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I am Supermom!

Sing with me now:  “I am…  I am Supermom.  And I know what’s happening.  I am…  I am Supermom.  And I can do anything.”

I read a blog post today that I had to come share.  It started out saying:

Look, I know the areas in life where I excel.  It unfortunately doesn’t involve me being a size two and wearing the most. stylish. boots. you ever did see.  I will not be doing a triathlon, I’ll be the one over there handing out water and cheering you on while eating a muffin.  My house isn’t ever company ready.  Just move that pile of Legos, I will make dinner.  I can make you laugh, I can make you think.  I am a great friend.  I am amazing in bed.  I like the woman that I have become.  I can also throw a party like you wouldn’t believe.

My name is Michelle and I throw “Pinterest worthy” parties for my children.

I don’t think this makes me a shitty mom, a superior mom, or that I have too much time on my hands.  I assure you, I do not.

I also don’t think it makes you a shitty mom for NOT throwing parties like that for your children’s birthdays, having a spotless house, and working full time.

I encourage you to check it out here:  http://www.sowonderfulsomarvelous.com/2013/06/moms-when-are-you-going-to-learn.html

The whole point of the post was what I’ve always said, that our priorities and skills may be different, but that doesn’t make any one of us better at being a Mom than the rest of us.  That it’s time we supported one another, cut each other some slack, and honestly do the same for ourselves.

The author goes on to say that she is NOT Supermom.  But you know what?  She’s wrong.  She’s totally Supermom.  Just like you and I.

We are ALL Supermoms.  I mean honestly!  Think about it!

Today, I’ve already walked back and forth from my daughter’s school three times, and I’m going to do it one more time before the day is through.  And yes, one of those three times I seriously contemplated stripping down to my skivies and laying on a neighbour’s lawn because the heat was so freakin’ unbelievable (35 degrees, insane).  But taking the time to make my daughter feel safe and valued?  That makes me Supermom.  Does it make those Mom’s who’s kids are in daycare or who have to eat lunch at school less super?  Hell no.  It just means we’ve made different choices about how best to parent our individual families.  And that’s totally okay.  Being a Mom is tough.  It’s not for everyone (and kudos for those of you who recognize this is not the life for you BEFORE you end up in the middle of it).  There’s a whole lot of judgement out there for the things we do or don’t do… but come on.  At the very least we should be able to count on our fellow Supermoms for support and appreciation.  We all rock pretty freakin hard!

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Mrs. Morin – always a beacon of love and strength.

Life has a tendency to throw a curve ball every so often, just to keep you on your toes.  Some you catch, and return…  others knock you on your ass.  This one?  This one hit me harder than I’d have expected.

A friend just shared the news that a woman I loved and respected has passed from this life.  I knew she was sick, but I hadn’t seen her in years.  I only ever knew her as the bright, intelligent, caring Mom to the Morin clan.

I have so many wonderful memories of Maryjo.  She peppered my teen years with kindness and laughter, an ever present nurturing figure that I (and so many others) could count on.  Mom to four boys, I remember her rescuing me from her eldest who had stuffed me in his hockey bag one afternoon.  I remember the look she gave him as she made sure the others helped me out of that stink sack.

I would have been fifteen or sixteen at the time, and he was a few years older than me – and delighted in the fact that I was so pocket sized.  At the time there were no girls in the family other than Maryjo, so the boys tended to treat me more like a brother – which is something she always felt the need to apologize for (though it didn’t bother me).  I’d like to think those experiences helped prepare them for the sister who would come later, and whom they had learned to be much gentler to thanks to Maryjo’s no nonsense brand of loving discipline.

Maryjo always grinned and gave me a knowing look when the guys would call me idget (because I was “too small to be a midget”).  They always treated me like one of their own…  a middle sister.  And I always felt so at home with them all and Mrs. Morin was a big part of that.

As tears dry on my cheeks after the news of her passing, I take comfort in knowing she found her way home.  I’d like to think that she is again that woman – healthy, vibrant, full of spark – that I remember from all those years ago.  Pain free, and rejoicing in all the blessings she has known.

My heart goes out to the Morin family.  I can only imagine the feelings they must be coping with as they experience her loss.  Maryjo was the hub of their home.  You knew wherever she was you would find compassion, joy, laughter and tenderness.  I will always hold her in my heart – a heart full of gratitude for all she gave me.  She will be remembered with fondness, love, and appreciation.

Momma Morin and all her boyz

Momma Morin and her boyz (hope they don’t mind that I nabbed this off fb). The clan as I remember them from my early teen years – a little older, a little hairier, but the same old faces I loved so much.

 

A cornball view of spirituality and a patch of dirt.

There are few things as truly good for the soul as dark rich soil and all the life contained within.  Of course, there are few things as jarring for the body as cultivating a yard gone to meadow and then planting said yard with perennials.  So while my mind and heart sing out a blissful YES, my body wimpers, sobs, and groans in protest – but it’s worth it.

One of the greatest tools for ripping apart the surface of a yard yet to become garden is the Garden Claw.  And for my parent’s purchase of said tool years ago I am grateful.  It takes some work; jabbing it into the ground, twisting and wrenching, ripping up that tough top layer filled with root and unwanted growth.  My arms were already sore from the previous begun cultivation, but without this particular tool?  I can’t imagine the work it would have been.  With all the tree roots in our yard, there was no mechanized way to really dig in – and I don’t mind having the chance to feel truly involved with this process.

There isn’t much that’s all that gratifying about jabbing, twisting, and pulling up clumps with the Garden Claw…  nor is there much to take joy in while you use your hand fork to rake through the mess pulling out unwanted plant and root – inch by inch.  Shaking loose the dirt held within each clump.  But the next step?  It makes it all worth the effort!

Feeling that dark rich soil that waited for you, hidden just beneath?  It’s pure heaven.  Watching and discovering the infinite life contained within stirs the soul in ways nothing else does.  Connecting with the Earth at the most basic level, on your hands and knees as you commit each tiny plant to it’s home.

I’m not a gardener.  I don’t know the names of all the crawling creeping things within the soil, nor do I know the names (common or proper) of the perennials we planted the last couple of days.  But I do know that we all need to find a way to connect to our Earth.  If you ever need to see deity, to feel the Earth breathe life and to know that we are all connected?  There is no simpler way to do so than to pick up a trowel and go find a patch of dirt that has been lying in wait for someone to tend it – to turn it from dirt to soil.  To create with it something amazing.

A bit cornball?  Maybe.  But that’s me.

Our mother’s day

I’m kinda tired and I don’t much feel like telling a long story. So I figure I’ll just share a few snapshots from our day.

A dandelion bouquet, my first of the season.
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The girl’s frozen yogurt.
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My frozen yogurt. Gotta love a trip to the yogurt bar.
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The kid and I wearing the matching necklaces I made for us from the strawberry charms I’d commissioned from Nanashi-no.
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The treasure box the girl and I made for my mom… Upon which she placed her little mouse figurine after putting it on the big window ledge in the kitchen.
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Lily and her cousin, eating spaghetti out on the deck, enjoying the sunshine and one another’s company.
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The picture the kid drew of me “in a princess dress” right before bed.
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Now… I’m posting this with my fingers crossed, as I’m doing so from my phone. Hopefully it works and the formatting isn’t all goofy. LOL

Sending out tons of love to all the moms (to both skinkids and furkids) and would-be moms. You’re all awesome! We may make different choices, and parent in different ways, but we all make the best choices we can for our individual families… It’s not always easy, and it takes guts, but it’s so worth it. Happy Mother’s Day!

Domestic Goddess I Ain’t

My brain is swimming tonight, and I’ll admit, that makes it hard to decide what to write about.  I’ve just got so much on the go right now that it’s difficult to focus on one thing.  I spent the day on the phone with several different people.  I also spent a little while at the girl’s school – putting feathers in the hair of her teachers.  I worked on one of the scrapbooking kits I’ll be selling when my design studio launches at Polka Dot Plum.  And I thought my way through a couple things I’ll be needing to make decisions on soon.

Domestic Goddess

Domestic Goddess Image by MinxGrafix

When I look around the house, it doesn’t really look like I did much today.  And that’s the one curse of the work-at-home mom.  My day was incredibly full and busy, and I spent it almost all at home…  but looking around me?  You’d think I’d been eating bon bons watching stories on the tele.  😉  You know what though?  I’m okay with it.

I had a full day.  I have a full life.  And one day, when things are not so busy, when I’m not focused on being a mom, a professional, and an activist all at once?  Then maybe my house will look like a sanctuary of cleanliness…  probably not then either though.  ‘Cause I’m sure I’ll be busy just having fun with my man.

Diane & Katie – a mother daughter photo shoot preview

I met up with Diane and Katie in one of my favourite “go to” spots.  It’s unusual for a client to beat me there, but these two did…  and got to watch a wedding shoot that just happened to be scheduled prior to ours.  I had a lot of fun working with this adorable mother, daughter team so when Diane asked that I not hand off these edits to another photographer, I was only too happy to oblige.  So, here we are.  🙂  Say hello to Katie and Diane:

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Sorry for being so brief…  just kinda tired today.  😉

“A Family Affair” – photography preview for the Shuya family

The Shuya family’s session was very much a story about the love a mother has for her children.  Wendy and I had met years ago at an attachment parenting group, so it was a very pleasant surprise when she contacted me about having me come in and work with her family.  Getting to have this small peek into her life as a mother was a rare gift, and the photos speak to the kind of mother she is (and that we should all inspire to be):  involved, devoted, nurturing, and fun.  Wendy’s love for her two little ones knows no bounds, and I’m thrilled to have had the chance to help celebrate and immortalize it.

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And I hope this slideshow proves to some folk that sometimes?  Shooting at home really is best.  When your children feel safe and comfortable, it really does shine through.

From an article on neonaticide…

From an article on the cultural relevance of neonaticide to both hunter/gatherers and modern society came this quote by Steven Pinker:

A new mother will first coolly assess the infant and her current situation and only in the next few days begin to see it as a unique and wonderful individual. Her love will gradually deepen in ensuing years, in a trajectory that tracks the increasing biological value of a child (the chance that it will live to produce grandchildren) as the child proceeds through the mine field of early development.

And I have to admit, this quote made me feel a whole lot better about how I looked at my daughter the first time I saw her.

Some of you know the details, most of you don’t…  but the day my daughter was ripped from my body was the worst day of my life.  It’s a hard thing to admit.  I love her more than life, she is my entire world, I would give anything for her happiness and security.  But that emergency c-section, after three daysof labour, was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced.  It’s a hard thing, it’s conflicting.  But there is NO conflict in how I feel about the girlie.

I had disassociated.  Things were so bad that I wandered in and out of awareness.  I remember things in vague patches.  Horrifying for the most part.  Then there was a baby next to my head, swaddled, and pronounced as mine.  And through my haze I was expected to be full of love and life altering emotion…  but all I could say was “oh”.

I have always felt horribly guilty for that “oh”.  Like there was something not right with me, that I couldn’t instantly forget everything I’d just experienced and be overjoyed and present for my new baby.  But it took some time.  And I am so grateful for my husband, who cuddled Lily-Ann and showered affection on her, when I wasn’t fully myself.  It didn’t take long, but I’ve always felt wrong for not being instantly present and instantly in love…  And this one sentence, in regards to motherhood, made me feel so much better.

My daughter really is everything to me.  She is why I push so hard for social change.  She is why I work so diligently.  She is why I love so freely.  She is why I am who I have become.  I am better for her.

So while my surgery was the worst experience of my life, what resulted from that surgery is the best thing in my life.  There is no conflict there.  I know exactly where one ends, and the other begins.

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I Believe in the Power of She!  And She?  She is my daughter!

Amber & Ainsley

The wee girlie and I headed out just after an early lunch to meet our dear friends Amber and Ainsley at the park today.  Amber is my most trusted friend, and Ainsley is one of Lily-Ann’s favorite buddies.  It just kinda worked out that Amber and I met, and met again (a couple of times) before becoming friends.  By chance we are on the exact same page as one another on pretty much everything, from politics to parenting.  LOL  And we both had baby girls three months apart…  (just before becoming good friends).  Fate kept throwing us together until we took the hint.  😉  So it’s super awesome that, through our friendship, Ainsley and Lily-Ann have a built in buddy.  😀

Anyway….  I took my camera along with us to the park.  Only snapped about ten pictures, and two of my favorites happen to be of Amber and Ainsley.  Look at Amber’s face.  Nothing more wonderful in the world than the way she is looking at her baby girl.  You know that wee girlie is treasured and loved beyond measure.  🙂  Lovely!

Amber Jones and her daughter Ainsley playing at the park

Amber & Ainsley

A good mom?

The Lentil Ladies (our collective kitchen group) met today.  We made all sorts of wonderful dishes:  curry with cauliflower and sweet potatoes, tomato soup (from scratch), and wonderful organic filo pastry apple desserts.  But something happened that made me stop and think…

Lily-Ann was wearing her baby doll (whom she calls “baby suzie” and who is sometimes male and sometimes female depending on the day you ask her) in a sling I made for her.  When she plays with her doll she wears her constantly – like I wore her.  One of the mom’s in our group commented to me that “She’ll be a good mom some day.”  This filled me with great pride, because I understood what was behind her words, but also made me grieve a little too.

Lily-Ann will be a good mom, if that’s the path she chooses.  And my friend’s compliment means the world to me, because she knows our children learn by example.  But, the idea that someone would assume for my daughter the role of mother does bother me.  What I hope for her is strength, compassion, love…  And while these traits can be found in the best mothers, they can also be found in the best business people, the best artists, the best politicians, the best teachers, the best activists, the best of us.

Seeing a girl child holding her doll close to her heart brings about dreams of the future and what it holds…  and for many all they see are stereotypical gender roles.  Instead, I see a girl with endless possibilities.  A person who is not afraid to love, openly, outwardly, fully.  One who will hold children close, for they are precious – but that doesn’t mean she’s destined for motherhood.

With passion I see her building with blocks.  With enthusiasm I see her painting.  With zeal I see her “cooking” for anyone who’ll sit for even a moment.  With joy I see her performing song after song for us, her captive audience.  I see her doing all these things, taking on all these roles and so many others…  and then I see her stripping down and declaring that she wants to be “nekkid” and doesn’t want to wear anything but a legwarmer and a bracelet.  😀  She is, after all, only two.

So…  I implore you…  next time you see a little girl playing with her doll, don’t assume she’ll grow up to become a mom.  She may become a boxer.  She may become a novelist.  She may become a mechanic.  She may become an architect.  An engineer.  A vocal coach.  A custodian.  A playwright.  Just because she’s a girl, don’t box her in.  She has enough on her shoulders just trying to grow up, without having to grow through  your expectations.

And you know what?  There’s no reason she couldn’t grow up to be ALL these things…  AND a mom.  😉

Okay.  I’ll get down off my soap box.  Here’s todays picture.  Nothing special.  Nothing inspired.  Just a girl, taking a break from play, having a drink of water.  Just a girl with endless possibilities.

having a drink of water

Water Break

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