Have we lost all of our common sense? Like, every single last little bit of it?
When I read this article about how chalk has been banned in a townhouse complex in north London, I thought I was reading a satirical story, but nope. It’s a real news, y’all.
The people who live in the townhouse complex received a warning in their mailboxes on Thursday stating, “We ask all tenants, including children, help maintain the integrity of the complex by refraining from using paint or sidewalk chalk on any common areas including sidewalks, parking lots, brick or fences.”
And if the kids decide to draw anyway? Well, then the parents get hit with a cleaning fine.
Hold up a second… a cleaning fine for removing chalk?
I’ve been a parent for 14 years and 12 of those 14 years have involved chalk. What I’ve learned about chalk is that it can be removed by:
a) a hose
c) just regular every day life
Never once have I had to pay someone to remove said chalk drawings. Not even when my son drew a very large penis in the middle of our street. Said penis came off quite quickly with a well-aimed hose and he was sent to his room to write me a letter about why drawing large penises in the middle of the road was not a good idea.
When the warm weather hits I scrawl messages on our front street to surprise my boys when they leave for school. Little did I realize the havoc I was creating by using an easily washable substance to write on cement.
We live in a day and age where our kids not getting enough exercise, and we complain because they constantly have their heads pointed towards some sort of screen. Our kids are shuttled to and from activities and they are losing out on free play more and more.
Yet, here are some kids playing outside, using their imagination and creativity, to draw. Something we used to do as kids. Or worse, they're using chalk to be active. How many games of hopscotch did you play when you were a child? How many races did you run where the start and end points were simple lines drawn across the road. Remember Four Square? Or how about when you had a friend outline your body and you drew in your face, hair, and clothes?
A gentleman from the Kipps Lane Property Management said that for every parent who likes chalk, there are tenants who do not so they have to ‘balance’ both to which I call bullsh*t because banning chalk means there is no balance. It works out to:
“People who don’t like chalk” - 1
“People who do like chalk” – 0
I don’t even have an the words to express how this is in my top ten of the stupidest things I’ve read this year. I’m sure there are some people who are going to completely disagree with me, and you know what? That’s okay. Just don’t move in beside me because at about 7:00 a.m. every weekday morning you’ll see me on the street destroying the integrity of our neighbourhood.
Chalk ban, indeed.
This video of a baby rocker has been shared over 87,000 times and has over 2,000 comments.
I’ll save you the trouble of reading all of the comments and summarize that there are a lot of women who will think you are a terrible, no good, very lazy mom and you will never bond with your baby if you buy this.
Peeps have strong opinions about rocking giraffe.
My second son was a bit of a screamer. He quite literally screamed himself to sleep for about a year.
There were lots of things I would do to try and calm this sweet screamy baby…two or three times a day we would walk around our neighbourhood with him strapped into a Baby Bjorn as he screamed his teeny tiny little head off until he finally conked out. I became such a familiar sight pacing back and forth that one neighbour would knock on her window to get my attention and wave me into her home so she could carry him for awhile just to give me a break. He also loved it when I bounced on an exercise ball while holding him. For hours. Basically any sort of movement made him happy.
These things were great but not always convenient because I also had a toddler and toddlers don’t find it very entertaining to walk around the neighbourhood with a screaming baby for hours at a time. Go figure.
I can’t remember what my final breaking point was but whatever happened that day, the end result was an email to my husband that simply said:
“Don’t come home without this,” with a link to a baby swing.
Four hours later the swing was set up in my kitchen. It was the swing that saved my sanity. The swing that allowed me to spend time with my toddler instead of putting him in front of the t.v. while I bounced on an exercise ball. The swing that STOPPED MY BABY FROM SCREAMING.
I think it cost about one hundred dollars but let me be very clear…. I WOULD HAVE PAID $10,000 FOR THAT SWING.
So it pisses me off when I read judgmental comments on a video of a rocking giraffe that at their very essence are written to make another mother feel “less than.”
The fact is every single one of us has crutches we will use to make motherhood easier at one point or another. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. US. You may say you won’t or think you won’t but I’m here to tell you that, yes… yes you will.
Maybe your crutch will be to order groceries online and have them delivered so you don’t have to grocery shop with a newborn and a toddler (by the way, they also deliver wine – just saying), or you got a super awesome carrier to free up your arms and hands to do other things. Maybe you bought a kick-ass double action breast pump so your partner could also get up in the middle of the night to feed your baby, or maybe you'll have a house cleaner come in once a week.
Your crutch is going to be unique to you but at some point during our motherhood careers we are all going to get or use something that will make our lives a teensy bit easier. If it’s not when you have a newborn baby, it will be when you have a toddler, or a school-aged kid, or a teenager. Because motherhood is a marathon and marathons are f*cking exhausting. Only unlike a marathon, there is no finish line for motherhood, it just keeps going and going and going.
So this is for every mom who has ever done something to make her life a little bit easier to help get through a bad day.
This is for every mom who has ever felt judged about a decision she made that worked for her and her family.
This is for every mom who looks at that video and thinks to herself, “I’d really like that” and then cringes as she reads the judgmental comments.
Because that swing saved my sanity and buying it didn’t make me a terrible, no good, lazy mom who didn’t bond with her kids. In fact, those kids are now much older and they're pretty spectacular.
Go buy it, I’ve got your back.
I remember the exact date - January 6, 2013. I was sitting in a freezing cold car trying to gather up the nerve to go into my very first swimming lesson. I had signed up to race in a triathlon and the swim portion was mandatory. I had taken lessons as a kid but stopped around age 11 and while I could tread water and play around with my kids in a pool, I was definitely more of a floater than a swimmer. That first night, I couldn’t even complete one 25m lap.
Getting out of my car and walking into the building to take that first lesson was probably one of the bravest things I've done in my adult life. But getting into the pool wasn't done on my own. I 100% couldn't have done it without the support of my husband and two sons who gave me a pep talk before I left, and my friend who texted me telling me to 'GET MY BUTT OUT OF THE CAR AND INTO THAT POOL, RIGHT NOW," that really pushed me forward.
That's why I'm 100% behind what the Chicken Farmers of Canada are doing to support Canadian swimmers in their quest for gold. As someone who began swimming late in life, I can't imagine the amount of time and training these kids put in. And while they are the ones doing the hard work, the fact is, no athlete ever gets to that level on his or her own. For every athlete you see in the Olympics, there are literally hundreds of people who have supported them that you don't see. I bet the same is true for your kids, even when they are just playing for fun - they get support from you, coaches, volunteers, friends, and teammates. So when you see an athlete on the podium, take a moment to think about everyone who helped get them there. From parents, friends, and coaches, to sponsors.
While all farmers might not go as far as this chicken farmer does, the message behind this funny video is clear - there are chicken farmers all across Canada who are active in their communities and are part of the commitment to support up-and-coming swimmers achieve their Olympic dream. And any time an individual or a group like the Chicken Farmers of Canada is supporting an athlete...that's a good thing.
So maybe you're thinking... "Well, I don't have kids competing anywhere near that level, so what does this have to do with me?"
I get it. I have one son who is a provincial level short track speed skater, and my younger son is a non-stop moving machine who likes to dabble and try many different sports. To date, he has tried soccer, baseball, skateboarding, scootering, track and field, cross country running, hockey, and has run a few 5k races. They're both very different in terms of how they stay active, but both can also recite our unofficial house rules by heart:
My eldest son is in a sport where winning or losing a race is measured by 100ths of a second, quite literally, faster than you can blink. My focus is never on my kids winning, it’s on having them always try with 100% of their ability.
It’s so easy to get trapped in the “I don’t want to look silly” mindset, but even Olympians had to start somewhere.
To get anywhere in life, you have to work hard but it’s also important to have fun with it. Otherwise, what’s the point? I certainly didn’t love my first few swimming lessons, but I laughed until I cried after the first time I took off my swim goggles and realized I may have put them on a little too tight and resembled Squidward from Sponge Bob Square Pants.
Come over to our house any time and you’ll see our fridge filled with fresh fruits and veggies that are cut up and ready to be eaten. A typical dinner at our house is generally a protein (typically chicken or fish) with some sort of salad (chickpeas for the win!) or other vegetables — my kids call it my “go to” dinner. But, and this is a BIG but, treats are also fine because they're still kids. And quite frankly, I would be a less happier person if I had to give up my secret stash of chocolate. Life is too short.
There are people in your life who are either going to lift you up, or bring you down. Say goodbye to the down people and surround yourself with those who will help you get through the ups and downs — no matter what you are training for.
For the record, that whole “Don’t worry about how you look when you try something new?”
P.S. I also nailed that triathlon. It wasn’t the fastest time, in fact I came in last in my age group. But for a gal who only six months earlier couldn’t swim 25 metres, I felt like I had conquered the world.
And I couldn't have done any of it without support.