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.

…Ready For It?

Welp, another spin around the sun for me, as yesterday I celebrated another birthday!

Still not mature

I celebrated my thirty something-th birthday with the coolest bunch of coworkers ever, cheesecake made by my littles, and this weekend, I’ll be a true Albertan, heading to an Oilers game, and some friends & I will be hosting a girls night get together the next night! Yup, being alive is pretty rad.

However, I’ve been using this time in my life to make some change. My place, which was a great “starter” place here in YEG, isn’t right for my family anymore. With the teen attending school in a different part of the city, we need to look at living closer to her school. So, I put myself on a waiting list to move to a condo closer to her high school. Come spring, we’ll be living in a newer, nicer place. While I’ll miss my lakes for running, I’m sure I can find running in a residential area just as fulfilling (narrator: she will not), but the needs of the family need to come first. I’m also finishing up driver’s education, so come spring, I will be buying my VERY FIRST CAR. That’s right bitches, I will be buying an automobile. I’ve got some great suggestions (thanks to every one on Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat for their vehicle suggestions! The best part of being a slightly well known blogger is the awesome product suggestions from readers). I’ll be test driving all of your suggestions, as well as my first choice, a 2015 Toyota RAV4 (big thanks to my good friend Paul at TD Insurance, for letting me know which cars body shop techs and rental agencies recommend. When it comes time to insure my new baby, I’ll be talking to you for sure!) & should have narrowed it down by spring! This is kind of a big deal. I’ve always been afraid to drive full time and buy a car. But I’m really excited to be a car owner. It’ll make getting to the gym easier, and easier for the girls and I to go places without having to wait for a bus. I don’t plan on wasting gas; I’ll still walk short distances when need be. But it’s another major step for the famjam.

It’s really important to me to continue to check off boxes and grow and evolve. As I continue to be happier in my life, it’s only better for the girls, right? I need to teach them the importance of self growth, self love, never settling, and hard work. So, over the next few months, I’m going to do just that; grow, evolve, love myself a little more every day.

So, thanks everyone for your birthday well wishes. I super appreciate them all. I’m pretty much the luckiest person ever to have so many cool people in my life. This year is going to be even better than last year and I can’t wait to share those experiences with my girls, my crew, and even you, random person taking the time to read my blog.

Learn to Let Go

Oh, hai. 

I know, I kind of fell off of the planet for a bit. It happens. I know, I fell off of social media (outside of fitness stuff & the odd kids pic on my private accounts) too. I kind of died. I won’t lie; I’m really tired. I’ve been working six days a week until now, and I’ve been dead on my feet. 

Accurate depiction of my life the last three weeks
 Fortunately, I only have three shifts left! Them imma get on a plane because I’m on vacation bitches!

This girl is headed home to drop off the littles for their annual “force their dad to be a dad for two weeks by dropping off the kids and saying ‘these are yours. Act like it,'” trip. I’m only staying a week though. I’ll be catching up with my favourite humans (and getting a bunch of tattoos) and coming back home…alone, after some much needed R&R (I’ll also be jet lagged af, so anyone who wants to meet me at the airport is welcome hahaha). After a gruelling schedule, it’ll be nice to unwind, veg out, and catch up with friends. And while I love my kids and being a hands on mom, having a week to myself will be kind of nice too. But just one week. They’ll be back before school starts. 


It’s been kind of nice to take a break from social media, personal writing, etc. to recharge & refocus. Between my full time job and my freelance writing, I’ve been busy and tired. But my professional writing is improving more every time I submit something and I’m really proud of that (don’t believe me? Check out this article I wrote about my friend Carrie! It’s pretty freaking good if I do say so myself). My performance at my day job is improving too! I’ve hit my YEG stride and it’s great. I’ve made great friends. My coworkers are rad. My summer pretty much rocks. I went on a date with a cute boy & I may go out with him again.  I saw Ed Sheeran and Lady Gaga in the span of a week. I’ve worked a million hours, but still found time to hit a deadlift PR. I’ve been focusing on the writing that makes me money, because who doesn’t love money! 


I think sometimes it’s nice to decompress from the world of social media, and for me, my blog. I like to live my life more and talk about it less. Not to mention a little mystery is nice. Let people miss me for awhile while I do my own thing. If you want to know what’s up, you can call or text (unless you’re one of the 40 people who’s numbers are blocked) & say hi. If not, then you probably don’t miss me that much. It’s one of those superficial “I miss you! We should meet up soon!” when we have no intention of meeting up soon. They’ll say they miss me all over social media, then shit talk me at a party. I have no patience for that kind of bullshit in my life. If you want to criticize my life; I’ll be more than happy to send you a few of my bills that you can pay. If you want to be around me, you’d be there. The end. 


I’m so over the fake happy social media lives and the fake friends who only message on your birthday, or talk about their #perfect lives for the likes. I use social media to interact with people. One thing I’ll stress always on this blog and online is that I am not perfect. My house can be a mess. I don’t stick to my diet. Like, I went to crossfit and ate and entire bag of Doritos while watching the Grudge. My kids don’t always behave. But I do always talk about evolution & growth. Besides, you don’t have to be #perfect to be happy. My life is imperfectly happy, and to me, happy matters so much more than #perfect. If I have to choose between being a #perfect mom, #perfect human, or a happy one with happy kids, I’ll choose happy every damn time. 


‪Part of my happiness is meeting up with my friends.  For those that know me, as much as I love/hate social media, I do love live travel tweeting. If you wanna follow along, feel free to follow me on the Twitter (unless I blocked you on Twitter, then you can go fuck yourself). I tend to live tweet my travels. Sometimes it’s funny, I guess. As for me, I’ll be enjoying the people who make as much time for me as I do for them, while also inking up my skin, because I can, mostly because I choose happy over cookie cutter, boring, and oh so #perfect. 

Gold Medal Ribbon

I’ve always said that the true test of a person’s character is during times of disappointment. 

It’s easy to be humble and grateful when everything kicks ass, but what about when things are hard and kind of sucky? That’s what separates the successful people from the bitter bitches. 

This week I suffered a minor workplace disappointment. I’ve been in way over my head and my boss called me on it. Fortunately, I work for an amazing company that wants their employees to succeed, grow. So, together, we found a solution to help my store grow and me thrive. Work disappointments hurt the ego, but ego isn’t important. What’s truly important is that the collective succeeds. I have an amazing team. I have a great group of colleagues. I want them all to succeed and I’m lucky that we came up with a solution. I’m lucky that I’m part of a company that wants to help me grow and learn. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters. 


I could be one of those bitter bitches and blame my struggles on lack of training, or my boss is mean (he’s not) or some other bullshit. But lack of accountability makes you a bitter bitch. I am not a bitter bitch. Bitter bitches never grow. I see hard times as an opportunity to grow and evolve. So, I’m going to take the negative and turn it into a positive and use it to learn and grow from it. After all, that’s the keys to success, right?

I think the most important thing a person can do is accept disappointment with humility, with poise, dignity, and an open mind. No one grows if they just dig in their heels and stubbornly refuses to accept that maybe they need help to get to where they need to be. It takes just as much effort to be optimistic as it does bitter. But one gets you further in life. 

So, I’ll continue to focus on the positives and work harder to become better, both professionally and personally. When you fight setbacks, you fight growth, and I always want to grow. 

Pieces


I work dedicated afternoons, which means by the time my work day is over, it will eventually get dark. So, I like to sit by the Princess Patricia Light Infantry Fountain & enjoy nature & reflect on my day. It’s 15 minutes of my life that is all for me & I love it. I have music & fresh air & it’s just awesome.

I’m so grateful to live in a place where there are pretty rocks & trees & water all around me. Being around it helps me stay centred and focused. Sometimes I look around and think about how lucky I am to have such awesome stuff around me. I truly have an awesome existence. I have wonderful kids. I have amazing friends. They are supportive people who build me up & want me to succeed. They ask about my fitness goals. They’re with me when everything falls apart. I’m even slowly kind of reconnecting with an old friend through my friend Yogi’s Squatties team. She’s done amazing things & I am beyond proud of her. The Squatties are rad. Women building up other women to achieve goals. It’s pretty amazing. I have a job that keeps me fed & clothed.  I have an amazing writing career that only continues to grow. I get to meet amazing people and share their stories with the whole world!  I have pretty places to go running & a crossfit gym. I’m also like, super pretty.  All happy things. 


I think that’s where many of us miss out when it comes to life. It’s not about having the most rad life; it’s about making your life the most awesome. How can you look at life & not be blown away by all the things you’re blessed to have?! Whether it’s family, a good friend, a job, a roof over your head, or you really like the show Bojack Horseman, there’s gotta be something in your life that makes you smile! If not, I feel so sorry for you. Too often people discard people because they see them as objects. They expect others to make them happy. But they don’t want to be happy & want to drag everyone else down into their misery. They can’t find joy because they aren’t a whole person. Then they project their own desire to make someone else, their job, their kids their reason for happiness onto others. Pathetic really. I can’t help but pity them. My therapist told me that I was wise because I have always found ways to love who I am. I  happy because I choose to be. No person or thing can take something that comes from my deliberate choice to find something to smile about every day. 

But that’s been the focus of my life these past few years. I want to be a whole person, a happy person, and someone I’m proud of. I have no holes that need to be filled by a person, job title, etc. If I have a goal, I’ll achieve it. If I want something, I’ll buy it. I am in control of my life, my future & I choose to carry myself from a position of strength, Grace, class & dignity. But most importantly, I want to look in the mirror and like me. I always tell people that you should carry yourself like you’re the prettiest girl at the party, because you should think you’re the prettiest girl at the party (boys, you can be pretty too). Love yourself. Once you do, you can see how amazing everything around you is.

Find a way to love yourself. I write myself messages on my bathroom mirror when I feel down to motivate me. Why? Because then it’s a matter of me driving me. Right now it’s my BFF Erica’s favourite quote from her favourite show. I see it every morning & go do my kick ass thing. And it kicks ass. I opted go to therapy to be stronger. My therapist told me I already was. I just needed reminding. So I remind myself. I see no shame in counselling. I wanted to evolve. So I took steps to evolve & I am proud of my continued metamorphosis. 


Every single night, I’m once again reminded that I am fortunate enough to live in a world where I get to sit by the lake every night, go home to my family, and if I’m lucky enough to wake up the next day, do it all over again. Because everything about my life is beautiful, because I built it myself, for me, my way.

Like You Ain’t Even Gone

Oh, hey guys. Did something happen recently?
Like a big thing? Could it be that my company went under & we all found out on the Internet? Wait. That’s it (well, I didn’t find out on the Internet. I found out from my friend Paul. THANKS PAUL. THANKS A LOT).

That’s right kids; Target is closing and we, their employees (well, I worked for Glentel) found out on the damn Internet. Y’all probably knew before I did. I was getting ready for a conference call with my fellow managers to find out that we were all likely losing our jobs. Hey, cool! I’m still waiting to learn what Glentel has for me, but if nothing comes up, I’ll move into my new job that starts February 9/15. Phew.

I feel for those who are not in my position, with a job and a safety net lined up. I was already prepared because I had become disenchanted with my phone career back in November & applied for a new job. Then I was offered a promotion to stay on. So, when this came up, I just called the other job to see if they’d take me. So, you may all stop asking me what’s up, there’s been some uncertainty & there still is, no matter what, I have a job to go to. I am good & I thank you all for the concern.

However, most of you know that. I am REALLY good in a crisis. Really good. On the morning of the bombshell, my best friend the Psych Major texted me & said “you have a plan. What’s your plan?” My mom said the same thing; it had been two hours, obviously I had a plan. For those of you who haven’t seen me much & remember the sad girl who would rush to Drew’s couch & cry in the fetal position; she is long dead. Now I’m the friend who gets the calls of “HOLYSHITMHTHISISHAPPENINGHELPMEWHATDOIDO?!” while I talk them down. I’ve become the rational & logical one…& my mom & my closest friends knew:

1. I had a plan
2. I was already on step 6 of the plan
3. I probably already had another job and two offers.

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My personal life may never be what I want it to be, but my professional one is always successful. I am a double college grad with sales, management & public relations experience. The number of sick days I’ve taken at Target Mobile is zero. I’m never late. I’m highly employable. I know what I’m worth to an employer & I make sure they understand that. Egotistical? Maybe. But I’m competing in a job market with a lot of people, a number that just went up by 17599. You’ve gotta set yourself apart somehow & for me, that’s flat out saying “I am an asset. You know it, I know it. So hire me.” So I do. And they did. I have the security of knowing my family was taken care of 24 hours after I was told I was losing my job…by my friend Paul, WHO READ IT ON THE INTERNET. I’ll always thrive in my professional life and get what I want in the end. When it comes to my working life, I will always be successful. I’ll always rise to the challenge and weather minor crisis just like the bad ass that I am.

So, crisis averted in 24 hours. I will have no period of unemployment and my apologies to Damanda, but I won’t be coming home any time soon, not to visit, not to live, not for a long time. But I DO know my children are provided for and that’s all that matters to me in the end.

I won’t lie; it kind of feels like life has kicked me in the teeth. Two months ago, I had everything I had ever wanted. I had my job, my writing career taking off, my family & the person I’ve always felt is the love of my life. Then it all got slowly chipped away until I didn’t even have a job. But the thing is; sometimes life does that. It sucks, but you get back up. I used to feel like “omg why me?” But I am no victim of life’s bullshit. I am Mary-Helen & I’m pretty bad ass. I used to lay down & die when bad things happen, but now I thank the universe for them. No, I am not crazy. Obviously, God, the universe, fate, etc. feels that I am strong enough to weather the storms & get through the bad times. So, thanks for having faith in me! Besides, they never last. I had a few days of uncertainty & things came together because I had a plan. The good times will always be more amazing because I got through some bad crap to get there. I’ll always be that eternal optimist finding the shiny happy lining when everything sucks.

But maybe that’s the secret to getting through life; following the brilliant lessons laid out in the campfire song about the lion hunt. When you find the tall grass, you can’t go over it or under it, you gotta go through it & then you’ll be fine.

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Been There Done That

Have you ever been so close to everything you’ve worked for, prayed for & wanted, but it’s been dangled in front of you so many times that you’re sure that it just won’t happen?

Welcome to my life.

I hate being so pessimistic, but every time I get so close to figuring out this move thing, something blows up. My hippie friend says it’s because there’s something in my past that should never have happened & the universe wants to make it right. I say, the universe can go f**k itself.

Imagine my surprise when my realtor calls me THE WEEK AFTER I DECIDE TO STAY LONGER to tell me that my second choice house is available! I’m pretty sure I’ve left 45 voice nails hoping to take it for February or March, but my goal to leave Windsor is almost here!

However, this has happened to me sooooo many times this past year. Something would happen & everyone would tell me that I was finally getting everything I’ve ever wanted & it would end with me in tears with a broken heart over & over & OVER again. So, I’ve learned not to get my hopes up. I’m not going to get excited about anything. I’m not going to be hopeful.

My friends worry that I sound pessimistic, but I assure you I still believe that everyone is capable of goodness & my life is amazeballs. I’m just not going to get excited about long shots anymore. Chances are this house can’t wait & I’ll have to continue to aim for May 1/14 to move. But it’s hard not to get excited when it’s just so close & it could happen.

I figure I’m challenging the universe, “it’s your move. Surprise me. Make it all come together. I’m not gonna do anything or get all my hopes up to end up crying & depressed again.” Because in the end, everything will work out & I’ll have my amazing new life in a new city. It will just take longer. I just want to be realistic & not cling to tiny shreds of hope that likely mean nothing & won’t turn out like I had hoped because it’s not good for my psyche.

But I’m not going to lie, somewhere deep down, I’m looking @ all of those little shreds of hope & wanting one of them to work out. Because no matter how much I try to be objective, I’ll always be a child-like optimist who thinks this time, it’ll be okay.

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