I’m back, it’s me, and I’m really back

You guys! Guess what?! I’m back. I’m back to work and have resumed my position as the editor of the Mile Zero News and The Banner Post with Mackenzie Report Inc.

When I went on maternity leave in April, 2016, I honestly believed I was packing up my life as a journalist into one little banker’s box forever.

But, life had other plans. And, I am back.

To answer a couple of questions everyone is curious about – yes, I am happy and managing just fine, and yes – the boys are liking being in full-time childcare.

Finding Childcare

When I got the offer to come back to newspaper, I had approximately two weeks to find childcare. Any parent who has tried to find childcare on a budget in a small town knows this is no easy feat. But, God provided and we found an awesome licensed day home provider in our hometown. After only two days of going to her house, my little Ezra sat on her front step waiting to have his shoes taken off, looked up at me, waved and said “Buh-Bye.” It was adorable, comforting, and heartbreaking all at once.

Previous to my return to the paper I had been working in a different day home setting. Despite the fact that I was there everyday, Ezra would scream to the point that he was sweating and shaking if he couldn’t be in my arms. So, it was a massive relief to see that not only was he not crying when I left him at his new day home, he seemed comfortable and happy.

Unfortunately, this wonderful day home provider had to stop providing child care at the beginning of October due to personal reasons. On the boy’s last day she said Ezra gave her several hugs and even a few kisses while she was playing on the floor with him. He is for sure my sweetheart, both boys are really if you can get Elijah to slow down for more than a second or two, but it was like he knew they had to say goodbye and that maybe she needed a few extra hugs that day.

Thankfully, God provided once again and we were able to get the boys into another licensed daycare facility immediately. The transition from day home to daycare has been a bit harder on the boys. They come home more tired, partly because they have to leave the house earlier and get home later. 

Elijah is in a room with three and four-year olds and this room does not have a nap time. He was skipping naps, or trying to, prior to starting day care. But, not having the option to nap at all is proving a bit hard on him. I am seeing a slight improvement in his ability to last all day without a nap, but it’s slow. So please pray for us, and his poor childcare providers. Elijah is just like any of us when we are over tired – a bear.

Counting my blessings and finding “me” again

I’ve been back to work full-time for just over a month and it honestly feels like I was never away. I am so appreciative of how my family has adjusted and made this transition as easy as possible. My job requires me to work two or three evenings a week and often a few hours every weekend. My husband has been so great in making sure he is home while I am out. I rarely have to worry about juggling work and life. A few people have asked me how I’m REALLY doing working full-time, caring for two busy boys, and looking after our home. And, I can honestly say, it’s all good. I’m comfortable, I’m happy, and I’m grateful for a job that allows me to be a mom and a professional.

In the months after my maternity leave I had begun to realize just how much I loved being a professional. This realization was a strange one for me. In university I can remember hearing a presentation from a professional journalist who told us to throw out any idea of having a family. She flat our said families and journalism don’t mix. And, I believed her. That presentation even caused a small crisis of identity where I reconsidered becoming a journalist at all.

After a little more than seven  years in Grimshaw, I am happy to report that families and journalism can mix. I recognize that that’s not always true for some people and certainly with some companies. But, not for me and not in the company I work for. I am constantly reminded of how fortunate I am to be employed by an individual who does put families first. I don’t have to sweat about taking Ezra for immunizations during the day. Nor do I have to worry about staying home for an afternoon if Elijah is sick.

I’ve even been able to take my kids to work with me. This has resulted in a few of the most adorable photos.

I’ll still be posting about the projects we complete around the house (I have a coat rack/shelf and sofa table completed and ready to tell you all about), but I also anticipate that I’ll be back to sharing more about our lives in Grimshaw now that I’m back, I’m really, really back.

 

 

I’ve never known the meaning of “busy”

…until now.

In October I began working at the Mile Zero Regional Multiplex in Grimshaw as a second job and while I had all kinds of time during the summer to kill, the fall has been an entirely different story.

This week alone is going to be nuts, I’m not going to be home before 9 p.m. any night this week because I’m either working at the multiplex or attending a function for the newspaper. My editor has taken these next two weeks off so I’ll be manning the paper on my own. But it won’t end there. When my editor gets back he will be working in Manning until the company hires another reporter (the Manning reporter is no longer working for us as of Nov. 25).

You should see my day planner. Between highlighted multiplex shifts, circled church events and red, blue and black newspaper appointments every page is full and a mess to look at. My roommate and I have barely said two words to each other in a month because our schedules just don’t match up and we’re both out of the house and working for about 12 hours a day.

Now, with all that being said, I’m not sure I’m complaining. Last winter I was so bored and a little sad when the days got super short and we were living in darkness for most of the day. Now, there is very little time for boredom and I hardly notice the dark while working inside the brightly lit multiplex.

Cody says he misses me, but I think he means he just misses me cooking. Over the weekend and for a bit of last week I was finally able to find time to make dinner a couple of times and he’s been enjoying the left overs. Don’t go and assume that Cody can’t cook – he just doesn’t cook like I do (AKA he eats a lot of tuna when I’m not around).

But now that my editor is on vacation, these next two weeks are looking a little crazy. Here’s to hoping I find some time to sleep and eat!

Why yes, we do have a large fieldhouse

Tonight is my second shift at the recently constructed Mile Zero Regional Multiplex and while it’s incredibly boring, it’s nice to sit here and eavesdrop on all the people who are 100 per cent impressed with our town’s brand new gorgeous facility.

The Fieldhouse is not yet open for public use, but it’s one of the first things people see when they walk into the building and so it’s definitely a conversation piece. One elderly lady told me on Thursday that Grimshaw was going to be the envy of the whole Peace Country because of our facility. Another Peace River woman had to pick her jaw up off the floor when she realized the Fieldhouse had three full-sized courts. A Peace River hockey coach turned to a Peace River hockey dad and said “Look at this, and it’s in Grimshaw!”

I’m excited that the fieldhouse will open on Nov. 1, which will mean my job won’t be quite so boring. Some of the things I’ve done to fill my time include the following.

1) Caught up on reading my Maclean’s magazines, I’ve fallen way behind so it’s nice to be able to read them now.

2) Studied the multiplex rate sheet, there are so many different levels of membership that using this time to memorize the list is a good idea, even if full memorization might be a bit of a stretch.

3) Looked through a Regal catalogue. My supervisors’ kids must be selling Regal through school and she was nice enough to leave a catalogue on the desk. It also brought back fond memories of selling the products for GEMS.

4) Completed a story and charts for next week’s paper about PRSD test results. I knew the story would take a bit of time to complete, it’s a good thing I had five hours to space tonight!

5) Caught up on reading about some recent events. It’s bad when you’re a newspaper reporter and not sure what’s going on outside of your tiny little town.

6) Begged Cody to visit. He stayed for 15 minutes, and that was 15 minutes when I wasn’t completely bored.

Now that Minor Hockey is in the building, it’s not quite so silent and with only 40 minutes to go, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Now I just need to figure out what to do during tomorrow’s afternoon shift.

 

Just a little Dutch pride

Amanda and I displaying our Dutch Pride, 2007

From the Sept. 7 issue of the Mile Zero News.

I grew up in a town where everyone, including my family, was from the Netherlands and words like doekie were common, dropjes were a delicious candy, and croquettes were a staple at Christmas and New Years. Now I have to ask my parents to send me dropjes (salty-black licorice) in the mail, I still enjoy a croquette or two while I am visiting in Ontario in December, but I have to stop myself from asking my friends where the doekie is, instead of asking for the dish cloth.

While I was growing up I used to think that I could only be happy as a reporter if I were always on my way to doing something bigger and better. I have also always been a family person and knew that one day I’d want a family of my own. While in school, I was told having a family and a successful career as a journalist were two dreams that, most simply put, did not jive.

However, the longer I work the more I realize that success, at least according to me, comes from realizing personal goals in addition to earning the respect and support of the community the paper serves. The older I get, the more clearly I’m able to see how my two dreams might eventually align.

Recently I read an article published in a Macleans magazine titled, “How Dutch women got to be the happiest in the world.” Not only was this article incredibly interesting to me as a Dutch-Canadian, but it helped further solidify my own definition of success. The research claimed women living in the Netherlands were happier because they lived lives balanced between working and being at home. About 75 per cent of women working in the Netherlands are employed part time. It’s important to note that choosing to work less is possible in the Netherlands because of a multitude of social program that make supporting a family on one full-time income possible.

The article explains that these findings upset feminists across the world. The feminists wondered how Dutch women could turn their backs on the fight our mothers before us fought in order that we might have the chance to chase a corporate dream.

One woman was quoted in the article saying, “Perhaps [Dutch women] are happy because they don’t feel guilty for falling short of perfection. We are torn to shreds between the American and the Mediterranean models of womanhood. On one hand, we are boardroom feminists expecting equality of expectation and outcome. On the other, we are matriarchs, wanting to run model kitchens and walk through meadows with bands of children.”

I re-posted the link to this article online and a number of dutch female friends left comments instantly. None of my friends grew up in the Netherlands, we’re all second or third generation Dutch-Canadians; but somehow, the values of our grandparents or parents have managed to fight through those of north-american feminists and remain strong through the younger generations. We may work more than our counterparts still living in the Netherlands, but I think we continue to think the same way and have many of the same desires.

I may be biased, but I think the Dutch might be on to something. For now, I’ll finish this thought by leaving you with another quote from the same article.

“Maybe this will turn out to be the fourth wave of feminism. Women protect the possibility that one day we’ll wake up and realize that life is not all about acquiring more material wealth, power, status. Many Dutch women that I know want to stay sane, happy, relaxed.”