I Am Beautiful (and you are too)

Yesterday in a big gross cloud of anger, I posted this status:

My daughter came home from school in tears because a few girls called her fat in her swim suit. She loves swimming, and now she has anxiety over it. We talked about all the amazing things her body can do…run, swim, walk, get her to anywhere in the world she wants to go someday. More importantly, all the wonderful traits that make her who she is. Her wit, creative mind, kind sensitive soul, tender heart who loves others, her brilliant problem-solving brain. I’m still so angry about it, yet my anger isn’t at those girls. I’m angry that our society is so shallow. Girls are “more” if they dress a certain way into a single digit sized clothing. Exercise and eating healthy isn’t actually about health at all, it’s the newest fad diet to fit into those skinny jeans. There’s nothing healthy about that mind-set. It’s the unhealthy pursuit of an external ideal that will never be obtained. I’m angry that because a girl’s body type isn’t the standard of what society deems as “perfect”, that a girl feels shame. As she stood there with tears streaming down her face, I had a flashback to my own childhood in the locker room of the swimming pool. A difference of 30 years, yet the very same tears. So I laid awake last night wondering what I personally can do to break this cycle. All I came up with is to raise my daughter to love others. To love her body for all it can do. And I will remind her every damn day that she is a collection of amazing strengths that has nothing to do with her clothing size. I will be conscious of how my thoughts and actions will positively or negatively impact her self-esteem. And I will be so very proactive to build her up and build up those around me. “All we need is love”….well maybe that’s a bit naive, but what we DO need more of in this world along with love is empathy, understanding, and a lot more depth.

On behalf of my daughter, I received many messages of love, support, and relatable stories as a result. This issue is one we can all relate to, either because we have dealt with it as a parent or because we’ve been shamed by another who ridiculed some aspect of who we are.

When my daughter came home from school, I met her at the door with this little poster and then the kids and I went to jump on trampolines at the indoor trampoline park because nothing is more fun than bouncing into a big pit of foamy things.

Tessa is beautiful

After much (too much) thought, I realized something. I’ve repeated the “You are beautiful” mantra to my daughter yet I have an extremely hard time looking into the mirror and thinking that I am beautiful too.

Let me explain…I’ve been thinking about my beauty in an aesthetic sense. I’ve focussed on my outward appearance and I pick apart all the flaws I see on my body. Yet when I think about the beauty of my children, all I see is who they are as a whole. All of them. Their mind, soul, body, every little fibre of their being. I love it all to bits. I think every molecule of their being is beautiful.

Yet I’ve looked at my reflection with shallow eyes. Who I am has nothing to do with the shape of my body.

So today, and in the days ahead, I will look within and open my eyes to see beyond my outer.

How can I expect my daughter to believe she is beautiful if I secretly don’t believe that I am beautiful? I would never say that out loud, but I think it at times. We are what we think. Self-love is as important for us Moms as it is for our children.

I am beautiful. Perfectly imperfect.


And I hope when you look in the mirror today, you see someone who is ridiculously beautiful.

From my heart to yours,


More than a Mom

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned when I became a Mom, didn’t happen until many years as a Mom. And it’s this: I am more than a Mom.

Let me try to articulate the jumbled thoughts that have evolved with each passing year as my kids get older…

When my son was born, I dove head first into a world I knew little about. I had no idea that I would lay awake at night riddled with Mom guilt over all the things I could have done better. Those first years of motherhood, I believed I had joined a culture of supportive women where the price of admission was simply being a Mom. What I’ve learned through various experiences is that women can be very hard on other women as soon as they join that mommy culture.

I quickly learned that truth night 2 of being a Mom. I was 20 when my first son was born, although I don’t remember feeling “too young” for the role. Looking back at it now, I was very naive about so much. I have a very vivid memory of a nurse telling me so. I felt inadequate within 48 hrs. ha!

There’s always debates within the Mom world about Should’s and Shouldn’ts…

You should breast feed, practice attachment parenting, read up on all the newest parenting trends, put the kids in daycare, enrol them in 2 years of play school, etc. insert should here.

You shouldn’t work full-time, go on vacations without the kids, allow them to play video games, be a stay-at-home Mom, etc. insert shouldn’t here.

Don’t should on me! We are all trying our very best to raise our children, and we all have very different ideas and values on the best way to do that. Us Moms need to support other Moms with empathy and understanding. Because this role is hard! We have enough Mom-guilt as is without another Mom throwing a should in our faces or pointing out our inadequacies. Let’s point out one another’s strengths and learn from other Moms.

I had a moment not long ago of greater understanding on what it means to be a Mom thanks to my own Mom’s influence. I have always looked at my Mom as….well….a Mom for obvious reasons; however, now that I’ve grown along with my children, I realize my Mom is a complex woman as we all are. She’s more than a Mom.

We grow right along with our children.

The idea that a woman’s wants/needs, body-image, ideas, need for autonomy, hunger for self-growth, desire for more knowledge, and wish for fun in her life should somehow magically melt away the moment a baby is placed in her arms is ridiculous.

Not that long ago, I had a conversation with an Older gentleman at the gym and I mentioned I had three kids. “You don’t look like you have kids” he replied. And while I didn’t take that as an insult, it did make me think about what it “looks” like to be a Mom.  Do we have a dress code? Is my awkward sway-dancing (which is a watered-down version of real dance done in a public place even though the music streaming in my ear holes makes me want to break out in full awkward dance) between sets un-Motherly? Is there a tone of subdued voice I should sport? Am I too advanced in Mom years to wear double pony tails while I workout? Is my ACDC shirt not very Mom-like? Perhaps the slippage of the F-bomb is definitely un-motherly (I’m working on that). I dunno.

What I’ve learned as I’ve aged is that my mind hasn’t aged at all. Yes I’ve grown in wisdom through life experiences, but in my mind I’m still youthful. I hope I will always feel that way. And I hope my daughter doesn’t look at me and believe her hopes and dreams have to be sacrificed the moment she becomes a Mom. That’s if she chooses to become a Mom. The fact us Moms make sacrifices, goes without saying. Of course we do, so do Dads.

Moms…I’m sure we’ve all been in venues where other Moms were harsh in their judgments of our choices. Hell, I’ve done it myself, much to my disappointment. It’s a flaw that I’m even more aware of as I raise my children to be independent, kind, understanding people. There is so much power in love, understanding and support. Let’s give one another a break. We are Women doing our best to be Moms. But we are still youthful women within, no matter what our age.

I’m pretty thankful that I’m surrounded by the support of some amazing (and hilarious, fun-loving) women. I wish I had photos of all the amazing women in my life, a project for this year!

IMG_6698 IMG_6966 IMG_7202  IMG_4933 web sekyd12-114 web Mini PoolIMG_7811 IMG_7824 IMG_7842 sekyd13-005 web sekyd13-007 webIMG_8582My family

From my heart to yours,


Feeding the Soul with More and More

Living in rich Alberta, Canada, there is no end of “more” all around us. More monetary possessions. More food. More traffic. More dept. More.

When other parts of the world have none. Many of our “problems” really aren’t problems at all. They are First World Problems.

I’m not going to typecast anyone, but I’ll tell you some of the first world problems that I fool myself into believing are actually problems.

1. Gaining weight

I have the luxury of gaining weight…because I have more than enough food in my fridge in order to overindulge. Do you know the amount of people who don’t have this problem?

842 Million people in our world don’t have enough to eat.  source: http://www.wfp.org/hunger/stats

Here I am overindulging on the very life force that millions of people need. Not want. Need. People will die today for the very thing I struggle to control. I need to look at food with respect and nourishment.

2. I want to give my kids more than I had

Through the years, my kids have come home with school/friend issues. So and so has better clothes, a nicer bike, a computer, they get to travel every year with their family to a tropical destination. I’ve struggled with worry over my children’s education such as: the classroom is too crowded for my kids to get one-on-one attention.

According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. source: http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

According to 2005 enrolment statistics: 72 Million of primary school age children in the developing world were not in school, 57% of those were girls.  source: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/pdf/mdg2007.pdf

My kids have access to education!

3. It snowed again, it’s cold out, I don’t want to leave my warm home. 

Let’s look at my home country: 30,000 Canadians are homeless at any given night, and 200,000 Canadians will experience homelessness in any given year. source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/30-000-canadians-are-homeless-every-night-1.1413016

And I’m looking out the window of my warm home complaining about the weather?

4. My internet is down.

1.6 Billion people, a quarter of humanity, live without electricity. source: http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

I go to the grocery store, conveniently within minutes of my home I might add, shop for too many items, come home and cook on my stove using handy electricity.

In developing Countries, some 2.5 billion people must rely on biomass: fuel wood, charcoal, and animal dung to meet their energy needs for cooking. Indoor air pollution resulting from cooking using biomass claims the life of 1.5 million people each year, more than half of them are below the age of 5. source: http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

I have a stove and electricity my friends…I don’t have to rely on cooking with animal shit as my fuel. AND I don’t have to worry about polluting my big ass home when I do cook.

5. I forgot to call for water for my cooler, now I have to drink tap water.

A low 12% of the world’s population use 85% of the world’s water resources, and these 12% do not live in the third world. source: http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

If you are reading this and you have access to clean water, you and I are in that 12%. We have the essential earth’s recourses just pouring out of our taps, we even use it to fill pools, water our lawns so they are greener, and take our kids to spray parks where they play it.

I think you get my point…

I lost a very important woman and mentor in my life this week, My Aunt Elda.  She taught me important life lessons: to count my blessings, to love others, and to live with a thankful heart. She lived her life for people, not things.

I have to check myself. My soul has been fooled to believe I need more; when the reality is I have more than enough.  I should be waking up every day with a ridiculously huge smile on my face simply for the fact I have the resources at my fingertips to live, to raise my children in health, to drink, to eat. Why has my focus shifted to the wrong things? Matters of the soul are not things.

So I have to ask myself: What am I doing to make this world a better place? To give more than I take? To love without condition? To be thankful and live with a grateful heart?

Thank you Aunt Elda for teaching me so much about what truly matters in this blessed life.

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From my abundantly thankful heart to yours,


Be Amazing

Sometimes life force feeds me lessons, and lately 2 words have popped up around me.

Be Amazing

Be Amazing

So what does it mean to “Be Amazing”?

Here’s what it boils down to for me. Amazing lives within effort.

An Olympic athlete is amazing, and so is that person living with depression who doesn’t want to get out of bed every day, but they do anyway.

That buffed, toned picture of athleticism at the gym is amazing, but so is that man who walks laps of the walking track with the assistance of a cane because he’s recovering from the debilitating physical ailments due to a stroke.

That Pediatrician who volunteers time in a third world country is amazing, and so is that girl who fights her addictions everyday and stays clean not just for herself but for her children.

The recipient of a Pulitzer Prize is amazing, and so is that teenage girl who pours her heart into her diary rather than suppress her emotions.

That super Mom mega-volunteer at school who juggles it all with a smile is amazing, and so is the Mom who forgets bake sale because she works two jobs just to put food on the table.

That Dad who brings in a six figure salary and works endless hours is amazing, and so is the single Dad who cheers his heart out from the bleachers while watching his kids play hockey.

The woman who eats clean and ensures her family eats clean too is amazing, and so is the woman who goes to bed early so she doesn’t binge on the couch.

There is amazing in everyone.

Amazing is doing more than the body feels is comfortable.

Amazing is fighting our demons.

Amazing is being different in a world that pushes conformity.

Amazing is accepting that which we don’t understand and celebrating differences.

Amazing is forgiving when every cell in our body wants to hold onto anger.

Amazing is loving others and putting other’s needs before our own.

Amazing lives within action and it lives within thoughts as well.

Amazing is trying when fear tells us not to because we’ll fail.

And yes amazing just might be getting out of bed when we want to live in the comfort of darkness.

And a little Amazing (put on repeat) will grow into a ridiculous amount of Amazing.

So what’s your amazing? Be that today.

May your day be ridiculously amazing (just like you),