No wonder you’re single

One of the most annoying questions I get asked as a single mom is, “why are you single?” It’s a question that has a very complicated answer and can’t be summed up in a few words.

Recently, someone whom I do not know left me an anonymous message on my blog. They disagreed with something I wrote and their reply said “no wonder you’re single.” At first I laughed reading it, because it didn’t even correlate with what I had wrote. It would be like someone saying “I really didn’t like the movie you recommended” and then the other person saying “yeah well, you talk too fast.” One has nothing to do with the other. However, the comment has played in the back of my mind for over a week now. And while I could brush it off and forget about it entirely, I want to write about exactly why I choose to be single.

Not long after my daughter was born, I made her a promise. I promised her that I would only let people in her life who deserved to be there. I promised I wouldn’t introduce her to anyone who would waste my time or hers. I promised her that I wouldn’t introduce someone into her life until I was sure that they were worthy, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t introduce anyone to her until I was sure that they had all of the qualities I was looking for.

For the first six months of my daughter’s life, I didn’t date. I wasn’t ready to do it and I honestly didn’t have the time. Between having a new baby and adjusting to the sleeping schedule and constantly being exhausted, it just wasn’t in the cards for me. When she was just a little over six months old, a friend set me up for a coffee date with a guy she knew. The date was nice and we got along well but there just wasn’t a connection there. And rather than waste either of our time we parted ways on good terms and moved forward, like two mature adults.

Fast-forward to a few months later. Again, I had another date. This one was different and was more of a blind date. He was a perfect gentleman and was lovely but it became obvious to me right away that he wanted to move much more quickly than I did. He talked about having a family and buying a home and while those are lovely life goals, it just seemed like too much too soon. I wanted to take the time to get to know someone and it felt like he wanted to move at a pace that was faster than I was comfortable with.

After my daughters first birthday, I was asked on a date. I considered it but decided against it. The person was someone I knew but I just didn’t want to. I felt like that the timing for a date wasn’t right for me. I have a very busy life. I work full time and spend all non-working hours with my daughter. Besides that, I volunteer, write, take pictures and try to connect with and spend time with family and friends. Any time I spend away from my daughter is time I can never get back. So if I am going to date someone, they need to be worthy of my time. My time is valuable. I am not saying that because I am a single mom that my time is more important than anyone else’s. All I am saying is that I don’t have a lot of free time so if I plan on spending time with anyone; they need to be someone whom I want to spend time with. They need to be someone I connect with and enjoy. If I know initially that the connection isn’t there, why would I waste either of our time?

Being a single mom has really been eye-opening for me. It has forced me to re-evaluate my dating standards and has also made me realize that it’s easier to part ways instead of wasting each other’s time for a few weeks or months. If I know right away that someone isn’t the type of person I am looking for, I know it’s much better to be upfront about it. Five years ago I wasn’t brave enough to do that, and worried about hurting people. But the truth is, stringing someone along is way worse in the long run. Being a single mom opened my eyes to this as I now have a new appreciation for how valuable and precious time truly is.

So you see, I choose to be single. It may not sound like a logical choice to some people and it may not be a choice that’s right for everyone, but its right for me. I don’t need to be in a relationship to be secure with myself. I don’t need validation from a man to feel as if I am worthy of dating. I could spend time with someone for the sake of spending time with someone, but that seems so silly to me. I have no problem staying single until I find exactly what I am looking for.  I know I am a great catch, which is why I will wait for the right person to come along. No wonder I’m single? That’s one way of looking at it. You could look at me and think “she’s single because she’s too picky, too this or too that.” But I prefer to look at it from a different perspective. Single isn’t a status. It’s a word that describes an individual who is patient enough to wait for the right person to come along. And I have all the patience in the world.

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Please stop fearing Muslims

A week ago the world was taken by shock, sadness and despair when terrorist attacks took place in Paris, France. It left many people feeling hurt, frustrated, upset and angry. When humans tend to feel emotions that are out of their comfort zone, they look for someone or something to blame. And in this case, the blame has been put on Syrian Refugees and the entire Muslim population.

The amount of ignorance and bigotry I have been seeing in regards to Syrian refugees and Muslims has left me feeling very discouraged with many North Americans. People are saying and doing things that puts an entire population at risk, all because of the actions of a few extremists.

When it comes to Syrian refugees, people need to realize that they are leaving their country for the exact same reason that most of the world is living in fear right now. Their country is in turmoil, they are living in fear and uncertainty, they don’t know if they are safe from one day to the next. They are fleeing their country because they have no other choice. None. Do you think a person would willingly leave behind their home and belongings and walk away with the clothes on their back if they had any type of choice? Ask yourself that. Because I know I wouldn’t.

These people are some of the most vulnerable people in the world right now. They have nowhere to call home. They have no one to help them. Countries like Canada and the US should be stepping up, and while some citizens are, a lot aren’t. What I am seeing instead is hatred that is fuelled by fear.

This past week, 27 US Governors have announced that they will not accept Syrian refugees in their states. One even went as far as to say that he would accept Christian refugees, but not Muslim refugees. What type of world does this individual live in where it is okay to openly hate a group of innocent people? And in Canada, it hasn’t been much better. A mosque was intentionally burned in Peterborough, Ontario. For those of you who don’t know, a mosque represents peace and love. It is a place of worship and prayer. A place where people are supposed to feel safe. But that safety was shattered when one or more individuals filled with hate took that away. In Toronto, a Muslim woman was attacked while picking up her children from school. This woman was an innocent lady participating in everyday life. She was called a terrorist and had her hijab ripped off. One of the attackers told her to “go back to your own country.” That statement screams ignorance to me because there are many Muslim-Canadians who were born and raised in Canada. And even if they weren’t born and raised in Canada that doesn’t make this land any less of their country. They have every right to be here, just as much as I or anyone else does.

Muslim culture is not defined by terrorist attacks. It is not defined by anger, or hate or violence. It is not defined by a small minority of people who are extremists. These people, specifically ISIS, are the minority. They make up less than 1% of the Muslim Population. The same way that the Westboro Baptist Church is the small minority of Christians. They preach hate and intolerance instead of acceptance and love. Have you ever heard of The Army of God? They are a group of Christian Extremists who use violence to fight against abortion. There are extremists within every group and religion that exists. We cannot let such a small minority change our thoughts and views of the bigger picture. This is how hate happens. This is how tension happens. This is how wars happen.

I don’t claim to know everything about Muslim culture, because I don’t. However, I’ve had the pleasure of working with and meeting many Muslims between living in Halifax and Montreal, and I can tell you with certainty that they are some of the nicest people I have ever known. I have experienced nothing but love and tolerance from them and am proud to still have them as my friends. I know that this past week for them has been heartbreaking, devastating and hard, and that truly upsets me because those wonderful friends do not deserve to experience such hate and ignorance. They project nothing but respect and peace towards the world and should be getting the same in return.

I wish that I had an answer to all of this, but I know that the answer is bigger than me and is going to take a lot of love from a lot of people in order for the world to heal and start caring about each other again. This planet is small and we share it with seven billion other people. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all just figure out how to be tolerant and get along?

One of my most favourite quotes seems to fit in perfectly with all of this, so I am going to share it and hope that we can all take a piece of it with us as we move ahead in these uncertain times.

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.” – Jack Layton

 

 

32

It feels like a perfect night to wear pajamas
And go to dream land, uh uh, uh uh.
It feels like a perfect night for eight solid hours
and not wake up till morning, uh uh, uh uh.

Yeah,
I’m exhausted, crazy and silly at the same time
It’s miserable and messed up.
Oh, yeah
Tonight’s the night I hope my baby sleeps through
Because

Uh oh!
I don’t know about you
But I’m feeling 32
Everything would be so great
If I could sleep past 5:28.
You don’t know what it’s like
to wake up 4 times a night
My baby doesn’t sleep and
that’s why I’m feeling like I’m
32, ooh-ooh
32, ooh-ooh

It seems like one of those nights,
Where rest isn’t happening.
Because of teething, uh uh, uh uh (who needs sleep anyway?)
It seems like one of those nights,
My child will be screaming and wanting mommy
Instead of sleeping.

Yeah,
I’m overwhelmed, dazed and drained in the worst way
It’s miserable and messed up.
Oh, yeah
At this rate I’m starting to feel at least twice my age
But, for now..

Uh oh! (hey!)
I don’t know about you
But I’m feeling 32
Everything would be so great
If I could sleep past 5:28
You don’t know what it’s like
to wake up 4 times a night
My baby doesn’t sleep and
That’s why I’m feeling like I’m
32, ooh-ooh (oh, oh, oh)
32, ooh-ooh
I don’t know about you
32, ooh-ooh
32, ooh-ooh

It feels like one of those nights,
I say ‘why bother trying?.
It feels like one of those nights,
I know I won’t be sleeping.
It feels like one of those nights,
I’ll be lucky to get 3 hours.
I’m feeling twice my age,
I’m feeling twice my age.

Ooh-ooh
Ooh-ooh, ye-e-e-e-eah, hey
I don’t know about you (I don’t know about you)
But I’m feeling 32
Everything would be so great
If I could sleep past 5:28 (AM)
You don’t know what it’s like
to wake up 4 times a night
My baby doesn’t sleep and
That’s why I’m feeling like I’m
32, ooh-ooh (oh, oh, oh)
32, ooh-ooh
I don’t know about you
32, ooh-ooh
32, ooh-ooh

It feels like one of those nights,
I say ‘why bother trying?.
It feels like one of those nights,
I know I won’t be sleeping.
It feels like one of those nights,
I’ll be lucky to get 3 hours.
I’m feeling twice my age,
I’m feeling twice my age.

(But really, I’m still 32!)

Because it’s 2015

I really love politics. I majored in Political Science in university and regularly watch the news and read online articles and newspapers to stay informed. I generally try not to talk politics on my blog, because this is supposed to be about my mommy adventures. However, I really want to break my rule this once and talk about Justin Trudeau and his decision to make 50% of his cabinet ministers female.

Trudeau’s decision has caused quite a stir in the media. People are speaking out and saying it isn’t fair if a woman was appointed to the cabinet simply because she is a woman. What if there was a more qualified man for the job? Oh no! A woman might have stolen a job from a man? What will we do?

In case you couldn’t tell, my voice was dripping with sarcasm. Why? Because how many times in life (not just politics) did a man get a job simply because he was a man, even though there were qualified women? There are simply too many examples to count. Men have regularly been taking jobs from qualified women, and it has been happening for a really REALLY long time.

It was just 100 short years ago that women in Canada were fighting for the right to vote. Imagine being told that you could not vote simply because of your gender. Essentially being told you aren’t smart enough or informed enough to make the decision. And it was only 90 years ago that five brave women launched the “Persons Case,” which was a long fought battle to give women the right to sit in the Senate. The Supreme Court of Canada actually ruled that women were not qualified persons for the Senate. Those five courageous women appealed and took their battle all the way to the Judicial Committee of the British Privy Council, which at the time was the highest court for Canada; and they won. They were told they were persons and they could sit in the Senate.  But to originally be told no,  that you aren’t a person under the law,  how truly sad is that? To be told that you are less than simply because of your gender.

So when I hear people saying that women might have taken a position from a qualified man, it makes me mad. It upsets me as a woman, as a mother and as a person. Because women are qualified and have been as qualified as men and have been denied the opportunity over and over throughout history. Which is why I think it is awesome that Justin Trudeau recognized that the cabinet needed balance and made it a point to have equal representation.

In fact, Canada’s cabinet ministers represent our country in so many ways. Half of our ministers are women. Half are men. Two of our ministers are people of First Nations. One minister is openly gay. One minister is in a wheelchair. Three of the ministers were born outside of Canada. One minister is blind. Some of the ministers are young while others are much older. They all have different religions, beliefs and backgrounds. But they serve a common purpose and all want what is best for Canada. The fact that we have such a diverse group of Cabinet Ministers shows that we are a country who is committed to connecting with and representing all Canadians. This group of cabinet ministers is exactly what Canada looks like.

Each Cabinet Minister was appointed because it was believed that they were the right person for the job. And even though there was a definitive plan in place to make sure that half of the cabinet was female, I truly do believe that those females are more than qualified and will go above and beyond to do the job to the best of their ability and make Canada proud.

I fully expect that not everyone will agree with what I wrote and many will still think that the positions should have gone to the most qualified person overall, regardless of gender or background. However, perceived qualifications will vary among different people. It’s not a black and white argument and there are many factors to take into account. Some will argue that life experiences go further than education, or vice versa. Others will argue that the younger cabinet ministers are not seasoned enough to know what they are doing. And some will be absolute bigots and believe that the job should have gone to a man. That’s okay. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Just like Trudeau is.

So before you finish reading this article, remind yourself that it’s 2015 and that women and men are equals and are especially equals among Canada’s Cabinet Ministers.

In case anyone doesn’t know why I titled this post “Because it’s 2015”, it’s because a reporter asked Justin Trudeau why he chose to make sure half of his cabinet was female. And those three words, along with a nonchalant shrug and a half a smirk, were his answer.

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Facebook and Mommy Groups

When I was pregnant, a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to join one of her mom groups on Facebook. I immediately told her that I wasn’t interested, as I had heard they were nothing but drama.

I wish I had taken my own advice and stayed away.

When I first started blogging, I realized that my audience wasn’t very big. I didn’t know how to reach more people. I tried Twitter and promoted through my own Facebook page, but I wasn’t getting the views I wanted. An editor had suggested to me that I join some mommy groups online and allow people whom I might not ever connect with otherwise the chance to see my blog.

So I joined some of the bigger mommy groups. I rarely posted, other than links to my blog. I read a lot of the posts that other moms made and they were judgemental and mean and catty. The posts sometimes had 200 or more responses of ladies bickering back and forth over a difference of opinion.

After a while, I joined some smaller groups. These groups also had drama, but you got to know the members better because instead of 15,000 members, there was usually only 500-1000.

I promoted my blog and made some new friends and got some good advice. Suddenly I found myself in about 20 different mommy groups. Some were wise, some funny, some full of drama and some full of nonsense. But nevertheless, I enjoyed them and it really did help with my blogging.

One particular group was the most addicting. The women in it would say and do things that were silly and funny and sometimes lacked logic or common sense. I would sometimes comment on their posts and often, people would agree with what I said. And I noticed that the same people agreed with my opinions a lot of the time. It wasn’t long before I became online friends with those people as we shared the same values and beliefs.

But then something happened. Suddenly, my new friends and I became judgy. We became catty. We became the kind of drama I did not want to get involved in. We would often talk about things that members of other groups said and made fun of their questions, parenting choices, opinions, views and life decisions. I knew I was being harsh and I knew that I was better than that, but I couldn’t stop. It was like the drama in itself became an obsession that I could not control.

It started to consume me. I looked for drama. I found it easily and once it was found, it was easy for everyone else to get involved and judge. We judged a lot of people for very stupid reasons. Reasons that were not nice or didn’t merit judgement.

I hurt some people by doing this. I hurt people who did not deserve to feel hurt. I betrayed who I was and became who I did not want to be. And it cost me a lot. It cost friendships of nice people that I met online. It cost my values and beliefs. I did not want to be that person, yet I became that person, all because I got caught in something that consumed me and something I thrived on.

I feel terrible about those whose feelings were hurt. I’ve always taken pride in being a nice person, but after I hurt those individuals, I didn’t feel like a nice person. I felt really low. Knowing that someone was feeling bad because of me was not a nice feeling. It caused me to feel guilt, shame and remorse.

To anyone I hurt; I am truly so sorry. I learned a life lesson in all of this and have since removed myself from most Facebook mom groups.

I also experienced a form of bullying because of this. People began to attack my blog. They left nasty comments and three people left threats. It was so upsetting because I have never been threatened before. Unfortunately, this experience has left me no choice but to change the settings on my blog so that user comments can only be seen if approved by me. I’ve always valued comments but cannot have people leaving threats against me and my daughter. And while I may change the settings back in the future, for now they need to remain in their new form as I cannot and will not tolerate people behaving in such a manner.

I know that moving forward I will be better. I will do better, and I will hold myself to a higher standard. If it’s not kind, loving or said with concern, then I will not say anything at all. I want to be the best person I can possibly be so that I am setting a good example for my daughter. I want to teach her about kindness, love and acceptance and teaching by showing is one of the best ways to set that example.

There’s an old Cherokee Legend that came to mind after all of this. I’ve copied it below as I feel it is a shining example of what I learned through all of this.

An old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”