Tribeless




Tribes. They are everywhere, but my God, socializing as an adult is so awful sometimes and trying to permeate a tribe is like running through a brick wall.

I get it. None of us want to commit to each other. We have been hurt in the past – or have done the hurting – and we don’t have time for investing in people we don’t immediately see a reflection of ourselves in. We also see ourselves as shitty friends anyway – like, who wants to suddenly be friends with someone who has maybe one day a month to hang out?

I feel a little ragey and a little bit of sadness whenever I see the “tribe” quotes on social media. I am sure you have seen them, but if you haven’t let me show you what you’re missing:

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So, let me break it down for everyone. Apparently without a group of other like-minded people, we are weak, outcasts and basically too odd to fit.

I have no “tribe.”

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Just a Moment

On Friday I took Toddler to a park she has never been to before. I fully expected her to play around and try to interact with some older kids who would want nothing to do with her, while I watched or played with my phone.

I am not a helicopter mom for a few of reasons.

1) I want my child to figure things out on her own so she learns how to deal. Learning to climb/fall/balance/fall is all a part of the learning process. If she was never to find out she could fall, her survival instinct would be zero.

2) It causes so much useless anxiety for her and myself. I feel like I can trust my instincts when I know something is unsafe or her abilities are not quite there. 

3) I find following my child so she is within arms reach to be the exact opposite of what I want to do. So I don’t. I just don’t want to. End of story. I’m not gonna.

Sure, for the first while in my kid’s lives I try to make sure they don’t kill themselves or eat poison, but once they are showing signs that they want to explore I am totally down with that. Go ahead and check things out kid, I already know what is up, so I will sit here and enjoy my semi-silence and the fact that a little person is not trying to crawl all over me for a change.

Parks, playgrounds, playcafés, jungle gyms etc. – these things are a treasure when you have an energetic and inquisitive child. These places give parents a friggin’ minute of not having to entertain. We can disengage for a minute or two and sometimes that is all we need. We can’t be “on” all the time. We just can’t.

So if you feel the need to sit back and relax, it’s fine. Play on your phone, enjoy your book or stare off into the distance remembering what it was like to have less responsibilities.

Enjoy those moments… because your child will eventually notice the swings.

The swings are the deal breaker.

My child will literally swing for an hour. Husband and I have had to take shifts pushing her in the swing in our own backyard. Most times when we have had enough and want her to get out, it is a battle. I am pretty sure the neighbours have heard the screaming and have seen me carrying her like a football into the house while she wails.

Swings are her favourite. So you can imagine I was trying to avoid the swings as much as possible on Friday and let her explore the other equipment instead. It lasted about four minutes and then I was hauled over to the swings. I set her into the toddler swing and pushed her for a good ten minutes – fully expecting it to be longer – before she pointed to the other swing and said, “Your turn.”

Often the regular swings are a little uncomfortable when you are an adult. My hips have widened and my arse is bigger than it was, but I sat in the swing anyway and began swinging. I would at least try for a moment so I could see the look Toddler gave me as she was so happy to see me “having fun”  her way. 14074379_1737691046497138_1105018762_o (1)

I didn’t expect to really enjoy myself. It has been quite a few years since being at the playground was about my own enjoyment. So, you can understand how surprised I was to feel that tight ball of nerves in my belly that trickled its way to my extremities. Then I realized that if I closed my eyes tightly, I was five years old again – flying high on the swing my Dad set up for me on the weeping willow in our front yard.

I haven’t felt adrenaline or butterflies in my stomach for so long that they almost felt foreign to me. It felt like childhood.

Toddler and I looked at each other and we laughed and giggled. I had to get off the swing a few times to push her again, but I hopped right back on and tried to catch up with her rhythm.

She had a good idea that day. Not only did I manage to actually have fun at the playground, but I honestly lost track of time just like I did when I was little.

We weren’t worried about anything. I didn’t feel like I had to disengage in order to relax. We both felt the joy in the moment and let it ride. We were really connected at that moment.

Maybe when Toddler is older and has the chance to swing again, she will close her eyes and remember the time when her Mama joined her on the swingset at the playground – that tight ball of nerves bringing back all those sensations and feelings.

 

Love Yourself,

Allison

 

 

… and if you are wondering… she still totally lost her shit when it was time to leave. I proudly did the football carry to the car as I was watched by the other parents.

 

One Year

It has been almost one year since I made the move to be a stay-at-home parent. I took on this new position two weeks before we moved into a new house, just under 18 months into my youngest daughter’s life, right before my oldest daughter turned 13, and just over five years into our marriage (together for 10).

Here are some things I have learned during this year:

1)  Time passes really fast. – This is mostly obvious, but if you are now in your 30’s and you had parents or older influencers who kept telling you that time is fleeting and all you did was roll your eyes then this one is for you. I bet you are kicking your own ass at this point for not grabbing opportunities while you were younger, or waiting to do something big and brave.

This year has taught me that even when I feel like I have all the time in the world to get things done, to start new projects (or actually finish them), I better fucking get on it. Time goes just as fast now as it did when I was working outside of the home. If I am being totally honest, I really think that the older you get times does some weird warp dance and goes even faster. My Dad told me this would happen and I eye rolled so damn hard.

 

2) Anxiety is always here. – I have struggled with anxiety for years. I often equated it to stress from school or the workplace, but guess what! It is still here.

You may have read my post about my post part-um anxiety issues, but my generalized anxiety is a bit different. It can strike me at any moment – unprovoked, or it can be caused by outside forces. It SUCKS. I have been doing really well at keeping panic attacks at bay, but anxiety is like a scary clown that is right around the corner ready to pop out and say, “Hey fucker! Gotcha!” I hate anxiety and how it has affected my life. It never quite goes away and makes me feel a little out of control of my own self. Now I know it isn’t always stress that is a trigger – it is just what I have to live with.

 

3) It is better for OUR family. – Staying at home to raise our kids (teenager is 50/50) was probably the hardest decision to make because I felt like I was giving up on a career that I felt could have gone places had I really pushed for it. However, I didn’t love my career and I certainly didn’t love the time it took away from my family.

I also really love having control of my house. This may sound weird to some, but when I worked I felt like my house was always in chaos. I didn’t know where everything was all the time, I was constantly being surprised by school meetings or events that my child knew about for about a month – but somehow I found out about the day before, and I did not feel like a home boss whatsoever. I was a terrible roommate instead.

Now I really have a good grasp on things like how much butter we have left and what day is garbage and what day is recycling pickup. — OK, this is totally true, but it is kind of funny how knowing these little tiny details make our home run much more smoothly.

If I am going to bake cookies, I need mother effin’ butter.

You know what is the most amazing of all? My husband and I fight wayyyyy less. We never really fought too much to begin with, but it was always a HUGE deal when we did. I have no idea if we are just happier because we have more control of our ship, or if we are just at the point that we know fighting just creates sadness. Either way, we win.

 

4) I sometimes really miss working outside of the home.  – OK, so this is blatantly obvious for any of you who have read my blogs from the get-go.

Yup. Sometimes I get a little bit shack-wacky. I think it is pretty normal for someone like myself who is making a big adjustment like  I did. I miss my work frenemies sometimes. I miss shooting the shit with the old guys at work who liked to be a little misogynistic – I miss that because I used to throw it back at them ten-fold. I even miss my commute and being completely by myself and allowing me to wind down for an hour from a stressful day at work before having to step in my door. Now my stress follows me everywhere because I am constantly at the workplace. Those are the days I feel like I am not captaining the ship as well as I should be and I have a huge glass of wine.

 

5) The longer I wait to have outings, the longer I want to wait. – Sometimes I have to force myself to leave the house. I have to take all of my shitty and lame excuses and get the hell out of here. Otherwise, I will pull every trick so I don’t have to go through the motions of getting ready, getting the kid (or kids) ready, looking like I have my shit some what together and interacting with people even though I often have fuck-all to talk about.

What? You don’t want to hear about our potty-training woes? Well fuck me. I have literally nothing else to talk about today. Hit me up to tomorrow.

Some days I just really don’t feel like I am all that interesting or good company.

Some days I really want to clean my house or sit back and read my book and take advantage of my child’s elusive naps so I can be alone.

I like being alone sometimes and that is OK, but I also don’t want to lose the friendships and connections I currently have, so I have to remember to nurture those relationships and part of that is actually seeing them. Oddly, once I am out and on the go, I actually love it.

So, suck it up and get out of the house. Period.

 

6) People talk no matter what you do. – I was really shocked when I heard my name being tossed around a few times in the gossip circles. I am super boring. I stay home and try to find grocery bargains and crafts to do with my toddler that aren’t going to cause emotional scarring.

Then I realized how easy it is to gossip.

Like.really.easy.

Gossip doesn’t even have to be malicious or false. One of the definitions of gossip is that it is “idle talk” and I have caught myself in a few situations where something I have said about someone gets back to them and actually causes them pain. Nope, I didn’t mean it the way it was interpreted and I didn’t even think it was a big deal, but the thing about gossip is that once it is out of your mouth it can never be put back in. Ever.

 

7) I can cook and clean. Hoo-fuckin-rah. – For some reason when I was growing up my family liked to make fun of me for not being able to cook or clean.

Little did they know that this was a huge survival tactic for me. Why bother cooking and cleaning when someone else will do it for you if you do a shitty enough job?

Well, surprise! When it comes time to taking care of my own home, kids, husband, myself – I can actually do it AND I do it well.

So… neener neener neener to all the ones who told me I could never do it.

 

8) I am worthy of praise. – HOLD UP. That last one there, the cooking and cleaning thing – do you really think it just ends right there? Is my only mission in life to make my house spotless and to have dinner ready at 5pm while my children play quietly waiting for Husband to walk in the door and take a load off?

Well, if it is, some days I am bang on and I want to have someone tell me that I am nailing it and I want a fucking raise too because doing things that can seem so monotonous, and doing them with joy, deserves a friggin’ nod every now and then.

Some days are hard. Some days my toddler drives me up the wall and my teenager acts like I don’t exist. Some days nothing goes the way I want it to and makes me feel so inadequate.

Then I remember that if I left my husband alone for a week with toddler this place would be a wreck and so would he.  I feel like I am doing a pretty good job at something I never pictured myself doing. Give me a pat on the back now and then and I will return that gratitude exponentially – like baking the best damn chocolate chip cookies ever.

 

9) I still need to have goals. – I go a bit cray cray if I am not working towards something. It can be a personal fitness goal, a business goal, or even a financial goal. I need goals. Otherwise I feel like I am floundering and life is getting a bit mish mash. Without goals life takes monotony to a whole otha’ level.

I also feel like goals make you stronger because often when you are trying to reach a goal you fail 800 times. In those failings we learn a lot of shit…

…and I have a lot of shit I want to learn.

 

10) I am still an individual. – When I first decided to leave my job and stay home I was so worried I would lose myself and the parts of me that made me unique. I have discovered because I am now a stay-at-home-mom it doesn’t mean I am fading into the background. In fact, at my old job I was probably more of a number on a piece of paper than I ever was considered a valued individual.

Stay-at-home-parents are super valuable and we are not just some mass of unseen creatures that have less esteem in society. We are part of the PTAs. We help organize and fund raise amazing things like school and sports trips. We often take in other children to care for. We build communities of volunteers. We sacrifice careers to make sure our kids have healthy and loving homes. We are a bunch of self-less badasses!

…OK – I am a little selfish sometimes and I will never be on any PTA, but if there are seriously people out there who believe that being a stay-at-home-parent means losing their individuality or self-worth then they are terribly wrong.

None of us are from the same mould. There is no one-size fits all to life.

I am just as weird/unique/individual as ever and I love that I am who I am.


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One year.

Above all of these things that I have learned I have also developed some sort of idea of the actual human being I would like to be.  I  also have a better grasp on how my parenting and relationships should grow. I am discovering new things about myself constantly – some good, some bad and that’s just fine too.

 

Love Yourself,

Allison

 

 

 

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,

Allison

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,

Allison

Life With Bully

I follow George Takei on Facebook and I read his posts pretty much daily. I don’t care if he has a team of assistants who post for him or not, I generally find about 50% of what he posts interesting.

Today he shared a Whisper post (through Buzzfeed) about the parents of bullied children. Like I said, I always read the posts from his page – but furthermore, I always go to the comments to see what the real people are saying.

See the Buzzfeed post/Whispers here.

Some of them have such heart wrenching stories.

I can’t even begin to imagine being the parent of a child who is being bullied for things that are out of their control – like their child having glasses, or being short or having a scar etc.

When we become parents we immediately and fiercely love our offspring and to see them hurting or struggling with something like bullying can be so infuriating and can make you question so many things.

Like, “why can’t others see how awesome my child is?”

And it can be equally as sad to know that your child’s once pure and carefree heart is now betrodden with thoughts of self-doubt and worry of what the next day brings. It can be so heartbreaking to see their innocence get stripped from them unwillingly. It takes away a bit of their spirit and turns it into dark matter.

The confusing part of this is that we often equate The Bully as being some sort of delinquent or dehumanized oppressor.

This idea is false.

I can almost guarantee that the majority of the time The Bully is just as loved as the victim.

As much as I can’t imagine being the parents of a bullied child, I also think about being that parent who discovers that their child is being nasty towards someone else. The shame that would course through my body would be apparent. None of us want our children to be the bad guy in stories or the Regina George’s in school.

We want our children to be good people.

We want others to look at our kids and think, “Wow, they did a great job raising these remarkable young humans.”

But, they aren’t going to come by this goodness magically.

I know there are some children who have had the shitty end of the stick and their bullying ways come from a history of abuse and learned behavior. It is common for anger and rage to be a coping mechanism and that is very unfortunate. Not only are these kids a victim, but they continue to victimize and try to push the pain onto someone else. I hope that in today’s world these children are given more of a chance than they are discarded and seen as a lost cause.

I know elementary and Pre-K bullying can be all kinds of rough. How do you deal with parents who won’t acknowledge the problem (or even care) and how do you communicate with the children effectively enough to put an end to it?

I can’t give any insight into that situation because I have never encountered it. I have dealt with a bit of middle school drama, but nothing major. My oldest girl has had things run pretty smoothly for her. She’s chill, pretty level-headed and deals with any escalating drama in the most diplomatic of ways. Pretty awesome for an almost 14 year-old. I can only hope my youngest’s school days turn out so smoothly.

 

I do remember my own first week of grade 7 – I had an older girl yell at my from across the yard that she didn’t like me because I looked like someone else she didn’t like. It made me nervous. She probably gave me a few cold stares in the hallway and a couple of shoulder bumps, but nothing to the extent that happens with incessant bullying.

This happened a couple of times over the span of my middle school and high school life. I had another girl rag on me pretty hard (unwarranted as I barely knew her) when I became pregnant in grade 12. But, by then I didn’t give a shit what people said about me. If it wasn’t physically hurting me, I didn’t care.

If anything else happened to me, it wasn’t significant enough to be emblazoned in my memory bank.

As an adult I have learned that bullies – or Assholes, as adult bullies are called – usually always back down when they realize their target is a bit harder to hit than they thought. Whenever I have fought back or showed by bullies up or given them back some of their own medicine, they almost always back down.

I know this doesn’t always work with child bullies because The Bully often doesn’t give up so easily. It can be kind of fun for them to have a bit of a challenge. That’s why kids think it is such a time to play the same level in a video game over and over and over. They do it until they think they win.

Then again, I know have also deterred my bullies/assholes by killing them with kindness. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it is so satisfying to see the realization come over someone’s face that the road they take is a lot lower than they think – and it is a shock to their system to realize they get zero respect for doing it.

The childhood bully won’t always walk away from a situation like that and sometimes the child victim is not even going to try to sway them by being nice.

Do you want to know why this happens?

Sur-fucking-prise!

…It is because we are all different and we handle different situations in different ways. EVEN AS CHILDREN.

Every.single.thought.

Every.single.action.

Every.single.reaction.

Can get a completely different response from different people/bullies/victims because we all think, act and react in different ways.

There is no concrete solution to end bullying.

Each bullying situation is completely and entirely unique. So, when I see blanket statements like, “The victim just needs to stand up for themselves!” or, “Just ignore it.” I get a bit enraged.

It isn’t just a matter of teaching our kids to be more confident, how to defend themselves, how to read people, or to just be good.

We need to teach them ALL OF THOSE THINGS and more.

We also need to listen. We need to listen to them with EVERYTHING. Our ears and our eyes are great observers, but our hearts tell us when things are a little off. We need to actually hear our kids when they tell us something isn’t right. We need to admit and be open-minded when we realize our child is a victim or even the one victimizing. I know it can be really hard to realize your child has hard time coping with a terrible situation, or maybe they are The Bully, but it isn’t going to change them or a damn thing about the situation just because you know about it. We need to take action.

We have to talk to our kids. Show them what empathy is. Teach them about self-respect and kindness and what it feels like to take the high road.

Let other people help your kids, too. Not every one of us has the answers. Someone else might have a better idea or a clearer view of the situation. Just because you had a child doesn’t mean you are an All-Seeing and All-Knowing Deity. Sometimes we just need some damn help helping our own kids. On the flip, if we see a kid that isn’t getting that help, the right talk or learning experience, we shouldn’t be hesitant to step up.

Dog-fuck civilization when it thinks it doesn’t take a village to raise a child.

 

Love Yourself (and yo’ kids),

Allison

Bully

 

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.

 

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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,

Allison

 

How I Inadvertently Bought a Body Modification Device

Read title.
Say, “What?”
Uh huh, you read that right.
I had a wedding coming up and knew I would be wearing a bit of a form fitting dress.
I like Spanx, OK?
When I have some event to go to, or want to tuck in the little jiggly bits, I wear Spanx.
There is no shame in that…ok, there is a little bit of shame, but it is warranted.
After you have a couple of children, something’s gotta give, and it is usually the skin’s elasticity.
Hence, Spanx.
So, I was in need of a new pair of Spanx or the like and lo’ and behold, there on my facebook timeline was an ad for what looked like some sort of shapewear.
They were $9.99.
I measured myself and was a bit disappointed that I had to get the largest size they had available, but I figured it was probably a Chinese company and that is pretty normal for me.
I am not a size 2, after all.
I also figured even if it wasn’t as good as Spanx, I only paid $10 for it.
Deal was done.
A few weeks later I forgot I even bought it. Online shopping surprises are the best!
I was going about my day and went for my mail run and saw a package!
I opened the packet and pulled out this:
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It looked legit.
I tried it on and it held in my jiggles, and it even had some boning that promised to maintain its shape throughout my inevitable dancing the evening of the wedding.
20160721_124021
Or maybe I looked a bit like an overstuffed sausage…whatever.
Then I noticed it came with a note that said it was for “waist training.”
It came with no directions or really any indications that it was anything more than a shapewear you use occasionally.
I decided to check out waist-training on the internet.
I thought it would be some idea of wearing the shapewear while you work out to help with core stability or something.
Nope.
It is a little more fucked up than that.
Waist training is using corsets to cinch in the midriff and essentially compact the organs so you appear to have a smaller waist.
The pictures online were remarkable. I am not sure how else to put it.
They were remarkably weird, extreme, exaggerated and Kardashian.
Fucking obviously THEY had to come in here somewhere. Effin’ Kardashians.
I was a little shocked that this is a thing.
I don’t think the one I bought is meant to do the things some of the pictures on the internet suggested.
Google: “Extreme waist training”
What the mother eff is that about?
No thanks.
If this is what they want, fine. You want to look like a woman nearly cut in half, fine.
Do you want to prance around with your organs shifted so it looks like you have an hour glass figure? Fine.
You have to deal with the effects of the potential damage it creates. That’s your deal, not mine.
Man I was surprised at the amount of people into this kind of thing.
All I wanted was a little jiggle help.
I just wanted to tuck in some bits and wear a pretty dress and feel like I could glide across the dance floor without working about my jiggly-wigglies.
So, I will tell you, I did end up wearing the waist trainer to the wedding.
I had no time to go buy new Spanx, so it was done.
I could have worn my old Spanx, but the hole I made in the crotch from doing the splits at my other friend’s wedding had begun to show even more wear.
So there I was, waist training it up – I even ate a meal with this buggar on.
However, I took it off once the dancing began because it interfered with my Tootsie Roll moves.
And wouldn’t you know it, not one person fucking cared that I had a little jiggle action.
Not one.
My waist trainer shamelessly sits on my dresser with half of the parts of my now-unused breast pump.
…Toddler likes to use the cones to the breast pump as mini megaphones.
Love Yourself,
Allison

 

Why We Gotta Be So Assholish?

I think I am naturally quite an asshole.
I work really hard at not being one.
There was a time I didn’t care and would tear a strip off someone or totally confront someone over petty matters and basically be an all around dick – but I realized how exhausting and self destructive it was.
I blame it on being a spoiled youngin’ raised in a healthy home full of sarcasm, general pickiness and the ever-so-often, “Mum and Dad should have told you that you were adopted.”
Note: Not adopted.
Basically, I come from a long line of assholes.
Just kidding – I love my family… most days.
But, seriously now, I truly feel like the world is currently comprised of a lot of people who think being a jerk is the thing to do.
After all, being a jerk and being known as The Jerk, can kind of give you free reign to become more and more terrible without any consequences, amirite?
The Kicker is: Once you have The Jerk label, it is a tough one to shake.
I am sure there are plenty of people who regard me in this light.
It isn’t really anyone that matters in my life currently, but what if the tides changed and someday I find myself wanting to get a job with someone who thought I was an asshole?
Or in a far off place I actually made friends with someone, but then their opinion of me got skewed by someone who knew The Jerk me? There goes another BFF… again.
I think well all have memories of that one person in our lives who treated us like crap – and maybe treated everyone else like crap too – and was The Jerk from the get go.
These instances and that label could have happened when we were children, yet in our minds that dude is still The Jerk.
Who gives a shit that they donate a portion of their paycheck to charity and is a great mentor to our local youth?
They are THE JERK, GODDAMMIT!
Also, as long as someone else is The Jerk, the label does not fall onto anyone else.
Yeah, that’s right. You may even get away with being a bit sly and wankerish every now and then, because you know you will never live up to the expectations of The Jerk – especially if The Jerk’s within your tight social circle.
As for myself, you can ask my husband and he will flat out tell you that I am not a sweet little wifey who is so darling and nice.
Nope. I am still a little bit assholish sometimes.
We don’t fight much, but I am so very much pig headed and stubborn that I declare I win all the arguments.
If I do not win all the arguments, another argument will ensue so I even up the tally.
I am also the worst opponent in a board game ever…
…and cards. I am kind of a dick when I play cards.
Winning. I win everything.
Win or die.
But, I have #GOALS you guys.
Working on myself comes in so many forms.
I am physically trying to be better, mentally trying to be better and outwardly just trying to be better as well.
I know we all think we are good guys – even The Jerk can sometimes think they are doing nothing wrong – and it takes a lot of self-evaluation to see that a personality trait needs to change.
It also takes mental strength to purposefully interact with people in a different way than you have been used to for so long.
MXLLS
 
 – Gone are the days when I use someone’s flaws to get a laugh from someone else.
I haven’t done that in a really long time and I always found it to be the most hurtful when it happened to me. (Also, the days of laughing at those jokes coming from someone else are gone as well.)
 – Gone are the days when I judged someone solely on how they looked. I am a pretty clear fucking example of “Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover” myself. I can expand this further by not judging them on what their socio-economic status is. You don’t have to have a yacht to be my bud – although that would be pretty sweet.
– Gone are the days of not talking to someone because I thought our meeting was irrelevant or insignificant. Saying “Hello” to the bridge toll guys or asking a cashier how their day is going is not going to fucking hurt. Although, as a stay at home mom, I will yak some of their ears off. GIVE ME ADULT INTERACTION!
– Gone are the days of worrying about how other people live and caring about their counterpart gossiping hens and the twisted words they weave. Someone out there may be talking about me at this very moment. Trust me, I am just trying to live life how I want and how I think will suit me and my family best – so is everyone else – even if you don’t always agree with the choices they make.
Those are just a small fraction of the things that I feel like have changed for me.
In my journey to be a better person I can often come across as intense and a bit scattered.
It is all because I want to relate to everyone.
I want to listen. No one else seems to be listening, so someone has to genuinely do it.
I also want to care about some people other than myself and my immediate family.
So, I guess this means something.
Buh-bye, Jerk Face.
So long, Asshole.
Hello, Mrs. IamWorkingOnIt.
Love Yourself,
Allison
PS) I still CRUSH at Monopoly. Crib is a whole-otha-level of bitchassiness.

 

Self-Imaginary-Imagery

I touched briefly on my last post about losing 40-50 pounds in the past.
(I say 40-50 because towards the end of my weightloss and before I got pregnant, I didn’t weigh myself anymore.)
After pregnancy, being diagnosed with Hashimotos (hypothyroidism caused by antibodies attacking the thyroid gland) and it taking almost two years for me to start feeling better – I want to get back to where I was.
So, what happens when you start feeling better on the inside, but your outside doesn’t reflect it?
It causes me major self-image issues, that’s what.
I am feeling stronger now and ready to take on physical challenges again. I feel like a badass whenever I am at bootcamp or running and realize I am accomplishing feats I have never done before or at least haven’t in a very long time.
I even have days or weeks where I feel like my squishy bits are looking a bit less squishy and I can feel some sort of definition taking place.
Alas, then I see a picture of myself and I feel so defeated.
I know it is such a struggle, for women especially, to accept the way we look.
We avoid taking pictures altogether, or we only allow certain angles, or we filter and touch up the pictures until they look the way we want.
Sometimes we avoid social situations altogether because we are uncomfortable with how we look.
We think we are being judged – when in reality we are our own worst critic – for the most part.
I truly believe that everyone else is so focused on themselves to judge as harshly as we judge ourselves.
On the flip side, it can be such a bitch to be feeling good and have this idea of what you look like, and then see yourself in an unflattering picture – or when you try to get into that outfit that you thought was your size and you realize it is too small.
This past weekend I felt pretty amazing.
Then my darling teenage daughter snapped a pretty unflattering picture of me.
SMLXL

I was posing with the fish I caught.
Damn straight – I caught us some dinner food.
But, is it a pretty picture?
No.
Honestly, I thought I looked so much better than that when I was posing for it, so to see the picture myself it kind of shocked me.
I had my chest and belly puffed out and was mid laugh – aka, my other chin was in full view.
Yup. I am a little fluffier than I want to be. I don’t feel like I am, but pictures don’t lie.
What this picture doesn’t show is that I have been battling through every step I take for the past two fucking years.
Two years ago, when waking up with a headache was the norm.
Two years ago, when making it to lunch time without a nap was considered a successful day of battling this bullshit disease.
Two years ago when trying to focus enough to write a paragraph was hard enough – let alone a whole blog post.
Two years ago when I felt like I was so lost and was never going to be found again.
Two years is a long time, yet a short time all in the same little ball.
I have had some success with taking supplements that aid thyroid function and getting copious amounts of bloodwork done to make sure my levels are stabilized.
But, I am not done yet.
I feel like I am on the right track to feeling better, but I am taking the long route.
The first time I lost a significant amount of weight, it was hard.
It was downright mother-effin’ annoying at times.
I had to find new ways to enjoy exercise and how to eat differently and apply it every.single.day.
Now I have to learn how to do things different all over again.
Hashimotos is an autoimmume disease as well as a glandular and hormonal ailment.
It fucks up everything in your body.
My metabolism is out of whack, my hormones are out of whack, my digestion is out of whack.
This whole body is out of whack!
I have to relearn what my body can and can not have put into it and I have to find the time to manage my household, children and working out.
What hasn’t changed is that I know I can.
It can be done.
With perseverance, the willingness to learn and some hard work, I can do this!
This isn’t a race and there isn’t anyone giving me an ultimatum or telling me to get my shit together… except myself.
In the meantime, I have to love myself right now.
Right now – exactly how I am at this exact moment – I need to remind myself that I am O-Fucking-K.
Even if nothing changes on the outside, I am still allowed to be happy with who I am.
Love Yourself, even if you are fluffier than you want to be.
Allison
PS) For some real motivation, I am posting my very own (old) before and after.
It seems like so long ago now, but I am happy that 35lbs makes such a difference. It gives me a bit more hope.
SLXLM