Tag Archives: parenting

Feisty Top Fives: Being a Mom


I have spent the last 3 years in a bit of a daze, wearing the same 3 outfits, my undergarments are worn and all kind of that same colour between white and yellow, and I sometimes in the morning knowingly throw on “mom jeans” and don’t really care- I gotta say, I like being a mom.  

This post is a dedication to all of the Mothers out there- whether you had a baby through your vagina or a c-section,  your kid came out of someone else, you act as a mother figure to any human, you carried a baby that didn’t survive, you have lost a child, or you are longing to be a mother sooo badly- this post is for you.  

Today my partner came up and gave me a back massage (it was short, but magnificent) while I was playing on the ground with our two children. He asked me what I loved most about being a mom (and jokingly asked me to leave out the sleep deprivation). I answered quickly, but since then have been thinking about the question a lot. Here are my top 5:

1. THE CLUB: How you instantly feel part of this really cool club. Like last week I was at this Sunday afternoon gathering with a bunch of kids, and one of the kids went from little darling to a total shithead in 1 sec after a toy he was playing with “broke” (aka he smashed it).   The mom was like, “so sorry, he didn’t nap,” I think I gave her a dorky wink and said something like, “oh don’t you worry, we know all about that”. And smiled… But you know what, she got it. Next time when its my kid, there will be another mom who will understand what we are going through.  It creates a collection of people who just get it.  

2. THE CLOTHES: I no longer obsess about what I look like. I used to watch What not to wear religiously, and would see woman after woman share the same story, “I had kids, and I didn’t really have time to go shopping for myself anymore”… And man, did I judge them. I thought I would never be THAT mom- how could you let it go THAT far… Well, I totally get it, and you know what else, I am kind of ok with it!! I also really don’t have the time to do good quality shopping. I am in the mode of get something that does up, and remotely works for breastfeeding and is affordable. Eventually when I go back to work, I think I will try a little harder, but for now, I have more important things to worry about, and I think that’s ok.  

3. THE CONNECTIONS: Watching my kids interact with other people. I find it fascinating to watch my kids interact with others. Whether they are fighting, laughing, playing, serious, or fun, I find it really cool to see them having a life outside of us. It reminds me that my biggest job is to get them ready for that, and make them feel loved along the way. 

4. THE SHITTY: I love how some days are so shitty. Like every convo is a battle, every minute feels like an hour, and you really think “how can I be getting owned by a 3 year old right now?”… But then right before bed your kid says something super cute about how much they love you or something magical they witnessed in the day… Or they don’t say anything but they go to bed and then the house is so quiet and awesome for you to take a shit or watch a show. That’s sweet.  

5. THE AWESOME: The empathy that comes along with it- sometimes can be frightening… The news is never the same again after you have kids, and imagining any major crisis with a child can bring you to tears… But it also makes us better people. It makes us the type of people that know how to show up for others in our own way. Not all of us are good with words, or make great food… But it forces us to find our own way to support and show up for others. This for sure makes the world a better place. 

So hats off to you, “Mothers” everywhere- Because if you are reading this, or even if you are not- I am certain you are doing a marvellous job at raising incredible kids. Happy Mothers Day! 

What’s your favourite part of being a mama?

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Breastfeeding- I know this much is true.

watermelon boobs

Our 1 month old baby just fell asleep, on my breast, and you better believe I let it happen.  I am not into this whole put them down sleepy but awake thing…I do not want to leave a chance that she will not go to sleep and I will have to do this whole thing again.  To be totally honest all of this “advice” and “best practice” BS is what has sparked this post.  The truth is, I am a mother of a toddler and a newborn, and I am tired, and I am going to do whatever makes my life easiest at this point.

Many people (and magazines, marketers, doctors, etc) try to be helpful to parents; giving tips on how to make your kid a genius, how to help develop superior motor skills, or proving how your parenting decisions will impact their ability to be upstanding citizens in the future (no pressure).  This often leaves moms to be, new moms, and even experienced moms questioning ourselves, our parenting abilities and whether we are doing things “right”.  We sit and question, wonder, second guess and google… when the answer really should be, and usually is, what we feel is right!

Not claiming to be an expert here (I have two children… one has turned out so far so good, the other it’s a bit early to call it) or to hypocritically dish out advice, but I have compiled a few of my personal findings on the topic of breastfeeding in hopes that they will resonate with some of you incredible mamas out there.  Whether you have a set of tangerines or watermelons, take a peek:

SIDENOTE:  Formula mamas– I feel you and have mad respect for you- I have many bright, normal, even excellent people as friends, siblings and colleagues who were formula fed (so all the talk of this being a sub-par alternative is hogwash) I am of the mind that each of us does what they need to do to feed their baby, so go on with your bad self… But this post is for the breast feeders.

  1. THE “RIGHT WAY”

After breastfeeding our first to one year, and now starting another- I actually looked up a video today to see if I was doing it right.  The video showed three possible positions- cradle, football, and laying down.  3 positions.  3 positions?  Are you serious- for a large chested Amazon woman like me, I have already found about 19 positions that work… and none of them are nearly as calculated and precise as the 3 outlined in the video.  You can’t tell me that what works for an A cup petite (not dissing, I wish I had an A cup) is going to work the same for this set of F’s on a six foot frame.  Also important to note that the majority of breastfeeding moms aren’t doing it in “ideal situations” with every prop available… many of us are getting out of the house, staying active, or looking after other children at the same time, so we get a bit creative with our positions.

In the video the lactation consultant also told the new mom that if it hurt she was doing it wrong.  I couldn’t disagree more… maybe after a few days or a week if it still hurts you are doing it wrong.  In my experience it hurts at first- even if you are doing it right, an area that is used to getting a few seconds (maybe minutes for the lucky ones out there) of action a week goes to being the life of the party for a mini, high powered vacuum cleaner, sometimes as frequently as every hour!!   It hurts- even if you are doing it right but stick it out it will get easier.

  1. NURSING BRAS, SHIRTS, etc

Disclaimer: Once again speaking from a large chested, tall human perspective.

They suck.  I have not found ONE item of nursing gear that I LOVE.  I have bras that work… temporarily… for around the house, and MAYBE a quick stop at the store.  For the most part, my boobs are either hanging lower than is remotely attractive, or I am facing an eternal uni-boob (you know, where your boobs are squished together in the middle, making it appear like you actually only have one strip of breast across your front) that I have to set reminders to re-apply gold bond powder in between them throughout the day.  I do have two underwire nursing bras from a very popular brand, which cost me an obscene amount of money- both of which are also terrible.  I am completely open to people sending me nursing bras for me to test out, for free of course, please message me for my mailing address… but truthfully, I bet they will suck.

Going braless is not an option unless you want to recreate the milk bar scene from A Clockwork Orange with a not-quite-as-perky statue… What my friends, family, husband and colleagues will just have to accept is that there will be nothing stylish coming from this saggy uni-boob for at least the next 12 months.   This, my friends, is perfectly fine J.

  1. PUMPING

I love it.  This means freedom to get out a bit a little further down the line, and the ability to extend breastfeeding into back to work, it also means partner involvement… but lets face it- it is funny shit.  My mom recently visited to help us through the arrival of our new baby, and she brought along our new DOUBLE PUMP.  I struggled my way through our last baby with a single, low powered pump (it took me about 45 minutes to get 3 oz, which I thought was good… until now).  I put it all together, excited and hopeful, strapped it on and fired it up… my mom doubled over in laughter and my husband could barely contain himself.  The sound of the machine paired with how ridiculous I look with it on is comparable to being on the line in a dairy farm beside two prize heifers- but is it ever worth it… I can pump 5 oz in under 5 minutes.  BOOYA.

  1. PUBLIC FEEDING

People are going to feel awkward.  It is likely not because they disapprove, more likely because they still think of our boobs as party favors, things that get flashed at Mardi Gras to get a couple of dollar store necklaces.  Unless someone is a mother, they don’t understand how quickly your breasts go from fun bags for hot nights with your significant other to your single most useful piece of equipment you have ever owned.  They are precious apparatus.

Here are a couple of guidelines I would like people in public to keep in mind when I am breastfeeding:

  • I don’t care if you look, just don’t stare. As stated above, these are precious apparatus, and they are doing a fucking cool thing.
  • Yes, I know I am not fully covered- my baby doesn’t like eating with a blanket over their head… do you?
  • No, I won’t do this in the bathroom- would you like to eat your meal in a public washroom?
  • Would you rather have a screaming baby or for me to quietly nurse my child (particularly useful for long plane rides)?
  1. YOUR PARTNER

Unless you are in a same sex couple and your partner can breastfeed too (this is possible! I am eternally jealous)- your partner will not understand what it is like to be tethered to a tiny human for as long as you choose to be their sole source of nutrition, so don’t expect them to.  it is also not worth your time explaining the pains of engorgement, what it’s like to worry if you are leaking through your shirt even if you have a breast pad on, or waking up to see that “oh joy! ” the baby has slept long… “But wait now I have rocks in my breasts and my nipples are so big my baby can’t put their mouth around them” – what you can do is get them to give a bottle every now and then, give you a little break, maybe even a nap and just come to grips that for the first year, it’s not going to be “equal”.

There you have it.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I love breastfeeding.  I do love nourishing my baby and seeing her double chin grow.  I do love being able to feed her anywhere and at any time, without sterilizing, mixing, heating etc (shoutout to the formula mamas- that shit ain’t easy).. And I am pretty grateful that my body knows how to do this for me and my babe… So I guess we will leave it at that.

Happy Feeding!!  Xo Feisty Anonymous

P.S. The person who coined the phrase “don’t cry over spilt milk” was definitely not talking about Breast milk- that shit is for sure worth crying over.

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Pharmacy Shame (AKA Who will buy the condoms?)

condom-sign-1316817

We go to Canada twice a year- when we first settled in Nairobi in 2008- there was little to no access to my “known” products from North America- I am talking about deodorant, favorite shampoos, creams, etc… also our favorite condoms.   Things have come a long way, and I no longer have a full bag of beauty supplies to lie my way through customs with- however there is still this funny thing that happens every time we go into a pharmcay while we are in Canada.

Contraceptives are important to us- I have many friends who have had trouble conceiving, and it is a very hard road- but I have to be honest that it is not a struggle that we face.  My husband and I have “tried” twice- and have one toddler and I am currently 39 weeks pregnant- so this is not a game for us.   We have to be careful.   I should also say that because of being at high risk for stroke, being an abnormal migraine sufferer, hormonal options are not, well, options!

So naturally part of our bi- annual shoppers drug mart visits are condoms.  Every time, we have a little battle of who will buy the condoms.  The toss up is usually that I am FROM this small town, the cashiers are either past students of mine (I used to teach elementary school), parents of students of mine, or friends of my parents… which is why I always ask my husband to buy them.

My husband also doesn’t want to buy them, we spend a few minutes every time passing them back and forth- and I am not sure why it feels so awkward.  There are a couple of things that I find really funny about it:

Men grow up wanting people to think that they are having lots of intercourse- its my understanding that is how they want to be known to their friends- at one point it was thought that men were thinking about sex every seven seconds!!  This has since been questioned- and now thought it is more like between 15-19 times a day… you can read a BBC article on the topic here http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140617-how-often-do-men-think-about-sex .  Bottom line is- its important to men!

Women want sex too, and talk about it all the time with their girlfriends, share intimate details- and brag about certain pieces, and according to the same article above- think about it about 10 times a day.

So what are we afraid of when we buy condoms?  That people will see we have listened in sex ed class?  That we are committed to controlling the spread and contracting of dangerous and pesky STIs?   That we are taking the responsibility for ourselves and our bodies into our own hands- that we are saying we don’t want unplanned pregnancies- we want to be responsible for our lives, and for those of others?  We want to exercise our right to choose to wear or ask our partner to wear a condom?

Are these bad things?

I just can’t wrap my head around it.

Lastly, the bag at our pharmacy is semi see through- which poses a whole bunch of other challenges as well- like having to buy two bags of chips with it, or enough snacks that it can be encased and not have the label pasted against the outside… because as a grown up, married couple with 1.9 kids- we wouldn’t want anyone to know we have intercourse.

Safe sex everyone!

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Things Noone Told Me PART ONE: being a mama

There are many things people don’t tell you about when you are going to have a child.  You can read as many websites, books, blogs, etc. but its not the same as real life advice.  I have heard a multitude of beautiful descriptors, but very few realistic words.  Vefit pregnancyry few raw, truthful and realistic words.

Noone told me that I would go through waves of hating my body while I was pregnant, or to expect a bit of pee to come out every time I sneeze, cough, laugh or jump.  Noone told me that it would be a “treat” to really be able to do my hair, or that some days you would try really hard to look; sexy, professional, fun, hip, etc… only to look in the mirror and feel nothing more than, “missed the mark mediocre”.   Noone talks about discharge, how you might dread having sex one day and then feel like a pornstar the next, leaving your partner confused and distraught at what their next move should be.   Noone told me I would cry when I would see images of fit, pregnant women talking about how they only gained 15 pounds… when I felt so tired I could barely get out of bed.

Noone told me that one day I would second guess every look, every syllable, every question- reading in too deeply and taking things to heart, while the next I couldn’t care less what anyone thought about anything.  I didn’t know I would be more sensitive, more frustrated, more on verge of tears that I have ever been.

Any time I have read about these sentiments from the “expert” websites, it is usually veiled with clichés like, “but it is all worth it” or “seeing a healthy baby will make you forget” type of things.  These closing words does a disservice to everyone- mothers, partners, husbands, wives, family and friends.  It makes us feel as though we aren’t allowed to feel these things- or that we should hide what is really happening with our bodies and our minds.  The reality is- most of us do!

When my daughter was born, the first time I looked at her, I was overwhelmed, I was tired, I was scared, and I felt inadequate.  Inadequate because there were no fireworks, no rainbows, and no explosive tears of joy.  I didn’t have this crazy moving experience looking into her eyes.  Yes, I loved her.  Yes, I had a new sense of responsibility, but it wasn’t the same as the world had led me to believe I would feel.  I felt like a disappointment.

Noone told me that once the baby was born I would have irrational thoughts of things that could happen to my baby- that every terrible story I heard about SIDS, choking, car accidents would come into my mind at any moment.  Noone told me that for the first 36 naps I would hover wondering if she was still breathing, and not be able to “nap when the baby naps” like everyone told me to do.  Noone told me that still now, even though she is almost 3- if she has a sound sleep through the night that I can’t even truly enjoy it because I am scared that something is wrong.

It is true that there are so many wonderful pieces about being a mama- about having someone who only you can console, about seeing milestones, landmarks, and accomplishments of your little ones.  The feeling of a sick kid getting better, watching them make friends and develop bonds in many different places, or slowly become the person you had hoped.   These are all great.  This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to speak of the real pieces, to speak about how we really feel, and hide what the real experience of parenting is for us.

I am hopeful that every mama has at least one- hopefully more- beautiful friends who won’t shy away from the truth of their feelings and experiences.  Of the few I have- when I do open up and share what is actually going on with my body and my mind- they often feel the same way.  So why are we still scared to speak freely?

My ask of you, any mama, any friend to a mama, any partner to a mama, any family to a mama- is simple.  Next time you ask a mama how she is- let us be real- let us share openly-let us do these things without having to be told we should be grateful.   Please be open, not grossed out, not quick to tell us to think positively.  We are grateful, we are happy, we are aware of others challenges, hardships, etc- but for just a few minutes every once in a while it will feel great to be real.

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The truth about body hair

I am a hairy woman.  I started asking for laser hair removal on my 11th birthday.  I was obsessed with it.  It made me sweat more, it made me wear long sleeves in the heat of summer, and never go swimming without shorts over top after my 15th birthday.

I can’t remember anyone ever making fun of me for it, but for some reason it completely consumed me, and my definition of being a woman.

When I had my daughter, I had completely lost track of the hair situation on my legs- and rightfully so, if you ask me, I could barely wipe my own ass, let alone worry about the backs of my thighs (that’s where it’s the worst), or my bikini line.  Even as I was pushing this enormous kid out of the pin hole, I was worried about the hair on my body.  Recently I began thinking about why this is- it wasn’t pressure from my parents, it wasn’t pressure from my friends… it was all ME!

My daughter is now 2.5 and ever since the beginning she has LOVED rubbing and playing with the hair on my arms- which at first made me self-conscious.  Just recently she was doing the same thing as she woke up from a nap- and she looked up at me and said, “Mama, I want hair on my arms”.  My first instinct was to correct her, and make a joke about how being a hairy beast is the last thing she wants- but then I stopped myself, and realized that the last thing I wanted to do was start her out with the same  insecurities I have.  It definitely got me thinking of when this hairless trend started.

After reading a few articles, and watching a couple of videos, from none other than the most reliable Buzzfeed and wikipedia, I learned a couple of things:

  • In some ancient cultures being hairless was a sign of class, for both men and women
  • In Middle eastern societies, removing hair was considered proper hygiene- for many centuries
  • During Medieval period “witch Hunts” suspected witches were shaven in search of “witches marks” that could then be used as proof in trials against them.
  • Other articles site the release of the first BIC razor for women in 1915 as a turning point… and with the rise of women’s spending power, paired with a bit of marketing- women were on their way to being hairless.

Has it just always been seen as unsightly to have hair in places where it isn’t supposed to be?

One quick Wikipedia search of “pubic hair” revealed that women around the world have been going through the painful practice of hair removal for thousands of years.   In the 1450’s women would often shave their pubic hair to avoid pubic lice.. and then if needed, wear a pubic wig to avoid the embarrassment of not having any hair.  Then comes the porn industry- which, sometime around the 80s – the actresses started to rock their money-makers bald (or variations of it) and since then it appears there has been no going back.

Either way, I learned that this trend of hairlessness is not just some phenomenon crafted by big corporations looking to weigh in on the insecurities of women… although I do think there has been some capitalization of such things… but that it actually has some historical grounding.  I am still torn about it- don’t want me or my daughter to spend our days obsessing- but also do feel a little better about myself when I am properly groomed (this definition is also ever changing to me)… so I guess for now, this feisty woman will do what she can to feel good about herself, hairy or not, and try to keep my little girl feeling great no matter what might sprout up on her little body.

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