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Someone asked me last week how I felt about turning 30 – which I do today. The implication seemed to be that it should bother me to be reaching this milestone in my life. The big 3-0 as they say.

The fact is that I’m not bothered at all.

If you had told me six years ago that I would turn 30 with a degree, great job, great husband, a good dog and a lovely daughter I wouldn’t have believed it. Six years ago I was in my first year of university, Joe and I were friends but nothing more (it would be another month or so before we started dating), I was hoping to finish my degree and after that, I had no idea what I would be doing. Six years ago it was just before everything started falling into place, and here I am at the other end.

Life is good. I just finished a great year off with my wonderful little Maggie, I’m back at work being challenged all the time. There are stresses, but we get through them together. Through the magic of Twitter I’ve made some great friends and I get to attend great events with those friends. In the past year or so I’ve started taking more chances and testing my confidence more. I push myself to be a role model. I watch the great women around me to learn and grow even more.

Life is really good.

It just so happens that my birthday happens to fall on the same day that the Ottawa Senators are hosting a night in support of youth mental health initiatives in honour of Daron Richardson, who committed suicide a few months ago. I note this because fifteen years ago I could have been Daron. I considered killing myself and I don’t know what stopped me – maybe some part of me knew that I was meant to have a life.

I could have been Daron and I didn’t tell anyone – not until two or three years later when it started happening again. Now I do talk about it – I talk about how I felt back then and I talk about how I feel now because I’m still not ‘fixed’ and I probably never will be. Depression rears its ugly head every once in a while, I’m taking pills right now and I have been since shortly after the baby was born. The pills don’t fix everything, but they make it easier to fix things myself.

Life is good.

Taking a note from Rebecca, I will blog kind this week in recognition of Kindness Week Ottawa – I’m taking her first suggestion here – Posting a story about how kindness has affected me.

I was planning on writing this post yesterday, but yesterday I felt like an asshole and kindness was rather far from my mind.

That is, it was, until a woman that I met on Twitter – who I actually remember being a few years ahead of me in high school – saw my tweets about my having a bad day and stopped by my office building to drop off a sweet treat and tell me to feel better. She did this just to make me feel better on what was her first day back at work after maternity leave, which is hard no matter who you are.

I don’t know what I did to deserve her kindness, but that visit changed my frame of mind for the rest of the day.

It’s happened before, that people have been kind to me for no reason other than being kind and I’m sad to say it surprises me every time. I hope that I’m kind, but I know that I am often grouchy or bear ill will towards others. I’m not very good at acting happy when I’m not, or pleasant towards people that anger me.

This week I have had a hard time being kind because I’ve have been self-focused. I can only be thankful for kindness week because people were kind to me. I can only hope that I pay it forward and make someone else as thankful.

To say the last two weeks have been hectic is putting it rather mildly. I was busy at work and Joe was travelling back and forth to Toronto which meant I was on daycare duty for a few days.

I was happy most days to get everyone fed and dressed and safely home at the end of the day. This weekend I was completely exhausted. I took three naps on Sunday and I was still tired. I desperately wanted to get on the treadmill but I couldn’t find the energy. I feel as though I’ve lost all the momentum I had developed. I was managing well and now I’ve crashed and burned.

I know that not getting my exercise means I have less energy. I know that I’m not eating as well as I should to maintain energy through the day – some days I can actually feel my blood sugar crashing. I know I’m doing it all wrong right now and I need to refresh to feel good again, but I haven’t been able to push myself that far in days.

I’m tired of mood swings and I’m tired of feeling a step behind so what’s stopping me?

I am the feminist mother of a daughter.

This morning I was watching the news – as I do as part of my job – and the never ending story about Justin Bieber’s interview with Rolling Stone came on. Ignoring the comments about issues he clearly doesn’t understand, they landed today on his comments on Canadian health care and his assertion, whether joking or not, that “you guys are evil.” You guys, of course, being the USA.

The anchor on CBC said to the meteorologist “He’s 16, you’ve got to cut him some slack.”

And I felt rage.

When Miley Cyrus was 16 did we cut her any slack?

When Lindsay Lohan was 16 did we cut her any slack?

No, we told them they were being bad role models and they were acting like sluts and they should be ashamed of themselves and they needed to change their behaviour because the whole world was watching.

It all goes to this infuriating theory that while boys will be boys, girls need to be held to a higher standard.

But guess what?

I’m a woman who gets angry. I swear sometimes. I sweat. I have body hair. I have stretch marks even. I’m not perfect and I don’t expect anyone else to be – certainly not my kid. I want her to make mistakes and learn and grow. I want her to become a real human being with scars who maybe doesn’t always know what she thinks or *gasp* even changes her opinion sometimes.

I want her to look up to people who are flawed. I don’t want her to think she has to be a Barbie doll or Taylor Swift lest the world judge her.

I want her to meet her own standards and no one else’s.

I have anger this morning. Many people in my city are feeling emotional today.

Our hockey team sucks, and people have been talking for weeks – if not months – about blowing it up and starting over. Yesterday our GM started the process by trading one Mike Fisher to Nashville. The GM has said he didn’t really want to give Fisher up and Fisher has said he loves Ottawa and he would have preferred to stay here.

But…

Fisher is married to one Carrie Underwood who happens to call Nashville home. Fisher had indicated that if he had to go, he would prefer LA or Nashville.

So you’ve got a good guy that has done a lot in his years year, going to a city that he said he would like if he had to go somewhere, his wife who said many good things about Ottawa during their relationship…

And everyone is pouring the hate on her.

People are calling her Yoko Ono – which is offensive to two women, not just one. One of the local radio stations has banned her music, people are cracking jokes about Mike Fisher being whipped or about who wears the pants in that relationship.

Keeping in mind that neither one of them ever mentioned any desire to have him leave Ottawa.

I am so beyond offended at the reaction to this trade that I don’t even really know how to express it. Seriously people? You’ve all been talking about the fact that the whole team needs to get shipped out and we need to start over, the first to go is one of the nicest, classiest guys on the team who also happens to be sad to be leaving, and your first reaction is not to thank him for his dedication and hard work and wish him well, but is anger at his wife?

Grow up.

ETA: The guy took our a friggin’ full page ad in the local paper to thank all the fans. Seriously.

When I was pregnant, very early on, the thought of finding a day care to send my child to every day – before I’d even met them – caused me to burst into tears.

I knew all along that I would be going back to work because there was no way we could live on one salary. I have student loans that I have to pay every month, we’ve got rent and car payments and insurance and groceries and and and…

Before I was pregnant, the idea of being a stay at home mother didn’t interest me at all. In fact there was even the idea that Joe would take leave and I would go back right away, but when he changed jobs that wasn’t an option any more. So I took my leave, and I registered for day care waiting lists almost as soon as I hit 13 weeks.

The whole time I was at home I knew I would be going back to work and there were days when the thought was easier to take than others. I can’t say I made the choice to work outside the home as a mother, but I can’t say I wouldn’t have made that choice if I had the option. I do happen to think that day care has been very good for my kid – exposing her to different people and different play.

Diane Finley says that I want to pay someone else to raise my child. She says that her government’s Child Tax Benefit gives me the choice whether to stay home or work, the way a national daycare plan wouldn’t.

I say that’s bullshit.

Putting your kid in daycare is not a choice for a lot of families, mine included, and thanks to paying for daycare my salary has been virtually cut in half. That’s quite a bit more than the $100 a month Child Tax Benefit. I know people who have chosen to stay home because the daycare would eat up all their second income anyway. I guess that’s choice?

I’m not going to lie, I love working. I think my job makes me a happier, more whole person. I know that being at home and taking care of kids is a very hard job, I did it for a year and there were times I couldn’t handle it, now I’m glad that we have a daycare provider that I trust and that the Baby Girl likes so that I can work without guilt – guilt that the government apparently thinks I should feel.

Because it does get better

February 5th, 2011 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Issues | Parenting | Personal - (Comments Off on Because it does get better)

On Tuesday I will be wearing purple.

And you should too.

I don’t usually take part in the¬†various writing prompts that I see in my RSS feeds, I write what I write when I feel it. Today I fell on Sara’s blog, with the writing prompt that she was using and it caught my attention right away: Describe the last thing that made you laugh really hard.

That thought, that idea brought me right back to last night, after dinner and moving into bed time. Me and my kid.

I cleaned her off and set her loose from her high chair, I sat on the floor and we played together. When Daddy decided it was time to start getting ready for bed, I undressed her, right in the living room – partly because I wanted to throw the laundry right downstairs and partly because I like to let her skin breath every once in a while. She ran around the living room naked and screeched with laughter, and we laughed along with her. Together, the three of us made our way upstairs.

Joe put her on the change table to get her pajamas on and I stood by her head. Everything I did was the most hilarious thing ever. Her laughter bounced off the walls and the ceiling. It is a beautiful sound and you can not hear it without the joy overtaking you. So the three of us laughed together.

Democracy in action

February 1st, 2011 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Issues | Personal - (Comments Off on Democracy in action)

I happen to work in a job that allows me to watch TV all day. I am a news junkie and a politics junkie and I get to be surrounded by it.

Over the past few days that has meant that I have had the opportunity to watch what has been happening in Egypt as it happens. This morning I had the opportunity to watch a reported 2 million people gathered in Cairo to find or their rights as citizens. I got to watch them pray together.

It was breathtaking.

It has reminded me that no matter what people say, you can be a patriot and still fight against your government. That voices together can be heard by the world. That right is right.

That I am lucky to have a voice.

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