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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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A Woman’s Razor, a Tool of Oppression?

When I was young, I shaved my legs every day; EVERY day.  Spring, Summer, Autumn, AND Winter; every day.  The media told me that having smooth, moisturized, soft legs was an important part of being pretty – and as a teenager and young person I bought into it.  I believed the myth of beauty society fed me.

As I came into adulthood, I still shaved – though not with the same frequency.  I spent a great deal of my time as a young adult sick and in pain… pretty just wasn’t as important when you hurt so bad that you can’t get up and down stairs without dissolving into tears.  But I still shaved and moisturized.  It was part of being a girl.  We couldn’t have people thinking I actually grew hair on my legs.

Then I became a Mom.  And yes, even then I shaved my legs.  By then it was just one of those chores you do.  Going swimming?  Better shave.  Wearing shorts or a skirt?  Better shave.  Just part of the self-grooming routine.  Something I didn’t think about.  Something I did in a rather robotic fashion, another member of the trained masses.

I want my daughter to grow up knowing these things are choices – even if we don’t always feel they are.  Not all Women shave.  In some parts of the world it would seem odd to do so.  My daughter believed this until she was three.  Then one day she laughed, astonished, at the ridiculous notion that a Woman could choose not to shave.  That was the day I stopped shaving my legs.

Lily-Ann has other Women in her life who are non-shavers, my sister for one.  But clearly this was something she needed to see with more frequency.  It may seem like a small thing, but I needed her to know that we have a choice.  We don’t have to shave.  We don’t have to buy into the view of beauty that the media is selling, we can choose something different.

I may be the odd Woman out here in North America, sporting hairy legs all year long – without shame and, quite frankly, with a little pride.  And yes, it may seem like a strange thing to take a stand on…  but I couldn’t let my daughter grow up thinking she has no choice, that she has to go along with whatever ideals society sets before her.

She has options and choices.  We all do.

Sure, I could have kept on shaving – but she shocked me out of it.  Sometimes, that’s what we need.  Something to shock us out of that robotic state we get lulled into.  Something to bring us back into personhood.  A sudden splash of cold water, a bucketfull dumped on us while we lay half asleep, lounging in the sun.  Something to remind us we’re alive, and we have the right to make these seemingly small, seemingly insignificant, choices for ourselves.  And sometimes, those small choices end up being some of the biggest.

my hairy leg out in the sun

Out working in the yard, clearing away the Winter ick. My hairy leg enjoying the Spring sunshine.

Run down and tired – a parenting rant.

I’ve always looked forward to my evening blog post.  It’s a time to reflect on the day, gather my thoughts, share what’s on my mind – whether it’s something of huge importance or just a little blurb about my life.  Lately though, by the time the girl is asleep in bed beside me, I find I’m too run down and tired to be much in the mood for blogging.

Lily-Ann is a “high need” kid (a term coined by Dr. Sears).  She’s never been easy.  She’s challenging, but oh so worth it.  She’s super bright, creative, head-strong, determined, yet compassionate and full of empathy.  Her emotions are always heightened and many would find them exaggerated – a fact that was nailed home in her report card, which came home right before Easter break.  And all this would be just fine, if she wasn’t such a chip off the old block.

My emotions tend to get so tied up within whatever she’s feeling that I’m just exhausted by the time I’ve laid down with her to read our nightly chapters.  What she feels has always translated directly into what I myself feel.  When she’s happy, I’m happy, when she’s upset, I’m upset.  I honestly can’t see beyond her pain when she’s hurting – and that includes when she’s in the middle of a temper tantrum…  which has been happening on a more and more regular basis in the evenings.

I’m exhausted, and can’t think of anything to write beyond that.

People talk about “the terrible twos”…  Lily-Ann was a BREEZE at two, and good-natured trouble at three.  At four she was everything I could ever have hoped for – and then some.  We’re now at five and a half, and wow!  While I still wouldn’t call her terrible, there are times when she brings out the terrible in all of us.

I’ve got all sorts of parenting skills.  It comes from a lifetime of parenting those around me.  I have multiple siblings who are young enough to be my own children.  I’ve been babysitting since I was ten (which seems crazy in retrospect).  My family ran a daycare when I was a child and a teen.  Parenting just kinda comes naturally.  But even I am left with nothing left after an hour of break-downs over everything including something as trivial as a piece of scrap that missed the wastebasket by 1/2 cm.

Now, I know this will pass.  Every child goes through phases where things are just more than they can handle.  However, while we’re in the middle of this particular tempest?  Blogging isn’t exactly my priority.

And hey!  Advice, ideas, suggestions, and pats on the back are ALL appreciated just now.  I know, as parents, this is something we’ve all faced (or are going to face) at some point.  😛

Heels to Dawgs and back again…

Ready for a more-than-you-needed-to-know reveal?  😉  If not, you may want to skip this next part because we’re gonna talk FEET.

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with heels…  mostly because beautiful, sophisticated women wore heels.  So by the time I was twelve I was a perfectionist on the matter.  I, very honestly, spent HOURS walking empty hallways perfecting the click click click of the heels as they touched the hard surface.  Not too heavy, not too light, just the right rhythm.  Hours.  Upon.  Hours.  Every week.  Remember the word obsessed?  I wasn’t exaggerating.

Fast forward to my 29th year and pregnancy.  My feet didn’t just swell a little, they BALLOONED!  And by the time my thirtieth birthday hit I couldn’t even wear flip flops.  The only shoes my feet could fit into were dawgs – and we’re talking the old school original dawgs, the butt ugly ones.  And even those, by the end of the day would leave imprints on my feet.  It was ridiculous.

Before that, I had vowed never to wear anything so nasty on my feet…  but had little choice in the matter.  We’re not a barefoot society, and it was either dawgs or nothing.  So I sucked up what little pride I had left and got used to the idea.

I’ll admit it, I’ll never be without a pair of original dawgs again.  They may be ugly as sin, but jeeze.  There is no footwear out there that is more comfortable – and they are made right here in Saskatoon.  Thankfully, the company has expanded and is now producing a whole line up of much better looking shoes.  From sandals to boots to ballet flats to golf cleats and even reinforced work boots with firestone treads.  Yep.  We’ve become a dawgs family.  Even Damon owns two pairs.  Of course, the girl and I each own five or six different styles.  LMAO  But there is still nothing that can compare to a pretty pair of pumps.

I went years without owning a decent pair of fabulous heels.  My feet never did quite recover from pregnancy, and while I still wear a 5/6, I now need a 5/6 W (for wide).  It’s not too often you can find a pair of pumps that will fit my feet.  But last month?  I stumbled across the cutest pair while Mom, Jewles, Lily-Ann, and I were out thriftstore shopping.  I was shocked.  They are just sooo stinking cute.  And while my feet are sooo not accustomed to four inch heels, I couldn’t resist them.  Chances are they’ll only ever be worn outdoors once or twice a year…  but I’ll admit to having worn them around the house on a few occasions already.  They really do make me feel fabulous (even if they make me work in ways I’m not willing to admit to).  😉

So here they are, my very favourite pair of shoes:

my pretty black frilly pumps

my pretty, black frilly, peep toe, pumps

 

Now that was a fun challenge.  Who’d a’thunk “your shoes” would be such a gooder.  😉

photo a day challenge for january

Sick Mommy.

Mommy is having a sick night.

I was fine all day, got a ton of running around done, and even got down to Passport Canada to file our applications (spent about an hour there and then had to go back after getting new photos of the kid when her original ones were rejected – the whites were blown).  But shortly after supper?  I landed in bed.  And since then it’s just been back and forth between the bedroom and the bathroom (for a hot bath and visits with Uncle John).

Now?  I’m going to bed, and letting the Daddy put the girl to sleep.

Night all!

Our words shape our children, be gentle!

The thing we say to our children now, will impact them for the rest of their lives.  Lily-Ann is five now, but one day she’ll be thirty-five and she’ll hear my words reverberate through her mind.  What I say to her today will one day become her inner dialogue.  It’s a scary and weighty thing.

The one thing I find myself saying, that I try to catch myself on before it slips out, is “How old are you?” in a rather shaming tone.  If she’s acting like a nincompoop, using baby talk, whining, or feigning that something is just too hard (when I’ve seen her do it dozens, if not hundreds, of times before) I’ll ask her how old she is.  If I catch myself after the fact?  I try to goofy it up a bit by wrinkling up my nose and saying in a goofy tone “Are you two?  No…  you’re three.  No, wait, that’s not right…”  I hate the idea that my frustrated “how old are you” may one day be what she hears in her head when she feels needy or stressed.

It’s a heavy thing, knowing the small things we say or do – sometimes out of frustration or exhaustion – may one day shape our children’s inner dialogues.  I do my best to fill her mind with things like “if you work hard enough, you can do anything” or “be gentle to yourself”…  but I’m only human, and, well…  chances are I’ll still mess her up.

Being broken is part of the human condition.  But I’m doing my best to shape my daughter’s view of herself into something positive.  She is strong, she is capable, she is utterly fabulous, and she is deeply and truly loved – THAT is what I want her to remember when she feels weak, when she feels tired, when she feels broken.

Biting me in the ass: a blessing of pregnancy

People often talk about the joys of pregnancy, birth, and parenting…  very often forgetting the tribulations, pains, and trials of each.  And with good reason.  Those joys far outweigh the negatives in almost every circumstance.  However, some pains deserve mentioning, some pains which get horribly overlooked, and are considered by polite society as being unmentionable.

Yes, this is going to be one of those TMI posts.  So, if you don’t want to read about the gross, the bloody, and the unpleasant?  Stop reading now.  Here.  Here’s a picture of the kid, all sweet and lovely in the new tutu I made for her:

Oh so sweet and darling in her pretty pink and white tutu, I love kid-kid!

 

So now that you’ve had your candy, sweet and full of sugar (but blessedly free of high fructose corn syrup)…  it’s onto the nasties I promised earlier.  That’s right.  Time to look away.  You’ve been warned.

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Well…  get ready for it…

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Image of Grade Two Hemorrhoids ©Prof. Dr. Alexander Herold, 2012

 

Hemorrhoids.

Yep.  I said it.

I totally dropped the H bomb.

But let’s face it, Moms!  It’s one of the things, that for many, comes along with pregnancy and then sticks around afterwards.

Here are a few articles for those of you who WERE blissfully unaware:

http://www.womenshealthcaretopics.com/preg_hemorrhoids.htm

http://www.happy-healthy-pregnancy.com/hemorrhoids-in-pregnancy.html

http://www.amazingpregnancy.com/pregnancy-articles/177.html

The only actual USEFUL page I’ve found though, is this one:

http://www.hemorrhoidshemroids.com/pregnancy-prolapse-hemroids-hemorrhoids.html

Generally speaking, these sites make it sounds as though – in spite of these nasty little bastards being COMMON that they are easy to deal with, not really that unpleasant, and they’ll just disappear when the hemorrhoid fairy visits shortly after birth.  Ummm..  NO!

The very first sign that I was pregnant?  Before morning sickness, before a missed period, before anything?  I got hemorrhoids.  Yep.  Welcome to my world!  And yes, here we are, the girl only a month and a half away from her fifth birthday and that lovely little gift she gave me plagues me to this day.  Would I endure this pain every day for the rest of my life for her?  You bet your freakin’ ass (and apparently I have done just that).

What bothers me is that it’s not okay to talk about things like this.  Mommy brain?  Skin tags?  Stretch marks?  Even the dreaded “mother’s apron” are all okay conversation starters.  But don’t dare drop the H bomb.  Forget polite society, even in the dregs it’s unacceptable.  Yet it’s something SOOO many of us suffer in silence with.  Why?  If this is such a common part of motherhood, why is it a forbidden topic?

I’m sick of hushed voices and embarrassed shushes.  This is part of my life as a mom.  It’s a super “crappy” part of it, but it came part and parcel with my little bundle of joy and energy.  And while I am thankful for her every single day, I do look forward to the day this particular bundle of swollen veins stops biting me in the ass.

The Power of SHe!

It’s a late night for the Smith household.  We just got home and kid-kid is fast asleep.  We went from a late afternoon photoshoot (my husband serving as an assistant) straight to my parents place and spent the evening/night there while they went out to visit with friends and listen to music.  I’m always happy to help out watching my youngest sister and the older gentlemen who live there, but it was a very late night for the little girl – so it’s nice to have her in bed now.

My photo shoot today was the first in my The Power of SHe project.  It was with a fabulous woman named Sigrid.  She dressed in full Viking kit, complete with sword and shield.  And I was thankful for the mild Winter weather as we were shooting outdoors – down near the ice flows on the river.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally have the time to devote to this project.  It’s been in the planning for a couple of months now.

Initially I began working on a project I called Celebrating Motherhood…  but it became clear to me that this was only one aspect of our story – the shared narrative of what it is to be Women.  So Celebrating Motherhood has been swallowed by The Power of SHe.  The motherhood segment will receive it’s on exhibit space – as I believe it deserves it, but it is part of an even greater project celebrating all that we, as women, are.

So today, the first of several planned shoots for this exhibition took place – and it feels damn good to finally be moving forward on it.  I really enjoyed working with Sigrid, and am sooo looking forward to doing the remaining work on the pieces we’ve begun creating today.  I’d have liked to have started the post-shoot work already, but as I mentioned…  kinda busy with family.  😉

I have a few more shots planned out in my head for which I’m seeking the right “models”.  And no, I’m not looking for professional models.  I’m looking for real women, with stories, with lives, with histories…  And even if I don’t have something planned that would be right for YOU, and you are interested in participating, drop me a line.  Perhaps you will inspire the next shot in this project.

Here are a few things I know I’m looking for:

  • a nursing mother engaged in an extended breastfeeding relationship
  • a nursing mother currently nursing two children
  • a woman willing to appear in her skivies in a public place (nothing erotic, I promise)
  • a woman willing to be photographed in a body suit outdoors in Winter
  • any women with interesting hobbies or histories  (Sigrid was one who inspired me with her story, and the image/shoot was built around her)
  • a drag queen (drag queen’s may not be women but their art is in celebration of women)

This project excites me to my very core.  It will bring about questions for some, and answers for others.  It’s about finding unity amongst diversity, what makes us Women?  What defines us?  Where do we draw our strength?  How do we find our power?  It will be an amazing journey!

 

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.

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