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There are days when you don’t get enough sleep. Days when the lows get a little lower. Days when you just want a calm moment and the kid has different ideas. Days when you realize you messed up your budget. Days when you don’t have anything good in the house for lunch.

Days when you feel like you’re just forgetting something and it sits in the back of your brain nagging at you but not revealing itself.

Some days you don’t feel like being at home but being out is hard.

Some days you feel as though all the people in the coffee shop are judging you.

Some days you spend your afternoon feeling like a bad mom.

And on those days it’s important to remember that those are only SOME days.

While we’re on the subject of me needing support and advice: Help.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m going back to work soon. We’re looking for daycare (lord help us) and we have a basic plan in place – I will bus to and from work while Joe takes the car and drops the baby girl off and picks her up.

As for getting all of us ready in the morning, trying to feed everyone for the day, trying to keep the budget under control, trying to keep the house clean, trying to be active and have time together as a family.

And trying not to go crazy.

How do you moms, the amazing moms I talk to online all the time, how do you stay organized?

Right now my memory is shot. I’m trying to write everything down on our wall calendar and send Joe invitations to appointments in our google calendars, but using that system I nearly missed the baby’s nine month check-up. I’m trying to keep lists and email myself my to-dos, but things can easily be forgotten and then all you have is this nagging feeling.

I don’t mind being busy, as long as I know that I’m where I’m supposed to be when I’m supposed to be there and that I’ve brought everything with me that I’ll need.

I’m up for anything – iPhone apps, desktop apps, paper notebooks and calendars – what do you use to ease the burden on your brain?

Blissdom Canada starts today, I gave up my ticket a few weeks ago so I’ll be experiencing it through hashtags and blog posts alone, and I have not lost 30 lbs.

I don’t remember the last time I weighed myself. I also don’t remember the last time I thought twice about eating a few pieces of chocolate. I was wearing my pedometer and one day it reset on me and I haven’t worn it since. I felt great the day after the Run for the Cure, and I haven’t really done that much exercise since.

I’m not as much angry at myself as I am disappointed and embarassed.

Now I have three months. Three months until I go back to work and everything gets harder again. If I don’t make changes in the next three months I never will. I’ll gain more and more weight and I will die early and I will leave behind my daughter, and she will be on her way to being overweight.

Three months and an internet full of people that I’m asking to remind me and push me and kick my ass.

In November, in a little over a week, I will be starting four weeks of Booty Camp, two sessions a week. I am terrified. I am almost certain I will fail. I am almost certain that I will go through those four weeks reminding myself that there are X sessions until it’s over.

But I am not so certain that I won’t try, because four weeks with a trainer, a supportive woman who has seen women like me and will push me through my desire to give up into that place where I’m proud of myself for doing it, four weeks might be exactly what I need.

In four weeks I will have lost some of this stubborn weight, I will remember how good it feels when you’re active, in four weeks I will be stronger and more ready.

So let’s go, Booty Camp, show me what you can do.

Last night as Joe and I watched the coverage of the municipal election here in Ottawa (on TV on Rogers community, who actually started their coverage before results came out, on the Apt. 613/Mediastyle liveblog, and on Twitter with the hashtag #ottvote) and we watched the percentages climb and fall, one number came out: 30 per cent.

I don’t know where it came from, but there were a couple of people on Twitter who proclaimed that voter turnout was going to end up somewhere around 27-30 per cent. This morning I woke up to the news that it’s actually going to be closer to 44 per cent.

I cannot express how upset I am that I was happy to see that the number had gone up to 44 per cent.

In my mind there is no excuse for not voting. Voting is not a decision that you make, voting is your civic duty – In a lot of cases voting is your only chance to express your opinion about what is going on in government. If you don’t like the candidates you have to choose from, spoil your ballot. In my opinion, voting is the least you can do.

They say if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain about the decisions government makes. That, I think, is the least of it. If you don’t vote, then you have no say whatsoever. Why would you ever give up your voice? Why would you choose not to speak the one time in four years that you are guaranteed to have a say?

I call out anyone who has voice an opinion on the Lansdowne project who didn’t vote. I call out anyone who complained about transit in the last four years who didn’t vote. I call out anyone who pays property taxes in the City of Ottawa who did not vote. I can’t believe that you would have nothing to say now.

During the She’s Connected conference I had my make-up done. It was the fourth time in my life I’ve done that, if you count the trial before the wedding as well as the wedding itself. Every time I have tried to remember what they were doing so that I could be more comfortable trying to do make-up at home, and every time I lose confidence. I’m always concerned that something is off, there’s too much blush or the make-up is too obvious. I feel conspicuous.

When the woman from Bourjois finished with me last week I felt good. I felt as though I didn’t look much different, but I did look better. Polished.

After She’s Connected I bought some make-up and I tried it and I felt good. One of the things I’ve always struggled with is knowing which colours and how much of what to put on in what order. The woman from Bourjois made me a list, and I felt comfortable with all the colours I was using. (I also tweeted a picture of myself and asked for confirmation that I didn’t look like a fool).

I know now, approaching 30, that make-up helps make me look more polished, more put together, less tired…

It’s something I needed to learn at this point in my life. I am a wife and a mother, I am a professional trying to move up in the world, I am a grown up after all.

I’ve been focussing on clothes, I’m comfortable with my style, though I need to make sure I look comfortable when I dress up, but as I lose weight I will be more comfortable in more clothing. And it’s unlikely at this point that I will ever lose the opinion that Converse sneakers can look dressy.

There is a median, and I will make it there.

Last week I drove up to Toronto with a great group of women so that we could all attend the She’s Connected Conference.

The conference was by invitation and I was excited and surprised to get an invitation, not really sure what to expect but very happy to be there since I ended up having to miss Blissdom (this year).

We knew that there would be brands in attendance and I gathered that we would be interacting to try and figure out how we could work with them while they tried to figure out how they could work with us.

Our Tuesday ended late and our Wednesday started early, we got to the Toronto Reference Library in time to have a bit of breakfast and some much needed coffee.

The day started with a presentation from Kobo, who had been quite generous to the conference and given each of the 100 attendees one of their e-readers. I was excited to get one, and excited to try it out right away. Now that I’ve had it for a little while I can say that I’m really glad I didn’t spend the money on it. The Kobo is easy to read from, but the desktop application doesn’t sync the way it seems like it should and the Kobo itself is not intuitive at all.

I would be more likely to recommend the Kobo to an older person, since they might not have the same technological expectations that I have, the text since can be made larger, and it is easy on the eyes.

Next up we had the keynote speech by Joanne Thomas Yaccato, who talked about gender in marketing, and how some companies think that they are marketing to women simply by releasing their products in pink. What she showed us was the power we have. Women are usually the ones doing the research and decision making when it comes to making major purchases.

She taught us that women are the leading users of social media, and she had the quote of the day: “Humanizing doesn’t mean feminizing, it’s about making it real not making it pink.”

The keynote, and getting my make-up done by Bourjois cosmetics were definitely the highlights of my day, along with the presentation by Sherry Abbott from CCTFA. She talked to us about Look Good, Feel Better, a program to help women with cancer feel better about themselves as they go through treatments. She told us about a new website, facingcancer.ca and how being connected online can help women with cancer not feel alone, and I thought of Laurie and everything she’s taught me about being strong.

And then the afternoon started and we had brand presentations. The chef from Maple Leaf Foods told us about the lunch they had served and some of their new products. It was great that they had him do their presentation, and also that he was prepared to answer the hard questions about their listeria difficulties last year.

The best brand presentations by far were the Egg Farmers of Ontario, who brought an actual egg farmer to talk to us, and Booty Camp Fitness who had a presenter with so much energy – and she also happened to be presented right after the worst of the day’s presentations. Calvin Klein really didn’t seem to have any idea what they were doing there, and the room was half empty by the time the ‘scent expert’ finished speaking.

The part of the day we were all waiting for was the roundtables and networking. I was looking forward to hearing from the brands and meeting all the women I had been talking to online, but the brands had all gone over time in the afternoon and we ran out of time before the networking even started.

All in all, it was mostly a fun day, the best part was probably the drive to Toronto and back – I got to know a few women better, we got to talk about a whole bunch of different topics, we laughed, we connected. It was great.

I believe in It Gets Better

October 22nd, 2010 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Issues | Personal - (Comments Off on I believe in It Gets Better)

I am not a member of the LGBT community. I was born white, middle-class, straight – all the things that are supposed to make it easier to exist in our little society.

I am a woman, I am overweight, I was raised by a single mother who taught me to be open-minded and caring. Some combination of what I was in high school bothered some people. I wasn’t cool and I was made fun of on occasion. I suffered from depression and when I was in Grade 11 I nearly dropped out – something that seems so ridiculous now.

One of the people who made my life better in high school was an English teacher who told me I was smart, he built up my confidence and made me believe I had a certain talent – he also happened to be openly gay and he started the first LGBT club in any high school in my home town.

Some of the people that I love the most now that I’m older are part of the LGBT community and it drives me absolutely crazy that there are people who still believe that something is wrong with these people. I hate that there are people in this world who believe they have a right to tell others how to live their lives.

I hate the parents who are cruel to their children because they are queer. I love my daughter and I will love her always – there is nothing that could make me stop and I will never understand how someone could stop loving their child.

I hate the people who pretend to know what God wants when all religions preach loving thy neighbour and treating others as you would have them treat you.

And I think that all youth should know that it does get better. Once you leave high school – that strange little world where everyone is supposed to fit one mold. I firmly believe that once you leave high school it is much easier to be yourself, much easier to stop caring what others think of who you are, and to find the place that you fit in – because everyone fits somewhere.

No matter your colour, your gender, your orientation, your interests, there are people out their like you and once you meet them everything else melts away.

Dan and Terry – It Gets Better

Tim Gunn – It Gets Better

Cast of Wicked – It Gets Better

For the past few weeks I have been reading Stevie Cameron’s new book On the Farm about the investigation Robert William Pickton’s crimes in B.C.

I’m reading the book because I’m interested in how the investigation was handled, and because I have an interest in serial killers.

At the same time as I am trying to finish this book to return it to the library on time, the evidence against Russell Williams is being presented in court. The man pleaded guilty to two murders and countless other charges in a courthouse not far away from my first apartment in Belleville.

In both of these cases I have read things I wish I could erase from my memory. I now know too much about women who were brutalized, killed, violated. Young girls in some cases. A lot of these cases were ignored because the women had chosen their lot in life. (You know, after abusive childhoods, controlling relationships…)

I am a woman. I have a daughter. I am a feminist.

I am sick and tired of hearing excuses as to why some women matter less than others, and why women in general matter less than men.

I am sick and tired of women being blamed for the actions of their attackers, because men only do bad things when women wear skirts that are too short or they drink too much or they say no when they must mean yes.

I am tired of wondering if I’ve just been lucky so far in my life, and I’m tired of wondering if my daughter will be as lucky, or if I will come home one day to find her beaten and crying and blaming herself.

I don’t want her to feel at fault if something happens to her, and I don’t want her to wonder if she’ll be believed or attacked, belittled. Much like I want to protect her from feeling as though she’s not pretty enough or thin enough, I want to protect her from feeling as though she can be broken.

And I don’t know how.

When I was in Grade 9 we had self-defense training as part of our gym class. I felt good after those sessions. I felt stronger and more aware. I want to take a self defense class with her at some point.

But I also want to teach her that the responsibility doesn’t always fall to her. That if someone does something to her it will not be because she didn’t defend herself well enough.

I want the world to change where the blame gets laid. I want men to get angry at the men who are giving them a bad name. I want women to surround and support the women who are in pain.

The baby girl is nine months old today. She’s growing up so quickly, having so many milestones so quickly.

I’m looking at her face today and I still can’t believe that I could ever love someone so much. Nine months later she still shocks me.

And now instead of a year to get to know her, I have three months until I go back to work. I want to go back to work, I do, I’m excited about getting back into that world – I just wish I could take her with me.

We visited our first potential day care last week. We went on a tour and we asked questions and everything was fine until we got back to the car and started talking about the pros and cons of the place. Then, suddenly, without ever seeing it coming, I was a blubbering mess.

I love my days with her. I love talking to her. I love cuddling her and walking with her. I love experiencing her new experiences. I love just watching her. I know everything good that will come from sending her to a place with real teachers, ECE workers, other kids, older kids. I know how she will flourish in such a place.

But this morning she slamed a lid down on her hand and I was there to cuddle her and comfort her like I’m supposed to be.

I never wanted to be a stay at home mom. Joe and I even talked about him taking paternity leave to stay at home for the first year when he was in his old job. I never wanted this.

But I’m going to miss it so very much.

This year has been pretty special, and this week has reminded me of that. Tomorrow we will celebrate the baby girl’s first thanksgiving at my dad’s house and I will have so much to be thankful for.

This week my mom came to visit her granddaughter for the third time and we spent every day exploring with her, outside in the gorgeous weather of fall. We took her to Saunders Farm to pick out her pumpkin for Halloween, we took her for a walk at Bruce Pit, and the puppy went for his first real run since he got sick about a month ago.

Because Mom was here Joe and I had the opportunity to go out just the two of us to celebrate our third anniversary. It seems like so much longer. I remember the day of the wedding, thinking I just wanted to get it over with so we would be married already, like we were supposed to be.

For our anniversary we went to dinner and a concert – Jason Mraz, who put on a great show. We had tickets to see him for our first anniversary but work got in the way. In fact, this is the first time we’ve really had the chance to celebrate because work has always gotten in the way.

While my mom was here she also helped me put together a few things so that she could make me a memory quilt. She took home bits of t-shirts and few photos printed on transfer fabric. She also bought me a new Moleskine notebook while she was here and, because I had been thinking about all my little memory trinkets thanks to Danigirl, I have started pasting those little trinkets into said notebook and writing about them.

Thinking about all the things I’ve done worth remembering, watching my mother fall completely in love with my daughter, and celebrating my marriage, it all makes me so thankful and the bad things just fall away. These beautiful pictures of the four of us, a family, are just the icing on the cake.

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