Wednesday, January 30, 2013

5 Random facts about us

1-According to a recent study by the Geneva School of Business, my BF and I now have proof that we are the perfect couple.  We had already suspected it, but it's noce to have science go and prove it (we had a good laugh about htis one and it has become our inside joke.)

2-On one side of my family I am the first Canadian, on the other side, my family has been here almost 350 years.  My BF has no idea about his family.

3-Someone recently brought to my attention that the roles of everyone in our household (full-time and part-time) are very clearly defined, routines as well.  This was not in any done or decided on purpose, but evolved on its own based on everyone’s likes/dislikes/pet-peeves.  I do laundry and cat related things because they are my cats and my clothes tend to need more care and my BF does dishes and takes out the garbage because he is the major dish user in the house (he uses a plate for one piece of toast).  The kids have fallen into a routine of video games in the morning, then after lunch the games are turned off until the following day.  The funny thing is that both my BF and I generally tend to be improvisers.

4- Though my BF and I are both French/English bilingual, and watch 90% of TV/Movies in English, we never speak to each other in English, unless we are trying to hide something from the kids.

5-When it comes to the tech and car stuff in our household; I am the one who generally takes care of the maintenance and minor repairs.  I’m not a full-fledged DIYer, but I know way more about cars and technology than the BF and am the one who can usually at least diagnose the problem when there is one.  When it comes to home repairs, we are about 50/50.

Inspired by Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous writing prompts - 5 Random facts about you and your family

Mama’s Losin’ It

Thursday, January 24, 2013


First I would have to establish which time, as it happened pretty often, though it rarely stuck.  I rarely got into any serious trouble, but I was a handful, and my mother often found herself on the losing end of a battle of wills.  There are a few times that stick out in my memory.

There was the time when I was about twelve and she grounded me, for what exactly I don’t recall, and when she told me I couldn’t leave the house for a week, I replied « well than I guess neither can you, because the minute you leave this house, so do I! ».  We laugh about it now, but I can only imagine how much she must have wanted to murder me.  I had basically told her that in order to punish me, she would have to punish herself to enforce it.  This incident really set the disciplinary tone in our household for years to come.

There was the time my BFF and I stayed out too late.  Her mom called my mom, and both moms, though not actually that worried, acted very concerned.  When I got home I was grounded, not for being late, but for getting my BFF in trouble.  The irony. She got grounded for the same reason, getting me in trouble.  So while neither of us was actually in trouble, we were grounded for getting the other in trouble.

After that, there was the one and only time I got into trouble at school.  I’m not saying I never did anything against the rules; I was just really good at not getting caught and/or talking myself out of it.  Not this time though, the teacher involved disliked me and there was no getting out of a suspension.  I had called her a rather colourful name, rather loudly, in front of the whole class.  I went home and explained what happened to my mom.  She was not impressed, but not upset either.  She told me that I should not have said it the way I did, but that she understood the sentiment for that particular teacher.  Afterwards, I was surprised at how no one seemed to be acting any different; I had expected other teachers to react negatively to my huge lack of respect for one of their colleagues.  I would learn years later that the other teachers thought the same thing; they just hadn’t said it out loud in front of 30 witnesses.

So my mom grounded me because that is what a parent does when their kid is suspended from school, but I spent most of my time either with her at the bar or sitting outside writing.  Lucky for me the suspension in question happened in late spring.  Since I was not allowed on school property during that time, at the end of the school day I would wait for my friends at the sidewalk, just inches off the school’s property line, in plain view of the teacher in question’s class.  I would wave to her, and yes, I know it must have infuriated her.

The last grounding is the one I have to thank most, because it was that one that got me writing for fun.  I had always been an avid reader, but during those days of suspension/grounding, I started writing to pass the time, and discovered a whole new form of expression.  Today the simple act of putting pen to paper calms me, focuses me.  I probably would have discovered it anyway, later, but that suspension was one of the best things to happen to me. 

Inspired by Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous writing prompts Tell us about a time you were grounded…what did you do?
Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


After almost two years together, I recently made my first demand of my boyfriend.  In general, I don’t really interfere much with what he wants to do with his time, mostly because I am pretty independent myself and I wouldn’t want him demanding to know how I spend every minute or telling me what to do, so I don’t do it to him.  I try my best to be supportive.

A few times a year, his work asks him to go on trips lasting anywhere from one to two weeks, and up until now I have never said much about it.  These trips are important to him because he makes a good amount of money when he goes, and with his child support payments, he is on a pretty tight budget.  These trips generally earn him the money he needs for his activities like hockey etc.

The past three trips however, have impacted me very negatively.  Every single time his ex causes major drama and I end up having to deal with it alone.  Though I suspect that she does this on purpose, knowing that he is far away and kind of helpless in the situation she creates, I can’t prove it.  All I know is the past three trips have ended up with me alone, dealing with some pretty harsh situations, even having to fight for his rights with his kids at times.  It’s not just the drama, but the fact that I have to absorb all of it myself, and I don’t have him to lean on.  I have to deal with the harassing phone calls and texts, the yelling, the threats. 

He says he hates leaving and making me deal with this, but he needs the money.  It has gotten to the point where if he is away and she calls or texts, I have an immediate physical reaction, a nauseous knot in my stomach.  This is in addition to the worrying about what she might do.

All three times he has said it would be his last trip.  The other night, he mentioned that he was thinking about the next one, I put my foot down.  I told him that trips within a day of driving were still fine with me, but anything else I can’t deal with.  If he is within driving distance and there is an emergency or she does something, then he can come back, he is also much more reachable by telephone or text etc.

I told him that I cannot deal with her crap alone anymore, and that I felt it was unfair to ask me to continue.  I said that as long as she is as volatile and unpredictable as she is, I refuse to deal with it alone.  He chose her, he chose to have kids with her, and it is just not fair for him to ask anyone else to deal with her in his place.  I will always stand beside him, and back him up, and help him, but I can’t deal with the stress and worry alone.

As with anyone receiving a demand, he didn’t like it.  I replied that I would rather talk about it now, before there is an actual trip, while there is no urgency, but that I don’t want him to go on another long trip.  I put up my first real boundary in our relationship, made my first non-negotiable demand.  I just hope he understands that I am asking this in order to avoid reaching my breaking point, or slipping into a depression, or resenting him for putting me in these situations.

Friday, January 18, 2013

What I wish I could say to my stepkids

Right now it’s four hours away from your father’s scheduled visitation pickup, and your father and I are sick with stress.  It has been a rough month for interactions with your mother, and she seems hell bent on war.  The past two scheduled visits we have gone to pick you up only to find no one home.  Personally I think that she does this because she knows that once you see us you will all want to come with us and she won’t be able to say no while still playing the victim.  By taking you guys elsewhere, she avoids this confrontation; I think this because my mom did the same thing. 

Twice now we have waited outside in the cold for over an hour, hoping that she was only late.  Twice now your father has called and texted with no answer.  Twice now I have supported and comforted your father while he first rages, then worries, then breaks down and takes us home, all the while trying to stay calm and not show my own rage.  Twice now we have fought and cajoled with your mother in order to see you, if only for an afternoon.  Twice now we have faced the delicate task of trying to reassure you three that we really did want to see you and that we were there to pick you up, while watching our words so as not to say anything negative about your mother to you.  We tell you that she must have forgotten that it was our turn to spend time with you, and inside we seethe, knowing that in order to protect you, we have to protect her.

I wish I could tell you how much we worry about you when you aren’t with us.  How even though we only see you every other weekend, you are still present in our home and our thoughts every day.  You have no idea how much I wish we could just tell you the truth, or even better that you were old enough to understand for yourself how manipulative and dishonest she is.  How she lives in her own reality where she can do no wrong and is always right and can do whatever she wants.  I wish you could know how she attacks me at every chance, both directly and behind my back (though she doesn’t know I snow about the latter).  I wish you could see how every attempt your father makes to be more involved is met with anger and accusations on her part.

Your father hasn’t slept well in days, constantly worrying about what she will do today.  Will she just not be ther again, will she make a scene?  Most importantly, will he get to see you three, who he misses so much.  I try to reassure him that i twill go well, that she will simply get the kids dressed and we will leave with them, end of story.  I worry that I’m not convincing, which is understandable since I fear even an worse outcome than him.

Most of all, I wish I could do more to protect you from all of this conflict.  I grew up with parents at war and I know what it’s like, and if it were in my power to shield you I would.  Unfortunately, any implication on my part is met with vicious accusations that I am trying to steal her children.  Which is totally false, I am very happy with the relationship we have, and have no intention of trying to replace your mom.

I wish I could tell you all of this without hurting you, but I can’t, so I’ll settle for a drama free pickup and the fun weekend I have planned.

We picked up the kids, no muss, no fuss and had a great weekend :)

How I’m brainwashing myself to like exercise using Jon Stewart.

I’m just gonna say it, I hate exercise, and I hate dieting, almost as much as I hate cleaning.  I have never been an active person, no team sports or anything like that.  I have always been more of a reader/brain type person.  I also LOVE eating and food, sweet, salty, spicy, you name it.  Needless to say, this is a recipe for disaster when it comes to weight gain/loss.

I have tried many diets/types of exercise, I even had a free membership for a while because I worked at a gym, I have never been able to stick to anything for more than a week.  Then…this year, I hit my psychological breaking point.  I’m 5’2’’, and when I saw 200 on the scale, I cried.  I had gained 70 pounds over 9 years.  I have many reasons/excuses as to how this happened, medication, etc. But this was it, I had to lose weight and get fitter.  Last year was the first time I had trouble finding pants in a regular store, even in the XL.

Just before the New Year, I started a program (it’s an app) that focuses on improvement.  No huge unattainable goals, no failure, just to do better every day.  Every morning my phone gives me my goals for the day, usually meals to log, a step count, along with an article and a task.  For example, today I need to log 3 meals, take 2000 steps, read a healthy recipe, and eat 5 different colours of produce.  The goals adjust based on yesterday’s performance.

In addition to that, I decided I wanted to start doing some activity every day, not a lot, just 15 minutes to try and get into the habit.  But how was I going to motivate myself to do something I hate every day?  Then I saw some article with a lady talking about how you can try to curb sweets cravings by snapping an elastic on your wrist every time you think of sweets.  I had hear the same idea for people who are quitting smoking, it’s supposed to make you associate the thing you want to stop with pain in your subconscious.

That’s where I got the idea.  I would do the opposite, I would try to associate exercise with happy.  I tried to think of something that I don’t just enjoy, but that was sure to make me laugh out loud.  That night when I got home I put my exercise bike in front of my computer, and did my exercise while watching The Daily show online.  I pedaled, I laughed, and the 15 minutes flew by.

We are now 14 days into the experiment, and for the past 3 mornings, I have gotten up early to do my 15 minutes, which if you know me and how much I am not a morning person in the first place, is pretty impressive for me.

It’s only 15 minutes, plus a few more changes in food, but so far I’m down 10 lbs.  Who knows, maybe Jon Stewart will be the secret to my weight loss, I may even brainwash myself into adding the Colbert Report to my workout, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Trust for me represents a side road along the journey in the search of the real me.  It has lead me on many detours and scenic routes, some good, some bad, all important.

As a child I learned the opposite of trust.  I learned that you can’t trust adults to be there when you need them, or do what you need them to do.  My mom never trusted men, I never trusted anyone except my cat.  I could always count on her to be there. 

I couldn’t trust that the following year would be spent in the same place, or city, or that my mom would be with the same guy. I couldn’t trust that I would go to the same school the following year.  At the end of a school year everyone would say see you after summer, and I would reply “I hope so”.

As a teen I had certain adults in my life that I could trust, but due to lack of experience, I never trusted them completely.  If I hadn’t been so scared and I had taken full advantage of these situations, it probably would have made quite a difference in my early 20s.  At this point I started therapy to try and deal with my trust issues.

In my early 20s, I went a little too far in the opposite direction.  I trusted too blindly, and ended up hurt many times having trusted people I shouldn’t have.  The one type of trust I was still unable to have, was the trust that someone could love me, really love me.  I had never really believed that someone would want to be with me, and I just assumed that they would leave at the earliest opportunity.  This lead to more therapy.

My mid to late 20s, after therapy, I started to really look at the people in my life, and myself.  I have some fantastic people who have been there through good and bad, even across long distances.   I had always thought I trusted these people, but it came to take on a new meaning for me.  I realized that trust wasn’t just about someone not telling your secrets, or that person not hurting you.  True trust, in my opinion, is knowing with all of your being that that person wants what is best for you, whether they/you like it or not.  Trust is knowing that if you are being a jackass, that person will tell you.  Trust is knowing, not thinking, or hoping, knowing with all of your being that you can be vulnerable with that person.  That person is human, and may not always know what to do, but their intentions are positive.

I also learned to trust myself.  I am capable of knowing what is best for me, and I can get through anything.  I am a survivor.  I can trust that I have broken the cycles of the past (as much as is possible) and that I am worthy of being loved.  Today I am able to honestly say that I trust in my relationship 100%.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being romantic and all “forever and ever”.  I just mean that I trust that we love each other, and that we both intend to be happy together and make this the healthiest and happiest relationship possible.  I trust that as long as we are working together, we can get through anything.

Trust has been my friend, my enemy; I have chased it and run from it.  It is something I’ve had too much of, not enough of, and the wrong kind of.  Funny how such a small word, just one syllable, can have so much impact.

Inspired by Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous writing prompts 01.04 - Trust

Mama’s Losin’ It
***Just a little geek side note, the fact that one of the other writing prompts this week was inspired by one of my past posts is sooo freaking awesome to me :)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Duelling Mother's in Law - Part Two

It all started on the phone.  I called her to confirm an event, I don’t remember what exactly.  I remember it was after a particularly difficult week with the kids’ mom, she was full of hateful words that week, and I was exhausted.  For the first time ever, my mother in law asked me if I was ok.  She knew what was happening with the ex, she had seen the attacks on Facebook etc., she had even gotten a little involved by sticking up for me, another first for her.

This time it was more than a casual « how are you? » for politeness, she honestly wanted to know if I was coping.  I told her that I was ok, but that I was finding it hard, that I was a bit worn out.  This led to a conversation that was different than the others we had had, which were mostly, I guess you could say, factual.  The kind of conversation that is strictly a transmission of information.  This conversation was different.  She told me things about herself, and how it was for her during her son’s separation, how worried she was.  I saw a more human side to her, and opened up a little more myself.

I was so surprised by this conversation that I even mentioned it to my sister in law, who was dumbfounded.

The a couple of weeks ago, I was in the kitchen with her and she told me about how the kids’ mom had come over with the kids that week and had told her about all of the incidents we had gone through with the kids this past year, things that she had begged and pleaded with us not to tell my BF’s mother for fear of how she would react.  We agreed, though it was mostly to protect the kids than her.

She asked me to sit down and tell her everything, the real story.  She knows the Ex well, especially her tendency to exaggerate, She poured us each a glass of wine and I told her everything.  It was honestly a relief, knowing that we no longer need to watch our words.  I told her about how we had had to meet with child protective services twice this year, but that we (BF and I) were in no danger of losing the kids.  I told her how we had been to see two lawyers, as well as one of the kids’ psychologists.  I reassured her that we were doing everything that could be done, and that our ducks were in a row, and that we were ready to act should we ever believe the children needed intervention.  I even told her our reasons for not intervening.

It was a long talk.

And then my mother in law, this woman who had been so distant with me up until then, who rarely admitted I could be right, and barely acknowledged my role in her family. looked me in the eyes, with a tear in her own and said « thank you ».  She said that she was so grateful I was there looking out for her son and his children, and that she didn’t know what would have happened with all of this had I not been there.  She told me that she was in full agreement with our choices, including the one to not tell her immediately.  She also told me that we had her full support, whatever we should choose to do.  Best of all, she said that she could see how much I love my family, and that I really do love the children as if they were my own.

These were the nicest thing she has ever said to me, and a new beginning for our relationship.

Part One

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Top 10 faves of 2012

Here are my faves for 2012

Favorite 2012 Movie: Hunger Games
Favorite Album: P!nk - The Truth About Love
Favorite Song: Blown away – Carrie Underwood
Favorite Tweeter: Jenny Johnston Hi5
Favorite Blog: The Blogess
Favorite TV Show: A tie between Dexter, and True Blood, and The Big Bang Theory
Favorite Instagramer: Not a fan of instagram, so I don’t follow it.
Favorite Moment: When my stepkids saw their new decorated rooms in our new place and my stepdaughter looked at me in disbelief and asked if it really was "all for her".  All of the work we had put in for the new place was all worth it in that moment.
Favorite Conference: Didn’t go to any now that I think of it, definately need to work on that for 2013

Inspired by Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous writing prompts - top 10 faves of 2012

Mama’s Losin’ It

Monday, January 7, 2013

Duelling mothers' in law

I am in a position that very few women would want to be in, I have not one, but two mothers in law, and they cannot stand each other.

My BF’s parents divorced about 10 years ago, pretty much as soon as the boys were self-sufficient, and his dad has been living with his girlfriend for almost 9 of those years.  The divorce was messy, and the result is that his mom and dad cannot be in the same room at the same time.  Trying to include both of them with the kids has been a logistics nightmare.

Mother in law #1, his actual mom, has been cold at best.  She is a very imposing person, strongly believes that she is always right, and that she is the only person who knows what is best for her children.  Sometimes in that respect she reminds me so much of my step kids’ mom it’s scary, no wonder they didn’t get along, it’s hard for two people to always be right at the same time.  Don’t get me wrong, she has always been polite and welcoming, but still very formal and standoffish.  My fellow sister in law and I have always felt very much add-ons.  We were the women who happened to be with her sons, nothing more.  We felt as though we were only worth what we did for her sons.  So far our strategy with her has been to try and be patient and understand that our predecessors were not good to her sons, and she is probably wary of getting close.

Mother in law #2 is the complete opposite.  She is warm, friendly, and totally accepting.  I still find it sad that we were almost a year with our respective men before meeting her.  Or boyfriends were not close with their dad, so we didn’t meet her until Christmas last year.  Since then she has been an invaluable pillar of support for me.  She immediately saw that I was doing my best for my family and hers.  She and my father in law have always treated me as a separate person, making sure that I was taking care of myself as well as everyone else.  They have both been there to help us make our home for the kids.  Helping us to make sure they had clothes and even coming over during the move to help paint and set up the kids’ rooms. 

It may be because she too is a later add-on to the family that she understands a little more how it feels to try and find your place in a new family.  It may also be because my sister in law and I have both encouraged our boyfriends to build a better relationship with their dad, and she appreciates that by helping us make our families better, she helps us to better her family too.  Either way, I have always felt that she and my FIL were on my side, and I have more than once ended up with them for dinner or coffee, even without the BF and kids.

Unfortunately having mother in law #2 be so great only served to make it harder to be patient with mother in law #1’s cold shoulder.  I admit, I have lost patience with her and even dreaded going to her house on special occasions.  Also difficult was the fact that for many years she had been giving advice to her son, my BF, and was very used to it being treated as gospel.  Now that he has been thinking for himself, or discussing things with me, she had gotten increasingly frustrated.  I was worried about the battle of wills that would inevitably happen.

Luckily for me, it didn’t.  The opposite actually happened.  I don’t know how or what changed, but all of a sudden MIL #1 did a 180 and completely changed her behaviour towards me.  I think I’ll leave the details of that story for another post.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013, the year of Acceptance

I’m still alive; I just took a time out to reflect.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m in a bit of a weird place right now, everything is kind of up in the air.  I decided to take an online hiatus for the holidays and focus on taking a real good look at my real world life and the people in it.  It was also an extremely busy and hectic holiday season this year.  My BF and my birthdays are both within a week of Christmas, plus we had the kids for a week, add in 4 Christmas activities, and some serious babymomma drama, and frankly I was looking forward to going back to work to relax a bit.

I also wanted to really reflect before making my resolutions though I prefer to think of them as focus areas or themes for the year rather than resolutions. I call them resolutions for lack of a better word.  My first resolution last year was fitness, which I did, but sort of and half assed.  The reason being that it wasn’t really important to me, it was more of a « something I SHOULD do ».  The other was to focus on gratitude, and I think I did pretty well on that one.  I consciously and purposely focused on the good stuff in my life, and actively expressed appreciation for the people in my life.  While I am by no means a happy go lucky optimist, it is one resolution I recommend to anyone, not only because it really helps with the harder times, but because after doing it for a year, it really does become habit.

This year though, I have finally reached my tipping point with regards to weight/fitness.  I never really had much motivation to getting fit because I was buying clothes in regular stores (no plus size) and while I wasn’t in love with my body, I wasn’t unhappy with it either.  I eat pretty well, not much junk food, I’m vegetarian, and I’m never sick.  It was always something I knew I should do, but it just didn’t bother me enough.  In the past little while, there were 4 things I saw that made me very unhappy.  The first was when I was walking next to a series of windows and I saw that my butt started doing that thing where it seems to be trying to climb up your back.  The next was the muffin top that seemed to appear overnight.  Then I tried to buy a pair of dress pants at the store I have always bought my dress pants at, and could not find a single pair that fit my thighs.  Then, just a few days ago I was trying on clothes in a mirror, and I saw that there were fat saggy bits drooping around my knees. 

This time I’m going to skip over the drastic approaches, protein shakes, gym memberships and grandiose plans.  I have found two programs which focus on portion sizes, good foods, and easily accessible exercise, one online and one on my cell phone.  What I like about these is that neither is rigorous calorie counting, or drastic food exclusion.  They both focus on improvement THEN results.  No trying to be perfect for this gal, and no eating food I don’t like either.

I have also resolved to accept the fact that my BF’s ex, the kids’ mom, is not going to change, no matter her proclamations that she is willing to work on our family relationship.  What she really means when she says she wants to work with us is that she wants to help us do what she wants.  I am going to focus on letting go of the ideal I had in my head of what we could be (ie: an inclusive parenting team whose focus s on the kids and were able to get along and make compromises on both sides) and accept that she has issues she needs to work on, and like all personal issues, the desire to change has to come from her, there is nothing I can do.  While this is easier said than done, I want to focus on our family (BF, me, and kids) and try to make that family unit as positive and productive as possible, regardless of what is going on elsewhere.

That’s it, only two resolutions this year, but if nothing else, I strive for simplicity.  2012 was the year of gratitude, 2013 will be the year of acceptance…for the things not within my power to change of course, everything else is fair game for improvement ;)

Inspired by Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous writing prompts 01.01 - Resolutions. Love’em? Hate’em? Tell us why. Make one?  Talk about your resolutions or goals for 2013.

Mama’s Losin’ It