You Should See Me In A Crown

I never realize how boring my life is until it gets shaken up a bit.

I work. I raise humans. I go to the gym. I go running. I sometimes go out with adults. I continue to search for a “hard working conservative ‘Berta oil mans,” because that is obviously my type.

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That’s my life in a nutshell. It’s honestly the most mundane life in existence. I’m about to plant a garden. I colour with chalk with the kids. My life is not interesting. Then, we had a shakeup at work and I was pulled from my comfortably boring life into a new location, with a new staff, and everything is different and you all know how I feel about change!

I’m always afraid of messing up. I love my job, and I want to do well. But I’m not good at coming in hot right out of the gate and I’m always afraid of disappointing everyone. I want to do well & be a role model to my kids and my colleagues and then I stress myself out. ALSO DID I MENTION I HAVE HAD NO CAFFEINE IN A WEEK AND I MAY POSSIBLY BE REALLY INSANE?!

Yes, change couldn’t have come at a better time, when I’m taking part in my annual “caffeine free, alcohol free, fast food free” May (with the only exceptions being Mother’s Day & McHappy Day). So, I have no vices to use to cope with stress. I have…tea.

Don’t get it twisted; David’s Tea is the absolute best place on Earth & Lavender Buttercream Tea is magical. But, as someone who stress eats, I can’t just go get some fries and feel better. I could, but I’ve made a commitment to seeing this through to myself, just like I made a commitment to be the best manager/cell phone boss lady. If I can’t put down the fries for 29 days, how am I gonna build a team and be awesome? I don’t have my vices. I’ll actually have to deal with the stress on my own! What could possibly go wrong?!

Well, literally everything. But, that’s not a good attitude. I need to learn how to actually cope with anxiety in a healthy way. Fries are never the answer. So, I made sure I got to the gym. I set a PR for my clean and jerk. That made me happy. I boosted my team’s morale. Came home and did yoga. I can’t keep going to the quick fix. Fries won’t help me be a better leader. Fries are just delicious. What WILL make me a better leader is actually being a better leader. Working on deficiencies. Getting team feedback. Feedback from colleagues. That’s what’s going to make me a better leader. Also, being confident. I was chosen for a reason & if I want to get to where I want to be, whether it’s personal or professional, I’ve got to carry myself like I deserve it. Then work to earn it. That’s the only way. But believe you can and you’re halfway there. Or something like that.

So, chin up buttercup, you’re gonna be fine, and while fries are delicious, you’ll never get to where you wanna be by stressing out and eating fries.

Power Over Me

The suckiest part about training for a goal is the part where you realize you have a fuck ton of work to do to reach it and you cannot give up or you have to go back to the beginning.

While training for my 10k, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I gained weight last summer and driving means I don’t walk as often. So, getting back into the running groove has been a challenge. But, I’m gonna keep pushing, keep posting to my fitstagram (because no one wants to be bombarded with my fitness junk, but if you wanna follow, click here. If you’d rather follow along where I actually look nice, click here), and get better. Unfortunately, the only way to run faster is to actually just run more. And running is awful. But, imma push through until I’m 10k ready!

This is the time to beat!

I promised myself that nothing would stop my progress. Not weather, not my own insecurities, not even nature’s douchecanoes; geese. But, I never realized that my ego could still be easily bruised. I was running, already frustrated by my pace, when some boys that know my teenager walked by and said loudly enough for me to hear over my music, “isn’t that (redacted)’s fat mom? Why is she running?”

Full stop.

Fat. Mom. Fat. Mom. FAT. mom. Every single aspect of my life was reduced to those two words; fat mom. Mom I don’t mind, I like being a mom. I get to be with my favourite humans. Their existence drives me to be better. Everything I do is to give them more and better than I had. But fat. WTF? I worked so hard not to be fat anymore and here I was, fat again. Who was I kidding? I’m not gonna make it 10k! I’m fat! So, like a mature adult, I sat on the curb and cried.

I don’t know why it bothered me so much. They’re teenage boys who my kid doesn’t even like! But it broke me down and here I was, a grown ass adult, crying like a little bitch. So, I went home Drove to Walmart. Ate a family size bag of Ketchup Chips. I ran a bath. I got in it and bawled. Every insecurity came pouring out; too old, too ugly, too slow, too weak. Sure, I ran 10k last year, but now I’m too fat! I’m a fat mom who is probably also ugly & is embarrassing to be seen with in public because of the ugly. You know, completely rational behaviour.

Pretty sure am not ugly, but oh well

Once I was done being a little bitch, I stopped crying. After all, there is a scientifically proven method to stop being fat; do active shit and stop eating bad for you shit. Eating Ketchup Chips will not help me become less fat. Yes, I’m a stress eater, but there was a plethora of healthy, yummy things in my kitchen that I could have eaten. I let a group of teenage boys stop my run. So, the next night, I got up, and ran my 4km training route.

Was it my best? Hell no. But did I do it? Hell yes. Tonight I ran my 3km training route. Tomorrow is 5km. Still going to Crossfit three times a week. I’m going to do these things for me, while silencing the voice that says food is the answer, because it never is.

Words hurt, but only if you give them power. I control my body image and right now, I may not be happy with it, but it’s up to me to change it. I don’t go to CrossFit to impress teenage boys. I don’t run to impress men. I do these things because I want to look and feel healthier. I want to live longer and be a good example for my family. In order to do those things, I have to shut out stupid people who don’t actually matter to me in the long run, throw on PVRIS, and do the work. Absolutely nothing will ever get accomplished in life without doing the work.

My pace may not be what I want right now, but it’ll get there, because I am more than a fat mom. I’m a pretty good mom. I’m the okayest cell phone boss lady there is. My friends and cats seem to like me. And I may be a slow, weak crossfitter, but I’m still the 29681 fittest woman on Earth God Dammit. I am not going to let myself be defined by a three letter word anymore. I’m going to keep working to love my body instead.

But maybe the biggest takeaway here is that if you do see the fat person at the gym, or on their morning run, don’t be a dick to them. Don’t be a dick to that super ripped dude crushing the weights. Don’t be a dick to anyone actively working to improve themselves. Anyone who mocks someone trying to be better is actually a pile of insecure human garbage. If you need to resort to mocking someone who’s out there putting in work to be their best, maybe you should look in a mirror and figure out why you need to project your insecurities onto a person out there busting their ass. It will always say more about you being awful than them working hard.

Sucker

It’s funny how things will change for you when you put what means most to you first.

I was working at a trade show this weekend with a friend/colleague and he told me he was so proud of how I’ve grown into my life over the last three years. I’ve learned a house, moved into my new home, really grown into my position, and built strong roots here. I mean, I guess. But isn’t that normal, to evolve as time goes on?

But one thing I have really tried to do is make my needs a priority. This is something I’ve struggled with my entire life. How do you make time for what you want to do/improve as a person without feeling selfish and evil? It’s been a work in progress, as I still have trouble saying no and leaving work on time, but I’m getting better every day.

I think it’s a mom thing. You always feel like you shouldn’t want time to go for a run, go to the gym, or even meal prep! Yes, I started meal prepping! It’s been great for my waistline and my wallet. It was also something “I just didn’t have time for” a year ago. Now, I make time. The kids help me make my lunches for work. They’re learning helpful skills and I’m getting stuff done. All good things. But we’re all taught that wanting time alone or wanting to make ourselves a priority is selfish, wrong, bad. This is beaten into us until we feel like even taking a bubble bath is taking time away from the family. But everyone deserves to live their best life, and sometimes that means you can’t put everyone else first.

I’m realizing it’s okay to say no, I need to focus on me/my family/my career. I don’t have to be “on” all of the time. I can absolutely take an hour to go to the gym. I can absolutely go for a run and answer the three calls that came in during my run when I’m finished my run. I can meal prep before bed. I can take my day off and clear my schedule to watch Becky Lynch main event Wrestlemania and win the Raw & Smackdown Women’s titles because the kids want their mom to hang out with them and cheer for Becky Lynch. I’ve finally learned that it’s okay to make myself a priority.

The more I take those few moments to make myself a priority, the more that happiness spreads into other aspects of my life. I’m happier at my job. I’m more confident when I’m out and about. I don’t get as anxious anymore. It seems stupid to think something as little as meal prep or 15 minutes of nightly yoga can improve every facet of your life, but it does. It’s another way of reminding yourself that you matter and you are important. If you don’t feel like you matter enough to give yourself value, why would anyone else?

So, don’t be afraid to take that time to do things that make you happy, and don’t be afraid to say no when your cup is empty. You don’t need to give all of yourself to everyone all of the time, because very few people would do the same for you. You can’t run yourself down to please everyone else. Whether it’s taking the family for ice cream, going to the gym, or just sitting and reading a book, take time to put yourself first, and don’t let anyone tell you it’s wrong or selfish or bad. You deserve it.

For The Last Time

It’s funny how everything changes.

Last year, I felt very out of place in my own life. I felt like a fat banana, and like someone too awkward and not fit enough to be part of my gym community. This year, I feel empowered by the same people and I find that I want to go to the gym because I love being there, and go running because I finally enjoy it.

I felt out of place at work. I felt like I was the smart kid in class that everyone talks shit about after they give them the answers to number six. Now, I have an amazing group of humans that work with me. I love the leadership team, and I love the staff I have in my store & across the hall. I hang out with them outside of work; we play video games & eat dinner. I even convinced my ASM to run a 10k with me (she hates me now)! But I genuinely love working with these people and I feel more empowered to be successful. My personal performance has improved, and my ASM and I are a great team, as are my best friend/coworker and her ASM. We have such a fun dynamic and I’m so proud to be part of it.

I no longer feel like a weird loner in a big city trying to find where I belong. I’ve found it; I found my home. I found it by being brave enough to drive. I found it through my work, both management and through my published articles. And I’ve found my tribe of people through my job, my gym, or because they moved here from home. But I finally feel like, for the first time in years, I’ve found my place.

It’s weird how something will happen and you’ll realize everything has just kind of snapped into place. For me, it’s been this last week. We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at the house and it hit me that I finally lived somewhere I was proud to invite company over. I asked my social circle to do a fitness thing and people actually wanted to do it. The kids brought home great report cards. I was invited to a gym event and I went and had a great time. That’s when it hit me; I’m no longer a participant in my own life watching it happen around me. I really love my life and finally feel like it belongs to me. Even my cats seemed more at ease lately, and put up with me taking selfies with them. That also may be the CBD oil.

Things won’t improve until you take control and improve them. And your situation won’t change, whether it’s your financial situation, your relationship status, your job, until you stop letting yourself be a participant in your own life. I needed to stop just accepting the things I didn’t like about my life and change them. Once I did, the positivity and joy arrived. Somewhere along the way, I forgot that change doesn’t work unless you do, and some of that change I didn’t even realize was happening until I saw how certain decisions change how you see your life. You won’t even see change overnight. You’ve just gotta keep pushing until you can’t see the negative because you’re too focused on the good and that’s when the breakthrough will happen.

Sometimes all you gotta do is change how you look at life. Fake it until you make it? Instead of “how am I gonna run 10k again?” It’s “this year I’m gonna make sure I get my Doughnut Party after I finish.” Instead of “ugh I have a fuckton of yard work,” it’s “my yard will be dope.” Instead of “that workout is too hard,” it’s “my legs are gonna look so good in a few months.” You get the idea. By changing the mindset, I could do the work to make changes. So, next time you feel negativity seeping in, look back at how you’ve grown and don’t let yourself undo that progress.

Girl

Remember how I told you guys that I did the cool Crossfit thing and felt super bad ass and like some kind of super nova?

Here’s the story of how I felt like a bucket of crap and a fat loser.

I wanted to do well during this workout so badly. I wanted to do well. It’s been a trying time at work and I’ve been feeling really down on myself professionally, exhausted personally, and just plain overwhelmed. I put off the gym because I’ve been letting my weight get out of hand and I feel like a failure. But the Open was supposed to be how I got back on track. I was gonna kill it, do well. Instead, I crashed, burned, and was so humiliated that I cried. I hate crying. I hate any all indications that I have feelings. But here I was, with sweat dripping down my face, and tears burning my eyes as I looked at my depressing score. I watched everyone else do the thing I couldn’t do, but wanted to do so badly. But, I always put everything ahead of what I want. Family. Friends. Work. Life. And I was the thing I hated most when I looked in the mirror; the fat, single, crying wimp.

As I grabbed my glasses, I had made up my mind; I was quitting CrossFit. 2015, West London Crossfit MHC was gone. She’s not coming back, and fat, sad MHC remained. I hate her so much. All my self esteem issues, my anxiety, my inability to talk to people, stems from the fact that I am fat and I feel ugly and unlovable because of it. Yes, I was going to quit. It’s too hard and too much and I just. can’t. do. it.

I miss 2015 MHC

But, fortunately for me, Crossfit people are actually the coolest of all the people. So many people came over and were like, “you’re so great, you worked so hard!” One of my teammates who’s resting an injury made it a point to cheer me on through Insta. My coaches reminded me that I still did the thing. Maybe not like I’d hoped, but I did the thing. My girls told me I did a great job while taking their job of dog sitting very seriously. I felt so loved and inspired by all these fit, bad ass people who took the time to be nice to me when I felt like shit, and my own girls, who look up to me and think I’m the coolest…

…that’s when I got angry.

I have been selling myself short for too damn long. I keep saying I’ll fix it, I’ll try harder, I’ll get to the gym more, I’ll eat better, but then I do everything else but that! What the fuck kind of example am I setting for these kids if I don’t even like my damn self?! How am I gonna love 2019 MHC if I’m still pining for London, circa 2015 MHC?! I’m not. I’m just wasting everyone’s damn time, especially mine.

So, I decided I won’t be quitting CrossFit. Instead, I’ll do more CrossFit. I’ll eat better things (which I’ve really improved upon). I’ll drink the water and it’s time I stop letting everyone walk the Hell over me. It’s time I bring back London MHC and turn her into Edmonton MHC. Giving up has never, ever helped anyone, so it won’t work for me. I’m gonna take those feelings of inadequacy and use them to empower myself to be better.

I never want to feel like I did today ever again. I know the reason that I felt that way is because I know it’s on me. I’ve let winter blues and insecurities and the universe dictate what I should be doing instead of accepting that it’s not vain or self centred or “wrong” to want to be healthy mentally and physically. And no matter how much I try, I will never be happy with myself if I’m overweight. That doesn’t mean I’m opposed to body positivity, or you shouldn’t love yourself in any shape. But this shape is not one I can accept for myself, and I need to change it or my personal life and mental health will suffer. So, I’m gonna get angry and use it to be better, even if 19.4 kicks my ass.

Maybe You’re Right

FINALLY, the last few weeks are ALMOST OVER!

Hooray!

It has been a long ass month of sales, training a new hire, packing, getting ready to move to my dream home, and pretty much never sleeping ever. I’m hosting a housewarming party at the end of this and we’ve unpacked (with many stuffed mushrooms), because I’m literally in awe of my home. All my life I’ve wanted a home that I could be proud of, that the girls could be proud of, and in London, we had one, but not much else. Here, I have a job I’m good at, a freelancing career, a car, and the house I’ve dreamed of since I was a little girl and I’m so grateful that my girls & I get to call it home.

I’m working with a renewed sense of purpose, because I have the house of my dreams, I have to take care of Wanda Maximoff, and now I’ve got to save up for some trips to Ontario for the summer, as well as a trip for my birthday. I was planning a trip to Vegas, but with Britney taking a hiatus, why even go? Exactly! No point at all!

Since Vegas is out, I’ll go to the one place I’ve always dreamed of visiting; New Orleans. I’ve tried to go twice; once for my Honeymoon (we didn’t go anywhere because he lost his job right before the wedding…twice) and once with an ex boyfriend (we broke up). Perhaps the lesson is to stop trying to do kick ass stuff with shitty men. So, whether I go alone, or find a travel buddy, imma try to save up and go to NOLA! I’ll need to fritter all my extra pennies, and buckle down at the gym (I’m down 12lbs since December), because I want to do this vacation, but also feel good about myself while I’m there.

One part of feeling good about myself is trying to make dating an option and actually mean it this time. For years I’ve kept myself closed off because I’ve been afraid of getting hurt. Then I’ll go out on a few dates, decide the guy is probably just an asshole and leave before I get hurt, rinse repeat. But my BFF’s keep reminding me that when I take risks with my work and other aspects of my life, they pay off. I took my kick down the ladder at work and worked hard to prove myself to be a capable manager who CAN do a good job. I took risks with my house hunt and I now live in the most awesome house in the whole wide world. Why don’t I take risks with my love life, and I don’t mean Tinder.

I mean actually making moves to let men know I’m interested in them, or at least make eye contact.

For this, and other pearls of wisdom, follow me on SC @ashmhc!

I keep telling myself I’ll meet a guy organically, but I also don’t do anything to do that, like leave my house to go anywhere except work, the gym, and Starbucks. Then while at those places, I refuse to acknowledge anyone outside of a quick greeting and retreat into my insecurity and lose myself in my phone. I refuse to even approach the hot security guard my best friend swears is flirting with me because I say he’s definitely not flirting, he’s just being friendly. He’s hot with an accent and hilarious. I am…me. I can look at my life and think “Damn I’m so awesome,” until it comes to dating. Then I instantly think

  • Too old
  • Too Fat
  • too weird (definitely too weird)
  • Too much baggage
  • Too loud
  • Too basic (My personal and work cell phones have matching pink sparkly cases ffs!)

I always just look in the mirror and think;

What self respecting man wants a single mom of three in her thirties that talks too much, swears too much, is WAY too bubbly, watches wrestling and loves Crossfit, Taylor Swift, and thinks that nachos and mojitos is the best date ever? None. That’s who.”

Let’s be real; there are beautiful women in their twenties with careers, cute friends that take insta photos of their feet on tropical islands, no kids, no divorce, wearing a size four. An attractive, intelligent man would definitely be more interested in. Why? Because they’re awesome! I’m not knocking beautiful twenty something women. They’re the coolest! They have jobs and visions and deserve to be praised for being amazing & deserve to be loved and appreciated just like anyone else.

Women need to stick together and they aren’t to blame for my insecurities. I am. It’s my fault that I refuse to make eye contact. It’s my fault that I feel awkward and weird and like I’m not good enough…and it’s up to me to fix it.

When I carry myself with the same confidence I have when it comes to my job, people notice. Men notice. They talk to me, smile, and even flirt. But I’m so concerned that I’m not good enough that I close myself off from meeting, as my ex boss/current friend says, “quality mans.” But that’s not on them, it’s on me. Sure, I have baggage, but I can lose weight if I put in the work, I’ve done it before. I have a good job, a great support system, a car, no criminal record. All good things. Maybe I’m too basic, but I’m also pretty funny. I’m smart. I have strong opinions and I can totally hold a conversation because I NEVER SHUT UP LITERALLY EVER. But for anyone else to think I’m a catch, I have to believe I am. But that’s the problem; I don’t believe I am. I do, until I want to approach a guy I’m interested in. Then I clam up and close off because there’s no way I’d be good enough for him and end up depressed for three days because I’m a lost cause with cats. I’m going to die alone as a spinster…with. cats.

When I get like this, and decide that I’m probably gonna die alone, ugly and fat, with cats, I usually eat ten pizzas and skip the gym and do all the things that don’t improve my life. This time, I channeled my insecurities into something that would make me feel better about myself. I carried on, getting my new house ready. I went to the gym as often as I could. I changed up my sales strategies at work. Went for Korean food with my ASM squad. But most importantly, spent time with the family catching Pokémon or watching the Reputation Stadium Tour on Netflix and relived our magical evening with our Lord & Saviour Jesus Swift.

A mate can’t help me love myself and I can’t have a mate unless I love myself. So, if I’m going to use 2019 as the year that I FINALLY make my love life a priority, I need to silence my insecurities by making myself a priority. Once I truly love myself, I can let someone else love me.

Maybe I won’t have the courage to ask for the hot security guard’s number, but if I keep working on loving myself despite all of my weirdness, I’ll talk to the right guy. And he’ll think I’m great just the way I am. But the best part will be that I’ll think I’m great just the way I am too.

Last year, I attended a beautiful wedding & I caught the bouquet. I jokingly told my friend that it was hilarious that I caught it, because I’m the one person who will never get married next…or at all. Her new husband told me “if you told me two years ago that I’d be here now, married to (friend) and building a life and family with her and the kids, I’d have laughed at you. But I’m here and I’m so happy. Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling you that in two years, we’ll be dancing at your wedding.” It was so optimistic and cute. But maybe he’s right. Maybe all these years I’ve closed myself off because I’ve felt unworthy of love, and I’m missing out on the joy they had. So I promised I’d carry that bouquet as my “something borrowed” at my future wedding. I just have to remind myself that I deserve love and joy just as much as anyone else and its out there if I’m willing to put myself out there.

But I learned you’ll never love yourself if you keep blaming your past, your experiences, acting like a victim, or making no efforts to improve your circumstances. Change doesn’t work unless you do. I keep making changes; I work out to feel better about my body. I found a home I’m proud of. I work hard at my job so I can grow. I’m not a perfect mom, but I’m trying. But if I want to be a person that someone else will fall in love with, I have to make sure that I love every aspect of who I am, and continue to grow. I’m not there yet, but I’m working at it. Maybe, once I fully love me, I’ll meet someone who does the same.

Everything I Need

It’s that time of year. You know, New Year, New Me, and that bullshit. This year was something. I learned that to be the person my family needs me to be, I have to make sacrifices. I learned that people will exploit those sacrifices to manipulate, and exploit your kindness to try to hurt you as much as they can just out of spite. But, I learned that you need to forgive those people, because family trumps all.

I learned how to reconcile with my past relationship failings and move forward as a healthy, happy, human being, so that I can finally be emotionally available in a relationship. I learned my priorities will always be my family, my job, and Crossfit and that’s okay, because I don’t need to change for anyone.

I also finally reached a point in my career where I feel successful enough to make changes. I bought a car. I conquered my fear of driving. I have a new home. 2018 was a year of learning. 2019 will be the year that the lessons I’ve learned blossom into joy; professionally, personally, and mentally.

As always, here’s a snapshot of my year, featuring photos that don’t involve my children. 2018 was a magical, painful, challenging year. But I hope I always keep growing, optimistic for the future.

Finally got to see Breaking Benjamin!

We don’t discuss this evening

Another cover story!

I did not panic (lies, I’m panicking now). My new home.

After five years of never making hair changes, I finally did something different to my hair.

Real Life

Time for some big changes y’all. For those of you new to my world, let me remind you how well I do with change.

My lease is up at the end of January, which means it’s time for a new place. I’ve never been in love with my house. I moved in sight unseen. It’s perfectly adequate, but I’ve had repair issues, other struggles, and truthfully, I’ve been unhappy with the place for over a year. It’s time to rip off the bandaid and move on. I had planned to try to stay until June, but it’s not gonna work, so I’ll be welcoming the new year in a new home…wherever the fuck that is. It’s gotta be near work, by a good school, near my gym, that allows cats and offers parking. Easy. Right?

(No I am not moving back to Ontario. No one has ever improved their life by going backwards or running away from their problems. That’s what cowards do. You have to move in a positive direction, and there is nothing positive about Ontario. Just high crime and Doug Ford. Gross)

I’ve got a bunch of appointments to look at houses, and we’ve already started purging and downsizing, which is therapeutic af. I’ve long outgrown this neighbourhood. But much like when I long outgrew my Windsor home, I hung out too long and let myself get miserable and fat for no reason. Same thing here. I’ve allowed the events of the summer to impact my job, my relationships, my friendships, and my life. I’ve been too depressed to go to the gym and throw myself into my work, while simultaneously falling behind at work. I’ve been a Debbie Downer at work. This isn’t healthy for me, or my family. We can’t just be miserable when things go wrong. That’s a terrible example to set. So, the universe agrees it’s time to rip off the bandaid. No more living in a house that is “good enough” or “okay.” We deserve better. So, I’m gonna find us a house that’s best for us, even though I was STILL considering staying, just because it’s easier. I’ve never been the person who hangs out in the comfort zone, so it’s time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and get shit done.

I’ve also gone back to therapy. I see no shame in admitting I’ve had a bit of a rough go and I need to give my mental health a tune up. Therapy is fucking magical and anyone who says they’re against therapy is dumb as fuck and you should never listen to them. Therapy is super helpful. It allows you to listen and be heard. It allows you to learn how to cope when life throws you for a loop. This life thing is hard guys. It’s even harder when you’re riddled with anxiety and can’t enjoy it because you’re making shitty choices and whining like an emo baby. I lost some very good friends because I was like that; always playing victim. Always whining. Being depressed and obsessing about circumstances I couldn’t change. I don’t ever want to go back to that person, so the minute I feel myself even slipping, I get my ass to therapy to make sure that my mental health is in a good place.

I look at my life and there’s so much good. You can’t lose all that good because things haven’t gone well, or because you’ve let yourself fall into a rut. 2018 has mostly been rut; work, minimal social life, fighting to get to the gym, feeling like an outsider and gauging my social interactions so I’m “fitting in.” Never standing up for myself and letting people make fun of me. Gaining weight back and being okay with it because I’m too damn tired to work out or eat well. And it sucks. It’s time to let go of old patterns and old shit and old places I’ve outgrown and forgive people for what they’ve done because holding on to that anger is sucking the life out of me. My life is too good to have the joy sucked out of it. Therapy helps me see the joy in my life, by giving me the tools to find it. I’ll use those tools to fight for my dreams of building a better life for myself and the kids, no matter what.

The next few months is all about growth. Growth towards a new home. Growth towards improving mental health so I can be the best version of me. Growth so I don’t feel like an outsider everywhere I go, even when no one is making me feel that way. Growth towards building a better home and future for my family. But most importantly, growth that is long overdue, that’ll make me a better person.

She Loves Control

Two things I’ve never been good at are time management, and saying no. These constantly impact my day to day life.

For example, I super hate my body right now. I’ve gained some of the weight back since I moved to YEG and to lose it, I need to go to the gym more often. But my staff often delays their breaks until my shift is over. So, instead of working out, I stay late. But then I go home feeling like crap. Most recently, I signed up for the Festivus Games, but it’s the same day as the trade show I organized a booth for at work. So, I’m out money and even more frustrated because it’s all my fault. I didn’t check the dates.

I schedule my driver’s education classes with my few days off, but when you have two deadlines and are picking up extra shifts to earn money so your kids can go visit their dad because he isn’t contributing to his children, you get a window of 10 minutes between the lesson and the bus for class and it doesn’t work. So, I’m left so burned out that even my evening yoga doesn’t help.

But I find I’m constantly fighting for time to do what I want, to improve my life, but I never seem to do it because I am stretched so bloody thin, and yet not thin the way I want to be. I’m taking on writing assignments to supplement my income, as I’m still not receiving child support, and likely never will. I’m working full time and don’t want to upset my team, so I won’t just say “Take your break earlier, because I am leaving when my shift is over.” I don’t want to hurt their feelings. I’m also acting as mother and father to three children. I’m making sure that I have learned how to drive properly so that I can buy a car and improve my family’s day to day life. I’m doing as much as I can to make sure we are clothed and fed and that I’m not inconveniencing anyone that I find myself sitting in my tub hating how I look and wanting one damn hour to myself once a day to go to the God damn gym.

I need to make myself a priority.

I never have, and I never do. I’m always trying to be nice or be liked that I can’t just say no or take time for me. Obviously, the kids come first, but I can’t be a good mom if I’m burned out. I can’t be a good employee or manager if I’m constantly tiptoeing around everyone to be nice to everyone so that everyone will like me. I can’t please everyone and I’m the boss; I will never make my team happy all of the time and do my job well. I can’t meet someone if I hate how I look because that’s how you settle. I wouldn’t impulsively overbook myself if I felt like I could take time for me. But, in the end, the only person who can control these things is me. Why don’t I see myself as an investment? Instead, I allow myself to put me to the back burner so I can handle all of my responsibilities, but I feel like there’s too many and I’m about to freak out.

Actual footage of me and my responsibilities

I can get mad about why insert thing or person here doesn’t see me as valuable or worth putting time into, but I don’t see myself as worth putting time into anymore, or I’d just fucking do it. I invest more time into my store and my cats than I do myself. Then I get mad because nothing is going the way that I want. Maybe it would if I actually invested in myself.

I used to believe I was worth it, back in London, when I started Crossfit and had a core group of supportive friends. I have an amazing gym & great friends, but I always put myself last, because I don’t think I’m important anymore. I’m just there. Something happened to me in Alberta that I stopped feeling like I mattered. When I am willing to take care of my own needs, I eat better, I sleep better, I feel better. When I don’t, I eat nachos & drink mojitos.

I need to start reminding myself that my time matters. I deserve to be at the gym, I pay for it, I enjoy it, and it’s important to me. I deserve to take a day off to hang with the kids and play Pokémon Go and watch Season two of a Series of Unfortunate Events. I deserve to do things for me and not feel badly.

I’ll probably never perfect time management, but I’m certainly going to try, because my kids deserve a mom to look up to, and not a frazzled, stressed out mess that just wants one hour to go to the damn gym and maybe not have to budget my paycheques from the bathtub because that’s the only alone time I have…before a kid walks in.

I think sometimes we as moms try so hard to be indestructible that we forget that we need to take care of ourselves too. Sometimes you have to say no to the extra shift, or let driving wait one more week, and just go to the gym. Or take a bubble bath. Or whatever works for you.

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

I try to refrain from talking about my daughters on my blog because I have this thing about parents who blast their kids lives on display. It feels so ooky. Like, photos on social media is one thing; but bloggers posting stories about their kids or videos of coached kids doing “spontaneous funny things” and tagging Ellen feels so gross to me. I choose to be a blogger and share my life publicly; the kids have no say. So, I never post photos and keep stories about them to a minimum.

But, they will be mentioned a bit today, although I’ll keep the deets high level.

Yesterday, I was stressed out. I had worked from open to close on Black Friday & was on hour six of what was supposed to be another 10 hour day. I was tired, terrified that we wouldn’t beat last year’s numbers, and generally cranky. I was kind of stressed because the guy I’ve been getting to know seems almost too nice, too perfect. Too many “I love that too,” and too many compliments, and it makes me feel like it could be too good to be true and after a few weeks I’ll find out he’s a serial killer. I was stressed because I hadn’t been to the gym in a week, and I had planned to try a barre class, but I couldn’t find the time. I was stressed out about finances, because it’s Xmas and I’m a sole support parent. I was stressed because I’m trying to get the girls their gifts, as well as hopefully surprise them with tickets to Taylor Swift and a fun trip to Toronto to go to the zoo and my 10 year old will perhaps finally get her dream of seeing kangaroos that hop and aren’t depressed like the ones in Detroit.

I was stressed and pushing myself too hard, and then I got a phone call that my two oldest daughters had been hit by a car during a hit and run. I ran out of my mall, panicked and thinking the worst, with my only thought being how I could get home faster to get to them. The good news is that everyone is fine, injuries are minor and they’re only shaken up. I insisted that they all sleep in my room last night because I didn’t want them out of my sight. Today was spent with doctors and taking steps to have the case investigated, but also to eat pizza and go to Toys R Us, play Super Mario Run and listen to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Swift.

The most important thing you can do when things are shitty is make your day as normal as possible, to remind ourselves that nothing is ever as scary as it seems. I don’t want my girls to live in fear of the world around them. I want them to focus on good things, like the neighbour who went out to help them, or my coworkers, who all called to make sure they were okay. Focus on the fact that Aunt Kiki called and checked in every few hours, not that dad dismissed it as no big deal and didn’t call to check in on them, just a quick call at 8pm to fume about my upgrading a phone, never asking if they were okay. Focus on what’s good; the rest sorts itself out.

In the end, the store hitting budget, the guy being too nice, or my bank balance didn’t matter. What did matter was that I could have lost 2/3 of my whole world because some dude in a Honda Civic was speeding in a school zone. What matters is that they’re okay and safe. They get to grow up into women and make me proud every day. What matters is that somewhere there’s a parent who isn’t as fortunate as we were and their story doesn’t have the ending mine does. They would kill for a chance to call out of work to take their teenager to the doctor to check for concussion symptoms, or rearrange their shifts to walk the kids to school because they’re scared to cross at that crosswalk. I’m fortunate af that I get to do those things. Sometimes being a sole support mom means you have to work so much to give them a good life that you miss stuff, like parent teacher night. But what matters is that you put them first, whether it’s working that 16 hour day, or rushing out into the night to protect them. That’s being a parent; not a handful of phone calls or a visit every now and again. Being a parent means supporting your kids emotionally, financially, protecting them and being there for them 24/7. That’s what matters. If you’re not doing those things; you’re not a parent.

I hope no parent ever has to have that kind of shock to the system. Let’s not lose focus on why we work so hard, or do so much. We’re doing it for them. We can’t take even a second for granted because an asshole in a Honda Civic could take it all away. I’m going to try to remember that next time I’m stressed about sales numbers, or my bank balance, or because someone did some stupid shit to piss me off. I’ll remind myself that what really matters is making time to hang with the kiddos, play Super Mario, and be grateful that I have the chance to do so.