The Truth About Raising Boys During The “#Timesup” & “#MeToo” Era

img_8284May is sexual assault awareness month. Here are some of my thoughts.

This is more than just a women’s issue. Women don’t come forward with sexual assaults or harassments because it’s just easier not to. We risk being completely vilified, shamed, blamed and judged by the clothes we wear, the alcohol we drink, by a flirtatious conversation we had or a bad choice we made in the past.

What we can do besides shout or angrily express our thoughts on the injustice is use this as an opportunity to start open and ongoing communication with our children about boundaries. It’s not enough just to educate our daughters not to get themselves into situations alone, to watch their drinks when they’re out at a party or club and why society would blame them for wearing a certain outfit etc. We also have to teach our son’s. As a mother of two boys I know this is important. I also know they receive mixed messages from girls. I’ve read their texts and messages myself. Some are aggressive and read like a paragraph from an adult magazine. Regardless, my boys are responsible for their behavior and choices.

Therefore, it’s not just one conversation we need to have. It starts when they are really young. When they’re in the playground interacting with the girls on the swings or in the sandbox. It continues with how the boys behave at recess, in gym class and at lunchtime, in high school, online, at the mall etc. I like to think I’ve been somewhat successful in this matter. As my boys were growing up every opportunity I had and still have I discuss with them boundaries and consent and what that meant and means at certain times in their life. From not getting physical when you want the toy she has, not snapping her preteen bra strap and not taking advantage of a girl who may have had too much to drink just to name a few examples. I’ve gone over countless scenarios to ask what they would do and what they should and shouldn’t do. I’ve also made sure they are very aware of what consent is. Maybe, sometimes in great, uncomfortable detail. Sometimes they’re embarrassed. And sometimes they don’t want to hear it.

As a woman I feel the need for them to be taught respect for these boundaries in a loving and detailed, specific manner continually and it’s my responsibility to do so. They know they can ask me anything too. As a mother I’m also educating them and protecting them from any situation they may find themselves in so they make the right choice to treat another human being kindly and respectfully. And of course, so they don’t end up facing a wrath of a court room or worse, the wrath of their mother. We need to educate our sons because this is not just a woman’s issue.

My 2 Cents- It’s Free!

advice_column

Today is Thursday! Over the last few years with the increase in social media interactions it has been dubbed as “Hashtag Throwback Thursday”! I don’t know about you but I’ve been sufficiently programmed enough now that as soon as my eyelids pop open I start to reminisce.

At one time I wished for one of those gadgets Tommy Lee Jones had in Men in Black that would erase certain moments with a click of a button. I guess this is one of those “With age comes wisdom” epiphanies because now of course I realize I wouldn’t want to delete those moments (okay, actually, after proof reading this -maybe a few). They’ve made me who I am now. My perspective and personality has been woven with all those experiences whether good or bad.

Some things that have been pointed out to me over the years from people is that they want to hear what I have to say. I’m constantly surprised when someone comes to me for advice and appreciates my feedback, support, opinion etc on anything they’re going through.  I enjoy observing and listening and if you know me, you’ve noticed I really enjoy sharing with you what I think too!! LOL!

Reminiscing on #TBT has reminded me that I’m a survivor. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve made bad choices. I’ve made awesome choices. I’ve had successes and failures. I’ve struggled with eating disorders and some mental health situations. I’ve gained and lost friends and family. I’ve had many jobs. I’ve helped open and close many businesses. I’ve had jobs where I’ve counselled people. I’ve answered telephone help lines. I graduated college with an Honours diploma in Human Relations. I’m a woman, mother, wife, daughter (I guess still even though both my parents died young), sister, aunt, niece, friend etc. All of these things I believe give me the experience and ability to give you my two cents!

Now that I’ve shared all of that, let me share my next endeavor. My advice column which I will post/blog once a month answering any questions about anything you’d like my opinion or advice about!! There are those who have already approached me for advice and I’ve given it. For the rest of you, feel free to email me at pawnyu@gmail.com. Your identity will remain anonymous!! I promise! Cross my heart! So, hit me up!!! And Happy Thursday!!

I’m A Fraud! It’s Time To Come Clean!

That’s right! And I need to come clean! The life I want to live in requires authenticity. How can I thrive and grow if I’m not living my authentic self? How can inspire if what I put out is not based on my reality? I’m going to start with one confession today and save more for a later post. I feel a sense of guilt each time I post a filtered, photo shopped picture of myself. It’s hypocritical, really.

 Today is about stopping the comparisons and pulling back the curtain on body image and aging. On the outside I may appear to others as confident, in control and put together because that is the mask I’ve worn. Truth is I’ve been afraid all my life of other people’s judgement. Hopefully, I can squelch one of the fears of being discovered as a fake and maybe help at least one person reading this who may have compared the image they see in the mirror to mine.

Here’s my confession:

  • If you’ve compared your hair to mine, I’ve been colouring the gray out for years.
  • If you’ve compared your face to mine, I’ve had chemical peels, derma-rolling, micro-needling, fillers and botox.
  • If you’ve compared your body to mine, besides various, relentless diet programs and an eating disorder I’ve had an abdominoplasty & liposuction.

What you’ve seen is my highlight reel. An edited representation of me. We need to unite together as women and accept ourselves as is! We shame each other because we’re too big, too small or not aging gracefully based on ridiculous standards.

Young impressionable girls are watching. It’s a struggle enough to be a teen never mind one who thinks they need perfect hair, eyebrows or a perfect proportioned body and older women who are “too big” or “too small” or ‘too wrinkly”! Please, while your hiding behind your keyboards and smart phones spewing negativity and hatred about someone’s appearance look at your daughters, granddaughters, sisters, wives and girlfriends and think about whether what you’re saying is something you want them to read before pressing send!!

Let’s be real. Let’s be authentic. Let’s support each other and be kind, be positive and be enough because we are all beautiful and imperfectly perfect!! Authentic

 

 

Mondays? Yeah or Nay?

Monday

And here I lay on a Sunday night anticipating another Monday. Another beginning. That’s what Monday’s represent to me. Fresh, new, exciting beginnings!

When you’re ready for a new adventure, you feel it deep down to your core! I’ve reached one of those milestone ages where most others are ready to slow down, Ready to retire but this new journey I’ve started has so many potential new chapters. It fills me with an indescribable feeling! I’m ecstatic and excited, I’m nervous yet strangely calm.

 They say everything happens for a reason. Maybe this time the reason was to push me to that something more I didn’t even know I needed! This is what’s thrusting me forward to pursue my dreams! This new outlook has actually caught me off guard! I wasn’t expecting to have these feelings! And just like that it’s time to start something new!!

I’m going to embrace this Monday coming to see what unchartered path lays before me and experience the magical ride this new beginning has in store! You’re never too old to start something new!!

Welcome!

Cause you never think the last time’s going to be the last time – you think there will be more. You think you have forever, but you don’t” – Grey’s Anatomy

My mother died at 62. My father died at 54. I just turned 50. If we average out our life expectancies based on our parents lives that gives me just eight more years to live. Eight short years to start living and doing and not regretting! Eight years to take an active role. Eight more years to do things for me and make choices for me.

About me? Who am I? Good question? As I look through countless bloggers to get ideas on ways to answer that question I read lots of “I’m a wife, mother, daughter, sister etc” Although these are worthy titles and I am these things- I don’t feel they would completely describe who I am.

After purging my spare room I came across some old film I had nearly forgotten about that I had converted to DVD. It was from 1959. What’s fascinating is most of my family members in the film have passed on. I’m fortunate enough to be in possession of many photos dating back to the early 1900s of my family. Yes, going through scrapbooks of memories is always nice but having live action video to watch is a treasure! You can see faces light up with smiles and laughter! Catching a glimpse of these personalities from another time is truly priceless! This is one reason I started this blog along with amping up all my other social media accounts to document my journey.

Another reason is to leave a history for my family to discover and catch a glimpse of my stories from my childhood and beyond. If the universe graces me with longer than my parents had then I have a responsibilty to make the most of my time and leave a legacy my children and their children can be proud of! The 5 words that flipped the switch for me and is etched in my mind “You are going to die” Maybe not in eight years but I have One life and it’s mine to live!

Please feel free to join me and I’ll try to keep it interesting!!