Mother knows best? Of course, well, kinda …

Stay in this box, that is what's best.
Stay in this box, that is what’s best.

Mother knows best. I tell my lil one this all the time, along with how I’m the smartest person in the world and letting her know who the boss is in our dynamic duo (Which really seems to be her but she thankfully cannot read this complex sentence.)

I’m not sure if parents truly believe they know what’s best, I don’t know anything it seems. Whenever I get to thinking I have a handle on things, my daughter will have a growth spurt, a new interest, new friend … TV is bad, well she loves performing so is it so bad? Girly toys are sexist, she loves all that stuff and when asked why she says, “Ladies are beautiful.” Do I take the stroller, she’s too big for the stroller, but she can nap in the stroller. Eat healthy, and get rewarded with a treat. Let the kid tantrum, shut the kid up.

This isn’t a case of parents having kids too soon, it’s a case of humans don’t know anything about anything when it comes to interacting with each other. Once it is accepted that your child is its own person it becomes easier. But it really doesn’t, because why the eff can’t you get a handle on YOUR own child?

It is your responsibility to make sure your child obeys all the rules you stumble to find important while raising them to be an individual. No one finds this easy. Facebook pictures don’t depict the whole story, they are what we look at when our children are freaking out to remember why we haven’t dropped them off at the local pound.

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com

Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein

Photo from peggyorenstein.com

While researching for an article about being a feminist raising a princess obsessed ballerina I came across Peggy Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter Dispatched From The Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture.

I enjoy her take on raising a daughter in a media saturated world where girls are told they can be either Snow White or Cinderella and have anything they want – in pink.

This book provides a lot on interesting information regarding the history of toy companies, gender defining colours, and how mothers feel about the rule of the princess.

Spoiler fact: Take a look at Disney Princess merchandise, the girls are never looking at each other.

It’s an honest book where she admits though she’s been studying the behaviours of girls for years, she was still not completely prepared for raising one, something any parent can admit to (Though some don’t)  Her work is both an educational and enjoyable read, I highly rcommend not only this book but her others as well.

Check out peggyorenstein.com

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com

Old friends + new baby =

duckies

I would suck at poker for a variety reasons: I bore quickly of card games, I don’t like the chance of not getting something in return for my money and I’m not sure I’d be able to master a poker face.

Is that what friends do, when they are told a peer is pregnant? Though they do not actually intend on remaining friends, they say so anyway, their facial expressions in on the ruse?  Or do they genuinely believe they’ll stick around, until they grow bored over parties lacking your presence or grow awkward when you say you, let alone do, breastfeed?

I moved back to BC from Ontario because I was living a life that was over my head. An abusive childhood, self-destructive teenage years … my past is what cautionary tales are made of. When I moved back to Ontario with my fiancé I was pregnant. My old friends lifestyle didn’t mesh with my pregnant self. The ones who did stick around were mutual friends with my fiancé and I soon became nothing more than part of the furniture, if not an obstacle between them and their good time while they partied at my apartment.

New friends I made gushed and came to my baby shower. I received gifts of promises that they’d babysit whenever.

When Patience was first born these new friends stuck around, for a while. But it didn’t last; my new life was boring for them, understandable.  My “best” friend would ask before planning outings, “Will Patience be there?” Where else would she be? At work?

When I left Patience’s dad things got worse, when people decided it necessary to choose sides it was a no-brainer; the boring girl with responsibilities or the fun-loving guy?

Being friends with other moms didn’t work out either; it was as if they thought broken homes were contagious.

I’ve found healthier friends to accompany my recent healthier mindset.

I guess friends are dependant on your current lifestyle and some things are more flexible than others.

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com

Juno

People lovingly called me Juno in my final trimester when the movie was in theatres.

At first I loved the movie because it was cute, witty and made being pregnant feel not so weird for me, a girl whose friends and then fiancé were still heavy drinkers, partying in my apartment while I tried to keep smiling and awake.

Re-watching Diablo Cody’s movie now, it’s so much more. The main character, Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) is a sixteen-year-old girl, still spending her money on Big Gulps, who gets pregnant; something “grown up”. Something that makes the technician who does her ultra-sound condescending, something that makes a grown man betray her trust by coming on to her.  Juno faces alienation from schoolmates and the gap that grows between her and her best-friend/love interest/father of her child is sad to see.

Yes, she brings life in the world, but the feet in those hospital bed stirrups are covered in rainbow-striped socks.

The story about the adoptive parents, Mark and Vanessa (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner shows how a child I the family can put strain on a marriage.

The punch of pregnancy, babies, life; I haven’t met anyone of any age who can say they weren’t hit with a childlike confusion.

Vanessa: “How do I look?”

Bren: “Like a new mom, scared shitless”

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com

Self-doubt, single status and singing La Vida Mickey


I don’t expect pity for being a single-mom, it’s better off this way than if I had stayed with her father, but I didn’t expect this conversation to hurt so badly. Really hurt, lump in my throat, heavy heart hurt.

There are times where your self-confident self can be reckoned with, transformed into that shy, shaky kid at the front of the class during public speaking week. I didn’t expect one of those times would be spawned in relation to an event with the soundtrack of Livin’ La Vida Mickey.

When I signed P up for dance classes I expected the waiting room experience with the other parents, mostly mothers, would be horrible. It wasn’t. I’m usually reading a book or writing in my notebook while they chat amongst themselves. It is all very friendly and I’m sure if I wasn’t so darn anti-social I’d be included in the banter.

So no, this post is not about mean dance moms. It does involve a conversation I eavesdropped on one afternoon while our children danced down the hall.

The next day would be the day recital tickets went on sale. Though the doors of the building would not open until 9, those with past experience warned a line forms at 6. Though we all groaned there were sighs of relief, “My husband is staying at home with the kids so I can line up.” Or, “My husband will be the one getting in line.” With that solved they joked about having signed their hubbies up for the Dancing Dads segment of the recital.

I don’t expect pity for being a single-mom, it’s better off this way than if I had stayed with her father, but I didn’t expect this conversation to hurt so badly. Really hurt, lump in my throat, heavy heart hurt.

Saturday morning I decided against shaking my sleeping kiddo awake before I had to. There is a golden rule to never wake up a sleeping child. We got to the dance school a quarter to nine thanks to my two feet, a stroller, a booster seat balanced somehow on the stroller handles just in case and my bus pass.

I got in line, with two dads in front of me, and a dad behind me. These guys were carrying ballet slipper emblazoned duffle bags; they talked about their daughter’s lives with interest, this wasn’t a chore for them, it was what they did.

I felt like a loser, standing there with my bus pass, travel equipment and what I thought to be obvious single status. They included me in their conversations, we joked, I smiled. I felt like a loser.

My daughter couldn’t have cared less. She talked to everyone, she danced, she played with the other kids. She told people how fun her mom is. The fun, “Me and my mom” have.

Me and my mom.

Me and my daughter.

It’s cool, it’s fine, it’s life. It’s my life and I’m totally cool with my ringless finger wrapped around those of the hand of such an awesome little girl.

I got good seats in the end, by the way.

She insisted I participate instead of watch from the sidelines xo

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com