|Posted by Kirstin Parkin on April 23, 2018 at 1:30 PM||comments (10)|
It finally happened – a mean girl made you cry, and I had to reign in every one of my Momma Bear instincts to deal with it.
We were at a birthday party recently and there was a girl there, maybe 6 or 7 years old. I witnessed her being a jerk to numerous people, including my special needs friend who is 9 years old, and other adults as well. She stuck her tongue out at my husband and his friend. Told other kids ‘I don’t like you.’ Told my kid that she wasn’t friends with the birthday girl. She was plain RUDE. Her behaviour was atrocious. It didn’t really offend me until she made my kid cry. I wanted to go out into the hallway (where her mother was playing on her phone, totally uninvolved) and scream at her mom to deal with her little girl. I mean, who allows such behaviour? This little girl was the niece to my good friend who was throwing the party, and to my friends credit, she took action. She told off her ‘darling’ niece and made her stand at the back of the cake line up because she budged and tried to push kids out of the way. There’s not too much she could do, as her sister in law was completely uninterested in being involved with her daughters behaviour. My friend tried to help though, and allowed my crying little girl to go second in the piñata line up to try and make her feel better. It did help although my poor, sensitive kid told me that it was the worst birthday party ever, all because of this one little girl who knows no boundaries.
Thanks to her though, it sparked some important conversations with my two big girls.
First, we talked about how to handle mean girls. Simple, don’t be their friends. Don’t invite that kind of negativity into your life. If they harm you, tell an adult, otherwise, tell them that they’re rude and walk away. Don’t engage with them because that’s what gives them power. We talked about how bullies suck and how important it is to be kind to others. So thanks for that, mean girl.
Second, we talked about how you can never be beautiful if you don’t have a kind heart. I told my girls that that bully will never be truly beautiful if she can’t treat people with kindness. She might have pretty blonde hair and a cute face, but the negativity that emanates from within will forever prevent her from being beautiful. Beauty comes from inside, and a bully doesn’t have the necessary equipment. Beauty required kindness. Thanks for that lesson, mean girl.
Thirdly, we talked about a lesson that my Dad taught me - to feel bad for the mean girl. To pity her. People must be very unhappy to treat others that way. You will never find a Bully who has a happy heart, and that makes me sad for them. If you can take your own sadness for how she treated you, and reflect it back into how sad she must be to act like that, it can help you to cope with how you were mistreated. Having empathy for the bully can help you to realise that their actions are a reflection of their insides, and how utterly sad it is that her insides are so unhappy.
I do feel bad for that mean girl. She will not have an easy life. I also feel bad for her mother, who is obviously dealing with her own issues. While I feel sad and angry, I also appreciate the opportunity to teach my daughters such important lessons. That kindness is the most important lesson.
|Posted by Kirstin Parkin on January 26, 2016 at 11:15 PM||comments (2)|
Down the road, your friendships will probably seem like the most important thing in the world to you. Your family life will probably take a backseat to your social life, and the opinions of your friends will likely carry more weight than the opinions of your family. There seems to be a misunderstanding about what friends are these days. The term Frenemy is a real thing. The plight of mean girls is terrifying to me. The idea of ‘friends’ crushing you by withholding friendship or being cruel to you, makes me want go Ninja-Mommy on these future friends. Obviously, I’m not allowed to do that, but those that know me, know that I have a super-strength momma bear side to me. Just ask my family. I don’t care who you are, if you mess with my girls, you will deal with me. I almost feel bad for the kids down the road that mess with you.
I would much rather, however, prefer you choose your friends carefully, and with a grain of salt, than choosing friends based on popularity. The reality is, for me anyways, that very few of these kids will make it into a substantial place in your future. Likely, you will lose touch with most of them before you’ve reached twenty. The number of friends I have from high school? Two. And I see them two to three times a year. My closest friends live on the other side of the world, the other side of the country, or have just entered my life since becoming a mom. I can count on my two hands those who make the cut. It’s my own doing to be sure because friends have the ability to hurt you. Badly…. And I’ve been hurt.
It’s the ‘friend’ that dates your ex boyfriend less than a week after he dumped you. It’s the ‘friend’ who dumps you for having an opinion they don’t like. It’s the ‘friends’ who judge you for dating a boy they don’t like, or tease you for cutting you hair into a short bob. It’s the ‘friend’ who chooses sides when you break it off with your high school sweet heart, and it’s not your side. Its ‘friends’ that give you horrible nick names that stick around the whole school year. All this happened to me, and thankfully it was before the internet and social media took things to a whole new level.
My friendships have mostly, always been temporary. As soon as I get a taste for the real person, I’m usually quick to move on. Life is too short to waste it fostering friendships with people that don’t understand or deserve you. I have found it safer in my life to be alone than to be around people who aren’t genuinely my friends. It can be lonely, but loneliness hurts less than betrayal in my opinion, which is why I ask you to consider your friendships carefully. The true friendships I have are incredibly cherished by me, because I understand what a rarity they are. Popularity is fleeting, but true friendship is priceless.
Please remember, that it’s important to be a good friend. That means being kind and considerate. It’s being empathetic as well as being supportive and encouraging. It’s listening instead of talking, and being inclusive instead of exclusive. It also means saying no when someone treats you poorly, or tries to convince you to make bad decisions. It’s being thoughtful about what you say and how it impacts others. It's means being comfortable being yourself, without pretending to be someone who you are not.
I pray that you will have a few happy, healthy friendships as you grow, but you’re already luckier than most, as you each have a sister, who will forever be your best friend. For that, you are eternally blessed. xo
|Posted by Kirstin Parkin on September 16, 2015 at 1:50 PM||comments (2)|
There will come a day when you will see something, or learn of something so heartbreaking that it makes your heart bleed. It’s so hard to hear of such tragic stories without feeling totally overwhelmed with the pain, or sorrow, anger, or fear.
The suffering that exists in the world is infinite. It is seemingly unending and there are no justifications to explain the horrendous evils that permeate our world. The News tells us about the worst things happening around the world at all times. Sometimes, the tragedies happen close to home, other times they happen to someone we know. Perhaps it’s about people, or maybe animals, or the environment, and frequently, it’s happening to millions of people on the other side of the world. War, missing women, good people with terminal diagnosis, random acts of violence, targeted hate crimes, school shootings, cruelty to animals, innocent children lost. These things are happening. All. The. Time.
My hope for you during such pain and confusion, is that you can try hard to focus on the good. Look for the people who are helping. Look to see all the people who care. See the good. They’re there but you need to make the effort to shift your focus from the bad. Feel all the sadness that comes with hearing about devastation. It’s okay to cry, so cry. And then let it go.
Focus on your life and making it the best it can be, because ultimately we don’t know how long any one of us will be around for. While we don’t know what disaster is lurking around the corner, we cannot live a life in chaos and fear. We must keep faith and remember for every ten stories of sorrow and sadness, there are hundreds of stories of happy blessings that just need to be told. We need to share the good tales with happy endings. As much as Evil exists in the world, so does Good, and that’s where you need to focus.
I’m thinking of so many people while writing this. A little two year old girl abducted and killed. Incomprehensible. A little boy hit by a truck and died. Unimaginable. A sweet man diagnosed with ALS. A high school friend killed during a police altercation. Another stabbed and killed over drugs. Millions of refugees desperate to escape Terrorism and Extremists. Girls and women stolen and sold into the sex trade. Animals suffering neglect and abuse.
The only thing that I can think of is that these things are unacceptable and cannot, will not, be stood for. Our modern society is evolving to a place where equality will not only be a reality for everyone on the planet, but it will be a fundamental belief that will be defended by every country in the world. The advancement of globalization and social media are connecting people in a way that has never happened before. People are ending modern slavery with a Gofundme.com account, and rallying around people with change.org online protests. Cell phone videos are exposing violent abusive people and providing evidence. Police are tracking down pedophiles by pretending to be young girls on the internet. Things are changing. Things are improving. The atrocities inflicted by people in power spark revolution and change.
Please remember that for every criminal there are numerous police officers working to put them away. For every ALS death there are many scientists working to find a cure. For every natural disaster, there are countless people who swoop in and help as many people as possible. For every senseless death, there is some lesson that can be learned. There is still good. I cannot control the bad in this world, I can however choose to live in positivity, love and optimism.
I Pray to God numerous times a day, and it never changes: “Dear God, please keep my family safe, keep us healthy, and keep us together. Amen”
|Posted by Kirstin Parkin on September 2, 2015 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
My dad has given me some pretty sound advice over my life. Be kind to people. Have empathy. Be nice to the kids who need a little more support. Honesty is the best policy. Integrity is paramount.
One of the moist poignant things he ever told me was that it was human nature for people to talk about other people. People talk about people. People will also talk about events, ideas and the weather, but mostly, they will always talk about people. What they’re doing and what they’ve done will always be a popular conversation topic.
This simple fact has allowed me to put human nature into perspective. When I’m being talked about, judged, criticized, I know that it won’t last forever before a newer, more interesting person becomes the topic of speculation. I’ve been the victim of vicious rumours that felt like they would ruin me, but dad was right; eventually it blew over. People started talking about something else. Something newer and more interesting always becomes the hot topic. It has also enabled me to be more considerate when I find myself talking about others as well. I try to put myself in their shoes and keep some perspective. I am usually the one trying to be the devils’ advocate with regards to speculations and I try to avoid the whole mob mentality when it comes from making snap judgments on others. It’s not always easy to do. After all, its human nature to talk about other people, and some people are idiots.
Assuming its nature to talk, than it’s also natural to feel upset when others talk about you. To feel judged is a terrible feeling, and as much as I want to protect you from such judgemental tendencies, I know you will be better served by my teaching you how to cope with the gossip groupies.
First, to quote Taylor Swift, ‘Shake it off.’ Whether you’re getting teased on your new haircut, or because you’re the first one to put up your hand in class, or because you like a boy who the kids don’t think is cool enough, know that you don’t need their approval. YOU DON’T NEED THEIR APPROVAL. As long as you’re a nice person and try to be kind, that’s all that really matters. You don’t need friends that bring you down. You don’t need the approval of people who don’t matter.
Secondly, come home to cry about it. Once you’re safe if your parents arms, you can let your pain loose. Unfortunately, letting your pain show in public is like attracting vultures to a carcass. If they see that they hurt you, they will continue to peck at you until you snap. I know this will be hard. It’s not easy to turn off those feelings until you’re in a safe environment to deal with them, but trust me, not everywhere is safe to let your pain show. I’ve cried my eyes out in the bathroom before, only to emerge with red, swollen eyes which gave me away every time. I have been better served with my ability to detach in the moment from my emotional hurt, and deal with it later, when I have a box of tissues, a supportive ear to listen, and comfy clothes. Please don’t mistake my message though, the point is not to turn off your feelings entirely, only to know that you can tell them that you’ll deal with them at a later time. It is possible, and it is doable. As long as I’m alive, I will be your supportive ear and your shoulder to cry on.
Lastly, my advice is to rise above. Your goodness is not determined by others. Your goodness is innate, it comes from within you. You never need to justify your existence to others. Your decisions are your own, and as long as you approach life with a kind heart, you will be okay. But remember, when you are talking about others (it is human nature, after all), try to be considerate before being judgemental. It will take you a lot further in life than those who are not.
|Posted by Kirstin Parkin on March 2, 2015 at 8:40 PM||comments (0)|
I’m nursing yet another battle wound that I received simply because I’m your mother.
Miss M smashed me in the mouth with a toy while we were all in the bath tub together. It wasn’t intentional, but my tooth went through my lip and instantly my mouth was filled with blood. Miss B was mortified because I looked like I came straight from a horror film. You know when your teeth are coated in blood and your whole mouth looks like your about to die? That was how I looked to my three year old. Miss B was terrified and very mad at her sister for hurting her mommy. Miss M just laughed.
So I got to rock a fat split lip for three days, and even now on day four, its sore. And I’m reminded of how much abuse I take from you girls. I have had scabs on my face from your little finger nails gouging my skin, I’ve chosen wedding outfits based on what covers the teeth mark bruises on my arms. You have both ripped out clumps of may hair on numerous occasions. I am routinely kicked, jumped on, head butted and scratched. I’m surprised I still have my hearing left after the glass shattering screams that have blasted my ears. That is the stuff that people don’t tell you about parenting. How these little beings that you love more than anything in the world will lash out and hurt you when they’re really mad. Or bored. Or frustrated. Or sad. Or hungry. Or tired. Or just totally by accident.
I’m not sure if all kids lash out like mine do, but be rest assured that I certainly don’t tolerate it. While writing this, Miss M got a time out for pulling out a handful of her sisters hair.
That stuff doesn’t fly with me but it happens whether I allow it or not.
Thanks to these tantrums, I’ve had to reconsider my whole parenting philosophy because what I was doing wasn’t working. When Miss B was about 12 months old, she started biting me. Breastfeeding bites are one of the worst things ever. EVER. Same with the soft skin of your inner arm or when they bite down on your finger when you try to sweep a choking hazard out of their mouth and they wont let go. I tried everything to stop her biting, but NOTHING worked. Until I bit her back.
For the record, I DIDN’T WANT TO DO IT, but apparently my kids learn by consequence because once she experienced the pain of being bitten, she stopped. It was a friggin miracle.
Now when she lashes out at me, all I need to say is ‘do you want me to do it to you?’ because she knows I will. We don’t spank in our house, but I reserve the right to use self defence. Judge me if you want, but I have slapped my kids back when they hit me and let me tell you, they hate it.
I have never spanked as punishment, but I have to educate my kids on consequences and remind them that their mommy is a person and has feelings too. My husband and I decided to teach them that if they hit someone, they will likely get hit back. It’s a good life lesson in my opinion. I am working on teaching them not to hit in the first place, but that is part of the evolution of education, and a lesson that will continue to be taught until it is learned.
My intention in writing this, isn’t to make my kids to feel guilty one day when they read this, or for the world to think that I’m complaining about my spirited daughters, because I don’t mean to do those things.
I can (and will) write one day about the incredibly sweet, kind things that fill motherhood too, like having your daughter play with your hair, or give you a big hug when her sister hurts me, or asking me how my day was. There are so many examples of kindness in our kids, and even though this blog post is about the painful side of parenting, I know I’m not alone in the trenches. I know I’m not the only one with battle wounds. And I know I’m not the only one who wouldn’t trade it for the world.
|Posted by Kirstin Parkin on February 7, 2015 at 3:25 PM||comments (1)|
One day in the distant future, you will be faced with trying to decide what career you want. It’s a right of passage that we all go through, and it can be quite daunting, especially when you’ve been taught that you can do anything you put your mind to. My advise to you is that you consider not only what you want to do for a career, but how you want to make a living. How you want to spend your days, because you will spend a HUGE amount of your time doing your job. A job that you work five days a week, eight hours a day, fifty weeks a year, equates to about two thousand hours a year of you doing your job. I suggest that you do something that you enjoy.
When I was in high school, I found micro biology fascinating. The idea of these tiny microbes living in a world only visible by microscope was incredibly interesting to me. I decided that I wanted to be a microbiologist. I knew that I could be anything I tried to be, so why not that?
Our high school did a work experience program and I was able to go spend an eight hour day in the labs at our hospital. There was an incredible array of high tech equipment used for diagnosing peoples ailments, some very nice men and women who were very kind to me, and a behind the scenes view of what happens in labs to help people. The nice lady in the microbiology departments was very kind, and she showed me what she does on a daily basis which was taking samples from patients, putting them on Petri dishes, then incubating them to see what would grow. After the samples had time to incubate, the type of microbe could then be identified and a patient would be diagnosed.
Fascinating, but not for me. I found the lab to smell really bad, which makes total sense because you are, after all, growing microbes from stool, urine and bile samples. Of course that would smell bad. It was also dark, because that too, is useful for growing things that like the dark and damp environments.
The ladies spent their day in the lab, save only for leaving for lunch and coffee breaks, which consisted of going down one level to the cafeteria. They didn’t see fresh air for the whole day. I knew after one day, that that wasn’t how I wanted to spend my two thousand hours a year. I’m very thankful for that work experience though, because it’s a hard lesson to learn after you’ve spent four years in college getting trained for a profession that you won’t actually like doing.
I make my living working on a ferry boat. I make a great wage with good benefits, and I get to be outdoors. I get to talk with people all day long, and enjoy the gorgeous west coast scenery that we’re famous for. I revel in the joys of watching dolphins, hump back whales and killer whales on a regular basis. I thrive in the routine of going back and forth from dock to dock, four round trips a day.
I help load traffic onboard, then I go steer the ferry to the next dock. I am highly trained to respond to emergencies on board, like fires, fuel spills, crash landings and evacuations. I am confidant in my job, and I’ve been given great opportunities working in my field.
I had to make a decision about how I wanted to make a living. It was hard for my parents to accept that I was dropping out of college to pursue my marine tickets, but they were, like they always have been, supportive of me. Eleven years later, I know I made the right choice.
I encourage you dear daughters to consider not only the career you want when you grow up, but to consider how you want to make a living.
|Posted by Kirstin Parkin on January 15, 2015 at 1:25 AM||comments (2)|
I am constantly surprised by you. Both of you. There’s something magical in the way you learn and evolve. The pride in your eyes when you master a new skill, or the triumphant look that you get when you’ve tackled a challenge. I hope that you grow knowing that your possibilities are truly limitless. There is nothing that you cannot learn and master; there is nothing holding you back.
My parents never put limits on me. They encouraged me, and told me how proud they were of me. They told me all the time that I could be anything that I wanted to be if I put in the effort. Practice makes Perfect.
They let me quit baseball. Twice. They indulged my eight years of piano lessons, even though I refused to learn how to read sheet music. I was never any good at sports, although I was decent on the basketball court many, many years ago, and I really enjoyed dancing ballet. I joined the 4-H sewing club. I also had some pretty exciting adventures while I was an Air Cadets. Gliding in a little plane with no engine above the Comox Valley, competing in a Biathlon in Vernon, and hiking 17km to Cape Scott at the Northern tip of Vancouver Island. Three times. I flew alone to Germany when I was 14 as part of the Rotary Overseas Summer Exchange. Then went again when I was 15. They bought me a clarinet when I went through my band phase, and let me cover every single inch of my room with pictures from magazines and scotch tape.
Thanks to my parents, it never occurred to me that there was anything I couldn’t do, and I want you to know the same. I’m evolved past the ‘Practice makes Perfect’ mentality of my youth because, honestly, nothing is perfect. Striving for perfection can drive a person crazy. It was driving me insane. I now follow the ‘Practice makes Progress’ mantra, because after all, making progress is so much more rewarding than chasing perfection. After all, you as well as I, are already perfectly perfect. Keep learning and growing my dear daughters, and keep making progress in whatever choose. I’ll be doing the same.
|Posted by Kirstin Parkin on March 20, 2014 at 12:45 AM||comments (0)|
Time is relative. That is why when your baby cries, ten minutes feel like thirty, but when you're busy and rushed, time flies by. Waiting for the kettle to boil feels like an eternity but trying to get the family out the door in half an hour and that time is gone in an instant.
In theory, if I live a slow paced, peaceful life, it will be like having a longer life because I would be taking the time to experience it all along the way. I love my slow paced life. I'm enjoying almost every minute of it, and I hope it does pass by slowly. I couldn't imagine a better life than to slowly spend it loving you.
|Posted by Kirstin Parkin on March 18, 2014 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
I have always been the stubborn one. I would cut off my nose despite my face more times than I care to admit. On top of being stubborn, I'm also a bit of a know-it-all. The two combined is quite the combination! Growing up, I made my opinion known regardless of the subject. My personal filter was never very good. My brain was a sieve... whatever came to mind, I blurted out. This has caused me to alienate more than a few friends over the years, and caused some discourse with others.Although I have these self professed "character flaws", I have chosen to embrace them and love myself despite these shortcomings. I have also worked quite hard on thinking before speaking. I have so many great qualities that I cannot dwell on the few that suck.
I have always had strong opinions, and there are few topics that I'm more passionate about than parenting my girls. While I was first pregnant with Miss B, I have very strong beliefs on how things were going to go. I would have a drug free deliver to a healthy baby boy. He would never chew anything plastic, would eat only organic food, be exclusivly cloth diapered and breast fed. He would have all natural crib matresses and watch hardly any t.v. And I was stubborn on these issues. I was vocal about it all because I was convinced I was right on all the above topics. After our daughter was born, I was the first one to let her chew on plastic.
I have accepted that it's okay to change your mind. It makes you a bigger person to be able to admit that there is a better way of thinking and doing things. The only thing in life that is constant is change. Nothing will ever stay the same forever. Once I would have held steadfast in my beliefs no matter what, dispite even contrary evidence presenting itself thus proving me wrong. Well, then I might admit that I was wrong, but you had to prove it. Now I'm quite sure that there are many people out there that has figured out how to do things a little better than I have. I had to admit that I was wrong. And I'm okay with that. I'm wrong all the time. And that's okay because I'm right a lot too.
Our house is filled with plastic toys. Everywhere. You know why? Becuase kids love it. They love all the primary coloured plastic pieces things that light up and make noise and ruin the decor scheme I worked on for years. They love chewing on them, and putting them to bed, and dancing around the living room to the music coming from the toddler piano. The t.v. is on, the disposable diapers cover my daughters bums, and it's all good. I changed my mind.
|Posted by Kirstin Parkin on March 7, 2014 at 11:55 PM||comments (0)|
When I was in grade 5, my parents seperated. It was a hard time for my entire family. I remember being driven home by a friends parents one night, and I was looking up at the starry sky when I saw a shooting star. I vividly remember wishing that my parents would get back together. They did, and recently celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary. My wish came true.
When I was in my late teens, I wished for a chance with my husband and I got it.
When I was in my mid twenties, I wished and prayed that my Nanny (great-grandmother) would live long enough to watch me walk down the isle. She was 95. I then wished and prayed that she would survive to see our baby born. And she did. Five generations of women.
I'm a believer in the power of wishes. I have proof that they work. So keep wishing, because they might just come true.
Our 5 generation photo with Miss B
Photo Credit Lisa Wheeler