Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Full Time Job

I got the job almost four years ago.
It sounded great on paper, but then I was having second thoughts.
I showed up for my first day anyway, because I said I would.
Most of it was a blur.
Nothing in the job description indicated how much time and effort was actually involved.
The long hours and lack of pay made me wonder what kind of idiot would ever show up for a job like this.
Then I realized, that's exactly why the job description doesn't tell you the hard stuff.
It promises fulfillment and pride, but fails to mention the exhaustion and pain.
It took a long time reading reviews from others in the same line of work to uncover the truth.
Your friends ask you to join them for dinner.
You decline because you have to work.
You curse the phone that rings at 9am after you've finished a night shift.
Then suddenly the three-month probation period is up.
I haven't been fired.
And actually feel like I'm getting a grip on things.
The one year anniversary of employment brings about a twinge of that 'Pride' they spoke about.
The job feels easier until I'm thrown a whole new set of instructions.
Company procedures have changed.
It's like that first day all over again.
But with the new duties, comes the occasional time off.
The night shifts get fewer and further between.
Sleep gets caught up and I begin to have fun in this position.
People often ask what I do for work and I shrug and say I'm unemployed.
Sometimes they smile back and say they know very well that I work full-time.
Doing what?
It seems like a whole host of things...
I am a nurse.
I am a comedian.
I am a taxi driver.
I am an accountant.
I am a custodian.
I am a coach.
I am a teacher.
I am a guidance councilor.
I am a therapist.
I am a mediator.
I am a personal shopper.
I am a personal chef.
I am a nutritionist.
I am a superhero.
I am a mom.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Check your Privilege

I was reading a few posts, on a sharing site I'm on, about 'checking your privilege' and it's made me think a lot about the stereotypes we use, even sub-consciously, and why.

A Privilege is defined as "A right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed by a person or group beyond the advantages of most."

Privileges include: Class privilege, Educational privilege, Gender privilege, Age privilege, Able-bodied privilege, Religious privilege and Sexuality privilege.

Basically this means that generally people of higher education or class tend to look down on or mock under-educated people. Men often get more business advantages than women. Certain advantages and allowances are made available based on your age. Able-bodied people often get more advantages even if a non-able-bodied person is more qualified. Sub-standard religious groups get mocked or shunned by more dominant groups. Straight couples get more benefits than same-sex couples in most countries or cases.

The phrase 'Check your privilege' reminds you to think about where you fit in before judging others.

Some extended examples in the post I read included a reference to some vegans or vegetarians turning up their nose at people who eat meat products. Eating that way doesn't mean you care more about the environment or the planet than other people, it means you can afford more restrictive food and have the time to prepare it.

I find that in a way this also relates to how we view parents and parenting styles 'from across the room'.
I've been guilty, numerous times, of quietly smirking or criticizing when I see someone trying to corral a tantruming toddler. I've wrinkled my nose at the single moms who congregate in front of local businesses.
It's easy to say "Well I would have done it like this" when you're not in that situation.

Maybe it's hard to relate that to 'privilege', but in some ways you can.
Sneer all you want at the mom who feeds their kid non-organic food - but maybe they can't afford it.
Shake your head sadly at the parent who can't keep their kid under control in Wal-mart - but maybe they're all hungry and haven't been sleeping well because of their neighbours.
Whisper behind your hands about the assumed promiscuity of the single mom - but maybe it wasn't her choice, or maybe it WAS, for the safety of her family.

My eyes have certainly been opened the last few years in regards to who I thought I'd be as a parent and who I am. They've been opened with regards to how I look at single parents. They've been opened to how many/few wheelchair accessible buildings and businesses there are (from the stroller pushing years). They've been opened to how difficult it is to listen to you child cry all day and not be able to do anything about it, and how easy it can be to loose your temper in public because all you want to do is go home and sleep.

Being loved is a human right, but living in a house with a loving family is a privilege.
Don't turn away from people because they can't afford what you have, but don't act like a saviour to them either.
Don't pity the single parent, lend a supporting arm and treat them as an equal.
We are all raising children. We all know what poopy diapers and lost sleep and endless crying can do to a person. We are all trying to do what's best, without a clue what we are doing.
And at the end of the day, we are all human.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tall Tales

This is kind of an update post, which I don't normally do. I just feel like things keep happening and then suddenly the month is gone and I haven't blogged.

Toby's new thing is telling stories. Not in the sense of  "One day a little girl walked through the woods..."
No, these stories are immense exaggerations of daily events, or stories that other people have told him.
He spoke non-stop for 15 minutes one day when we were int he car about the farm he had 'when he was a boy' and that he had horses and cows and (OH YES!) sheep and chickens. And that the chickens were crowing and crowing for their water because it was very hot and they were thirsty. and there were two cats that were black and orange just like ours.
He'll tell me how a long time ago when he was a baby he built his bed.
He'll tell me how he used to carry me when I was a baby.

...Part of me is thinking... past lives?.. you hear of kids telling these stories about things that they can't possibly know at their age.
..And part of me is thinking... you need to stop exaggerating before you end up telling some kid at school that you have a farm with 10 horses.

It's hard to distinguish what I encourage and what I try to correct. At first i was correcting him...He'd tell me about having a farm and I'd say "Yeah that would be a nice thing some day. Maybe you will be a farmer." or telling me about building his bed or this house I'd say "Well, You weren't around then, but somebody did a really good job with that didn't they?"
But then he'd argue with me that HE was the one who did all that, so I started asking him more, like "How many cows were on your farm? What colour was the barn? What did you use to build the bed?"

But even then, I feel like becoming TOO interested encourages him to get attention by telling these long-winded stories.

I'm kind of thinking it's just the stage he's at... he's learning story telling and description... plus myself and my dad keep telling him things that start off with "Well, when I was little...", so he's patterning off that...
It'll be interesting to see where it leads I guess...

Month of June:
- Much needed London 'vacation' for three days, then impromptu overnight in Stratford.
-Arts for Peace
-Coldwater Studio Tour
- Berry Picking
- Caught a Monarch caterpillar and a few days later it turned into a chrysalis so now we're awaiting the grand emergence.
- Ongoing drama with certain people that's leaving me feeling very lost. I'm dying to rant more, but shouldn't.
- Probably other stuff? What even happened in June?
-OH, Snowbirds! We drove past the Simcoe Airport on our way to town for the air show and I pulled over and was being all stealthy taking photos of the planes and then three cars in a row that passed meand turned into the airport, so I followed suit and there was a big line of cars parked, waiting for the planes to take off, and people with picnic blankets and kids all camped out. So I didn't feel so bad taking a zillion photos. We watched the stunt plane take off, and then races to town to wait for the Snowbirds. Had an amazing spot on the lawn of my grandparent's retirement home!
- Toilet training was deceptively going well, and then there two weeks where he refused to use to toilet and desperately wants diapers instead of pull-ups. He's pretty good at telling me he has to poop for the most part, but can't seem to get the hang of holding in pee. I've hyped up the underwear thing lots, and at one time he seemed enthusiastic too, and then he just shut down. Oh well, we keep trying..

Coming up:
-MARIPOSA FOLK FESTIVAL!!!!! Fred Penner, Al Simmons AND the Arrogant Worms... I don't even care who else is there, we're parking ourselves in front of the kid's tent the whole time. (really, there's a bunch of people I'm excited about, but have no hope of seeing because they perform so late at night and I need to take Toby home to bed.)
- Maybe starting swimming lessons with Toby? I want to go to Paulene Barratt's, because apparently it's a salt water pool, and I'm allergic to chlorine, so cant go anywhere else. We've been to the lake a bunch and I run in and out of the water with him and hold him and get him to kick in the deep water, but it's not the same as being in a class.
- Relatives from Winnipeg coming for a few weeks at the end of July!!!
- Job at Jack and Maddy still going well!! More of a nice 'day off' from home, although this past Monday Toby threw a fit when I left and all but climbed in the car with me, so I threw some pants on him and stuck him in his car seat, picturing a miserable day ahead. It didn't turn out too bad, but I also was working a shortened day and I was still constantly trying to look after him. Hopefully it's not a pattern. (P.S. We have Avengers and Harry Potter Lego still, and now Lord of the Rings Lego!!)

That's summer in a nutshell so far!!!