Why I Love My Inner Bitch

It was quite the week last week. The tree is up and gingerbread are baked but I’m finding my Christmas spirit to be a bit elusive. Of course, a lot of it has to do with the horrible tragedy last week in Connecticut, which I won’t even speak about because it makes me tear up every time. Another huge part of it has to do with my 14-year-old niece being stuck in the hospital with stabbing abdominal pains that they can’t seem to diagnose after 7 days. It is frustrating and worrying and she is handling it all like a trooper but her poor mum, my only sister, is slowly being worn down to the point of exhaustion. And there’s nothing I can do.

I know this all sounds terribly depressing and I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer but I am finding that having my nerves frayed and this constant low-level of worry eating at me has been quite the eye-opening learning experience. I think I am finally falling in love with my inner bitch.

Don’t get me wrong. She has always been there. She makes an appearance every once in a while, but usually when I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine with my girlfriends and we get started on our men, or our kids, or life as a woman in general. She is pretty much bound to show up once a month and my poor Muppet is well acquainted with her.

And here’s the thing; I love women who let their inner bitch out once in a while. Let me be clear. I’m not talking about the kind of woman who looks you up and down, gives you a withering look, and walks away or who insults perfect strangers based on superficialities. That is juvenile and unnecessarily hurtful. What I love is when a woman can finally let loose and actually voice those things that she is unhappy with in her life; the things that drive her crazy, or make her dissatisfied. I love it when my otherwise cheerful girlfriends will let loose with a few choice expletives while pondering why their dear spouse can’t seem to get his dirty undies into the hamper.

Let’s face it; we women are taught to be nice. I know that I have a huge problem saying ‘no’ or rocking the boat. I was always the shy one who was well-behaved and easy-going as a child. And I was complimented on those traits A LOT. Sound familiar? We were encouraged to be nurturing, to play quietly, to keep our dresses clean and our hair tidy. I don’t think I even realized until the last few years how much of that I had carried on into my adult life.

I realize now that all this time I had this other side of me that was aching for more than just a brief walk-on role in my life. As I grow older I realize that my bitch – that part of me that stands up for herself, and doesn’t suffer fools, and gets fed up and frustrated – is a real and important part of my personality and I am growing less and less afraid to let her out.

I look back at some of the times that she was trying to make herself known and I repressed her: The time that I was forced to work until almost 10pm one night because my boss didn’t get his own work done on time and I made a comment to that effect (in a joking tone) which got me a stern look and a warning. The time that I was told I was ‘too blunt’ when I gave my opinion in a meeting. I was right in both cases, but I forgot to be nice and unassuming, to remember my place and not rock the boat.

Maybe loving my inner bitch comes with being in my forties now. I have obligations and responsibilities and I don’t have the time to mess around with poor customer service or whiny people or incompetent bosses. I want my life to be happy, and to run as smoothly as it can, and I am not going to put up with anything that stands in my way.

I actually think my bitch was always there to make sure I did what was best for myself, but the rest of me just wasn’t ready yet to put myself first. She shows up when things are at their toughest and says ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. She is the one who gets me to say ‘no’ when I really am stretched to thin. She is the one who gets me to cancel plans that I am actually too exhausted or sick to enjoy. She is the one who lets me speak my mind at my current job because I have important things to say and should be heard.

I am almost grateful that the last couple of weeks have been so stressful. Unleashing my inner bitch has actually allowed me to prioritize and to see what is really important. She has given me permission to say ‘no’ to everything except those things that matter most; my kids, my guy, getting ready to make this a great holiday, and helping out my sister and niece in any way they will let me. In many ways, its like I have found a new best friend!





Invasion of the Bed Snatchers

I think that the biggest indignity when your kids are older and still causing you to lose sleep is that you keep fooling yourself into thinking those kinds of nights are a thing of the past. Then, every once in a while, you hear the clomp clomp of their not-so-tiny feet and open your eyes to see them hovering over you and staring you awake in the middle of the night. You sigh and lift up the blankets and let them climb in and it’s only then that you remember they are waaaay too big to just slide in between the two of you anymore. Something has to give, and it’s usually Muppet, who flees to the vacated kids’ room to sleep free from jabbing elbows and flailing feet.

Mini Me has been a bit clingy since the start of this year and last night was the second time in two weeks that he wandered into our room claiming nightmares. He’s 10 1/2 but he hasn’t reached that age yet where he shrugs away our hugs and touches. He’s actually pretty affectionate with the both of us still, but he was never one to crawl into our bed very often, even when he was really little. So, when he needs the security, we still let him get in. He’s getting so big now that he takes up almost as much room as his dad, minus the snoring, so it’s not an issue. Muppet bails out and I get a good night’s sleep.

But then last night, two hours after Mini Me comes in, I get Monkey as well. I don’t even remember why he said he was coming in. He is not a good co-sleeper. He tosses and turns, pokes elbows in my face, and generally has to hang onto me or bury himself against my side the whole night. This is when I wish that I could bail out too and just leave the both of them to cling to each other. But, they have mummy radar and I know that if I switched beds, it would only be a matter of time before they would follow.

I’m not complaining, not really. They are both getting older and these nights don’t happen that often. I am just grateful that when they were little and Monkey would co-sleep for a week on end, that I was able to still fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Those days are long gone as I creep steadily into my forties and deeper into perimenopause. Insomnia and I are good friends now and I am at least grateful that I am at least not having night sweats like some of my friends while I lay awake at night. I guess this is the price you pay for having your kids later in life.

Hopefully tonight everybody will be in their own beds. Maybe I should take a lesson from the cat and spend my nights somewhere that nobody else can fit!

Indy in my pyjama drawer

Hello Fall. It’s About Time

Ahhh, I woke up this morning to a dismal and rainy day but am I sad. Nooooo. I cracked open the living window, made myself a cup of tea, sparked up the computer…. and had to find myself a SWEATER. Hooray!

It’s not that I am opposed to summer. Not at all. We all had a great summer camping and swimming and hanging out with friends and family. I was a bit sad to see the kids go back to school, mainly because I realize that they are getting older and time has been passing way too quickly. Mini Me has these broad shoulders now and wants to hang out with his buddies after school. Monkey has moved up to the second floor of our hulking old school building, which means I am now permanently relegated to picking him up outside in the school yard instead of occasionally popping in to the classroom and keeping up a rapport with the teacher.

But I digress.  The reason I am thrilled to finally get a taste of good old Canadian fall weather is because I am freakin’ tired of sweating! I know it’s petty but there you have it. This was the kind of summer in Toronto where some days you just stood outside and dripped. The air conditioning was running way more than I would have liked and the days with a nice breeze and a perfect 25 degrees were few and far between. I come from Scottish and English stock. I don’t handle this weather well. I am also creeping towards my mid 40s and I suspect that perimenopause has been rearing its ugly head for a couple of years now. I suppose I will have my answer about that little issue when it’s -15 outside and I am still sweating in a few months.

Another totally ridiculous reason for loving fall? The clothes. It’s difficult to look put together when you’re sweating buckets and just want to walk around naked with a fan blowing on you at all times. In the fall, you can wear stuff like this…

From the Addition Elle fall line

Oh yeah, I went and bought this skirt last weekend. Red pencil skirt with a cheeky black zipper that runs down the entire length of the back seam. I have plans for this skirt.

I can’t wait to dig out my jeans, my boots, my scarves. Oh, how I love my scarves. And my sleek leather jacket. Sigh. I’m looking forward to getting myself put together and staying that way instead of becoming a drippy, shiny mess 5 minutes after leaving the house.

It’s not all about the clothes though. Craft fairs, farmer’s markets, Thanksgiving, Halloween, hay rides, pumpkin patches, apple pies and cider, hikes to see the leaves turning colour. And if I get to look fabulous while doing all of these things, then that’s just an added bonus.

What’s your favourite season?

My Laundry Is Giving Me Wrinkles

It’s Tuesday and Toronto just got hit with a humidex advisory. I am all for fresh air, but if the air in question feels like it’s over 40 degrees (that’s 104 for any Americans out there), then I am opting out. Apparently we’re just starting off a three day heat wave which makes me VERY grateful that we just had the air conditioner serviced and given a clean bill of health.
Not so for Monkey, who is home again today, running a slight fever and coughing like 70 year old lifetime smoker. He’s raspy and phlegmy and a bit lethargic but otherwise in good spirits. Not so for his cooped up mummy.
Opting out of the great outdoors is one thing, but being forced to stay in and endure the incessant drone of cartoons or youtube videos is more than a little nerve wracking when you’re supposed to be working. On top of that, I have realized that I can no longer ignore the laundry that is piling up. Cue the wrinkles.
I have mentioned before that I live in a house full of men. I have not mentioned before that they smell. Oh, I realize that it’s not their fault. They bathe regularly (even though we have to sometimes threaten Mini Me with loss of computer privileges if he doesn’t get in the shower RIGHT NOW!!), and generally don’t get very dirty. But…
Maybe it’s this whole perimenopause thing, but I seem to have developed the nose of a blood hound. I remember being like this during my pregnancies, when certain smells could cause me to dry heave. As it turns out, the dry heaving has not returned, but I have been seriously tempted to put a clothes pin on my nose to avoid the smells that emanate from the dirty laundry. I can feel myself frowning and wrinkling my nose, my whole face scrunched up as I sort through sweaty shirts and stinky socks, not to mention anything Monkey wears on his lower half, because he still has some problems with drippage (to put it kindly). Ugh.
It has gotten to the point where I have to consciously talk myself into relaxing my facial muscles because if there is one iota of truth to the “Make a face and you’ll stick that way” story, then I am screwed. Maybe I should burn some incense in the laundry room to distract myself of maybe I should put sachets of potpourri in the laundry hampers. Of course, the easiest thing would be to have them sort their own damned laundry. Hmmm. Now there’s a thought. Okay, I am off to look at laundry room organizational tools at IKEA. Muppet can’t complain about me buying new, fancy hampers if it’s for the sake of my sanity and to keep my face from prematurely ageing. Right? Right!