Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Goodbye Pride, Hello Healing

I was talking to a friend/colleague about a year ago.  She mentioned that 5 years after her split up with her husband she was finally feeling settled.  I thought to myself, heck, I was okay with my marriage ending the day I asked for a divorce.  I figured the circumstances around her divorce must have been less cut and dried then mine.  I felt for her that she had had such a hard time "settling" and how lucky I was that I was able to get over my marriage breaking up fairly quickly.  I prided myself on my ability to leave behind what was a damaging situation and just be free of it. 

I am going on 4 years since my separation date and I'm realizing that I am not free of it at all.  In fact, I am imprisoned by the fear that my whole world is going to be turned upside down in a matter of days -again.  I had an anxiety that I could not name,  I felt like I had to control everything in my life because 4 years ago everything spun wildly out of control.  In a matter of 2 weeks a series of letters and emails told me everything I believed about my relationship, my family and my finances had all been lies. I trusted  my husband.  I don't just mean I didn't worry about him cheating on me when he went out, I mean we had a joint email account and every time I saw an email from Michelle, Katie or any other female name that was not my own, I did not read them.  I figured very confidently, they must have been spam.  I don't know many women who wouldn't open those emails. 

I would open them in a second now. 

I also panic whenever Scott and I are having a rough time in our relationship, if a marriage that seemed to be going so well can suddenly be so wrong, what about a relationship that has its problems?  Deep down I have not fully committed to Scott,  there's a part of me that's ready to run, there's a part of me that cannot believe that this man will love me forever.

This distrust has spread into all aspects of my life.  There are very few people in my life who I do not suspect of talking behind my back or using me in some way.  When someone does something that I find to be inconsiderate I have a hard time believing that it was unintentional, 5 years ago, someone would have had to go out of their way to prove to me that there were hurtful intentions involved.

All this paranoia for what?  I do not want to be any one's fool again.  I feel stupid, how the hell did I not see what was happening in my last marriage?  The signs were everywhere and I blindly trusted this man.  He is a very nice guy.  He's the kind of guy who will change a stranger's flat tire, help a new neighbour move in, walk an elderly woman across the street (I've seen him do all these things myself) if this very nice guy could screw me over then who can I trust?  I certainly cannot trust my own judgement in these matters of the heart.  That's what this really is about.  I cannot trust anyone else, because I no longer believe I can trust myself.

Pride would have me keep everyone at a safe distance, rather than be a fool again. Fear would have me stew in this anxiety and steal the opportunity for moments of genuine laughter and tears with a friend.  This fear has me cling to grudges as if they were lifeboats,  hurt me once and I will not give you a chance to hurt me again. 

Okay pride, this is where you suck it.

He hurt me.  He hurt me a lot.  I'd like to pretend I didn't really love him, but I did.  I can't look at the pictures of him holding our newborn babies without crying (so I don't look at many photographs of  our children as babies, which is sad in itself). Scott once said "No one takes pictures of the bad times, that's why it hurts so much to look at them."

I understand my anxiety now, I understand why these negative situations keep re-occurring in my life. 

I'd rather be a fool for love then this cynical and anxious person I have become.  It's time for me to realize that being naive is nothing to forgive myself for.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Turn An Ugly Bike Helmet Into a Unique Ugly Bike Helmet

Some moms curl up with a good book and a glass of wine when they get a quiet night to themselves.  I prefer to lay out garbage bags and proceed to cover things in sticky goop, different strokes right?  Here's what I was up to last week:

Yep, I went out and purchased a helmet, cuz I know the first thing my kids gonna say when we get on our bikes for our family bike ride: "Mama, why aren't you wearing a helmet?" Then I'd have to make up some crazy story involving  an alien abduction and it being claimed by NASA.  So I spent $30.00 on the plainest helmet I could find, I have a small head, so only large "youth" helmets will fit.  So it's army styles or neon pink, purple and black.  Something had to be done.  So I poured a glass of wine and grabbed my trusty 1L bottle of craft glue.

Here's a step by step.  I dare you to to follow the instructions without looking ahead.

1.Mix 50/50 glue and water in an old honey jar and shake the crap out of it (yes in MUST be a honey jar, so go out and buy one transfer all the honey to another jar that has a sealable twist top that you already had).

2.Grab a bunch of scraps of material and cut them into rectangles.

3.Find some pretty flower/kitten pattern you like and cut it out.

4.Drink more wine.

5.Pour gloop into a tupperwear container.
6.Drop honey jar cap into goop.

7.Take jar lid out and swear to yourself that dropping it had nothing to do with the glass of wine you just imbibed. 
8.Now just like grade school drown the strips of material in the goop. 
9.Curse yourself for not having a hand towel ready to wipe your hands off on so you could take pictures for your blog.
10.Spill your second glass of wine (and there is no more in your fridge) and ask yourself "now how am I going to blame how this craft turned out on being drunk?" ...
11.Cover entire helmet in rectangles.
12.Grab fancy cut out kitten/flower design and using a paintbrush try to paint it onto the fabric pattern while holding a camera so that you can take a blurry picture for your blog.

13.Now set it out to dry for at least 48 hours.

14.Put it on and take goofy pictures while contemplating how exactly you are going to sch lack it...

And yes I'll admit that is my butt.  No, that is absolutely not my laundry.

The end.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Doulas: What Market Should You Really Be Targeting?

Peace on Earth begins with birth.  I truly believe this.  This is why I am a doula.  This is why I have a non profit find-a-doula site to help families find the right doula for them.  I think it's important that women who are looking for our services find them easily.  I don't market myself though, so much as spread awareness of doula care.  For doulas who wish to make a living only doulaing, advertising is essential.

I've been hearing a lot about marketing in the birth professional world.  There's always some ad somewhere about marketing your birth business.  I hear a lot about target markets as well.  So let's be honest here,  you don't market to the person you know would want your product, you market to the people who has the persuasive power over the person who wants your product.  As doulas we forget the influence the family members and peers have on first time mother's decisions on her pregnancy and childbirth care.  Women who had discussed having a doula with their families described to me how their family reacted to their wishes, "Why would you want one of those?" Many a time women have said to me: "Oh , I wanted a doula, but my sister/friend told me I wouldn't need one, she'd come with me instead."  This extends through much of their pregnancy choices, how many doulas have heard: "I want a home birth but my family doesn't think it's a good idea so..."

 How do we influence the "influencers"?  Simple: Doulas need to be normalized.  We need to be seen by others, not just women during the part of their lives that our society often wraps in secrecy.   The more comfortable and aware of doula care our communities are the more likely they are to support women in their doula choice.  If our society is able to recognize that doulas provide a service worth paying for, then maybe, just maybe, our communities will begin to believe that how a woman gives birth is important.

Another aspect of normalizing doula care is by being honest with ourselves and our clients about the care we provide.  We are not a magic pill, and though the research points to a doula being present lowering the risks of interventions significantly, hiring us does not guarantee an intervention free birth.  It does however guarantee that we will be there, supporting the family through whatever may come.  We are the hand to hold, the reassuring voice in times of doubt and the gentle reminder to ask questions.  We also need to realize that not every woman needs a doula to have an empowering birth.  In fact I believe very few women need a doula.  If there's anything I've learned through this career, it's that women are strong and capable of amazing things. I drive along side her and offer sips of water while she runs the marathon and I am in awe of her.  The truth is, I know she could have done it without me and I hope that I did a good enough job supporting her that she knows that too. 

The less wrapped in mystery (or mysticism for that matter) we are, the more seriously we will be taken as a profession.  The more seriously we are taken, the more opportunity we have to positively impact new families one birth at a time.  It's time to think outside of the belly and into our communities and government.  Marketing need not just be about finding a client, it can be about changing the world.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Day of Hippy Home Education

We don't fall under one category of home education. I have a gr1 curriculum book, that Bug does work out of. I use it to keep me on track with the concepts she should be able to understand, though the majority of the time Bug chooses when to work out of this book herself (it is almost complete). We believe in child-lead education. They ask "Why does _____ happen? or "That Lion is so cool! Can we look up lions on the National Geographic site?" We go with whatever they are curious about. The Lion question lead to an entire unit on African Savanna Animals. I love Montessori concepts, and we have many games and puzzles. We love to incorporate life skills as well. We are what you would call "eclectic" home educators. Mostly though, we just let them play :) Here's a taste of a day in our home.
Folding towels= Co-operation, life skills, hand-eye
coordination and a sense of accomplishment. Just don't expect them to be perfect right away. The kids do get better with practise.
Washing dishes, each with their own jobs, and needing to follow several steps. Being able to work both independently to achieve the same goal is an indispensable skill. Plus, it takes a chunk out of the amount of dishes Scott and I have to do. (They LOVE dish washing, They cheer when I tell them it's time to do the dishes).
Sorting Laundry (sorting, life skills and coordination) and hanging up their own clothes. They take better care of their clothes now that they are the ones that put them away.
The African game we made up to review what we had learned during our African Animals unit.
(Reading, counting, teamwork, strategy, addition, multiplication, problem solving, geography)
Cuddling is a big part of our educating process.
If anyone is curious, how they learn to read and print without me sitting them down and teaching them. My short answer is: I have no clue. They just do. The slightly longer answer is, complete a task many times in front of them, when they ask a question about it: answer it and only it , don't go into major detail. For example: "What sound does that letter make mommy?" Mommy: "it makes a SSSS sound like a snake" Have alphabet puzzles, games and tracing mats available for them to play with at their own leisure. That's it. When a child chooses what they want to learn, when they want to learn it, they will. If you don't believe me the boy pictured above is my 4 yrold. He printed this completely on his own, by sounding out the words without prompting or help from any of us. I just walked into the living room and there it was with him and his big grin "Look what I did mommy!"
Music is a huge part of our day. Their step dad is a musician and practises regularly, which leads to the whole family joining in with drums, keyboard and voices. This is coupled with Music for Young Children classes (which are AWESOME).
One of my favourite things is reading to them.
So, that's how it works in my family, for now. Observe and adapt, don't get too attached to one way of doing things and know when to ask for assistance. That's my advise, I find it applies to every aspect of my life.