A Marriage as Told Through Text Messages

Is that set to record later?
It is! You want me to record it in HD? I know it has that guy you like
No, that’s okay
He’s cute but he’s not like high def cute

I’m watching Away From Her and it’s so sad and OH MY GOD JUST COME HOME
What’s that movie about?
Gordon Pinsent and Julie Christie have been married for over 40 years and he has to put her in a nursing home because of worsening dementia, and then she forgets him

Someone at work wants your fudge recipe
My fudge recipe?!
My closely guarded fudge recipe?!
That’s an old family secret
You got that off the internet
Someone’s family

I’ll call you later or tell you about it when you get home. It defies what I can do with this tiny keyboard
What’s the gist of it?
Damn, there’s no tire fire emoji
But imagine a tire fire

What did the pirate say on his 80th birthday?
I don’t want to do this with you today
I want a divorce and I want it now

I love you 🙂 ❤
Did you know that Ace of Base started as a neo-Nazi band?
I love you too, also

I cannot believe that there have been this many incidents since April 3rd
We still have stuff in our fridge from April 3rd
That’s worrying
On both counts

It wasn’t Richard Marx, I swear!
(It was Dan Hill)
Not better
In fact, worse
It beggars belief that I married someone with your taste in music
The honesty’s too much 😥

It finally happened
She pooped in the tub
It was like time slowed down, as though a car accident were about to happen
And suddenly it was over
I am not the same man you saw before you left for work
I have gazed into the abyss
And it has gazed back
new number who this

I have to head to a meeting but in case you needed to hear it today, I am very glad I met you
Are you? Still? That’s sweet 🙂 
Is this a lead-in to a “…but stop making those horrible dad jokes?”
No, actually
I’m hoping the shock collar is going to take care of the worst of it
The what?
Meeting’s starting! Love you!

Why I’m Done Saying “Sorry For the Mess”

Why I’m Done Saying “Sorry For the Mess”

No, actually. I’m not sorry for the mess.

Yes, I know. It’s the polite thing to say whenever anyone comes to your house and finds it in a state any less immaculate than a surgical theatre as furnished by Pottery Barn. For lo, look at the abomination that is dust on the mantle. Lay your eyes on the smudges on the table legs. Are those dishes in the sink? Actual dishes that have touched food? Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Let me just go commit ritual suicide in the backyard as soon as I can find a tarp. It’s the done thing. I get it. But I am over it.

I mean, okay. We make the effort to see that the place is relatively tidy and that nine times out of ten there are no surfaces that are sticky. We don’t live in squalor, but we have two adults who work full-time and an eighteen-month-old whose understanding of what constitutes a finger food is tenuous at best. (We also have a dog, but he might actually be the tidiest member of the household. Which is kind of worrying now that I see it written down.) It does not look like a catalogue. It looks like people live here because people live here. Why am I apologizing for toys on the floor just because you dropped in unannounced, and by the way who does that in the year of our Lord two thousand and sixteen because cell phones are a thing you know and some people get very anxious when they hear the doorbell unexpectedly because some people don’t always wear a bra at home and they can’t always pretend they aren’t home because they’ve already been spotted through the window and anyway you can step over the Duplo because I’m trying to think of a way to offer you coffee that doesn’t sound like “GET OUT OF MY HOUSE” but maybe does, a little bit?

What really galls me is that even though we share pretty equal responsibility in our housekeeping efforts, my husband would never feel any pressure to tell someone he’s sorry about the dust on the baseboards. Even if he had realized it was there, it would literally never occur to him to feel bad about it. What’s worse is that no one would ever blame him if they saw it. Somehow it’s become my responsibility as a woman to feel bad if the house is anything less than a showpiece, and all the Lysol in the world would not cover the smell of that amount of festering bullshit.

I’m done with the guilt. Why on earth should I feel guilty for taking ten minutes that could be spent on vacuuming and instead using them to throw my daughter onto the couch again and again until she’s laughing so hard she can’t breathe? Why should I feel at all bad for tangling up the sheets with my husband instead of washing and folding them? I’m not an ornament in a showroom. I am living this beautiful, delicious, messy life and this is where I live it.

Today I came home from work and the house was a complete disaster. So I did the only sensible thing I could think of. We went outside and played in the dirt.



It took me by surprise when I saw it.

It was almost two years ago. I was getting ready for work and trying to button my jeans, to no avail. I leaned over to try and somehow magic some more fabric into the thighs and there it was. A little stripe, faint as crayon on the white of my belly. My first stretch mark.

I cried right then and there in the bathroom. Not out of sadness, but of sheer joy and relief. This baby was growing enough that no matter what happened, I could point to this tangible proof that it existed. It wrote the first line in a story of hope.

Now, I can look at myself in the mirror and see all the places where nine short months marked me forever. My body is written all over in silver and white and seashell pink. It’s a map of joy, of pain, of the kind of love that threatens each day to break my whole self open.

Motherhood has challenged me in so many ways. In those early days of post-partum depression, I sometimes wondered if I’d made a mistake. I pressed tearful kisses and apologies to her tiny face and priced plane tickets in the middle of the night. Even now that time has mercifully blurred that period into something like the dim memory of a nightmare, I still sometimes cannot shake the feeling that I am letting her down. Doing my best falls far short of what she deserves.

There was one awful night that I had to put her in the crib to wail because, for the briefest flash, I understood all those warnings to walk away before you did something you would regret. I have never been so terrified before or since. As I sobbed outside her room door, I called my mother and asked how she did it. How was she so much better at this than I was?

The answer to that, she said, was that she wasn’t. Not at first. She had nights just like mine where she sobbed along with me. I didn’t remember them. But she did.

We are so hard on ourselves. We see all our mistakes, all the things we should have done instead, all the ways in which we could have been better. Every mother in the world has ten stories she can tell you about how she messed up, and at least one that she will never talk about because it’s too painful. These children, though? They’re okay. They’re growing and thriving and learning. They’re creating art. They’re inventing things. They’re putting out fires and helping each other in times of need. They love us. We must be doing something right.

My mother told me once that mothers are born with their children, but it’s so far beyond the delivery room. It swells up in the silence of waiting for the ultrasound tech. It’s drawn tight as a bowstring in a social worker’s office. It bursts forth the minute you lay eyes on the person you’ve waited for for months or years or just this side of forever. What she meant was that you grow and learn with your child each and every day you’re with them. You may never have held them in your body or in your arms, but once you have held them in your heart, you are not the same person you were before. The real stretch marks cannot be seen.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.

Dog Days

On the evenings I work late, I come home to find the routine of the day is winding down. Sippy cups and ducky bath towels are drying while my husband wipes the counters and listens for the sound of any movement from the nursery. I get no acknowledgement from Zee (though it’s almost certain she’ll wake later with a plaintive “MAAAAAMA!”) and a quick kiss from my husband, but the most enthusiastic welcome comes from the dog.

Walking Morgan is my last task of the day and it’s one of my favourites. All I have to do is look at him and his tail starts to tentatively wag. Just the first syllable of his name and he jumps up looking for his leash. He knows what’s about to happen. He is the one who is allowed to hear all the gory details of my day when confidentiality clauses prevent me from venting to anyone else. We’ve covered miles, the two of us, trails and hills and sidewalks and bridges in rain and shine and blowing snow.

When I got him as a curly, squirming puppy, I imagined a lot of things. I imagined backyards and laughing children and endless evening walks. It seemed like the first logical step on the path I was on. We had the house and the future all planned out. A dog fit perfectly in the space before the wedding and babies. Then all of a sudden life took a hard left and we became I, and I had no room in my life for anything but a small pile of boxes and a bruise where my heart used to be. I said a lot of goodbyes in that time, but listening to him whine as I put him in the truck with my parents was the one that made me feel most like a failure.

He thrived with my parents, of course. He got his evening walks while I got my life back together. Whenever I visited him, he thrashed around on my lap in a fit of glee. I missed him, but he was happy where he was. I couldn’t take him back. Then, four months after my wedding and just days into my pregnancy, my parents told me that they were moving to another province, and Morgan needed to be rehomed. Of course, he fit right into the place in my life he was supposed to be, his head pillowed on my growing belly as small feet kicked him from the inside. Watching him sniff my newborn daughter’s downy head on the day I brought her home from the hospital, I knew he was home.

Lately, though, he hesitates when he jumps up on the couch. He doesn’t react to car doors. The flat out run that used to bring him to my knees when I got home is more of a brisk trot, and even that sometimes looks stiff. He is not a puppy anymore. For the first time since he came home, it’s sinking in that he cannot stay forever.

Everyone tells you that getting a dog is a huge time commitment. What they don’t tell you is that it’s really no time at all. When I watch him play with my little girl, so achingly gentle in the way he takes the ball from her hands and makes her giggle like no one else can, I see how he’s come with me on the journey I imagined. He has chased so many sticks and tennis balls, burrowed under so many blankets and snoozed on more lazy afternoons than I can count. He has been family. Now more and more I realize that the day is coming that our journeys diverge. I will have to walk alone and watch him cross a bridge where I can’t follow.


Day 1: Things Pinterest Wants Me to Blog About

A post about your favourite thing to make or technique with photos/projects using that technique (and links back)

Some things I really enjoy making are unrealistic expectations for myself in terms of what I can get done in a day. My favourite technique for this is as follows.

  1. Lie awake at 4 AM thinking about how to improve everything about diet, career, and parenting methods as soon as the sun comes up.
  2. Create ironclad plan to become Mary Poppins with Michelle Obama’s arms; fall into a contented sleep.
  3. Wake up in less than three hours to the realization of having forgotten to a) make the overnight oats, b) pack the daycare bag, or c) have the upper body strength of anything beyond that old-fashioned Fisher Price Little People mom without the arms or visible pupils.
  4. Decide to be complete shambles of a person and give up before 8:30.
  5. Resolve to make the best of yogurt unceremoniously dumped on the floor and consider it sensory play.
  6. Repeat in one to two weeks. Addendum: If a holiday, add glitter as desired.

Google “craft challenge” and challenge yourself to enter an upcoming online challenge

Local Woman Questioned After Suspected Satanic Ritual Involving Mason Jars

What was the last lie you told?

If I tell you that, it won’t come true.

Go to Recitethis.com and make a pinnable graphic of your favorite quote or saying


The Disaster Ballet: giving you that quality content.


If I Become a Diet Blog, Please Shoot Me

There are a lot of things about my body that can be attributed to pregnancy. I’m pretty forgiving of just about all of it, because it produced my favourite person in the whole world. If that makes the space below my bellybutton stripey and looking like a prune underneath the now oh-so-necessary high-cut undies, so be it. I have to be real with myself, though. The extra pounds? Not baby weight. If you look very closely, you can probably still see the the outline of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange that I all but swallowed whole.

Now, this is not a Cathy-esque post bemoaning how I look in a bathing suit. Truth be told, I like my body a lot. I had a lot more complaints about it when I was 22 and looked like Jessica Rabbit. I look in the mirror and I see the back fat, the belly, the cellulite, and I think you know what, fuck yeah. I’m in my thirties, kicking ass at my job, having the best sex of my life, and oh yeah, I made a person and shot it out of my body like a t-shirt cannon. Go me.

When my knees started to protest stairs, though, I had to look at the bad bitch in the mirror and tell her maybe it’s time for a little talk.

I love food. I love that I’m able to afford good food, which I’m keenly aware is a privilege. I love that I love myself enough to feed my body more than vodka and Nutrigrain bars (hi 22, you really were pretty goddamn stupid). Now I’m trying to learn how to have a healthy relationship with eating, because not only would I like to prevent a knee replacement before I hit middle age, I’d like to model good habits for my daughter.

First things first: I am not here for this Cake Is a Moral Failing bullshit. Nutritional value has nothing to do with who you are as a person and guilt is a wasted emotion. Food is just fuel. Some of it is fuel for the body, some of it is fuel for the soul. If I feel deprived or miserable, eventually I’m going to crack and eat every sour Skittle on this godforsaken island like a demented Ms. Pac-Man.

I started out by making no changes except drinking a lot of water. You would think this is easy. I would note that I work a job where I’m on my feet a lot and bathroom breaks can be scarce, and then come home to a toddler who cannot, will not, see me enjoy a drink in peace without shrieking “Cup! CUP!” at increasing levels of volume. You know what’s helped? The Plant Nanny app. I’ve been telling so many people about this that I’m sure everyone thinks I’m a paid shill (I wish) but it really does work. It’s like a Tamagotchi they won’t confiscate in Grade 5 Social Studies and then give back when it’s all smelly and starving, THANKS A BUNCH MR. WELSHMAN. Anyway. Hydration is going pretty well, though I’m seriously considering a leg bag.

Next, I drastically cut back on added sugar. Giving up chocolate kind of hurt, but I’m finding some decent substitutes. Adding unsweetened cocoa powder to smoothies is basically Cadbury methadone. I discovered that there are people on the internet who consider a simple smoothie with peanut butter, banana, cocoa and milk to be the devil’s milkshake and will substitute literally everything with flaxseed milk, Irish sea moss, and carob root powder. I don’t know if you know this, but people on the internet are out of their goddamn minds.

It’s little changes, but so far they feel sustainable, unlike that week I decided I could just jump into doing those Neela Ray workouts where I pretend to be Wonder Woman and every muscle in my body decided to stage an intervention. Some smarter choices with food here, some walking there, and I think I might manage this.

Four pounds so far. But honestly, just getting this all out makes me feel a lot lighter.

Patience Zero

Everyone told me that becoming a mother would change me. I, like a fucking idiot, took that to mean that it would change me into a better person. On the days in my third trimester where I had to quarantine myself in the house with the blinds shut and the doors locked lest I give birth in jail, I would rub my rounded belly and promise the wriggling little being inside that I would be a more patient person once she was born. I had visions of becoming one of those really zen people who don’t have mini-strokes whenever they read internet comment sections. You know the type. Soothing voices, flowy clothing, like the human equivalent of chamomile tea. Yoga instructors. Cult leaders. That Venn diagram where they overlap, which is basically a circle.

The thing is, I’m still the same shitty, lazy, short-tempered person I was before I got pregnant. Problem is, I’m now responsible for a human life. A human life whom I love more than all the stars in the sky, but one that makes me question why evolution has allowed human beings to be able to emit sound at that pitch. Not only am I responsible for ensuring the survival of this small pigtailed girl whose life goal is apparently to emulate Super Dave Osborne until she is removed from my care by the state, I am also supposed to support her emotional well-being and model good behaviour.

I mean, fuck me, right?

Just a few months into her sophomore year of life, it’s still far too early to tell if I’m really screwing up. She has almost thirty consistent words and you can say all of them on network television, so at least those fears haven’t come to fruition. We have a close bond in spite of all that bottle feeding and vaccinating and nighttime readings of ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’. Some nights I put her to bed and watch the soft glow on her feathery golden eyelashes and feel I’ve done a good job. And then there are the nights spent choking tears back into the black hole in my chest because oh god, I am not the mother she deserves. In spite of all the tantrums and torn books and mac and cheese smeared into the dog’s fur, the person I’m always most angry at is myself.

It’s kind of become the thing to compare yourself to Pinterest Moms and while I tease sometimes, I have the utmost respect for someone who has the energy and inclination to put together a dollhouse made of milk cartons. It has working lights that run off a generator powered by coconut oil? That is some next level shit and you should be working for NASA. I don’t feel bad about myself compared to crafty moms because it would be like feeling inferior to Fitzroy River turtles because they’re able to breathe through their asses. No matter how amazing it is, I am just not built for certain things. You know who gives me that sick feeling in my stomach? The moms who handle stressful situations while just exuding love and patience. The ones who seem to intuitively know how to elicit the best responses from their children. They’re the ones who would never dream of throwing perfectly good pancakes in the trash because their kid screamed rather than eat a bite of them, who would never respond to a wail over the baby monitor with a whispered “Christ, what NOW.”

I know there’s no parent on earth who has never had an off day or a moment where they feel they did the exact wrong thing. It’s not for the faint of heart, this business of trying to raise a good person while at the same time trying to be one. All I can do is pledge to try again tomorrow as I apologize with a syrup-sticky hug and pass the Cheerios to a little girl who, for some reason, loves me anyway. I hope for now that’s enough.

Swear Jar

In recent years, I’ve given up a lot of things that are bad for me. Vodka is no longer part of this balanced breakfast. Cigarette smoke nauseates me. Flings with emotionally manipulative commitmentphobes would probably put a serious damper on my marriage. With the exception of watching the Spongebob trailer and wishing that it had come out at a time when I partook of the odd hallucinogenic substance, I’ve pretty much moved on from most of my truly bad habits.

The swearing? Not so much.

I can tone it down in small bursts if I really need to. No elderly person has never heard me say anything stronger than “Heavens to Betsy!” and I managed to refrain from using the F-word in my wedding ceremony even once. In daily life, however, the air around me is often as blue as the liquid they use in pad commercials. (I don’t know why they use blue, but make no mistake, if I started menstruating antifreeze, you can bet they’d hear the swearing for miles.)

You can probably guess that this presents a problem with my daughter. At almost four months old, her babbles haven’t produced anything like a word, but the threat looms large of one day receiving the call from daycare about my kid telling some other poor innocent tyke not to be such a fucking shitlord at circle time. Even if said tyke is being a fucking shitlord, I can’t have that. My late grandmother’s skeleton would spin so fast it would drill to the earth’s core and destroy us all.

I have to do better.

To do this, I have to recognize the situations that trigger me to be my very worst. Let me think.

cookingThis is not so bad. I can manage most basic dishes with only the barest of muttered threats. Keep the volume low, avoid pastry at all costs, and we’re golden.

injuryDepends highly on the injury. A paper cut barely rates a “shit” while a stubbed toe can push us into R-rated territory fast. Let’s give me the benefit of the doubt and go with a solid 2.5 with the possibility of up to 4. Extenuating circumstances, though, right? Even the most judgmental mommy group could probably give me a pass for things said when stepping on a Lego or Littlest Pet Shop. I managed childbirth without an epidural but I have my limits.

drivingThis is where we run into real trouble. I cannot stop driving places with my child, and neither can I stop yelling at all the stupid dicktrumpets on the road. Pulling up to my bumper and honking at me at a red light is likely to make me envision pulling your urethra out and garotting you with it. This town is full of men who are compensating for their easily bruised sense of masculinity with giant lifted Dodge Thundercock 8000 trucks that are wild and free and cannot be contained in a single lane or parking space. There has not been a day of my residence here where I haven’t used the phrase “entitled fuckshoe” or “shit-for-retinas assbaskets” in a parking lot. The fact that I’ve been driving for thirteen years and have somehow maintained a clean criminal record is nothing short of an actual miracle.

Better start preparing for the call from the school now. Fuck.

games-1“No, honey, Mommy doesn’t know how to play Crazy Eights.”

“I’m sorry, sweetheart, Mommy has a lifetime ban on playing Monopoly.”

“You go ahead and play Mario Kart with Daddy, pumpkin. Mommy got excommunicated from the Catholic church last time.”

Perfect. Well-adjusted childhood, here we co–

“Mama, look! Caillou is on!”



Madam, Your Baby is Drunk

When I was pregnant, I lost count of how many people told me how to prepare for childbirth. Some insisted that the only way was to have as little intervention as possible (“I tell you, anything other than an island yurt with a whale as your doula just feels unnatural.”). Others urged me to take advantage of all the advances of modern medicine (“Listen to me. LISTEN TO ME. You get all the drugs. Find out if your insurance covers crystal meth and if it doesn’t, text me with the code word ‘Heisenbirth’ and I’ll hook you up.”). On one memorable occasion, a cashier went into great detail about her daughter-in-law’s perineum splitting like a banana peel while I nodded and wondered what I had done to deserve this when all I wanted was to buy my Raisin Bran and vanish into thin air. But if there was one thing they all agreed on, it was that there was no way on earth to prepare for the early days of parenthood.

Honestly, I’ve found the reverse. Nothing on earth could have readied me for the sensation of wanting, needing, to shit out all my internal organs and eternal soul in one otherwordly groaning push, but if I had to prepare a scared pregnant woman on how to handle new motherhood, I know just what I’d say.

Have you ever been the person taking care of a really drunk friend? It’s kind of like that. Let me walk you through it.

“That’s such a cute outfit. Let me take a picture. Hang on, it’s blurry. Let me try again. Still blurry, hon. Stop moving around so much. Open your eyes. No, both eyes. You know what? This is fine. This is as good as it’s going to get.”

“Sweetheart, I don’t know why you’re crying. Everything’s okay. Listen, your favourite song is on! Come on, let’s dance! See, now don’t we feel better? Doesn’t Uptown Funk make everything better?”

“Okay, honey, we’re just going to take this bottle– you haven’t had enough? You seem like you’ve had enough. Alright, fine, but you’re going to– yep, there’s the puke. On my shirt. Thank you for that.”

“Where did your other shoe go? You were wearing two shoes five seconds ago and now it’s nowhere in sight. No. No, don’t cry. It’s okay. We’ll find it.”

“I have no idea what you’re laughing at but clearly you’re amused and not crying so we’re just gonna go with it.”

“You can’t sleep there. Yes, I know my shoulder is comfortable, but wouldn’t a bed be so much more comf– aaaaaand she’s out. And drooling.”

Now, imagine doing this while you feel as hungover as you have ever been in your life during the worst period you can imagine. Like Jose Cuervo skullfucked you and left you in the hotel from The Shining with the blood elevator.. Only you’re not hungover, you just haven’t slept in a week and you’ve been sewn together in places you didn’t realize you had while you’re sitting on a pad thicker than a futon mattress.

It’s like that. But it does get better.

Your drunk friend is a lot of fun.

25 Ways In Which I Have Irrevocably Messed Up My Child

1. First words upon seeing positive pregnancy test were “Holy baby Jesus on the tiniest cross, what have we done?”

2. Fetus subjected to multiple shower renditions of All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You by Heart, thereby increasing risk of predilection for sex with drifters.

3. Guessed sex of fetus wrong, to the point of asking aloud why the penis wasn’t visible on the ultrasound screen.

4. Drank Pepsi during second and third trimesters. Preferable to giving birth in jail as result of being insomniac whale during a heat wave, but apparently on par with injecting arsenic directly into umbilical cord.

5. In searching for baby monitors, briefly considered husband’s suggestion of simply buying “one of those bomb search mirrors on a stick.”

5. “I’m just saying, she’d be the only Mozzarella in her class.”

6. Threatened fetus with repeated exposure to Nickelback and Jeff Dunham standup if she did not vacate uterus on her due date.

7. Followed through with said threat when fetus was four days overdue. Likely shaved off several IQ points in the process.

8. Changed mind about wanting child at 9 cm dilated.

9. First words baby heard were “IT’S OUT?! ARE YOU SURE?!”

10. Did not compare newborn daughter’s colouring to a freshly cooked hot dog, but laughed at husband doing so.

11. Gave daughter two middle names, forever dooming her to mutter curses while filling out government forms.

12. Did not practice with car seat before birth, resulting in baby wailing as hapless parents struggle as though defusing a bomb.

13. Upon introduction of baby to family dog, did not intervene quickly enough to prevent licking. Shrugged shoulders and figured immune systems have to start somewhere.

14. Googled “do infants have the capacity to hate” at hour three of inconsolable wailing.

15. Indiscriminate television viewing during night feeding resulted in baby recognizing the Friends theme song.

16. Googled “effects of infant exposure to Maury Povich show” as result of previous.

17. Compared baby daughter’s looks to Gollum.

18. Compared baby daughter’s looks to Canadian broadcasting icon Rex Murphy.

19. Set bad example with snarky reply about infant-sized beer helmets to stranger inquiring about reasons for bottle feeding.

20. Vaccinated on schedule, thus denying future opportunities for calling in sick with diphtheria or bringing sweet-ass iron lung to Show and Tell.

21. Attempts to make baby laugh involved so many fart noises that it sounded like the director’s cut of the Terrance and Philip Movie.

22. Discovered crying ceases upon hearing Taylor Swift and singlehandedly increased YouTube hits for Blank Space by approximately 100,000.

23. Felt and expressed genuine pride at daughter’s inheritance of maternal Bitchy Resting Face gene.

24. On multiple occasions dressed baby in ridiculous outfits for personal amusement.

25. Loved her so much that she cannot possibly survive the year without serious risk of cheeks being eroded with kisses.

Only 17 years and 9 months to go, kiddo. This list is going to get pretty long.