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If you live in BC, Canada, have kids or not you are very aware of Teacher's Strike. As a parent and a member of the community, I have my opinions, but instead of spewing my concerns, I chose to ask my 12 and 14 year old what their thoughts are. 

I sat down with my kids this past week and talked with them about the teacher's strike. The 2 of them at first seemed extremely bored with it, it was difficult to pull them away from their laptops and Ipads, but I did (I celebrate the small victories). My 14 year old son, had a lot more to say then my 12-year-old daughter, which if you know her, that is a rare occurrence.  We came up with this: 

Quotes from my Kids about their teachers: 

Thank you for being my friend, without you there may have been times that I felt insecure, scared even. I do not always feel as smart as everyone in the class, but you have never made me feel that I couldn't do it. You taught me that I could do anything. - Rayne Wagner; to her grade six teacher.

I may not have liked the time that you emailed my Mom about me not finishing my homework, actually I didn't like it at all because she took away my laptop. I know now though that she needed to know because I failed grade eight math and because of the strike I did not get a chance to make it it up in summer school. - Tiegen Wagner; to his grade eight math teacher

I am so grateful for all the time my teacher spent with me before and after school, so that I could be more prepared for Grade eight. - Tiegen Wagner; to his grade seven teacher

If it wasn't for my Grade One Teacher Jodi, I am not sure if I would have even liked school. - Rayne Wagner

I am not sad that we aren't in school; I mean at least it is sunny out still. I am just worried that I may be even worse at math this year and then how am I ever going to be a graphic designer, or video game designer. - Tiegen Wagner

I didn't like having so many kids in my class in grade six, it was hard to feel as though I was even there, even though my teachers spent a lot of time with me. Tiegen Wagner; on being in a split class with two part-time teachers

Quotes from my kids when I asked them if they understood what the Strike was for:

Money - Tiegen Wagner

School supplies, we have to share all the school supplies, even though you bought them Mom - Rayne Wagner

The government thinks the teachers make enough money, and the teachers think they don't make enough money. I don't care about the money anyone makes I care that the teachers seem sometimes exhausted - Tiegen Wagner

Class size, I think the teachers want smaller class sizes, at least that is what I heard - Tiegen Wagner

Quotes from my kids when I asked them what they wanted:

I want my teachers to be happy; they are who I see in the morning and most of my day - Tiegen Wagner

I want to you to buy my school supplies, and I get to keep them, I don't understand why I have to share all of my stuff. I mean you paid for it Mom, isn't that our stuff? - Rayne Wagner
So without voicing my opinion on this debacle. Here it is, from the little people we are all fighting for!  What I took from this was a lot less simple than their answers.  We all want our kids in school, but what I didn't realize is they want to be in school too. For the most part they love their teachers and appreciate all that is done for them. 
So we are all talking about Ray Rice and Janay Rice, because we are mortified by what we saw all over the media. Why is it that I am so saddened by what happened to Janay Rice? For reason's that you may not expect actually. I am devastated that I had to see her abuse splashed all over the internet with little thought of how she may feel.  The only people that should be ashamed here are the people posting these stories, the people that want to make money off them. This footage did nothing for Janay Rice other than feed a burning desire for us to get a glimpse into the celebrity life.  

I know what you are going to say. You are going to tell me that we need to stand up against abuse, and you are right we do! But there is no way in hell that I would feel better if every mistake I had ever made being splashed all over the media. There is no excuse for what Ray Rice did to his now wife, but we know nothing of her story or what she has been through since this happened. Listen to the words she spoke, feel that pain also. 
The following message, which the Baltimore Sun reported was from Janay Rice and was intended to be released publicly, appeared Tuesday on her official Instagram account:

"I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I'm mourning the death of my closest friend. But to have to accept the fact that it's reality is a nightmare in itself. No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass of for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific.

"THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don't you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you've succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is! Ravensnation we love you!"

Via CBCSports 

We all want her to feel that she can leave, that it isn't ok to be in an abusive relationship. Many women have come forward with stories of their abuse; it is wonderful that they want to give Janay support and lend her a helping hand. That Is not what I am criticising. I am criticising the media for using Janay's story to make money. 

So instead of writing an open letter to Janay telling her it's ok to leave, I want to write a statement to her telling her, I hope you are ok, and I am sorry that you have had to relive this part of your life due to the insatiable appetite of the media wanting to make a quick buck.  

I am truly sorry for what you have been through. Not only have you had to deal with the immense pain of being hit by your partner, but you have to re-live this pain many months later. I don't know you, but what I do know is that I know nothing of your story, or of your husbands.  So I will not judge you for standing up for the man you love. I will not pretend to know what emotions you have been through in the past 24 hours or the past year. 

You are a strong woman, and you have every right to make your decisions. I do not condone what your Husband did that night. No woman should ever be hit, pushed, shoved or held against her will. But you know what you are up against better than any other person on this planet.  I hope that you and your family get through this as unscathed as possible. What I believe you should hear is we will stand by you whatever your decision. Be safe! I am sorry that this has happened to you many months ago, and that you are now re-living it today! 
My happiness vs what I thought would be my kids happiness.  That is the place I was in, while considering leaving my husband. A decision I did not take lightly, an agonizing, heart breaking, painful decision. How could I take my children away from their Dad, how could I break up all they knew as a family. It simply came down to what I truly wanted for my children. Their happiness.  

Flash back 15 years .... 
Walking towards the alter, I saw the man of my dreams. My heart filled with nothing but (what I thought was) pure love. I nervously clutched my Dad's arm as we walked towards the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with. This was what I was born for, I thought to myself. This is what I always wanted, this man, he was going to be my forever. I will never forget, or regret that day. I am flooded with wonderful memories even now, as I write this. It was a perfect day. 

I lost myself somewhere in that relationship.

No one get's married thinking they are going to end up in a divorce, but shit happens. It gets complicated, and just because it got hard, didn't mean I didn't try. I did, I poured my heart into that marriage and my family. I just couldn't stop crying. I cried every day, every time I didn't have to show my brave face, I cried. It started to affect my parenting, which was unacceptable to me. 

Do I know the devastating effects that my divorce had on my children? Yes I do, they are my children, and I am a good Mom! 

I did not take breaking my family up, lightly. In fact, for years, I chose their so called happiness over mine. I still do, I believe all mother's do. It wasn't good enough for me, I believed we all deserved to be happy. That is when I decided, our happiness could only be achieved, if I left their Dad. Toughest decision I have ever made. 

I clearly remember driving my kids home from daycare about 6 months after leaving my husband, and my 4 year old daughter asked me why we couldn't live in the big house with Daddy anymore. Why did we have to move to this little town house without him. My heart was broken and all I could say was, sorry baby. I cried myself to sleep that night. I felt like I was ruining my children's lives. All those great things they had, the big yard, the toys, their own space to play, and a stay at home Mom. I felt as though I ruined everything! I apologized to them almost everyday.

 These are the reason's I stopped apologizing and started explaining to them the truth. 

"Much as we might like to believe the opposite, children are much more concerned with their own personal happiness than anyone else’s. Parents contemplating divorce should remember their own emotional concerns are not naturally aligned with their child’s. So when a divorcing parent argues, “How could my children be happy if I wasn’t happy?” I always think, “Quite easily, in fact.”
Everyone has the right to be happy. Even their Mom an Dad

Yes my children should do all they can to make sure they stick with what they have signed up for. I do not teach the easy way out. Divorce or quitting anything should be well thought through, and not always an option. Yet, I believe that I deserve to be happy as much as the next person, as do they.  Why I disagree with the above quote is very simple. Living in a tumultuous house can be just as detrimental. We as parents have to pick which we believe is better for our children and teach them that hard decisions will have to be made. They will have to live with something that wasn't their choice, true. Who doesn't. There will always be tough time's and not everything is in our control. I do not preach quitting anything! I teach my children, that their happiness is important and they deserve it. They have to work at it. 
People aren't perfect, I am most definitely not perfect. Of course I didn't want to hurt my kids and tear them away from all they once knew, but I stopped apologizing for it. Everytime I apologized to them, they had no choice but to believe it was a bad thing. I mean really, we are supposed to only apologize when we do something wrong, right? It only perpetuated the problem. I had to be strong and stand up for my decisions, so do they. I can't possibly teach my children to stand up for what they believe in if I don't, can I? 
I never wanted to put my children through a divorce, but I stopped apologizing and started explaining. I started talking with them, not to them. They know it is not their fault I left their Dad.

I recently did a Mock interview with them, a Q&A about, what they think about divorce and how it affected them. That Blog entry is soon to come. 

To all the Mom's still apologizing to your kids for your divorce, take some time to think about what you are apologizing for. Take some time to hear what they have to say. They deserve to know why you made a life changing decision. It doesn't have to include all the gory details, but they are much smarter than you think, they may already know. 

Whether you loved or hated highschool, doesn't matter. I know many people that hated it and many people that kind of still live in its glory, forgetting that it is truly just a small piece of your life. I am quite indifferent about my experience in highschool, I neither loved nor hated it. But what I do know is it can be tougher on some than others. 

As my son starts his second year in highschool. I thought about my experiences in highschool in comparison to my experiences in the last 22 years. I realized that I too felt it was a whole world inside one big square building. That everything that happened there could feel like it was my only thing. I wanted my Son to understand that his time in highschool is a great one, but not the only one. 

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There is nothing in this world I hate more, than talking about my sexual abuse as a child. It is one of those things that if people have not experienced, they seem vaguely touched by. I see the expression on their faces, usually one of commiseration, yet not understanding. I don't blame them, actually; I am happy for them. No one needs to go through that type of trauma. There is a great loss in childhood, for that matter adulthood, in being abused sexually as a small child.

As a very young girl, ages 3-6, I was sexually abused by my neighbour. There is an utter shame in it. One that cannot be explained by a person of that age, barely by a person of my age. Without getting into any of the gruesome details. I will explain this; it is something I put away in a part of my brain for many years. Something that I put away so far, that I didn't even know it had happened to me. A definite defense mechanism, I still use  today, begrudgingly. A fight or flight type of response. 

It wasn't until many years later; 19 to be exact, that my abuser came to me to confess his indiscretions and that I may not be the only one he had done this to. It clearly brought up a whole hell of a lot of confusions. As a young girl in my mid 20's now, I knew very distinctly that he was telling me the truth, but I had not let that part of life in for so many years.  I felt very scared, alone and traumatized as if it had just happened to me that day. With the same response I had learned so many years earlier, I put this pain to bed, carefully, never wanting to awake it again. It didn't work this time.

 You see I met this man, my soon to be husband, and one day we were walking downtown and we passed a flyer posted on one of the small businesses. It was my abuser; I was appalled! He was looking for young children to join his baseball team. I couldn't just stand by; I couldn't let this happen to anyone else. I pressed charges! My fiance stood behind me 100%, as we went through the process. Retelling a story I had never told, not really. The heartache was deafening. A foggy white mist seemed to follow me wherever I went. I couldn't see through it. It took my first pregnancy, for me to see any good in this. Unfortunately this man is still free today, but at the very least, I know I tried my best to serve justice. 

Becoming a parent has been the happiest time of my life. My first pregnancy came on the heels, of me finding out I was sexually abused as a child. As all of you Moms-to-be know, it is a fascinating time in your life. We spend much of the pregnancy looking into parenting techniques, tips and ideas. I spent a lot of my pregnancy doing the same, with just one small adjustment. I thought about how never to let what happened to me, happen to them. I obsessed over it at times.

5 Key Points

The Fear of becoming a Bad Parent

Not only did I fear being a bad parent, I feared that I would be extremely over protective. Now that my children are 14 and 12, I have realized that I have done a great job raising them, so far. I am sure they will have their own criticism once they are adults. But at the very least I have grown to be the best Mom I can be. 

The Fear that my Children would be abused. 

I certainly had anxiety, especially with my daughter. I realize that most parents are protective, as we should be. I fought with myself about whether I was being too protective, because of my abuse.

Shame and Guilt 

My shame and guilt, had all to do with my parenting. Would I be good at this? Am I doing the best for my children. I over compensated many times, and was not as strict on my kids, because of this shame. 

With all of that being said. I have had the support of family and friends throughout my journey. Being a parent is one of the most rewarding things, I have ever experienced. It can also be tough at times, without any of these factors. Knowledge is the key to success in any endeavour. If you do your best and know what you are dealing with, you will succeed. 
Recently we have seen a surge of blog posts, facebook updates, twitter hashtags,  all relating to Robin Williams Suicide. I get it, it is a terrible loss and it too saddens me. It has brought some much needed talk forward, regarding mental health issues. Issues, that hit close to home for a lot of people. Issues, that may have been overlooked if a celebrity had not been the one dealing with them.  I send my love to Robin William's family and friend's in this extremely difficult time. 

The same has happened with Breastfeeding in Public. With the past month being, breastfeeding awareness month. Many people have told their stories of being shamed, and some of being accepted.  I applaud all the women and men speaking out on this topic. Only good things can come when we as a people, speak out about these types of issues. We, in North America, have the luxury of freedom of speech. We are lucky that we have a medium to express our feelings and share them with the world. That I am grateful for.  

Recently, my very good friend made a good point, she shared it on Facebook. Here it is .... 
Nailed it! I don't believe this could have been said any better. It got me thinking, what do we really care about, what really worries us, or is it that we aren't being given the right things to worry about, via the Media? We are a part of the trend, what we share, follow and like is the MEDIA, we can change this. 

 I am a "mommy blogger", I enjoy writing about women's issues, parenting, my family, recipes, and what ever comes to mind. A great freedom that I have been given, one that I cherish. One that many women (or men) in our world do not have. No, I don't believe we should stop writing about what we care about. I believe, most of us are doing our best to get through the day. Life can be hard, but my complaints are much smaller than those in many other parts of the world. 

I am definitely not taking away from the issues we as women write about. I certainly don't believe that we should stop writing about, shark week, breastfeeding, or Robin Williams for that matter.  Yet, we have the ability to make a difference. We have the ability to write better content. To uplift communities and help them! Through our words! Just because we are so called "mommy bloggers" does not mean would shouldn't be speaking out regarding these types of issues. I wouldn't want my kids to think that these aren't important issues, because they are. 

When a celebrity's death is trending over a possible genocide, I do believe we have a problem. If you are interested in helping the woman of Iraq, please take a look at this website. Women for Women International. Also please watch the following video. I believe this man has some very great things to say. 

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I forgot to go over one thing, when I spoke to my daughter, about the birds and the bees. 

Pubic hair! Okay, don't get me wrong, I wasn't even aware I had to, but things have changed since the 70's. You know what I am talking about ladies, when pubic hair was, let me just say, a whole other animal! 

I never had to ask my Mom about pubic hair; I saw her naked, and well, it was the 70's, she had a lot of it. I guess I just knew that I would be getting it, and that was that. My poor daughter did not have that luxury. Yes, she has seen me naked, but I am carefully manicured down there. She hasn't been privy to a whole lot of pubic hair moments in her life. 

So this is how it went down. My partner and I had just turned on Netflix prepared to watch a full season of whatever caught our eye. Marathon it, as we like to say! My kids were just getting themselves ready for bed, and as usual my daughter, who has a bit of a bathing addiction, was in the bath.  

To give you a bit of a back story. Ryan, my partner, boyfriend, common law husband, or whatever you want to call him, has been in my life since she was just little. He loves her like she is one of his own, but nothing could have prepared him for this moment, or any Dad for that matter. 

Just after we said goodnight to my 14-year-old son, my 12-year-old daughter came barreling down the stairs. Butt ass naked! This is not a big deal in my house, as I believe there is no shame in the human body. Besides, she is a little girl, a late bloomer, and has never had a reason to cover herself up.

 I digress ... 

The 2 of us, Ryan and I, are sitting in the living room, just about to start our Netflix marathon, when she walks up to me, points at her vagina and shouts out, WHAT IS THIS!!!!! She was pointing at her newly found pubic hair! IT IS ITCHY; she shouted again.  Ryan, quickly turned his head, to not embarrass her, or himself I am sure. I then, let out a bit of a laugh, unsure of myself in that moment, unsure of how to react. I was proud that my daughter would want to come to me and ask that question. Proud, that she has no fear or shame in her body. Proud that she was comfortable enough in her skin to ask that question. 

I brought her back upstairs, as not to embarrass either Ryan or her, to talk to her about pubic hair. What has my life come to, pubic hair, really?  I explained to her what it was and why it was there. The one thing I may have skipped when talking to her about the birds and the bees. A strange but defining moment for the 2 of us, my daughter and I.  

I have always been open and honest with both of my children about sex, hormones, changing into a teenager, etc. I guess, I forgot to explain pubic hair. #parentingfails  

Do any of you have similar stories? Anything you forgot to tell your kids about the birds and the bees?
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If you haven't seen this commercial and you are a woman, you are missing out! 
So what has happened since I have implemented the, sorry not sorry, into my life. Let me tell you, craziness has happened. No, not real craziness, but there are definitely some confused men, especially mine. I actually didn't realize how often I say sorry until I watched this, I relate to every woman in this ad. I apologize for everything. Sad, really. 

Within the first day of implementing this into my relationship,  I actually said sorry not sorry over 15 times. My partner looked at me as if I was the crazy one. "What do you mean, sorry not sorry?" It was as if he was offended that I took back my apology. It was then I realized he had become accustomed to my "empty" apologies. As though he almost needed them. It made me angry, let's get something straight here, he rarely apologizes for anything and if he does, there is almost definitely a "but" at the end of it. Which if you ask me, is in no way an apology. I digress .... No, he's not a bad guy, he is just a guy, that has had a woman apologize to him for "nothing" for a long time. This, truly must be shocking for him, and I don't blame him. 

A lot of men inherently do not apologize, not for things they aren't sorry for. Why would they, if they didn't do anything wrong. You don't often hear a man apologize for sitting next to you, or handing your child to you. This really made me think. Why am I doing this?  It clearly makes me appear weaker, timid even. 

Within days I actually stopped having to say, sorry not sorry, and just stopped apologizing for the stuff I wasn't sorry for. I say that loosely, I mean, come on, this is a hard habit to break, I have been doing it since the beginning of time. It will definitely be a learning curve in my relationship, but a good one none the less. 

It also made me realize how often my kids say sorry. Not just my daughter, but my son also. I don't want them to apologize unless they really mean it, unless they have done something wrong. This is going to be the real challenge. Teaching my 14 and 12 year old that they don't need to say sorry for the "nothings". I will keep you posted on this journey. 

What I have noticed. I am trying to stop apologizing for things that aren't my fault, things that really don't need an apology. This may be difficult, as I am Canadian and it kind of is our mantra *wink *wink.  

What, if anything, have you changed since seeing this ad?  Drop me a comment and let me know. 
I wrote a a little blog post that got quite a lot of attention recently. http://www.blogher.com/why-i-stopped-apologizing-my-kids-divorcing-their-dad#comments 
It sparked some heartfelt emotion in quite a few people. Good, that is what writing is supposed to do.  It also got me thinking about the whole reason I started a blog. To get women to stick together, to be less judgemental and more open minded towards each other. It is a sad state of affairs when women, instead of sticking together, turn on each other. We can't all feel the same way, we can't all agree on the same social issues. Yet, we can,  instead of judging one another, be empathetic. We can, ask better questions. We can, try harder to see through our own insecurities and sadnesses, rather than portrait them on to someone else.

Are we not still fighting for equality? I believe we are and I believe we can be our own worst enemy. 

A recent reply to my post http://www.blogher.com/why-i-stopped-apologizing-my-kids-divorcing-their-dad, made one woman very angry at me. At first it made me sad that she couldn't see that there was sadness in my words (that will just challenge me to be a better writer). She did not stop to ask me what had made me unhappy and I guess she doesn't have to. I did not disclose that information. I chose not to. 
"I will never understand that.I read a blog about a woman who divorced her husband because she was unhappy and was done apologizing to her children for it. I was so distraught over this blog for a couple of reasons. The first one because she divorced because she was unhappy. And the second because she was done apologizing "  via  http://heyladyblogthat.blogspot.ca/2014/07/my-happiness-is-more-important-than.html
In response, I did leave because I was unhappy. What made me unhappy wasn't disclosed. I don't believe it had to be. I chose for my children not to know the whole truth also. Not one of my children needed to know that their father wasn't "the nicest" guy to their mother. I was putting them first and do to this day.  
"She divorced because she was unhappy? I don't understand that. But then I believe in putting others first, helping out those in need, loving without judgement, and keeping promises. So when I hear that someone completely wrecked their life and the lives of their children because they just weren't happy, it makes me a little angry. "  via http://heyladyblogthat.blogspot.ca/2014/07/my-happiness-is-more-important-than.html
Loving without judgement must mean something different to me and that is ok. I believe everyone has a story and we sometimes forget to look past the outer edge to see it.  
"Work at your marriage and if you don't think it's the kind of thing you can stomach then don't get married. Do us all a favor and don't add children to the mix. Children are resilient. Bull. They depend on you to show them happiness. They don't see the world like you. They trust everything. Until someone like you comes along, selfish and concerned for your own happiness, and you rob them of that trust. If I sound harsh, good. No one ever talks about these things. Marriage is a commitment. It isn't a boyfriend you can just dump because you "feel" like it, it isn't fun anymore, you don't have those fluttery feelings, he didn't open your door. Get over it, get over yourself! Work for the things that are important, like marriage, and your children."  via  http://heyladyblogthat.blogspot.ca/2014/07/my-happiness-is-more-important-than.html
We have to ask better questions. We have to have full knowledge of a situation before judgement. This is the only way we are going to learn to be better towards each other as women. We have to stop judging each other so harshly. It actually disgusts me. Too many times I have seen other women bitching  about other women, even women they call their friends. Shouldn't we at least try to understand their story first? 
"In a normal, non abusive divorce......No amount of apologizing could ever undo the affects of divorce. Never stop apologizing. You absolutely did wreck your child's life. No matter what age your child was, they will grow up with issues with trust, love, relationships, respect, and security. And not just with their significant others, but with you as the parent. You have set a standard of love for your child that is impossible to achieve. Because no matter how much you promise to love them, you may leave them too. What stopped you from breaking those promises before? Nothing, not even your child. You absolutely have robbed them of normalcy. You have robbed them of moments that they will long for but never have." via http://heyladyblogthat.blogspot.ca/2014/07/my-happiness-is-more-important-than.html
I believe we all have our stories to tell and for some that may be why we blog. Every person has the right to their opinion. It just makes me very sad that some women still choose to judge others harshly. Good things come from a village of women learning together, rather than fighting against each other. I will continue to teach my daughter not to judge other women but to embrace them and learn from them. I will continue to teach my son to treat women with respect, and to not talk to them like his father talked to me. I will always keep my head up and know in my heart that I made the right decision for myself and my children, but I do thank you for your heartfelt emotion on this subject. Without it, we as Women may not be where we are today. 

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