Worldly Possessions

I am a mama. That’s basically the thing I identify myself as these days. First and foremost I am a mama. I’m also a wife, sister, daughter, friend and childcare provider among other things. The thing that consumes my being, my waking, sleeping, breathing hours is mama. There is my oldest Quinn and my youngest Cooper. I’m also expecting a third girl this fall to add to the spice in this mix.
Cooper never lets me forget I am mama. She spends most of her day calling for me even when I’m sitting beside her. Reaching for me if I walk away from arms length and finding me no matter where I try to hide. That’s the thing with being mama, it doesn’t take a moments pause. Even when you really need it. I am her whole world. That’s heavy. Her whole world weighs on my shoulders. Honestly, it’s been a bit too much to carry the last little while. That is until this past weekend when I finally decided I needed to take time to be alone.
Alone I sat in reflection. Reflecting on choices, chances, patience, love. Taking time to replenish my cup so I’m able to give the best of me back to these littles who love me as their whole world. Reflecting on this summer and the changes that are coming our way. That’s when it hit me. Changes.
Quinn goes to school this fall. We have four weeks left where it’s going to be her and I at home. Then she won’t be here daily anymore. Of course I’ve said how exciting this change is and how we’re both going to be needing this break apart and it’s true. Time spent apart is great. But in four weeks her world explodes. She meets teachers, friends, classmates. She will no longer just be mine. I will share her with this world she’s so determined to master and become a part of. For four more weeks I am her world and then I no longer wear that spotlight and that is heavy. Beautiful and exhilarating, but heavy. Thinking of this change makes me realize how lucky I am to be the world to these humans. Even when it all becomes too much it is a job not to be taken lightly. They’re learning and leaning and trying and experiencing through my lead. No pressure. It can be easy to be consumed with guilt at the thought of slip ups and mishaps. Short fuses and sharp words sometimes happen. We’re all human. We all need to take the time to reflect. Lean in to the universe and let it hold us weightless while we think about who we are in this whole big world. If you wear this title of mama, let me tell you, we all see you. All the other mamas around, we see you. Loving and learning and growing this tiny humans while all the while growing and learning to love yourself and understand who you are in this role. Give yourself the grace to breath and bend. Give yourself the space to be real and fall and breath if you need to. You’ve only got so long before the world opens up and the weight you wear readjusts and becomes just a little lighter. We’re all in the same shoes as you not sure what we’re doing but sure we are screwing it up. I’m here to tell you, you’re not. The best person to love your littles is you. You know the way they like their toast, the snack they need right before bed, how they like their hair to fall on their head. All of those little finite details, you mama, you’re the only one who knows them inside and out. These sweet things, they’re your worldly possessions. Take the time to refill your cup and appreciate who you are. You’re so much more than the weight you carry. Thank yourself mama, for all you do every single day.

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Waltz

Another from my old blog of random writing
She dances with the devil, across the hardwood floor, their waltz creates a heat like I’ve never felt before. Her shoes are made of leather and they keep time to the beat, legend has it if you’re not careful she’ll hypnotize you with her feet. And they’re spinning round, round and round, while the fiddle goes faster and the banjo picks up it sound, round and round they go never slowing down. The Devil he wears a smile, it’s frozen on his face, as he leads her on the dance floor I can feel my heart begin to race. I’m hot under the collar, my hands they start to sweat, I can feel the heat taking over, all cards on the table, I’m folding all my bets. The one two of their toes creates a thunder, and their waltz creates the wind, it’s the perfect storm to get swept in to and before you know it you’re never seen again. If you see her dancing with the devil, if you see that smile upon his face, you better run like hell my friend, run like hell and never make a mention of this place.

Book Review “Girl Wash Your Face”

IMG-5864When I saw everyone and there dog posting about this book on social media I knew I had to read it. When I posted to my social media that I too was jumping on the bandwagon there was mixed reviews from people who had read it before. Some people said it left them lukewarm and after reading I can understand that.

There was a lot of hype wrapped around this book once it got out. Rachel Hollis is a social media mogul and it is her job to market online. She has years experience doing it. So by the time it came time for her to publish her first non fiction book she had lots of experience marketing and advertising under her belt. This alone worked in her corner for it spread like wild fire. Mix in the fact that as a society we are very big on growth mindset and fixing ourselves it was bound for this book to really speak to some people. I think this hype and the instant fan base made the book seem like it was going to be that fire lit under your tush.  For me the hype mixed in with the message I can understand why some people may feel lukewarm. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book.

With the culture this book has created and the fan base around it’s message I expected more. I expected more of research, facts based, more of step by step. I didn’t get what I expected but I ended up getting exactly the message I needed. Rachel gets real and honest, cracked wide open in this book with her own personal experience. She breaks it down for you at the end of each chapter, which really drives home her message and keeps your wheels turning. It’s those juicy small bites that really get the wheels turning and the fire started to change, to challenge, to create whatever your soul desires. This ability to hit you with the facts, and make you swallow your own truth is without a doubt the reason why so many people swear by this book and recommend each and every one of their girlfriends read it.

Rachel Hollis is real and extremely relatable. We can all see something of ourselves in her story. Be it her up bringing, her desire to get out, her drive to reach her goals unabashedly, her experience as a parent, her ability to come from the bottom and climb her way to the top. Each and everyone of us are forced to open our eyes to our excuses and swallow the bitter pill that we are the only thing truly in our way.  I expected it to come at me hot like coals from a fire and it didn’t but it sure smouldered the fire in my soul to stop selling myself short.

If you’re finding yourself in a crossroads in your life and needing a push to be honest with yourself to take whatever risk it takes to get to the other side of your goal I recommend this book. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to do something, maybe you’ve been selling your fitness goals short, perhaps you just need to learn to lean in. This book really cracks the surface of how we sometimes sell ourselves short. I’ve purchased her newest book “Girl Stop Apologizing” and can’t wait to dive in to it once I’m done re-reading “Kids These Days”.

 

Provider, Parent, Partner

Recently while scrolling through IG stories one of the amazing ladies that I follow was looking for someone to write about some things that most women face during the postpartum period.
Dr. Gillian Sawyer is working on a 12 days of motherhood post that she does each year over on her IG stories. If you’re not following her you should be, she shares the real side of motherhood and has been a saving grace as I enter this period of being a new again mama. Gillian was looking for someone to write about postpartum body image and/or what the changes of parenthood have had on your relationships.
The latter stuck out to me as I’ve struggled with the change with all three of my girls. The transition with Quinn was probably the most difficult because she was my first and in 2013 it still wasn’t as common place to talk about the messy bits. As a new mom I knew to be prepared for the scary thoughts but I didn’t know how many other issues bubble up when you become a new mom. The truth is much like an animal shedding it’s skin when you become a mother you shed an entire layer of who you are to become someone totally new and in some ways different and that transition can feel raw and vulnerable. with vulnerability comes a whole new slew of emotions and feelings.
Let me get started with the fact that I love my husband huge amounts. He has the softest heart and the hardest work ethic of anyone I know. He’s been with the same company since they started close to 10 years ago and he is immensely passionate and dedicated about what he does. It’s really admirable. That being said when you’re a new mama it can feel so heavy, so deep, so all consuming and extremely isolating. Your partner to some degree will also go through their own changes and transformation but their role doesn’t change as drastically as a woman’s. As a woman you’re also dealing with your birth experience; whether it went as planned or not, you’re dealing with healing; having a baby is a lot like being in a car accident it takes time to heal, you’re dealing with hormones, you’re dealing with no sleep, breastfeeding or bottle feeding struggles, you’re dealing with new body image, you’re dealing with finding your new rhythm, you may be dealing with postpartum depression, anxiety or rage As new mama’s it can feel like a lot. A lot of those things you’re dealing with aren’t things they talk about and discuss in baby books. They aren’t things you can prepare for and most likely aren’t prepared for.
This can feel extremely isolating especially as your partner seems to bounce back and go back to normal life oblivious to the fact you’re feeling so overwhelmed, not seeming to care at all that everything for you is changing. Let me start by most often, they have no clue because they are not and never will experience the swift change that the postpartum experience is for mama’s. Even if your husband is a fantastic partner before baby comes along it can seem as if he totally slacks off once there’s someone new in the mix. What I’ve come to realize is that being a provider, parent and partner are three different things that don’t always go hand in hand. Your husband is most likely working and therefore feeling as if he’s being a partner by providing for his family. In my experience this type of partner is great but when you’re in the trenches deep in the thick of it it’s not enough. For a long time I felt as if we were on totally two different pages. During this change with my first I seriously considered leaving. I felt that alone and just assumed he knew. He didn’t because he didn’t know the depths that come with motherhood.
Before Quinn came along it was fine that he worked a lot and I could manage most everything else at home on my own. I could do things to fill my cup when I needed. I had time. With a new baby I felt like all I was doing was giving and feeling completely burnt out on the brink of resentment and that is a scary place. I’d never had to ask for what I needed and my pride tried to tell me I didn’t need help but mama’s you are so important, you matter, you need the help. Unmet expectations can be a real cause of heartache. Often with expectations they’re more about us and less about the people around us because those around us are often ignorant to what we expect from them. This was very much the case. I just expected him to know what I needed and to know to pick up the slack. I had to learn to be very specific with what I needed and to ask for help or time or to have him plan something out of the blue so I didn’t feel as if I was deciding everything and everything was on me.
Motherhood and parenthood is not only ours to carry as women and we need to remember that our partners can carry some of that for us. I’ve spoken to my husband about the difference between the three and how it’s important to make space for all three in order to create a sense of balance in our home. Sometimes I need him to change the garbage without me asking, and sometimes I just need him to keep the kids quiet for an extra hour on Saturday morning and a lot of the time I need him to be my partner and remind me to take time for myself or plan nights out without me having to think about them.
Communication and grace I’ve learned is key with the change that takes place in your relationship. Realistically you’re adding a new human to the mix and this new human is all dependent on you. It’s important to give yourself grace to allow things to go as unexpected for a bit and to give yourself grace to iron out the flood that comes with it. This too shall pass it isn’t always going to feel this all consuming forever. They do grow and you will get your space and time back. Time flies. Communication has been the essential piece in my post partum experience to ensuring that I can enjoy the time I do have while they are snuggly and little. Take time to breath in your partner loving on your little because this time will change all too soon. Allow him the space to love them and juggle a little bit of the challenge with you. This is not all yours to carry. I can promise you that it won’t feel as if you’ve lost each other forever, you’ll learn new ways to fall in love differently but all over again, again and again. If you’re feeling like he just doesn’t get you he likely doesn’t but that doesn’t mean he’s meaning to. If you open your heart and allow yourself to be just a little vulnerable he may be able to better understand and meet you closer to the middle. Learn to lean in and let go. dishes can wait, laundry can wait, the house won’t fall to pieces if it’s not perfect for a period. They’re only so little for so long.

Finding Footing

After two babies in three years my body has been feeling depleted and defeated. At one point in my life not that long ago I rocked meal planning, prep and staying organized and on top of it. With baby number 2, starting my own business, pregnancy and baby 3 it was a train that quickly became derailed. I’ve followed a few influencers in the health and fitness field, read articles and googled till I was blue in the face. Despite knowing better I was not doing better. I would get back on track for a few days and fall off. I’d prep foods then a busy day would happen and I’d be grabbing for whatever was delicious and quick and not necessarily nutritious.

This moving forward hitting a block, moving forward hitting a wall, moving forward falling in a hole is where most people say to hell with it I clearly can’t seem to get beyond the stall so I might as well stop. The thing is this is the typical path of wellness and healing. Very rarely is it a straight path, it doesn’t just happen. It takes work, sweat, trial and error. It takes shifting your mindset from “I’m failing” to “I’m finding my footing”.

I’ve had bits and pieces of plans and fitness that I was biting from but never putting it together. The inability to have it all in one place made it extremely difficult to follow through because it was too much to juggle. To say my life is a little busy is an understatement.  I need it to be mindless. I realized I wasn’t able to successfully push through on my own.

I’m finding my footing by leaning in and making myself accountable to other people. I’ve reached out to professionals in this field about supplements I can take to support what I’m not always necessarily capable of getting through nutrition alone.  Admitting that you need just a bit more redirection and focus isn’t failure. We need to accept that as a society we don’t have to do it all, and be it all even if we are capable and really, really want it. Mindset is so essential and the base all growth sprouts from. If your mindset is telling you what you need to do and you’re not getting there find someone who can give you a plan to follow to get going and stay on track.

Find your footing even if it doesn’t look like the way you planned. You can be capable of finding your footing on your own just fine and ask for help you keep you going.

 

Rest Repeat

There’s no beauty in the burnout. I’ve said it before. There’s nothing that comes positively from pushing yourself beyond your limits. So listen. Listen to the inner voice that tells you it’s time to take a break. There’s something noble in acknowledging that you’re human and need time to breath refresh and refill. This can come from taking a step back from work, taking time to yourself on a personal level, saying no to volunteer roles for a bit or just simple taking time to pause. For me I get caught up in feeling like I have to do it all to be good enough. As if I need to prove that I’m invincible to someone (this someone does not exist). I feel because my role is a stay at home mom that I should be able to manage my children all of the time and micro manage all of the things that go in to running a home. I excel with daily tasks in regards to my job;activities, learning and playing through experience but often forgetting to take time to myself in the evening to reflect and recharge. Recently my sister in law said to me , you know it’s ok to need a break, to take time to yourself. It was exactly what I needed to hear. For whatever reason feeling as if I really just needed room to breath had me feeling this massive feeling of guilt. I’m a mom, shouldn’t I be able to do it all and not take a respite? No, because at the end of the day I am still human. I love my job and the children I work with a huge amount but I’m still a human who needs time to turn off even if only for a few moments. At the end of the day I’m a mom to two beautiful littles and my job doesn’t ever end. It’s important to carve out time to hit reset and start again.
What is something you’ve been hyper focusing on and perhaps could take a simple step back from? Try to carve that time for yourself consistently for a week or so and see if you feel better off and able to deal with things throw at you.
I’ve got a quote on my wall that says if doing and being of service to everyone else is doing yourself a disservice than you are not able to serve anyone. It’s so true. It comes around tenfold. If by doing for someone else consistently leaves you feeling less than what you came with then how much of a service are you actually doing for that person? When we feel as if someone is emptying our bucket and under appreciating our effort we start to feel negatively toward them whether intentionally or unintentionally. These feelings stick to us like glue as negative feelings do. when they do they make it easier for more negative thoughts to become attached to us. Like attracts like. You have to consciously make the effort to change your thought process and to shake off the negative magnet. You need to make an effort to think of yourself when you’re serving other people. It does not mean you’re selfish, it means that you’re better able to be selfless. If doing service for someone else is negatively impacting your being than you’re not doing anyone a service.
Accepting who we are is a lifelong process it comes down to stripping off layers we were raised with and putting on layers we gain. It’s also important to remember and accept that doing it all does not mean everything is better done. Rest, repeat and pick up where you left off.

Elizabeth Fairfax

The rain is pounding down sideways as I dodge pot holes on my way home from another overtime shift at the hospital. One of the rare places to find employment left in this town. I’m lucky to be one of the few people that stuck around. I often work my job and the job of 2-3 others depending on the week and will for other people to stay put in a place they call home.
Me, Elizabeth Majorie Fairfax, ever the wanderer stayed here in this end of the mill town. The girl who grew up at 342 Broad-Bay Way. Who swore up and down as soon as high school finished I’d be out of here. Here I am. Still living by the bay. On the other side of the tracks. The wrong side of the tracks. Take a left at the mill and drive until you cannot drive any further and you’ll find me there. A run down 3 story relic, remnants of the boom and the bust. Passed down from generation to generation of mill workers and captains children who built this town. Who watched it burn, and never left.
You’d never guess it now but at one point surrounded by ramshackle low income housing my great-great grandfather built this home, a Captains home as close to the sea as he could. It’s been a running joke that he would have built it directly in the ocean had his wife not of put her foot down. She loved the sailor, hated the sea, and so in spite of her marrying the captain she made sure her Widow’s Peak graced over views of the tracks and the town. This way she’d never have to look and long for her husband to come home. She’d look at the boom they built by hulling lumber from across the bay to here, to the mill.
The derelict mill is in worse shape than this house these days. The town wide fire that nearly wiped half the towns people out could be to blame for that. Little money returned to this town when it lost its glory. No money to rebuild here. The wealthy crossed the bay and saved the shipping building further in land where help could be more easy accessed should tragedy ever befall them again. The people that remained were the ones who oiled and greased the bearings of the town. The folk with tattered clothes and the warm woollen blankets on their beds because they couldn’t afford heat. It’s generations of these common folk who remained. From nothing builds nothing and eventually the town became stagnant.
Stale air still surrounds these streets. Of course with time technology has made this town run smooth again. there’s a bridge that connects us to across the bay now. The connection that’s made comings and goings easier. We’re more of a passage to things beyond and things below. It’s these busy highways that run through that really keep any town here at all.
I cursed this place as a teenager. Begged my family to leave behind what wasn’t any more. I wanted big city lights, tall sky scrapers and opportunities. When you reach for those with an address of Broad Bay Way you get many a reply of “oh kid little broadway Bay ain’t got nothing going for it”. An old joke, as this used to be the fancy for it all place. It’s not easy to swallow my eye roll after the hundredth time I’ve heard it. My family stuck true to their roots though and we remained. I rebelled and bought myself a car and got out of this place in grade 10 commuting every day an hour each way to high school on the outskirts of the big city. An honour student with big dreams and high grades I really could have skipped town right after high school.
But as the moon pulls the tide and the beach awaits its waves there was something they pulled me in like quick sand. I continued to commute to a tiny community college to obtain a course in continuing care. I always said I’d get my nurses degree some day but I’m still waiting on that day to come.
Student debt kept me close to home. Climbing the creaking staircase to a the outlook at the top of the maids corridors. I read magazines of faraway places and plan my trips. I’ve even gone on a few, taken a month or two off work. It’s this run down house that keeps me here. No mortgage keeps me tied to the place where I don’t need to rob Peter to pay Paul. I long for wide open spaces and endless sunsets and sunrises with strangers by my side. But I know for me that’ll never happen.
My mother had my youngest sibling the year the mill really stopped making money. 7 in a family with 5 boys, she had my sister the last year the mill was still making money. She never had a chance to return to work. She idolized her families story and wrapped herself up in thinking glory would return. They say it was a mix of post-partum depression with the birth of a new baby and the drink that eventually led her to lose her marbles.
I was 15 the oldest of the bunch when her face became hollow and her words never really made sense anymore. Vivacious and ruthless my mother was a shark amongst men. In a world where woman didn’t yet belong she rose to the type with no help from her name and she was a force to be reckoned with. Breakfast on the table for each of us, lunches lined up by the door, and she was off to work before the sun came up. She was the first to arrive at the mill and the last to leave. She ran this house the way she ran her shifts meticulous and organized. You’d never know she wasn’t home all day to keep us in line.
I think it was October. An Indian summer when father realized we were losing her. My sister was just two, and the mill was talking of shutting down for the winter. First winter shut down my mother experienced. She knew, and we knew they that mill was in the midst of meeting demise. She got the notice on a Friday and by the following Friday the dishes were piled in the sink, 4 lunches packed and the baby was walking around with sagging drawers. Too much weight carried for far too long. My father took sick leave in November to help her but by then she was gone. Rocking in the parlour to static in the radio with CBC on the tv cranked up so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think. We’d never see the mother we knew again.
As the eldest, I raised and watched and worried over my siblings. My father tried to keep up with all of the comings and going’s but of course he couldn’t juggle it like our mother. I resented these duties, I resented my father and I hated my mother. I couldn’t get over how selfish they were. too ego centric to see it was my own selfish attitude that got me where I was. But it was that pity I had on myself that drove me to want more. The love of a family runs to deep to run away and that’s why I’m still here in this house by the bay.
Shortly after my sister grew up and moved away I knew I’d be going no where. My brothers wives wouldn’t have no part in moving in to this hollow house and my dad wasn’t going to live forever to care for my mom. I started renting out rooms to summer folks who loved the history and the way the sun shone on the sea from the windows on the second floor. I built the main floor in to its own self contained unit for my mother and hired one of the girls I went to school with to watch her while I was away. I’ve done well for myself for a girl who had dreams bigger then the box I’ve ended up in. I often wonder if I’ll ever have the sound of my own little feet pounding down these Hall ways like we loved to. Or if I’ll lose my mind here in the echo like my mother has. Only time can really tell. Time is the only dictator we cannot rebel against. One thing is for certain. The skies are brighter in a city horizon, dreams are bigger then what we know and sometimes what we can achieve. I was destined to leave this lonely town, where the fast lane sees more then the slow down. But destiny had other plans for me and so I remain Elizabeth Majorie Fairfax of 342 Broad-bay Way

Blue lines to crease lines

Bonded like brothers, deeper than blood. Bonded like brothers with laces and gloves. Bonded as mothers, billets and birth. Bonded as mothers, with a mothers love. Torn by a tragedy, tragic they split. Early mornings, late nights, victories and losses. Now a loss they can’t leave at the rink. An ice brings a bond from far and from wide. From blue lines to crease lines in the walls of the ice a family you’ll find. Bonded like brothers, deeper than blood. Now split in a loss, we surround them with love. East To West we’re with you. Even though days pass a year changes nothing. We remember you.

Just Keep Swimming

So there is the mother with ppd laying in the darkness, loving up on her children as they drift off to sleep. Classical music coming from the sound machine, fish dancing on the ceiling. Each of them tangled in her warm embrace, all is calm and well with the world. Picture this, this picture perfect moment, how can this be the mother who’s been hindered by the monster. As she lays in slumber with her sweethearts, you see not the struggle, you see not the learning she makes daily, the leaps of faith to overcome. You don’t see the worry about, about what she’s learned through the years and the stress of the thing she said in that job interview five years ago how could someone be so stupid, so stupid to say, it was so stupid to not take that amazing opportunity to travel back when she was carefree and single, because of the money, the money she needs to plan for when her maternity leave runs out and she wants to maintain her,social life that she’s given up on because she hasn’t showered, she can’t leave the house with the door unlocked, is the oven on, is the door locked, did she turn the oven off. Thoughts, the worry, from things not connected but intertwined in the heavy heaps piles of the laundry, no,the heavy, the heavy, weight she has not, no, stop, the heaviness of it all. Like a scratch in the record, the broken bits of vinyl and the beautiful music they can still play. The mama is loving on her babies, as they lay in the darkness. Bach beats on and the fish are swimming, just keep swimming.

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