Monday, March 18, 2013

Mama hates the cold

I’m sitting in the office I currently work in wearing my winter coat. My nose is freezing. Hands like ice.

This is wrong. Just plain wrong.

I am a firm believer in the idea that winter must end now.

My poor 3 year-old is going stir crazy from being inside most of the day every day. This kid loves to be outside. She loves to go for walks, play in the park, kick the ball around the back yard. The great outdoors is her holy land. Her happy place. Her home base.

And while we still try to get outside with her often no matter what the weather, my poor little 15 month old isn’t a fan of being chilly.

So I find myself spending a lot of time inside with the girls, attempting to keep up with a toddler’s energy. We play and play and play and play. I crawl around on the floor. I do puzzles. I pretend to be “the customer” and place my order with Anna, over and over again. We go camping. We pretend to be horses. We dance. We sing. We make muffins. And then, eventually, I end up feeling guilty at the amount of TV she watches, because I can only do so much of the above.

When we’re outside, the kid can run wild, while I watch. I keep up with her, of course. But for the most part, she just wants me to let her do her thing while I stand by and chat with her.

(And by “chat” I mean tell her I’m watching when she yells, “Watch this, Mommy!!” over and over again.)

Therefore, I hereby declare that the winter must end.

It must end so that I no longer feel old and like a bad parent.

It must end so that I can get outside and air the stink out of my kids and myself.

It must end so that I can feel warmth on my skin again.

It must end so that I can get a bit of exercise, chat with fellow Moms and reenter the land of the living, rather than feel like a recluse.

And it must end so that Anna can wear her favourite shirt, her “Super Girl” t-shirt, without freezing her cute little skinny buns off.

So says Hez.

Friday, March 8, 2013

On being a woman

I, by and large, led a sheltered adolescence.

I like to joke that I was a nerd, in hopes that it will be sufficient explanation as to why I didn’t really drink underage. Why I never wanted a fake ID. Why I didn’t do drugs (much). Why I waited to have sex. Why I didn’t dress “promiscuously” or disobey my parents or sneak out of the house or get in physical fights.

The truth is? I don’t know why I was sort of a good kid.

I could attribute it to parenting. My parents were open and honest with me. They made sure I knew that I was loved. They always told me I could go to them if I was in a tough situation. They also let me know that drinking and sex at a young age was not acceptable. And disobeying them was met with utter disappointment. (A fate worse than making your parents mad).

They were what my husband and I hope to be. Good parents.

But is that enough?

I know I’ve already discussed the joys of having girls. But, at the same time, I have to admit that I’m terrified because I know what females have to face.

Becoming a woman is a hard, hard thing.

The rush to grow up. The sexuality. Emotional bullying. Pressure. Not to mention the bigger, weightier issues like love, work, children, choice, our rights, our physical safety.

I’m constantly amazed that I made it through adolescence. And I’m constantly racking my brain to try and figure out how I navigated those extremely tough years and came out on the other side happy, healthy, unharmed.

Was it solely good parenting? Is it a gene I just happened to have? Is it the environment I grew up in?

Sometimes I think it was just dumb luck.

And that’s what terrifies me.

How do I protect my girls? How do I prevent them from being that innocent girl on the subway platform, minding her own business before being assaulted? How do I keep them safe?

Maybe having a discourse about it will be part of the solution. Maybe telling them what I believe to be the difference between right and wrong will help. Maybe I just need to try my best to model good values and respect and then let them navigate for themselves.

I don’t know for sure.

But I do know that at some point, they’ll be too old to just accept my answers at face value. They’ll need and want to grow and explore. They’ll have to be set loose into this often-frightening world.

And I’ll have to be okay with that.

It will be at that moment that I will truly be tested as a parent. As a woman. As a mother.

It will be at that moment that I will close my eyes - for just a brief moment - while I hope and pray that my love and guidance is enough to keep them safe.

And then? I will open my eyes and hope that my daughters turn to me.

Because I will always be here for them.

That's right my loves, I'm talking about you.