I should really stop writing blog posts in my head. Because they never actually make it to the blog. I used to write a blog post a day in my head and then transcribe it seamlessly here. But now they come about once a week, and the finished product looks nothing like its mental predecessor.

Yes, these days, since I blog 3-4 times a day over at Today’s Parent, sitting down in the evening to write this blog, I gotta say, takes some effort, extra stamina, and vegan gummy bears. And the only reason I have vegan gummy bears in my pantry is because the Rascal loves them. I personally think they’re disgusting, but I had them here, you know, because he loves them, and one thing led to another and before I knew it SCARF…. Ew, seriously. Fingers crossed the “organic juice” they’re made with has an iota of nutritional value.

Arrgh.

Now I’m trying to blog here, and Josh-O is talking on the phone. If you only knew how loud he talks on the phone. And he takes up the whole house with the pacing. What’s with the pacing?

GO DOWNSTAIRS, I’m mouthing to him, waving my hand ferociously (lots of post-gummy-bear adrenalin pumping through my veins). TOO LOUD. Seriously, I can’t hear myself think. Where was I, even? I guess, then, whatever I write now, I am NOT responsible for. I will say, though, that it’s been harder than ever for me to sit down to write this blog, go to yoga, get up in the morning, divide my attention equally between my dog Betty White and each of my two cats, MAAARGE and Minden. It’s been harder than ever for me to HEAR MYSELF THINK BECAUSE he’s on the damn phone.

Ohhhhmmmmmmm….

He is the loudest phone talker ever in the history of phone talkers.

Ohhhhmmmmmmm….

Better.

I’m fading. More gummy bears. NO. I’m still on that 21-day cleanse. Lemon water in the morning is still going strong. Except for those few days last week when got blasted with a nasty flu, which threw me so off course that I ended up at a Starbucks.

And then Josh pushed me so far off the rickety wagon when he brought me a tall soy-no-water tazo chai latte the other day (ENABLER), that I’m still cleaning the sweet-cinnamony puddle I landed in off my pants, which are getting tighter again already.

But it’s OK. I’m writing a blog post right now, and I made it to yoga this morning (and both Betty White and Minden are curled up on my lap…). I only did half of my practice, but that’s all I planned on doing. No backbends, no twists, no deep adjustments. Josh was leaving early for work again this morning, so I needed to take it really easy. Besides, as one of the designers on Project Runway Allstars said in her thick Australian accent last night, “I feel like I’m in a pressure cookah.” I don’t do yoga to chill out, but a chill practice is definitely what I need for the next little while. Especially if my generous, patiently persistent teacher insists I keep getting on the mat no matter what.

After practice, and after racing to get the kids dressed, fed and to school on time, I ran in to the Macrobiotic Centre of Toronto to pick up some of their Floating Ashtangi Juice and breakfast. For lunch I enjoyed one of their delicious rice triangles at my desk. And for dinner, I filled my canned lentil soup (I was too tired to make the real thing) with oodles of napa cabbage and green and purple kale. And so I had some gummy bears. At least you have something to read today, Gorgeouses, so don’t complain. Heh. Even if that something is gibberish (who even knows).

So back to Josh, and then I’m going to bed.

Josh got a new job. He went from being a work-at-home dad to going to the office early in the morning and coming home late in the evening. We have to get a friggin’ DOG WALKER now, and he’s given me full license to scowl at him when he comes home (ENABLER) for the next month or so.

So I’m tired. I am dog tired.

And I’m asking everyone to bear with me as I make this transition — like, if I babble on too much at the schoolyard, if I don’t respond to emails or your precious comments, if I suddenly start to giggle uncontrollably, wear my shirt inside-out to work, write gibberish, obscenely long blog posts, etc., etc..

It’s just that I was just so used to having him home all the time:

“Josh, can you pick up the kids from school? I am SWAMPED at work today!”

“Josh, can you take the Monkey for lunch today? She seemed sad this morning.”

“Josh, can you pick up some rice milk for me, oh, and ‘goji beans’ for the Rascal? I’m not going to make it to the school in time if I stop on the way.”

“Josh, can you take the Rascal to Karate today? I am BEAT.”

There’s none of that anymore, Gorgeouses. I am on my own. And I have an empty box of gummy bears and a gibberish blog post to show for it.

At least there’s a blog post at all. Right? See you soon.

Ohhhmmmmm….


Savasana….

Good night, Gorgeouses!

Love!

xo Haley-O


This is my theme song for the day. You better turn it on and listen the whole way through and bob your head to the rhythm, or beware MY WRATH….

Look at me.

And a bad bad hair day…. Note, however, the sparkly piggy paint nail polish on my stubby nails. I was so miserable this evening, I stole it from the Monkey and started polishing MADLY. It’s amazing how civilized nail polish can make you feel (it’s only been 80 years since I last wore any) — even if it’s piggy paint. No one has to know….

A bad bad day.

This one’s driving me nuts….

And this one’s been waking me up at 4am….

…and this one (on the right) at 4:30am….

I’m exhausted and frazzled with back-to-school, and my beloved part-time nanny on hiatus for a couple of weeks, and Rosh Hashana, and the Toronto International Film Festival (which I’m proud to be going to as Press, but all ALONE!?), and a birthday party to plan for the Rascal, and the Monkey’s, erm, art projects all over the house….

And Pillars of the Earth is over, and I have headache, and I ate ketchup for dinner, and head is throbbing above right eyebrow, slight twitches in left eyelid and right side of upper lip. Snarrrrl.

At least I still have Bachelor Pad….

And MARGE….

I’m going to bed. With Marge.

Think of me at 4am…. When you’re sleeping soundly and I’m running furiously down the stairs to get Rascal fresh water. Aaaargh!

Love!

xo Haley-O


“Oh, I’m sorry! My name’s Nick. I’m a reporter out here in Santa Monica, and I just finished up an interview with Julia [Child] for our paper out here.”

I was really going to have to get my phone number unlisted.

“I’d like to get your thoughts on some things. Because I asked her about you, and frankly, she was kind of a pill about it. Is this a bad time?”

“Oh. No. It’s fine.”

When I hung up the phone five minutes later, I felt numb.

…I sat on the couch beside Eric…. “That was a reporter from California. He just interviewed Julia. He asked her about me. She hates me.” I giggled, like I do in these breathless situations. “She thinks I’m not respectful or not serious or something.”

…Eric put his arm over my shoulder. “What is she, ninety?”

“Ninety-One,” I sniffled.

“See? She probably doesn’t have the first idea what a blog is.

…”I don’t know. Maybe she thinks I’m taking advantage or I’m — I’m not ” I was taken surprise by a sudden rush of tears. “I thought I was — I’m sorry if I

And then abruptly I was wailing….

–Julie Powell, Julie and Julia, pp. 333-334

So there was a Simon Fraser University Masters thesis written extensively about me and seven other “mommybloggers” (grrr…). I heard about it yesterday, of all places, when I was sitting at Podcamp TO, listening to a panel discussion, of all things, about what happens when social media goes wrong. My heart started pounding when I heard — my face turned beat red, palms sweating, hands shaking.

I’m used to people responding to my individual posts in the comments, on twitter, even on email. I’m definitely not used to someone reading my blog from start to finish, making gross assumptions based on posts here and there, and then publishing these gross assumptions and frustrating misreadings in a thesis — both offline and on — and not telling me about it, even after the fact.

At first I was furious. And I definitely (over)reacted on twitter:

I got really upset that The Thesis wasn’t in fact about the “works” themselves or the genre of blogging, as indicated in The Thesis’ abstract, and that, rather, it was about our lives, our income, whether or not we love that our children are away (for 2.5 hours, hello) at preschool, and so on. When Danigirl sent me the abstract (which was all I could see for hours until I got home to open the pdf file that contained The Thesis), I was a little flattered and excited. To be studied in the context of Bakhtin’s Dialogic, for example, and to be categorized as “Canadian Women’s Literature,” was so cool. Bring it on!

But, when I opened the document and searched my name…, I was floored. All those assumptions about all sorts of irrelevant stuff. It hurt. Bad.

I think the thing that bothered me most was when The Thesis writer suggested that I may have contrived how I started blogging in the first place. I told the world that Ali Martell introduced me to blogging when the Monkey was 8 months old, and that’s the truth — no questions asked. But, according to The Thesis writer, I “contrived” this bit in order to appear flippy and erratic or whatever. In another post, she ingeniously discovers, I mention that Jennifer Lawrence, who happens to be the author of the blog MUBAR (which no longer exists), helped me out when I was clinically depressed while pregnant with the Monkey. (And, by the way, an article was written about my prenatal depression and published in some major psychiatry journal — APA? — and, you betcha, the author asked my permission even though they used an alias and I’d never find it in a million years!). Yes, Jen Lawrence helped me, but it was OVER THE PHONE. I didn’t know she had a blog, or what a blog was.

Why does this bother me? Because it’s an insult to my integrity as a blogger. SURE, I might exaggerate things — for entertainment’s sake — here and there, and less so these days. But I would never flat-out lie. I would never “contrive” something. To me, that’s the ultimate insult to a blogger.

Somewhere, way out yonder in the internet ether, there’s a great old email conversation in which Ali reveals to me, “I HAVE A BLOG,” and to which I reply, “WHAT’S A BLOG???”

Anyway.

Whatever. I’m really okay now. I’m flattered that I’m in an MA thesis, even though the reading of “me” is false and unflattering for the most part. As you can see on twitter, I felt beyond violated and uncomfortable when I first read the thesis. But, I haven’t looked at it since, and I’ll never look at it again — and I feel better. And I can laugh at the broad assumptions, as I’ve also done on twitter:

And, this one….

Oops, how’d that tweet get there? (Disclosure: CONTRIVED.)

Here, see I can make light of The Thesis writer’s totally unfounded statement that I am the most “affluent” of all the bloggers (if she only knew!?):

Should the student have contacted me? It would have been the nice and, I think, scholarly thing to do.

Do I blame the student? Do I “hate” her SORT OF like Julia Child hated Julia Powell? No. I’ve done a Master’s Thesis, and I know how difficult that can be on several levels. This writer wrote the thesis in 2008. She’s obviously young, likely not a mother. There I go assuming, though….

As with all controversies surrounding “mommyblogging,”  people are now taking the opportunity to troll thoughtful posts on the subject and preach about the ethics of “mommyblogging.” We’re putting ourselves and our kids out there for scrutiny and misinterpretation, so apparently we should just suck it up, not react, and just plain expect this. But, surely we’re allowed to “giggle” or “wail.” On twitter?

Know what happened to me today? I went to Starbucks (shut it — I’m not affluent — I got a card for Valentine’s Day). Rascal and I sat beside a woman who was typing on her mini laptop. When she got up to leave, she said:

You know, I’ve been watching you, and you’re a wonderful mother. I see the way you talk to him and look at him, the way he looks at you. And I don’t see that all the time, unfortunately. It’s amazing to watch you. And I’m a therapist….

That compliment, that observation of ME, was so beautiful and so welcomed given my current frustration. And, so often, my readers and fellow bloggers, whether in comments, twitter, or email, make me feel THAT good with their genuine, caring feedback and friendship.

You can’t read a blog and claim to know the writer. As I stated several days ago on twitter,

You can’t judge a blogger by his or her blog. It’s not a novel. It’s its own genre. One absolutely worth exploring at an academic level.

If you’d like to see a copy of The Thesis, just contact me — which is easy to do for the record….

Love!

xo Haley-O


IMG_1633

I’m sitting here RESENTING right now. I know it’s wrong and BAD. I’m a BAD mother for resenting this. But, you know what? It’s better to write it and get it out of my system than to let it fester and breed all sorts of ugly passive-aggressive behaviour — like yelling at Josh or my mother for no reason. If I write this, I get it out of my system. And, I so know you can relate. And we’re all about being real in this space, right?

So, I’m RESENTING.

What am I resenting? HE’S NO LONGER NAPPING. AT ALL.

Afternoon free time? IS DEAD. ALAS!!!

And I’m accepting cards and condolences and flowers (no carnations please), and I may even have to hold some sort of ceremony.      ß

What’s up with that symbol, you ask? What IS that anyway? Beta? ß Yes, I think it is. Well, I suppose that’s ONE good thing about having Rascal with me, and NOT NAPPING, this afternoon: now I get to learn friggin’ GREEK SYMBOLS as he sits on my lap slamming my computer enough times to produce BETA.

ßßßßßßßßßßßßß

That was me cursing in BETA — in other words, @$^%%$@T$R$@^&#!!!!!11ONEfrigGQIN (there he goes finishing off my CURSE for me with his sticky little hands). And now he’s going to climb on the couch — there he goes — and beat the carp out of me, in his 2-year-old way, not caring that I’m mad. My MADNESS, indeed, is the most hilarious thing ever to him.

And, oh I’m mad.

I’m mad because I KNOW.

I’m mad because I know what happens when they stop napping. Because I’ve been here before. I know that when they stop napping, I’m no longer my own for 2 hours. I’m THEIRS. No more exercising and meditating in the afternoon, no more working and getting stuff done in the afternoon — while one’s at school and one’s dozing peacefully in bed. ALAS! ‘Tis GONE GONE GOOOOOONE!

It is the end of CHERISHED me-time…. It is the end of any HOPE of getting to bed at a reasonable hour because I can’t work when he’s around, demanding “LAP, mama, LAP!” and “CUDDY, I wan CUDDY!” (cuddles, he wants cuddles — awww, sweet, I know! he’s a DARLING! but he’s even darlinger when he’s NAPPING/ ß ?441*599999)))

So life is changing. Just when I start to actually get in the groove of taking care of myself, the universe throws me a new challenge. Isn’t that how it always goes? How life is?

I do feel better now. This writing has taken the resentment to a new understanding. My kids are “my spiritual practice,” as the wise Caroline Dupont reminded me…. So, Rascal and I will have to go for walks and do errands together. He’ll love it. And, I’ll figure it out. And, I’ll learn to love it once this period of resentment and grieving is over.

But, the nap? My afternoon free time? It’s officially DUNZO. ß


Okay, who’s bright idea was THIS?:

2012_movie_poster2a

I mean, aside from the director’s, what’shisname.  I have a right to know who’s messing with my already anxious mind. There’s no way in HELL I’m seeing this movie. Even though friends of mine WHO JUST HAD A BABY went to see this catastrophic movie and said it was a freaking joke and that, if you’re afraid of 2012, then this is the movie to see because it’s a freaking joke. A bunch of models and action figures and a bunch of capitalizing on what’s already a subject of GLOBAL HYSTERIA.

There’s also the big Swine Flu vaccine. And people not vaccinating their kids calling people who DID vaccinate their kids stupid because the vaccine is, i.e., “too shady for me.” And then there’s people who vaccinated their kids calling people who DIDN’T vaccinate their kids stupid because, well, you know, blah blah. We’ve all heard it. And then THIS comes out and capitalizes on what’s already a subject of GLOBAL HYSTERIA.

v_tv_show

…A bunch of horrible creepy aliens disguised as gorgeous humans (of course, because all humans are gorgeous) wanting to take over our health care — “universal healthcare,” hmmmm…. LIKE we needed this right now, in the middle of flu vaccine hysteria. Like I freaking needed to see that episode. And isn’t Elisabeth Mitchell in, like, enough creepy shows already?

elizabeth-mitchell-as-juliet-burke-1

Hasn’t she already freaked us out enough in LOST….

The posters for 2012 are plastered on our Toronto buses. They’re on billboards and every other commercial. WHO NEEDS THIS? I ask you, WHO NEEDS THIS?

And then you turn on the news, NAY, you turn on a freaking KIDS’ show, and there it is again — that 2012 commercial, and the news HEADLINES of the day, which are always godawful because they have to HOOK YOU IN. And JUST when you sit down to a meal of pasta with mushrooms, they are SO going to tell you that pasta and mushrooms will KILL you because…stay tuned for the news at 7 and you’ll find out. GRAAARGH!

I’m just a wee blogger. A wee PERSON at barely 5’1″. But something’s gotta change. The media, entertainment, and the commercial peeps — desperate for us to WATCH them, even as we PVR everything — have to stop spreading the fear. Whatever happened to SPREADING the LOVE!? You know how many people are TERRIFIED of all this sh*t? And there it is, IN YO FACE. If it’s not V, then it’s Fringe, or The Law Abiding Citizen. Freaking The Law Abiding Citizenmy poor mother will never answer her front door again. Why can’t Gerard Butler make more movies like THIS, instead:

the_ugly_truth

WHICH, I loved. LOVE LOVE LOVE. The chemistry between those two, OMG — which is shocking, since we’re talking about Katherine Heigl. Speaking of which, I also loved this one….

the-proposal

WHICH doesn’t say much about my taste in movies lately. But, seriously, anything to get away from all the mind-blowing scary stuff.

Just the other day, I’ll have you know, the Monkey saw THIS poster on some storefront window….

orphan_movie_poster

And she actually yelled, “MAMA, LOOK! ORPHANS”! This from a girl who’s TV watching is limited to Tree House and the odd PVR’d So You Think You Can Dance Canada — with vehemently fast-forwarded commercials.

I’ll also have you know….

Yesterday I walked through downtown Toronto with my family.

The annual Christmas parade had just ended.

There was GARBAGE everywhere.

All of it was from fast food.

On our way home, we passed a protest with violent images that I didn’t need to see just then, on my Sunday afternoon walk with my young family.

Violent images are everywhere. They’re f*ing with my mind and I HOPE NOT my children’s minds.

All I ask is that Gerard Butler make some more funny movies, that Elizabeth Mitchell do a sitcom FOR ONCE, and that horror films stay where they USED to be — on the FAR corner in the back of the video store, and not mixed among the fluffy mainstream ones. Sensitive minds like mine CANNOT take all this SCARY stuff. CANNOT.

Spread the LOVE! I ASK THEE! PEACE! Unicorns…? Fairy dust and mermaids? SPARKLES…. Gerard? HEART. CLIVE OWEN. Will Ferrell. Please. More comedy, love, yooooga, less fear. LESS FEAR.

xo Haley-O


img_9214

Ahh…, they sleep. On my bed. At 5 in the evening. I’ll probably pay for it later, when they’re cranky at dinner and too wired to go to bed at a decent hour. But, I’m tired. So tired….

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I woke up this morning with it. The burnout. It usually happens Sunday mornings, after a week of solid mothering — usually after Josh goes away, like, TO VEGAS or on a business trip. I wake up to the sound of “maMA! maMA! maMA! maMA! maMA! maMA! maMAHHH! maMAHHH! maMAHHHHHHH!” It’s Rascal, like a parrot — squawking “maMAHHH!” over and over and over again until I can haul Josh’s arse out of bed to go get him his “mitz” (his milk) and bring him to “maMAHHHHHHH”! Usually I welcome Rascal’s morning antics. But, some mornings, like today, I just want to sleep. I just want to be left alone. I want what Kimberly Wilson calls a “bed day” — sleep in, stay in your pjs all day, read, nap, and just be cozy, do nothing. (Kimberly schedules a “bed day” once a month! If only!)

img_9211

And, then monkey woke up “MAMA, I NEEDA PEEEEEE! I NEEDA PEEEEEEE! I NEEDA PEEEEEEE!” And she thump thump thumps into my room…. Since when did my children get so difficult and demanding? And what’s with the whining? WHINING? Frightful fours, is it? I’m in it. Smack dab in the middle of it.

I know I have Mother Burnout when EVERYTHING is just soooo irritating. It’s not them. Truly, it’s me. I get irritated by ANYONE that demands ANYTHING of me. There’s only so much I can GIVE GIVE GIVE! Even the husband starts getting to me, the phone ringing, the CLUTTER everywhere. And Tigger. Ohhhh, Tigger.

Never Minden, though….

img_9220

…because he’s my little partner in misery — just as irritated as I am by everything around him. Just wanting to curl up in a little ball and…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Seriously, I loathe these days. Loathe feeling like this. I really TRY to get out of the funk, but  it doesn’t happen. Until the kids are in bed and I’m on my couch and, ultimately, in bed again….

To make myself feel better today, I left the kids outside with Josh-O so I could workout and have my own space for a bit. Not 10 minutes into my 20-minute Shred, I hear screams. Rascal’s flipped down the concrete stairs in the front because SOMEONE pushed him. ME-duty gives way to MOTHER-duty. I give SOMEONE a time-out and wash poor Rascal’s muddy, scratched-up little frame. I hug him and comfort him.

I take one minute to put my head on the bathtub ledge, and grit my teeth and breathe — until little fingers peel my head off the ledge and sharp little nails pry open my squeezed-shut eyelids.

It’s the hardest job in the world. No, it really is. People say that all the time, but they don’t REALLY think about it, do they.

It’s the hardest job in the world. Motherhood is awesome and wonderful and a blessed thing. But, it’s hard. Really freakin’ hard.

Sigh…. In other news, Monkey and Rascal had their first official conversation. Check it:

Monkey: Do you don’t want ice cream?
Rascal: Neh.


I am completely paralyzed right now. Not answering the phone. Not answering emails. Not opening my mouth when spoken to. Not accepting cat cuddles (you know it’s bad when…).

I was THIS CLOSE — THIS CLOSE — to calling my boss from FOUR YEARS ago to ask for a job. THIS CLOSE. My day was THAT BAD.

Whine alert. Prepare for serious whinage. (And I’d dress that up with repeated LARGE CAPS and exclamation points as I usually do with everything, but this is not that kind of post. No, this is me FAREAKING OUT inside RIGHT NOW as Rascal breaks out into WAILS again. AGGGGAAAAIIIIINNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGHHHH!!! SLEEEEEP!

That felt good. Actually it didn’t. I was just too paralyzed to lift my fingers off the keys. And, part of me was kind of hoping emoting in words would feel good and help get me out of this funk, even as I sit here with a totally blank expressionless face. But, it didn’t make me feel good because I am, indeed, paralyzed on the inside, and on the outside because fat Tigger is perched on my lap. At least she’s warm.

{gratuitous picture of said fat cat would normally be posted here, but can’t because numb inside, and going increasingly numb outside — legs! Here’s a picture….}

In her case the camera actually subtracts 10 pounds. She’s a total raccoon.

Anyway, I’m on virtually no sleep for, like, the second day in a row because Rascal’s decided he enjoys wreaking havoc and making a misery of my life. Because this IS my life we’re talking about. And, it’s two against one. Two little monkeys decide my fate every day. It shouldn’t be like that, but it is. THEY have a bad day? I have a bad day. They have good day? In some cases, I STILL have a bad day.

Some of today’s mantras for you:

“MOMMY HAS THE RIGHT TO EXERCISE”;

“SO GO PEE”;

“YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF”;

“NO, RASCAL”;

“RASCAL, PLEASE DON’T THROUGH YOUR FOOD ON THE FLOOR.”

And, how ’bout this one? It’s my favourite:

“F———CK!”

Only I didn’t say it out loud. Which is a good thing because I did say “Oh, SH-T” in front of the Monkey today, and she was — vocally — very excited about her new word. Sigh.

Stay-at-home parenting is mind-numbing. It’s frustrating. It’s depressing. It’s isolating. It’s HARD. No, it’s REALLY HARD. So, I go to Josh, at the dinner table this evening, “I can’t do it. I just can’t do it anymore. I’m going to look for a job.” And, then I look at Rascal, and his rosy red cheeks (red from pooping and, it seems, teething), and I don’t want to leave him. It’s just a bad day. A really bad day. And, I am allowed my share of those.

It would be awesome to go back to work. I’m losing weight just thinking about it. But, a few thoughts go through my mind when I consider it:

“If I can’t handle staying at home with my own kids, how can I hire someone else to do it?”;

“The thought of someone else taking care of my kids makes me cry (more than I’m crying right now)”;

“Rascal wants ME, deserves ME — who am I to take that away from him because I’m having a wee emotional breakdown right now, which (c’mon we all know) is probably completely HORMONAL?”

“I am a lousy nine-to-fiver. What makes me think going to work won’t make me way more depressed than I am now.”

Because, really, I am happy. I’m just hormonal and sleep-deprived and in total sugar and Starbucks withdrawals…. If he sleeps tonight, I’ll be fine. I’ll be fine I’ll be fine I’ll be fine.

I just love them. So much. That sometimes I hate myself. Because I’m not perfect. Because my best isn’t good enough. And, because I’m way overdue for some extended me-time.

I’m way overdue for some extended me-time.

I was THIS CLOSE to quitting this stay-at-home gig. But, just…. Just listen to this…. (Enjoy…!)

Blank

Even after a day like today, I could listen to that over and over (well…).

So, I’m sticking to it. I just have to make it better tomorrow. After all, red IS the colour of a Valentine. MWAH! (Did you hear the kiss in the vid? Oy…!)

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