Category: Parenting

Thoughts on this past Fashion Revolution week

Credit goes to Sarah Lazarovic who very kindly allows you to download this from her website and print it off yourself.

Even before I knew it was Fashion Revolution week I had been trying to have discussions with my oldest daughters about smart shopping. Like, maybe we don’t need a half dozen shirts with unicorns on them from Justice (that are already falling apart before they get home) just because you love unicorns? But if I am feeling overwhelmed by it all I can only imagine how they must be feeling when the only time I talk about it is when I finally loose my s**t about the amount of stuff in our house (which is pretty much daily).

So I’m trying to be smarter about it all. I’m trying to figure out ways to have more open conversations about what mass consumerism is doing to our planet but in order to do that I need to be more educated about it myself. Currently I am waiting for the documentary The True Cost to come in from the library. I’m hoping it comes in this week so we can continue our discussion about fashion which, of course, will continue into a discussion about where all of our stuff comes from.

Fashion Revolution week this year (April 23-29) marked the fifth anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster that killed 1,134 people, and not much has really been done about working conditions. Did you know there are approximately 7,000 factories in Bangladesh? I read in a news article that 3,000 of those factories are endangering the lives of their low-paid garment workers. I think this is something even children need to know about. Maybe not enough to give them nightmares, but enough so that they know there is another person making their clothing and that we have more sustainable options.

I’m hoping that this week the girls and I will also make some skirts for the summer. They each picked out a fabric from my stash that has been lingering unused for years. I’m hoping that if they have a hand in making something themselves it will mean more to them and they will see how much effort is put into making clothes.

Fashion Revolution week also started the day after Earth Day and the girls had all kinds of Earth Day events they participated in at school. One day was “no garbage lunch day” where they weren’t supposed to bring a lunch where there was no packaging to throw out. Another day was “no plastic” day – which I found rather difficult since I was trying to send them to school without disposable items. Since then, however, I have been trying to stay on top of making snacks they can bring to school that aren’t packaged. I find the packaged snacks that are also vegan pretty limiting because a lot of them contain nuts and they can’t take nuts to school. So I’ve been making a lot of muffins and putting them in plastic reusable containers. It’s all so very overwhelming but I’m really trying.

My children come home for lunch

And I love it.

And I hate it.

This muffin is going to get me through the afternoon.

And I hate it.

And I love it.

Sometimes those feeling oscillate within the very same moment. Most of the morning I fret about what I am going to feed them and so hardly get anything done until I start cooking. And it isn’t enough to just give them a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter and jam sandwich because I am the worst sort of food snob: the vegan-ish food snob. Sometimes they come home and are extremely grateful for whatever I have put on the table. Today it was homemade nut yogurt with fruit and pumpkin millet muffins. Except one of them was then annoyed that there were kiwis in her yogurt, didn’t like the muffins and washed it all down with leftover pizza.

I made myself kale soup and washed that down with leftover pizza.

The girls come home for lunch for various reasons: 1) We live across the street from the school and it makes sense. 2) No one likes making a packed lunch in the morning. 3) Money. Not the biggest reason but at $300 a kid to stay for lunch supervision and with me being at home, it is the wisest choice. 4) My cancer. It’s one of those “I want to spend more time with my kids” things that I feel I should do – even when they come home and do nothing but fight with one another and I wonder why I bother.

I remember when Moira was little and would spend the day at her grandmothers so I could have a break. I would be so happy for her to get away from me for a while – but even when your children are gone they are still right there. As the hour approached for her return my anxiety returned. Did I use my child-free time wisely? Will she have missed me? Will her return instigate a full-blown tantrum. (Answers were usually: no, yes, and every time.)

It’s been 9+ years and I still don’t have the whole balance of being a mother and a writer down. Hell, I don’t have the balance of someone who is a mother and has actual other hobbies that I don’t immediately give up because my children take up my every waking thought. I have given almost every single moment of the last decade to being a mother and wife and it has sucked almost every ounce of creativity out of me. And yet I love my daughters so much that sometimes I wish we had more of them because (I’m crazy) they are all so brilliant and gorgeous and I am in awe daily that half my genetic make-up could create such beings.

I did it all willingly and I’m pretty sure I would do it all again given the same circumstances.

Plus I think they make me a more interesting person and a better writer when I actually manage to put some words on the page.

Anyway, I keep saying “I’m living the dream now” which is sort of tongue-in-cheek but not really because the dream has always been to live long enough to have all three children in school at once. So that is finally where we are. All my worries that Oonagh was too young for school and would be exhausted by days end have been squashed by a little girl whose answer to “How was school today?” is: “fantastically awesome!”

Things are finally getting easier but to borrow Meg Wolitzer’s term, how do you wake up from your 10-year nap? I feel like I have option paralysis now and I need someone to come in and organize both my office and my brain.

Meanwhile, the girls will continue to come home for lunch, and I will continue to both enjoy it and dread it. They will be happy with my food choices some days and hate them other days. They will continue to fight and make me crazy. The earth will continue to rotate around the sun. I will, hopefully, start putting more words on the page.

So, come here often?

One of my favourite bloggers recently decided to start writing again after a long absence. Her explanation about why she stayed away so long was because she felt she had to write a big welcome back post explaining why she stayed away so long. Doesn’t everyone feel pressure like that? Every time I write a post it ends up being… Read more →

First day, part 2

Fionnuala had her first day of pre-school today. It was a short staggered entry day with only half the class including their parents. I guess it went as well as could be expected. I know Fionnuala is excited about school and about her teacher (Moira was in this class two years ago) but there is a lot going on with… Read more →

Four months old today

She is sweet and smiley and has definitely won the hearts of every one in this family. I think Moira’s lips are permanently attached to Oonagh’s head and Fionnuala can’t leave her cheeks alone. We keep yelling, treatment “stop mauling the baby!” There are worse problems to have. Even though my last post was all about how much this job… Read more →

Be it ever so humble

We have returned from vacation – although I wouldn’t really call it a vacation. Family visits are never a vacation and being without the Mister is never restful – especially when I am pretty much the sole charge of two busy little girls. This isn’t to say we didn’t have some good times and that it wasn’t wonderful for us… Read more →