life coach

The Double Standard - Happy International Women's Day

March 8 is International Women’s Day. No better day to write about the double standard between men and women. Isn’t it funny that if a man were writing this it would be considered progressive and/or innovative, even respected? And I don’t doubt that coming from me, it will sound a little like bitching and complaining. That is one of the largest double standards there is, a man speaks up and it’s forthright and noble, a woman speaks up and all of a sudden she’s difficult and a bitch. I know you know what I’m talking about. I have a successful, female, entrepreneurial client; she’s got some wonderful, fact based research in her most recent blog post. It’s to her credit that I have really started paying attention to the above-mentioned double standard.

I used to think International Women’s day was almost sexist. I used to work in online gambling, a very heavily male dominated industry and they have a Women in Gaming Conference and Awards and I thought that was a bit sexist. I realize now I had those thoughts because by definition, I am a feminist. By definition a feminist is; advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men. So damn straight, I am a feminist! I thought this Intl Women’s Day and those Gaming Events were totally diminishing because I view men and women as equals. I thought they were irrelevant because if they had one of those for men the world would be up in arms… I thought all of this until I began to educate myself on the issue. I thought this way before I knew how imbalanced the average boardroom is. I thought like this before I learned how much less women make than men in the same roles. I actually assumed things were relatively equal and thus we don't need days or events acknowledging our achievements or our generally awesome contributions to the workplace and family. I thought all of this before (wait for it, this is the big one) I became a mother, even more so now since I have a daughter of my own. So why is this day so important and why are the Women in Gaming Events so important? Because as it stands, right now WE ARE NOT EQUAL TO MEN and that is total effing BS.

Having had my own struggles with this is issue, even in my own moderately progressive household, I couldn’t not write about it for International Women’s Day. I think this day is needed and totally awesome because women have to work WAY harder than men to accomplish just about anything. Because the majority of us were brought up with some BS programming that women stay home with the kids and the man is the breadwinner (BTW, I totally acknowledge those Dads who haven’t bought in to this. Those are men who have the ego inside of them in check – bless you guys!!!!).

(And here is where I get really noble, vulnerable, respected and honest. Or to those living within the sexist system – bitchy…) I preface the following with that I have a very supportive Spouse. One who is willing to look at these sexist prejudices and acknowledge them when they might be present in our relationship. He definitely believes in equal rights for both sexes and has been able to see how his own childhood programming along with hockey culture (he played professionally for 14 years) has contributed toward his own sexist views at times and (to his credit) mostly unconsciously. Once he see’s these prejudices he is able to quickly acknowledge and move toward a feminist point of view, for that I am truly grateful! Let’s just say that having a daughter has also significantly helped him in this way. (And here it goes) I read an article once that started like this:

 Are you the default parent? If you have to think about it, you’re not. You’d know. Trust me. The default parent is the one responsible for the emotional, physical and logistical needs of the children. Spoiler alert: It’s typically the one with the uterus…

Currently I work 4 days/week and I am earning more than my husband (this has never before been the case, only in the last 6 months. And you know what? It feels great!) I do the majority of cleaning, I do about 90% of the cooking, I pack the school lunches, I do the majority of pick-up and drop-offs for our children, I take the kids to their activities (again about 90% of the time). And I do it all with pride and joy (about 90% of the time). It’s not that he can’t do more, I’m sure he would if I asked (maybe I need to ask?). It’s that I feel it’s my responsibility. I feel like if I want the kids to do stuff then I’m the one that has to do it with them. I guess writing this I am even more in touch with why this day is so important and honourable, because WOMEN HAVE TO DO MORE, women are expected to do more and until that is not the norm, that deserves an acknowledgement, that deserves a day (and a day at the spa)! Women also have to build boundaries, take more of a stand and make uncomfortable requests in order to cultivate the opportunities to harness our greatness and follow our dreams. And I am one of those women. You know what that makes me? A total badass! You know what that makes me? Strong as f#$&! You know why? Because I am a women, I am a mom and at the end of the day, I am the default parent. 

My Marriage - What is Love???

I’ve learned the most about what Love is through my marriage and from my husband. I read a beautiful quote once that summed it up perfectly, it goes like this:

The truth is that the more intimately you know someone, the more clearly you’ll see their flaws. That’s just the way it is. This is why marriages fail, why children are abandoned, why friendships don’t last. You might think you Love someone until you see the way they act when they’re out of money or under pressure or hungry, for goodness sake. Love is something different. Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of their filthy heart. Love is patient and kind. Love is deliberate. Love is hard. Love is pain and sacrifice. It’s seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship.
Author Unknown

The truth is that the only kind of real Love there is, is unconditional. That’s what Love is, it’s dedicated and unwavering. Love is being there, even when you feel the desire to escape it or change it. Love is seeing someone’s cruelty, ugliness and hatred and choosing them anyway. Love is seeing beyond the stubborn, the negative, the moody and loving them anyway. Everything beyond total acceptance and tolerance is just lust, infatuation or fear.

Let’s be clear, I by no means think someone should stay in a relationship that is not fulfilling on the soul level. I by no means think someone should stay in an abusive relationship. I by no means condone someone staying in a relationship that they are not happy in. I’m saying that you may not be happy all the time. I am saying that when you look deep in your partner’s eyes, you know. You know deep down if the desire to run is there because you don’t want to deal with the life lessons that are being presented to you through your partner.

See our life partner and those we are closest to in our lives are our greatest sources of growth. They hold up a mirror at all times for the depths we need to explore within ourselves. They shine a light on the work we need to do on ourselves. They see the worst in us and the best. And we see the same in them.

By far the two largest strains on my marriage have been children (2, just 18 months apart) and our past. It’s pretty clear why having two small kids will strain your marriage (though you would never be able to anticipate this ahead of time). You’re exhausted first of all, pretty much all the time. When does that leave time for romance, connection or even sex? Um, basically it doesn’t. And when it does, there is this small hurdle of ‘work’ that has to be put in before you reap the rewards. It’s not all bad, all the time though. 2017 is actually the year I have had the most rewarding intimacy with my husband, albeit sparse perhaps this is a sign that the best is yet to come. The needs of our children far outweigh our own. They demand all of us, all the time. This barely leaves room for each other. So we do the best we can. We have date nights when the babysitter is available. We stay up way too late sometimes, just spending time together or doing whatever we did independently before we (temporarily) sacrificed our freedoms. We text a lot when we’re not physically together. We’ve managed to get away overnight about 4 times in 4 years (totally not enough and better than nothing). And one day (too soon I’m sure it will feel) we’ll be empty nesters and we’ll have 100% of each other again. Or so I think...or so I desire. The truth is, I really don’t know what the future will hold. I’m certainly not wishing this time away and I am certainly not longing to be an empty nester any time soon. I do have a sense that when the time comes we will be grateful for it. And don’t get me wrong, we are grateful now, just in an entirely different way. The second largest strain on our marriage has been our past. When the going gets tough we often look to the past to tell us what we are capable of or who we need to be (we do this as adults a lot and not only in our marriages). And when you’ve had a somewhat bumpy road at times, this can feel totally defeating. You might tell yourself history is repeating or the worst is yet to come. I have to remember that our past does not define us. Nor are we destined to repeat it. What we must do, what we can do is keep growing, keep learning about ourselves and each other and share in this journey together as best we can. We get to look at the people we were in our past and allow it to help shape the people we want to become in our future. What is available to all of us, right now is the ability to be vulnerable and share. And most importantly what is available to all of us right now, is Love.