failure take away my passion and just keeping it real.

Love yourself,