Welcome to the Show

It’s been a weird few weeks. 

I haven’t really felt like blogging. I’ve been writing, as I’ve been working hard at the magazine as I AM GETTING ASSIGNED STORIES AGAIN! But I didn’t feel like blogging. I even pulled the app from my phone for a bit. I’m all about being more selective about what I share with people. Even my close friends aren’t learning as much about my life. I guess I’m internalizing a bit. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think there are people who use my blog to figure out my mood, etc. instead of actually communicating with me & I’m kind of over that. But I really wanted to share this tale of how strong women inspire strong women & maybe it’ll motivate other strong women. 

But I’m losing the plot a little bit. Hold on, let me back up the train a bit. 

  

This week, my girls were talking about heroes & women who inspire them. I’m always interested to see who catches their attention & motivates them. For my oldest daughter, it was Sasha Banks. 

  
My teen daughter has made it no secret that she wants to become the youngest WWE  Women’s Champion in history. She’s also been told by her father, grandfather, and maternal grandmother that she can’t. She’s lazy. She’s selfish. Spoiled. So she’ll never make it. However, she keeps on training. Working on her athletics in gym & her theatrics in drama class so she can become that girl that has her moment. I always remind her that for every AJ Lee & Sasha Banks, there are hundreds of little girls that didn’t make it, so she’s gotta put in the work Sasha & AJ did. I tell her that she’s capable and while I fully intend to be at ringside when she wins that title, it’s always good to have a university education in case of injury. Last week, Sasha Banks showcased her Wrestlemania Diary, where she revealed a journal where 10 year old Mercedes (Sasha’s real name) wrote about her dreams to become the WWE Women’s Champion. Last Sunday, my eldest child, decked out in her Legit Boss gear, got teary when the opening notes of her favourite’s music hit and as Sasha Banks got her moment, she said “Sasha did it, and in a few years, that’ll be me.”

  
Regardless of the outcome of the match (which pissed off every one of my kids), Sasha Banks inspired many little girls who are told that they can’t, like my daughter, so she should be proud of what she accomplished. Much like little Mercedes looked up to her heroes, in a few years, my daughter will describe how Sasha Banks walking to the ring helped inspire her. That’s gotta be amazing. 

Later this week, I introduced my daughters to THE GREATEST CINEMATIC EPIC OF OUR TIME; Legally Blonde. My 9 year old, whom we call the Overlord called me at work to tell me;

“MOMMY. ELLE AND THE DOGGY SAVED THE LADY AND WON THE CASE AND SHE DID IT ALL BY HERSELF AND THEN TOLD THE JERK BOY TO GO SCREW HIMSELF. SHE IS AWESOME.”

I take flack for loving Elle as much as I do, but she’s pretty bad ass. She got into Harvard Law all by herself. And she became a lawyer all by herself. She didn’t hold it against Vivian that they fought for the same guy, because he didn’t deserve either of them. And Elle just wanted to make the world better for people. She kind of rules. The Overlord kind of wants to be a lawyer…and I need to watch my language, as screw yourself shouldn’t be in a kid’s vocabulary. 

  

 And my youngest daughter told me this week that I’m her hero. Because Mommy writes for a magazine & moved to a Cow Province to be the best writer & sells phones & works hard & gives hugs & takes her to Zootopia & does crossfit & I would never blow up her planet like Darth Vader blew up Princess Leia’s planet. It was kind of cool.

  
But it reminded me why I need to make sure that I’m being my best self every single day, as there are little people who are watching me. Little people watch how you treat people, how you carry yourself, how hard you work & emulate you. While its great that Sasha Banks & Elle Woods inspire my kids to become champions & dog toting lawyers, I’m the one they see every day. I need to be the bad ass woman that conquers the planet, works hard, and treats people well. I’m the one who will teach them what kind of woman they want to be. I don’t want them to be like me; they will accomplish far more than I will, but my character sets that blueprint. I need to make it a good one. 

  
So, the lesson here is, never be afraid to be the best version of you. You never know who is watching.

  

Playlists & Apologies

I never thought I’d see the day when I would defend Kim Kardashian West, but here we are. 

Yesterday, Kim Kardashian West posted on her personal website a statement that is taboo, unheard of, and something no mom should ever say;

She hates being pregnant. 

Mainstream media outlets picked up on it & suddenly, every mom from here to Palookaville was calling Kardashian West every name in the book. 

Some of the amazing comments included;

“Oh she is such a self centered twit. She complained about not being able to conceive now she is saying being pregnant is the worst experience of her life? Do us a favor and just shut up.”

“and honey….pregnancy doesn’t look good on you either….win, win! shut your pie-hole and just give birth already! I can’t believe you have 2 1/2 more months to go, you look like beached whale, boom!”

“Can you imagine the amount of women out there not being able to get pregnant and having to read something so outrageous!?!?!? Do you know how many people would LOVE to be able to get pregnant? Become a mom? Apparently, this means no biggie for Mrs. Kardashian-West. Hope and pray your children don’t feel any remorse toward you for making such horrific statement!”

These were just some of the amazing comments that people made because a pregnant woman said she hated being pregnant. How dare she?! She had fertility struggles! She should be grateful!

Wait. Nowhere did she say she wasn’t grateful for her daughter North or her unborn son. In fact, she said they were worth all of it, but being pregnant just sucks. Kardashian West has made no secret of her struggles. During her first pregnancy she suffered from preeclampsia. She had several surgeries to correct issues with her uterus before she could conceive her son. Her pregnancy weight gain is mocked by literally every human being on the planet. I can see why she hates it. 

  
Here’s a secret about me; I too hated being pregnant. Every second of it. From the time I peed on the stick until the first cry, I hated being pregnant. I had two high risk pregnancies & one uneventful one. I had Hypermesis Gravidium with all three. Sciatica. I gained tons of weight. My one uneventful pregnancy went 11 days overdue. My hair fell out. I looked like death all of the time. Being pregnant sucked. 

  
Miscarriage, infertility & infant loss are all terrible things, but women need to stop denying women their right to their honest feelings about their personal journey because theirs is different. I lost my father at a very young age. Imagine if I told my friends growing up that they were so ungrateful because they were angry at their fathers because mine was dead? Same idea. Women are competing with each other about everything. Who’s pregnancy was more magical, who lasted longer in childbirth without drugs. Who makes the most adorable organic snacks in Pinterest. Who loves their kids the most. Please do shut up. 

Kim Kardashian West hates being pregnant. I hated it too. I hated it so much that even the thought of having another kid makes me kind of dry heave because I couldn’t imagine putting my body through the emotional highs & lows, the weight gain, the pain, the time off work, the fear of going back on bed rest, etc. My best friend struggled with infertility & also hated being pregnant. That doesn’t make her ungrateful, it makes her honest. Perhaps Kim Kardashian West’s candid confession will allow some woman, who is reading her mommy board & how everyone feels so feminine & sexy & empowered while she feels like a fat slug who pukes a lot & can say “omg me too.” And suddenly she won’t feel like a bad mom, because it’s okay to not like the process. 

  
I would much rather read Ms. Kardashian West’s blunt honesty than the normal celebrity garbage that is designed to shame moms, like the time Gisele Bundchen said labour didn’t hurt & women who don’t breastfeed don’t love their babies & need to go to jail. Being a mom & carrying a child is hard enough. Stop shaming women for their honest feelings about pregnancy & childbirth. More moms need to build each other up, not make it a pissing contest over who felt more like an Earth fairy & held off the epidural longest. Drug free birth or lack of morning sickness doesn’t make you a better mother. Your commitment to your child does. Seeing as most of us have not met Kim Kardashian West or her daughter North, we don’t know what kind of parent she is. Don’t make judgements based on one comment. 

I’ve criticized the Kardashian crew in the past, but this was just wrong. Bashing a pregnant woman is wrong. If you can’t relate to her feelings, then be quiet. Her feelings are still hers, and still valid. 

  

Writing’s on the Wall

Parenting a teenager super sucks sometimes. 

I’m fortunate that I’m raising a mature & well rounded teen girl. She’s not concerned with gossip. She doesn’t waste days on social media. She likes boys & fashion & selfies & reality TV, but she’s not caught up in celebrity worship as much as her peers (except for Queen Taylor Swift).  

I’m perfectly fine with my daughter loving Taylor Swift. She’s a good person who loves her friends and her fans. She promotes the concept of women building up other women. She responds to criticism with class and poise. She isn’t afraid to stand up for other artists. Taylor Swift is a fine role model for young women & I applaud her commitment to retaining her true personality despite her growing fame. 

However, my daughter’s new school friend recently teased her (good naturedly) for her obsession with the E! Reality show Total Divas. She adores the Bella Twins (Brie & Nikki) and enjoys their adventures as they climb the mountain to become the most dominant Divas in WWE history (a feat they’ve accomplished as Brie is the only Diva to co-main event a PPV, and Nikki recently held the Divas Championship longer than any Diva in history). But her friends are more concerned with Keeping Up With the Kardashians, most notably, their “style icon and role model,” Kylie Jenner. 

My daughter argues that her reality show is better, because Brie & Nikki Bella have an actual skill, whether their skill is respected by mainstream entertainment fans or not. Brie & Nikki can wrestle; they train to wrestle. Nikki has continued to compete through three separate injuries over the 301 days she was Divas champion. Brie & Nikki travel often, missing weddings, family functions, all in the name of entertainment. Brie most recently missed her first wedding anniversary because she was touring. My daughter often points out that Kylie has no discernible skill, nor do any of her sisters. They don’t have actual jobs, or a talent, or anything that makes them special, so why are we keeping up with them. But I overheard her friends this week telling her that Kylie Jenner is an icon & they should all aspire to be like her, get her signature pout & her relationship with rapper Tyga are “relationship goals.” All of this sort of makes me sad.  

I don’t know Kylie Jenner. I’m sure she’s a very sweet girl. She’s quite pretty. If she is a wild child, it’s probably more due to a lack of adequate supervision from her parents, Kris & Caitlyn Jenner. But there are so many more interesting things for young girls to aspire to be than pretty with a full pout. There is so much more for young women to accomplish than dating a 25 year old man while underage and bikini selfies and launching an app with makeup tips. These girls are 13 and 14 years old. They can grow into women of distinction; they can change the world. Why are they limiting themselves by wanting to be more like a woman with no discernible talent & her only goal is to be pretty & desired by men? Is this how my parents felt when I was all about Madonna?  

Girls, please don’t sell yourself short. If you must look up to someone famous, why not Hailee Stenfeld? This young lady was nominated for an Academy Award at the age of 14. She recently released her single “Love Myself,” which is quickly climbing the Billboard charts. The catchy song is an anthem for self love, reminding people that as long as she sees her worth, she doesn’t need anyone to validate her. What about Malala Yousafzai, who took on the Taliban, survived a gunshot wound & now advocates education for women in underdeveloped countries. Both of these young women are the same age as Miss Jenner & their messages are so much more positive. Love who you are, grow as a woman, seek knowledge. While neither may have Miss Jenner’s perfect pout, they have something so much more: goals & aspirations & a desire to make the world better.   

Somewhere, did we as parents fail our children? We can blame the media for giving the Kardashian-Jenner clan attention, but we are responsible for their infamy. We comment on their articles, we download their games, much like the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Episode, if you ignore them, they will die. We keep them alive with every retweet, click and comment.   

But maybe it’s deeper. Maybe we as moms have failed our children by our own example. Why do our daughters aspire only to be pretty? They don’t learn from celebrities, they learn from us. We can blame Barbie, even Kylie Jenner, but we have to ask what kind of example are we setting? Do we acquiesce to our husbands? Did we abandon our goals? Do we focus too much on our own aesthetic so that out daughters see us fearing aging & obsessed with being “Cougars” because either we are single moms hoping to meet a mate or because we still want to feel sexy? There is nothing wrong with these things on the surface, know there are times I’m too caught up in my appearance, especially my weight & my weight loss journey & I need to be mindful of that for my daughters.  But perhaps we need to use them as talking points, while aspiring to be more; professionally, personally.   Perhaps we as moms need to start setting goals for ourselves to showcase that we as moms are strong, brave, smart and beautiful. Then perhaps our daughters will look up to us, admire us, and not Kylie Jenner. Because your daughter’s role model should be you, not the flavour of the week on TV. Maybe if we kept up with being the best version of ourselves, our kids could keep up with us, and not the Kardashians.   

From Here to Zero

I’m a strong believer in my personal privacy.

I post pics of my kids on my social media, but never on my blog because while I choose to write about my life, I also respect that they do not choose to do that, so I don’t post their names or photos. My number one pet peeve in life is those parents who post literally every personal milestone of their kids lives (photos of them on the potty, telling stories of them smearing poop on the walls) on social media. I try to limit stories about my kids to when they are doing hilarious things. Adversely, I blog about my personal life, as I write to sort through my own feelings. I’ve been through a lot when it comes to my interpersonal relationships and I know I still have some growing to do, I still need to learn to trust better and I need to stop fearing the idea of a legally binding lifetime commitment because fear only holds us back from truly being happy. Writing about it helps me find my way. But I never post it on social media (that’s not true, there are TWO photos on my Instagram).

There was a random mention of my significant other on my Facebook on my birthday, when I excitedly wanted to show off his adorably thoughtful present to me. When I first moved here, I was beyond excited to find penguins in the West Edmonton Mall, as penguins are the most awesome animals on the planet. One night, when I was dreadfully homesick, he sent me a text message, telling me that I would adjust, it would be okay, he loved me so and he would do whatever it took to help me feel at home here, including find me a penguin to be my pet. My penguin may be cuddly and stuffed, but the gesture was very sweet, and now my penguin sleeps with me at night (judge me, I don’t care). I had a couple of people ask me about my significant other and overcthe past few months, some of my closest friends challenged me on my comfort level about my relationship because I never mention it online. But it’s not for a lack of faith in my romantic life that keeps me mum on the details of my romance online or to the masses, it’s quite the opposite; I keep it mine because it’s mine.

 

Isn’t he the cutest?!
 
It’s not a secret who I am dating. My friends and family know who I’m seeing and his friends and family know as well. But the seriousness, the depth of our commitment, the things that are personal are not for public domain. Obviously my closest friends are in the know (So Erica, Melissa and the Gleason Table), but I really don’t feel that the general population needs to know the ins and outs of my love life. That is mine. It’s a part of my life that is very important to me, much like my career and my children. Obviously, I wouldn’t post my job satisfaction on the internet, or personal things about my children, so why would I post things about my love life on the Book of Face?

I used to, but I also see that before I was VERY insecure about my relationship. I was always afraid the relationship would fall apart, so I thought if I said I was happy, then I would convince myself I had nothing to worry about. I see now that was actually stupid. I was inviting the peanut gallery into my relationship. That brought about mistrust, which combined with my insecurities and his fear of long term commitment (and mine) prompted the relationship to implode. I see people all the time on FB talking about people poking into their relationships and telling their friends/family to mind their own business and I often think, then don’t constantly put your business out there with memes and statuses and stuff. But, during the evolution of MHC, I realized that in order to be a decent partner, things needed to change. One of the things that needed to change was my reliance on the acceptance of others. It doesn’t matter if my friends like my boyfriend; I am in love with him. It doesn’t matter if he posts a million cutesy things on Facebook, in fact, we rarely interact on social media. We communicate away from social media. We talk, we text, we cuddle. I learned that to keep a relationship healthy, you need to keep your relationship in house. Facebook does not need to know that I love my boyfriend: he does. Every time I see these over the top FB declarations of love or passive aggressive statuses or the constant switch from “single” to “it’s complicated” to “in a relationship.” Yuck. Why do you need to convince the planet you’re in love? 

 There are exceptions to every rule. I have some friends that post the odd cute photo & they radiate love & you feel happy for them. My two favourite coaches at my old gym are those people. My friends Nic & Sarah as well. But again, these are vacation photos, rare snippets in time. Not an all out assault of “LOOK HOW IN LOVE WE ARE.” They are sharing small snippets of their lives, which is the point of social media. It’s about small pieces of your life, but the story is for you alone. Sometimes I think about how people like Blake Lively & Ryan Reynolds recently had to cut a friend out of their lives to protect daughter James’s privacy. Jennifer Aniston & Justin Theroux had to hide their wedding plans & take their guests cell phones to protect their privacy. WWE interviewer Renee Young put fans on blast because a harmless photo of her & fellow broadcaster Corey Graves taken on her birthday was misconstrued, followed by insulting comments asking about the whereabouts of her longtime boyfriend, WWE Superstar Dean Ambrose. She chooses to keep their relationship private, and fans get angry that she isn’t sharing photos. All these people want is to enjoy their private moments. Then we regular folks abuse the very same privacy by putting it all out there to be analyzed & get angry when people do. 

  
Maybe someday I’ll feel comfortable sharing snapshots of my life. Maybe not. But until I reach that place, I choose to protect my personal life & my children’s privacy. You do not need to know when my child used the bathroom. You do not need to know the intimate details of my personal life. But the little bits I do share, I enjoy sharing with you, as I enjoy those rare snapshots of your life as well. 

  

Raised On It

So, anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been reading about the Ashley Madison hack and I find it completely hilarious.

I’m not one to revel in the misfortunes of others, but watching guys like Josh Duggar, who for years have tried to make LGBT families, divorcees and anyone who doesn’t fit into their traditional mold of marriage feel like they are somehow deficient try to squirm their way out of this makes me giggle. Watching them try to blame Satan for their hypocrisy warms the cockles of my tiny black heart.

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However, the fall of the Ashley Madison website brings me a personal joy for a more personal reason. During my year as a newlywed, my former husband & I had a million and one problems, most of which stemmed from the fact that we were far too young and not ready to be married. But he worked midnights and my roommate and good friend had discovered that this website was real. So, we looked it up and were horrified at the number of people we knew that were on this site trolling for affairs, one of which was my ex husband. In the infancy of our marriage, maybe even before we had said our I do’s, had been looking for an affair. I chose to stay with him for the next seven years, and I’m glad I did as we later had two beautiful children, but the shock and betrayal stayed with me, as our marriage was marred by a lack of trust, which was pretty valid as he cheated on me pretty much all the time. After our first year of marriage, I discovered that the weekend he sent me to visit friends in our hometown was so he could meet a friend in a hotel for a tryst. About two years ago, he admitted to me (while heavily drunk) that he had slept with the stripper next door. I received an email from his former friend’s wife confirming they had been sleeping together while I was pregnant and on bedrest with our second child. And he was once banned from working as a photographer at two separate bars in our old hometown for sexually harrassing the staff. These all stuck with me for years, negatively impacting my future relationship. I would remember the female friends who weren’t platonic friends, the comments about how if he didn’t think I’d get mad, he would be trying to get with our female friends, or the time he propositioned my best friend to have a three way with him and our friend Sarah. It bothered me so much that I didn’t know how to trust a man who said he loved me and it took three years of therapy to feel okay and accept that not every man on Earth was out to hurt me or cheat on me.

I sent an email to the creator of Ashley Madison and blasted them for providing this service. I asked them how could they sleep at night knowing that they were making it easier to break the hearts of so many trusting souls. The reply I got was that maybe I should have been a better wife and lover, and my husband wouldn’t have wanted to stray, a sentiment he would tell me when I would put him on blast for his flirting, or whatever I caught him doing (that he would always say was misunderstood, or he was misunderstood, because he was the victim and why wouldn’t I just do *insert sex act here* and he wouldn’t have to want to cheat?).

This is why I laugh when I see the cheaters on Ashley Madison squirming and crying about their privacy.

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I feel for the victims, and by victims, I mean the actual victims. The spouses who used the tool on Wired and got the unfortunate surprise of “Guess who’s email address was compromised?!” or the stammering conversations where they explain their behaviour. I don’t feel the tiniest bit badly for the “victims” who’s privacy was breached. Oh, I know the dark side, this could happen to anyone and boo hoo and credit cards aren’t secure and the like. But a bunch of horrible people are going to be exposed for betraying their spouses and I’m glad. I hope they feel violated and like their integrity is compromised and awful. You know, the way their spouses have felt for months when they have suspected for months that their partner was cheating, or when they found out the truth.

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I have had a few friends who have said to me that since I was a staunch defender of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence when they had their private photos leaked online last year, I should take the same stance on this. I disagree. There is a big difference between private photos that were meant to be viewed by one person privately (such as Jennifer Lawrence’s photos for then partner Nicholas Hoult) and cheating on your mate. While yes, cheating isn’t illegal and having your credit card information compromised totally sucks, you were betraying your partner, and in the case of a guy like Josh Duggar, you were doing it while condemning other people for not living life according to a belief system that you yourself weren’t following. So, I don’t feel totally badly for these “victims,” just the people they have been victimizing, for having to learn that the person that they are with actually sucks in such a public way. Even if you didn’t pick anyone up on Ashley Madison, you had an account, the intent was there and you sir or madam are a raging douchebag. Your partner deserved a million times better and you should feel violated, because you are walking a mile in their shoes and I hope you wear them well.

  
Maybe I’m biased, because I know how it feels to find out that your spouse has an account with a website designed to help him cheat on you and I know how people like Anna Duggar feel. I hope Anna Duggar takes her kids and leaves him and finds happiness with a man who recognizes how beautiful and special she really is, but I doubt her religion will allow it. Ironically enough, her church will likely badger her with the same answer that Ashley Madison gave me and she will stay with her unfaithful husband. If she does, let’s not shame her or call her stupid. We are not walking in her shoes. We don’t know what her “church” has done to devalue her. But for all of those who are scrambling to “save” their marriage and blaming the Ashley Madison hack, I don’t feel one bit sorry for you, because you already destroyed your marriage when you strayed (or attempted to stray) from your partner; it’s just now everybody knows you were doing it.

  
And to those encouraging people not to check the list for their partner; I disagree (although I haven’t for reasons that make sense to me). Chances are, you won’t be shocked by the answer. My Texan bestie looked up her own email & hubby, even though she knew the answer just for the lolz. But most people who are checking are either;

a) bored like me or

b) confirming an answer they already knew subconsciously, an answer they have every right to know. 

Hey Mama

Because I’ve spent many years covering entertainment media, I read a lot of celebrity gossip. 

Let me rephrase: I read comments on celebrity gossip. 

I prefer the comments because I think it’s funny that people waste their days calling celebs names. I comment, but even my constructive comments get maligned with replies with poor grammar & calling celebs whores. Such fun. I love the Internet. I once talked about how parents wonder where their children learn bullying from. They learn it from you BULLYING STRANGERS ON THE INTERNET. 

But the Kelly Rutherford/Daniel Giersch custody case has been interesting, as it covers a world of issues, from parental alienation, international coparenting & what is truly in the best interest of the children (you can read the decision here). As someone who is now attempting to cross country coparent, I was very interested in seeing how this plays out. 

  
The decision references that while both are good parents, Ms. Rutherford’s attempts to marginalize her ex husband’s role as dad prompted the judge to choose to give him primary custody of the couple’s two children, as the minimum time he proposed for mom to see the kids was more than the maximum time he would have seen the kids with her plan. As Ms. Rutherford demands her American children be returned to America (the kids hold dual citizenship with the EU), one of the comments I see most is;

“Children belong with their mother, only their mother. What a horrible dad for taking those kids from their mother.”

Wait. What? 

One of my favourite blogs is Daddy Doin’ Work. Doyin Richards is committed to promoting the role of dad & encourages women to also allow dad to embrace their parental role. Kids need two parents that are active & emotionally present. You only need to step up when one parent doesn’t step in. And we need to stop with the antiquated idea that dads don’t matter. 

One of my best friends is a single dad with full custody of his son. I won’t violate his privacy with details, but he stepped up in a situation where a lot of men wouldn’t & he rose to the occasion & is raising a fine young gentleman. Another one of my friends from public school is fighting tooth & nail every day to be a hands on and present father for his children. Yes, there are deadbeat dads & yes, they suck. But if you are a mom lucky enough to have a partner or former partner who wants to be an active father, don’t be like Ms. Rutherford. Don’t shut dad out. 

Dads are damned if they do & damned if they don’t. Look at Stephen Curry, who brought his daughter Riley to all of his playoff games, & press conferences, etc. Women pissed all over him for not “leaving his brat at home with mom” instead if commending him for wanting to share his big moments with his family. But if he left his wife & owed back child support, we’d string him up for being a deadbeat. 

  
I know some of you are thinking “But MHC, you just moved across the country. Didn’t you shut dad out?” I once let myself think that way, but then I realized the difference. Mr. Giersch wants to parent. My former partner blows off Skype dates, and spent less than 10 days with them during his month with them, often leaving them with their grandmother for days. I would call & ask how Daddy was & if they were having fun with him & they answered “he’s at home”. He doesn’t call often. I can give all the access in the world & even offered to help him if he wanted to move closer to give him more access if need be, but he didn’t exercise his access when they were nearby. However, I will always try to encourage him to be a father, to the point where I practically force him, telling him he can’t send our teen daughter home after a few days because she’s annoying him, or demanding he call. If he wanted to parent, he’s got the opportunity. Maybe this idea that dads don’t matter bugs me because while I would kill for my kids to have a dad that’s invested in his children, other dads are being denied the opportunity to coparent. 

The other question I read from the “moms are the only option” supporters are “what would you do if you were Kelly?” If I were Ms. Rutherford, or the NCP, I would do the only option; I would move to where they are. Part of being a parent means making the tough choices. This was not an easy choice, but making more money & having full time hours while being able to supplement my income doing what I love made so much more sense than working two jobs & never seeing my kids to put a roof over our head. Sometimes you’ve gotta look at the big picture & do what’s right, not what’s best for you. If I was the NCP, I would have packed my bags the minute the CP said this was the plan. I would have been in the same city with them, so I could attend parent teacher meetings, doctor’s appointments, and birthday parties. 

We could all take a lesson in “what’s best for kids” from another celebrity; Britney Spears. 2007 & 2008 weren’t kind to Ms. Spears. But she got it together. We should all commend her for pulling her life together & conquering her mental illness & personal struggles to be the successful woman she’s become. But when she had it together, her sons Sean & Jayden were happily well adjusted in their father Kevin Federline’s Tarzana home. So, she didn’t try to get custody. She put her sons’ needs over her own. And Federline & Spears coparent well. She’s been spotted playing with Federline’s daughters with new wife Victoria Prince while cheering on her sons at soccer. They throw joint birthday parties. Her sons spend all their school vacation time with their mom, and Sean & Jayden win.  

Dads matter. If dad doesn’t want to be there, stop forcing him to try to be there, a lesson I’m learning. Trying to make a man parent only hurts the kids. But shutting out a man who wants to parent (or ridiculing a man for wanting to be a parent) hurts them too. So, even if he wasn’t an active dad, but wants to turn that around, let him try to be a dad. If he’s been a good dad all along, let him be a good dad. But what’s best for the kids isn’t just mom. It could be living with mom, or living with dad, or living with grandma. What’s best for kids is the life that is actually best for the kids.  

Giants

I often joke that I’ve turned my 8yo daughter into a “crossfit douchebag” & it’s my proudest achievement as a parent. 

Maybe it’s not the GREATEST, but I like it. 

To balance parenting & fitness, I often bring my kids to the gym with me. My teen daughter is preparing to start crossfit soon, as she is getting ready to start her quest to become the youngest WWE Divas Champion in history. And my youngest builds forts out of foam rollers. But my middle child, whom we call the Overlord LOVES crossfit. 

When her dad told her that girls with big muscles weren’t pretty, she cited the “prettiest girl ever” was our West London Crossfit coach Lacey, who was “pretty like a princess & stronger than boys!” She’s already told me a Lacey-free gym won’t be as fun, despite my telling her that the new gym has girl coaches. She says when she grows up, she wants to be pretty & stronger than boys (& will tell you why kale is amazing). 

 

I don’t post photos of my daughters, so you’re stuck with my post-wod selfie with Lacey
 
This brings me to a hilarious story. 

When our cable provider messed up connecting our internet & TV, they gave us a PPV credit, & I asked them what to do with it. The Overlord shouted “I WANT TO WATCH BLONDE LADY FIGHT!” If you’re wondering who “blonde lady” is, allow me to show you!

 

from mmanews
 
That’s right; my 8yo idolizes Ronda Rousey. 

As a big WWE fan, she absolutely LOATHES the character of Stephanie McMahon. In fact, her Stephanie action figure only exists for her Brie Bella action figure to put in the Yes! Lock. When Ronda appeared at Wrestlemania 31 & tossed Triple H & put the hated Stephanie in the armbar, a girl crush was born. Ronda is strong. Ronda is tougher than boys. Ronda could probably whoop a boy. Ronda won an ESPY & BEAT OUT BOYS. Ronda is pretty much the coolest person on Earth to her. Ronda is sooooooo pretty. And after explaining that unlike WWE, Ronda fights for real & the fight might not be long (“because the other girl isn’t Ronda Mommy,”) & we NEVER imitate WWE or  Ronda, we are going to watch “Blonde Lady” fight tomorrow (cue all the sanctimommies questioning my parenting!). 

from mmanews

I also love Ronda; she takes no crap. She showcases an image that women have been told wasn’t a real thing; that strong women aren’t sexy. They are masculine & ugly. The thing the dad told my daughter. I stopped trying to be thin long ago; I started losing weight to be healthier for my girls, but now the goal is strong. Maybe I’ll always wear a size 10-12, but my thick thighs don’t bother me anymore. They are the product of hard ass work & strength. Those thighs can deadlift my body weight & squat in triple digits. And they’re only going to get stronger, as my goal is a 200lbs back squat by year’s end. A few years ago, a woman like Ronda Rousey would have been mocked relentlessly for her physique, called a dude, & yes, it still happens, but when she shuts the body shamers down, we cheer with her. When similar comments were made about Serena Williams, JK Rowling shut them down like a boss. It’s cool to be athletic, strong, & strong women can be beautiful! 

 

It’s pretty much an awesome time to be woman, as we can now be proud of our bodies regardless of size, whether the media agrees or not. Tess Holliday made “plus size” women stand up and say “we are beautiful too, not a fetish or a niche!” (While I think sexiness comes from self love, I’ll give Tess credit) Women of colour are celebrated for beauty, not “exotic looks,” thanks in part to Lupita Nyong’o. And Ronda Rousey made the world see that it’s cool to be strong. 

I’ll get “uh, MHC, body shaming still happens, it’s REAL. Just because it doesn’t bother you doesn’t mean it isn’t a thing.” Yup, still is a thing. I get accused of it all of the time because of my fitness posts on social media, but here’s the thing; you are in control of your body. If you love yourself, no one can shame you. My belly isn’t taut & my thighs have cellulite, but I am strong. And I’m proud of my strength. The definition will come if I work hard. I’ll always have double D’s & big hips. But I also have daughters & it’s more important that I embrace those double D’s & deadlift thighs than I fit in a size three. And no amount of body shaming will make me stop loving my body so my daughters emulate self love. Tess Holliday is successful because when she looks in the mirror, she sees beauty. When Ronda Rousey looks in the mirror, she sees beauty (& the knowledge that she can kick the crap out of anyone who thinks otherwise). You need to see beauty when you look in the mirror (as I’ve said before) & then no one can hurt you. 

 

from usa today

There’s something awesome about women being able to look at any body type & see beauty. My teen daughter is a 00. She will always be thin. She’s often mocked for her thin frame, but I remind her that her body is perfect, as she’s an athlete, a track star. She’s proud of her fast, long legs & doesn’t need to stress about her chest or booty because she’s built to be an athlete, the thing she wants to be. And if her idol, AJ Lee, can buck beauty standards & be a champion, so can she. 

from wwe.com

You can listen to body shamers who tell women they’re too thin, too buxom, too fat, too strong, or you can embrace your body, like women like Ronda Rousey. I love that my 8yo thinks she’s cool, mostly because she is cool. She’s confident & proud, and that matters more than how she looks on the outside. 
 

I Wish You Would

If you’re a long time reader of my blog, you’ll know that I have an almost childlike love of Taylor Swift. 

I adore all things Taylor Swift. I preordered her album the second iTunes would let me, I rock out to her discography daily & I may have paid some criminal @ StubHub almost $1000 to replace my Toronto tickets with ones more local to the new city & on August 4/15, the girls & I will get to see our Queen. We’re all very excited. The girls have a countdown, the not always angry teen has her outfit ready, the overlord has looked up the setlist & my IG has an amazing video of my five year old’s epic performance of Bad Blood. We REALLY like Taylor Swift. 

Remember when Target (RIP) had a Taylor Swift selfie stand & I dedicated large chunks of my shift to posing with it? Because Pepperidge Farm remembers.
Remember when Target (RIP) had a Taylor Swift selfie stand & I dedicated large chunks of my shift to posing with it? Because Pepperidge Farm remembers.

I also REALLY like Apple. During a job interview for the Apple Store, I was asked what set me apart from other candidates & I said I’d give them a kidney. When new Apple products launch, I sing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” I am a proud iSheep with my gold iPhone 6 & I regret not one thing. So, imagine my basic white girl horror when my favourite artist & favourite brand appeared to have an issue (I may have cried. Okay not really. But I thought about it). 

To keep things fair, I also sometimes pose for photos with my beloved iPhone
To keep things fair, I also sometimes pose for photos with my beloved iPhone

When Taylor Swift wrote her open letter to Apple, she said what everyone who considers themselves an artist has always thought, but never been able to drive home; expecting artists to work for free for the exposure is ripping them off. We should all be compensated for our work, whether it’s digging ditches or selling out stadiums. 

I have had the pleasure of getting to know many indie artists over the years, and I would suggest you check them out. I built my career interviewing these artists & they are all talented & creative people & I’m so grateful that I was afforded the chance to get to know them. Check out Mic Lordz & Sauce Funky, Inoke Errati, Gypsy Chief Goliath & Cowboys in Cardigans (front man Jamie Reaume’s Way Back Home is still one of my favourite songs). Most of these talented artists are on iTunes. But they wouldn’t have been paid had you streamed their music. Taylor was right when she said it wouldn’t affect her, but that’s a lot of free streaming for the artists above. These guys have homes, families. They worked hard. Why shouldn’t they be paid? 

You wouldn’t ask your doctor to work for free, or a lawyer. You wouldn’t tell your hairdresser that your free cut & blowout would help them get business. So, why do it to those lucky people who are willing to risk it all for their one goal of entertaining you? Seems like a jerk move. 

And Taylor Swift knew it. 

Taylor Swift is aware of her power. She knows how influential she is & that she has the power to speak for the guys playing open mic nights on the weekend while recording awesome new stuff…

…and she used it. And Apple will pay artists. Taylor Swift brought change. 

All hail the Queen
All hail the Queen

Call her greedy. Call her selfish. Call her whatever you want, but you missed the point. Taylor Swift’s motives may not be 100% altruistic (but I believe they are), but she spoke up & made things change. She used her voice, something so few of us do. She saw something wrong & called the big bad company out on it (I’m sorry Apple) & made a difference. She opened discussion about why artists deserve compensation for their work. One person made a difference. 

But most importantly, Taylor Swift is a role model to millions of little girls all over the world, including mine. My eight year old daughter thinks “Queen Taylor changed the world yesterday!” Maybe not, but she taught millions of girls that when something is wrong, you stand up & speak out & one girl CAN change things. One person can spark change so don’t be afraid to be that one person. 

So, thank you Taylor. Thanks for defending your fellow artists. Thanks for showing little girls to use their voices. You’re a true role model & inspiration & I’m glad my kids look up to you. But most importantly, thanks for being someone deserving of that praise. 

  

Fearless 

 I’m going to post an unpopular opinion. I’d apologize for posting my unpopular opinion, but I’ve always kind of said what I wanted and if you don’t like it, too bad.  As much as I love hate mail, you were warned. 

Here it is. 

 

For the next four days, I will be finishing my tenure as a retail associate for a large department store chain. During my time here, I have gotten to listen to people as they check out. Two magazine covers got people’s attention. So I’ll post them & some of the comments I heard: 

 

“Oh she is so brave.”

“Finally, a REAL woman on the cover of a magazine. That’s what a woman is supposed to look like!”

  

“Ugh. One step forward. Two steps back.”

“Soooooo photoshopped.”

“It’s like they want me to hate myself.”

First of all, BOTH of these women look great! (And they were both likely photoshopped) The smiles, the confident poses, the hair! These women look great! 

But why does Jennifer Lopez have to feel guilty for being in shape? And why does Tess Holliday have to have her dress size announced to make you feel good? Why do we have to tear one woman apart to make you feel better about you? Why is “body positivity” “body positivity if you’re fat?”

(Yup. I used the F word. Oh no. It’s a word. It’s a body type. It does not define you)

As someone who worked hard to lose 100lbs, I know I will never be conventionally thin. I currently float between a size 10 & 12 & I’m happy there. But my goal isn’t “thin.” My goal is “strong.” Jennifer Lopez’s taut tummy does not make me feel badly. She looks hot! Tess Holliday doesn’t make me love my body more; she looks great! But they look great because they love themselves, something women struggle with because we are taught to compete with each other. Fat girls tear apart thin girls to feel powerful. Thin girls mock fat girls to hide their own insecurities. Everyone mocks girls who want muscles. And we all credit celebrities with our self worth. 

Jennifer Lopez didn’t make you feel badly about your body; you did. Tess Holliday didn’t make you feel good about your body; you chose to feel acceptance from her appearing on a magazine. But you looked the same yesterday. You probably looked hot then too. But you’ve given your power to them. My fitness inspiration is WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella. Her commitment to being strong & not necessarily thin in a world where looks are everything is cool to me. But Nikki is not the reason I love my body. I love my body because I can squat over 100lbs. I love how strong I feel. Self love is the sexiest thing on a woman. So is health. I do not weigh myself anymore. I focus on eating well, keeping active & doing what I like to do to keep active. Are there thinner girls at my gym? Yup. And they look great! 

 

No, I did not pick this photo of Nikki because Seth Rollins is in it. okay, yes I did.
 
Women, take your power back. Stop with the “real men love curves” or Fat shaming jabs. Embrace that every woman has a unique body & learn to love your own. 

Let’s all repeat this:

All women are beautiful if they are a good person. I will not belittle another body type or transfer their perception of themselves or what makes them beautiful to feel badly about myself. I will respect differences & appreciate that we are unique. If I don’t like myself, I will commit to changing what I don’t like in a healthy way & not put down others to feel better. I will be a woman who builds up other women.

Because loving yourself & others looks better than a great pair of jeans or a bikini. 

  

Bad Blood

My teenage daughter is exactly like me.

Seriously.

She looks just like me, has my mannerisms, speech patterns, & even stands with her toe pointed like I do. She’s also really nice & it gets her into trouble.

She ran afoul of two teen girls who were torturing her friend, to the point where we had to call her parents because she had written a suicide note. My daughter went to teachers, parents, and even took these girls to task on her own. We may be nice, but we take no shit. Attack someone we care about & we go full Pitbull. These girls were already outraged because the object of their affection (whom is a pint sized predator) is smitten with my child. So, the cyber bullying began. We’d block them on her social media, they’d open a new account & begin again. We tightened the settings, they’d use a friend’s. I brought screencaps to school & told the parents. One mom took action, the other accused my child & I of being jealous of them. Uh. Okay.

Anywho, my daughter’s tale is just one of a million stories of bullying. They’re on the news all of the time. You see all of the adults commenting that it’s such a shame, those poor babies, where do they learn this…only to click to the next article to read them mocking a celebrity, calling her fat, ugly. The most disgusting thing I have ever seen was the comments on a beautiful article about Dan Diaz, the widower of late assisted suicide/death with dignity activist Brittany Maynard. This man lost his wife & we’re mocking him, claiming he hoped she’d take her own life so he could have a healthy wife, that he’s milking it (his wife has been dead for four days), etc. We’ve become a society so deplorable that we are mocking a man who will bury his beloved wife.

So, where do these little pukes learn this disgusting behaviour?

FROM YOU.

Yes, you. They learn it from you. Every time you take a shot on Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift, or any other celebrity (this includes the time I called John Mayer the president of Doucheland), you are teaching your kids to bully & devalue human life. When you justify it by saying its a comment board & you don’t have to be nice, you are teaching children to defend bullying because the victim wore the wrong clothes or whatever. When you mock a woman’s appearance or cat call a woman, you’re teaching your child to objectify women. When you mock a man who’s mourning his wife, you’re teaching your child to devalue love, a marriage & that this man’s suffering means nothing. When Robin Williams passed in August, people tortured his daughter Zelda so relentlessly she had to leave social media. During a time when a human being needed the most love, we as a society ripped her heart out. Then we wonder why the next generation is a bunch of evil little shits. Because they learn it from you.

For years, I’ve been accused of being too nice. I’m always explaining myself & that’s okay. But the truth is that there are billions of hateful people in this world. They’re mean, heartless & cruel. There are billions of selfish bigots in this world. I do not wish to be one of them. I take flack for wanting to be the woman I want my daughters to be, because apparently that’s odd. But I am raising three beautiful & brilliant women. I want them to be strong & brave but also radiate compassion & Grace. So, I must do the same. I refuse to become the person who can’t find one thing in the world that makes the day amazing, even if it’s just that I saw a bunny & it was cute. I like who I am & I want to be the girl who is nice & gives as much as I can to others. I like being that woman because I need to teach my daughters how to spread love. I won’t take people’s cruelty lying down, but I will not spread misery & I hope this teaches my daughters the desire to spread love. I know other moms who feel the same way & I hope we can raise a generation of kids who are loving & not cruel.

IMG_7680.JPG

So, next time you sit behind a user name & take a shot on a random stranger, think about how you’d feel if it was your kid & a classmate. Think about if it was a classmate saying that to your kid. Think about if Miley Cyrus was saying that to you. After all, you’re a stranger to her as she is to you. Say she walked up to you & mocked your hair & your dog & your clothes & said she hoped you died of a drug overdose. Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, that’s what you sound like when you hide behind your user name & blast them…& you’re teaching the next generation that it’s okay.