The magic of motherhood has been stolen…I know the thief!

NOTE: I want to touch on the gendered language I used in this post. I am a stickler for inclusive language – you can ask my students. I work really hard to make sure everyone feels heard and represented when I write and speak. In this post I am going to use the term ‘woman’ and in that I am talking to anyone who would like to identify with this term. I am also going to use the word ‘mother’ and again, I am including anyone who would identify in this. The issues I am talking about here are typically found in hetero-relationships, however, this is not exclusively the case. I am talking about work from home mothers, stay at home mothers, work out of the home mothers. No mommy wars here. No one is safe.

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It has been a while since I have posted and for that I am sorry. I have been out of commission in many ways for the last little while. Firstly, I had a hysterectomy 2 weeks ago which was a flippin’ wild ride and I am very much still on the roller coaster of healing. I have yet to even begin processing the emotional and spiritual and sexual repercussions and how this has changed me as a woman. I have been documenting that journey on my business page here.

Aside from my surgery, I have also gone into my ‘mind-corner’ (I do my best thinking there) and I am re-evaluating where I am at in my life. I feel angry. I feel sad. My work feels like an uphill battle in a broken system and I cannot stand taking such a safe position anymore. It is making me rant daily (sorry Alana and Gray), I can feel it choking out my throat, I can feel it draining me. I am going to use my voice. I have outgrown my old skin. Safe is no longer comfortable. I cannot go back.

I have danced around it. I have justified. I have hinted. I have implied. I need to go straight ahead.

I am surrounded by amazing people. My community is wonderful. Choose a ring around me from my very closest and dearest to my arms length members and they are all wonderful as hell. My pre- and post- surgery support for me and my family was such a great indicator of that. Yet, I see a trend over and over again. Women, yes, I am speaking about my female-identified people, are living lives that are mediocre and well, shitty. They have shitty relationships. They feel shitty when they get up. They express they tolerate abuse in their relationships whether it is physical, emotional, financial or verbal. They are taken for granted. They have lost their voice.

My passion is to have women who are parents feel like they are financially and emotionally interindependent in their families. What is this made up word? Well, I heard it from the amazing Dr. CV Harquail  at the Entrepreneurial Feminist Forum Toronto (#EEFTO) conference last month. It was such a perfect word. In the context of relationships, each member of the dyad (or more) can stand on their own financially, emotionally, physically, spiritually… however, they are better and more, together. This can be applied to people or objects…. like a tree versus a forest.

I always felt like this with Alana and could not come up with the word. We are kick ass individuals that together are magic and a force. Pull us apart and we are still pretty awesome.

So, where does my mission for financial and emotional interindependence for mothers come from? Well, I watch women put up with shit and I could not figure out why they would not take the leap towards demanding something better. Why stay? Why are they not insisting they are worth more? Why are they still making excuses for their partner that doesn’t support them? Or doesn’t treat them like the amazing humans that they are? Why are they sacrificing their needs EVERYWHERE and not just the occasional here and there that one does as a parent?

I was recently ranting about this to Alana in bed shortly before my surgery and it was late, and I was tired, and I had ranted over 6 – 8 times that day about different feminist topics and then it hit me. It hit me so hard I felt like such an asshole that it had not hit me earlier. The kids. We put up with so much because we primally want to have our children close. We want to know where they are sleeping. We want to hold them if we need to. We want eyes on them. We want to know what they ate. We want to know they are safe. When you leave, you lose that. Even if it is only here and there. Fuck, that is scary. I know. I did it. I feel like I have lost a limb when Gray walks out the door to visit my ex. I cannot sleep. I worry. I know she is not cared for properly. I know her emotional needs are stifled. I know she is shamed. The older she gets, the more she shares with Alana and I about this. I watch her scared to tell the other household how she feels when she is there. It is so hard knowing that she doesn’t sleep when she is there. She tells us that she feels better at home.

I have been doing this for almost a decade. I am not a parent that has my worth tied up in motherhood. Not at all. That piece is not a complication in my case and I still feel such loss when Gray is not in mine and Alana’s care or with someone I approve of caring for her.

So you stay. You stay and endure financial abuse. Untreated addiction and mental illness. Lost passion. No room for you to put your goals and plans as a priority. Crumbs of seemingly good acts from your partner that carry you through the next week of shit (like being ‘allowed’ to go out for a friend’s birthday dinner and drinks, but you still have to get up the next morning with the kids even though you had a late night since you used up your ‘you time’ on martinis).

We can have better. I want mothers to feel confident in their ability to take up the space with their wishes and wants. Also, it’s a bit ridiculous that I’m referring to a mother’s needs as wishes. I want mothers to have financial stability in their own right so they do not have to stay because they cannot afford anything else. I want mothers to use their voice and not be scared. I want mothers to sparkle. I want to help.

This is me declaring my mission. I have not figured out the middle steps yet. I trust that they will come. I want to hear from women who feel safe and confident and who are thriving in their household. Who can talk about their passions and know that they are respected as much as their partner’s passions. Who can safely tap into their powerful magic. Who feel like they are sparkling. I know you are unicorns. I know motherhood puts us in an inherent state of dependence. Of fear. Of sacrificial love. I do not know where to start picking this apart so I need help. I want to hear ideas. I want to hear stories. Together we can create better.

 

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Marissa Bolanos
    December 4, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Thank you for this Bianca. It’s inspiring. And you know what? Every single day I’m grateful for you and your passion to empower women. That passion is contagious and it has helped me get through so many hard moments. Darn, it has helped me get through bad years. I’m forever grateful that you saw a potential in me that I wasn’t able to truly believe in. It has taken me a long time, but I’m finally tapping into it and getting closer and closer to financial freedom and in turn, to many other kinds of freedom.

    • Reply
      BiancaSprague
      December 7, 2017 at 9:45 pm

      You are amazing and thank you for such kind words! I am honoured to hear I have inspired and empowered you. That is what I want most in the world! Tap into that well, Marissa, is runs SO deep in you! You are creative, caring, fun, silly, and have an intensity that is wonderful. xo

  • Reply
    Amelia Rebolo
    December 4, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Wow Bianca I love this post. Honestly, when it comes to my emotional needs, my hopes and my dreams and my passions I have THE most amazing support from my husband. BUT financially I cannot stand alone and this is in large part due to my upbringing about women’s and in particular mother’s roles in households and in income generating activities. Recently though, I have started to change this programming. Not because I am unhappy, I am so happy and in love, but because I want to be an equal contributor to the household and have a strong prosperous career for my own personal growth. I want to contribute AT LEAST equally. My husband is SO supportive of my passions and does not in any way undermine this goal and I am grateful every day that he’s the one I’m sharing my life with. I know that this journey of personal growth and a career beyond mediocre part time work has the potential to negatively impact close relationships and I’ve been thankful that we’ve come closer together because of it. Hopefully this is herlpful or relevant. I specifically identified my myself as hetero woman because we are programmed specifically from a young age in this department as are men and that impacts the dyad’s relationship dynamics. Also my husbands parents are pretty rad and my father in law takes on some non traditional work around the house which I think is huge when considering their age and cultural background. This has definitely shaped my husband?

    • Reply
      BiancaSprague
      December 7, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      I am so happy to hear that you have a situation where you shine! Building a business takes time and love and a team of cheerleaders, I love hearing that your husband is on that cheer team! xo

  • Reply
    Ella
    December 4, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Wow! Where does a mama even begin? You nailed it! Gulp! 💛

    • Reply
      BiancaSprague
      December 7, 2017 at 9:51 pm

      I will be sharing solutions over the next few posts… I have been researching up a storm, there is definitely not a prescriptive method to fix this!

  • Reply
    Ella
    December 4, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    Wow! Where does a mama start though? You definitely nailed it though! 💛

  • Reply
    Jessica
    December 5, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Wow. This hit me really hard because that is the type of relationship I’ve been in for the past 5 years and I literally just left that abusive relationship a week ago. We unexpectedly got pregnant with our daughter during the “honeymoon stage” of our relationship, where he wasn’t abusive at all, but after I became pregnant, slowly he started becoming abusive financially, emotionally, sexually and psychologically (in our relationship he was Superior, Central, and Deserving) and I never recognized it as abuse because I had the same stereotypical view of an abusive relationship (angry hateful man that beats his wife). However, I knew instinctively that it wasn’t normal, but I was 21(young, so I doubted my instincts of what a normal relationship looked like and always chalked it up to Disney movies ruined it for me making me think that there’s such thing as “prince charming” and so now I had unrealistic expectation of a partner) and pregnant and tried my best to work hard to make the relationship work because I was pregnant and felt I had to commit, but also because of all those “honeymoon” periods of our relationship where it seemed like a normal relationship and gave me hope. I’m also a stay at home mother so I relied heavily on him financially and I was scared of what kind of life I’d be proving my children if I was relying on the government for assistance. It was also really important to me to homeschool and it broke my heart that that wouldn’t be possible if I left. A month ago I was very depressed, I thought to myself: I have to make a decision, stay with him and just put up with this awful relationship, or leave and be dependent on OW and housing until the children are old enough to go to school and get a crappy minimum wage job. It felt like it was a lose-lose situation. Either way, I knew I had to get out of the house, so I ended up at our local Women In Crisis shelter desperate for help (it’s actually a really nice place) and it was there that I learned about abusive relationships and received the support I needed to feel confident in leaving the relationship and I realised I couldn’t assume that in the future I’d be living a crappy life that I didn’t want for my children.

    One thing that made a BIG difference for me to enable me to do leave was our government’s system to help support women in abusive relationships. In my city we have a safe nice shelter for women in abusive relationships, they have 2 crisis workers there 24/7 for support. They helped me out with referrals to the OW office, and housing application (in an abusive relationship you’re considered priority for housing so that you can get out of the home asap and I was welcome to stay at the shelter until I got an offer on a place and housing is really cheap rent so that made it possible to get onto my feet) and provided me with a 2 hour legal certificate to see a lawyer. They also had a child care room with Child Care Workers and they would watch the children so I didn’t have to worry about lugging two toddler to the appointments and they would provide bus passes to help with transportation to and from the appointments. If it wasn’t for the shelter’s support and services and our Governments help, I don’t know if I would’ve been able to leave the relationship.

    Thak you for writing this Bianca. I’m still going through all the emotions of leaving an abusive relationship with 2 young children and this article really helped empower me. <3

    • Reply
      BiancaSprague
      December 7, 2017 at 10:03 pm

      Jessica, I am so sorry that you were in an abusive relationship! Statistically it starts in pregnancy, and that disgusts me so much. It hurts my heart! It is wonderful to hear that Ontario takes care of families that need emergency safety, housing and support. I am sending you so many hugs! xox

  • Reply
    Kelly S
    December 5, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    I am one of the lucky ones…

    • Reply
      BiancaSprague
      December 7, 2017 at 10:04 pm

      You are!!!!! xo

  • Reply
    Debby
    December 6, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    I found this very interesting and something I would like to discuss further. When you are recovered from your surgery, I’d love to chat.

    • Reply
      BiancaSprague
      December 7, 2017 at 10:04 pm

      You are on! I am a week or 2 off from normal again, I hope!!

  • Reply
    Alison Sprague
    December 15, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    dear Bianca, Hope you feel better post hysterectomy. I Think of you every day.Love you always and forever. Your Auntie Alison

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