Saturday, November 19, 2016

Things Don't Get Easier, Only Different.

Recently a few friends of mine have had babies, and it got me thinking about being a new mom. Also, my son turned two and I've been reflecting about those first few months. For me, it was such an overwhelming experience. Not only was I learning how to truly take care of another human for the first time, but the personal changes in my lifestyle were hard to accept.

New Baby, New Mom
Looking back now, there are times I actually wish I had a new baby instead of a toddler. They were so easy... sleep, eat, cry, coo, repeat... right? But when I was in it, it wasn't easy. The lack of sleep was severely impactful. Feeling like I was doing everything wrong when I couldn't get him to stop crying was soul crushing. Barely finding the time to eat, shower, or brush my teeth made me feel like I had lost my identity; My only purpose was to be a mom... and that was hard.

During the first months of being a mom I never thought I would look back in two years and think that time was easy. And it reality, it wasn't -- because I was learning an immense amount of shit in a very short amount of time. It's like when you look back at a relationship and only remember the good times even thought there was a lot of strife. Maybe this happens for an evolutionary reason; so we forget how bad it was and want to procreate again. At any rate, while I certainly don't know everything about raising a baby now, I ended up figuring out a system and process that worked for me, and things got easier. But here's the catch: as those things got easier, other crazy hard new things began to develop. And there I was, clueless again.

I'm sure if you asked older mothers, this is just the nature of raising a child. You finally figure out one milestone and the next comes and kicks you in the ass. This is why I say things don't get easier, they just get different. This is why looking back I remember more good than bad; because I figured those early trials out, and they don't seem so challenging anymore. The upcoming unknowns and the ones I'm currently in the thick of seem much more daunting than the stuff I have already made it through.

Having a toddler is a lot easier, and a lot harder than having a baby. He can tell me what's wrong, he sleeps through the night, he's super funny, and he has basic needs that I understand how to fulfill - which are all great. But he also expects fairly constant entertainment with parent participation, and the games he enjoys at this stage I personally find so boring and hard to get into. He is starting to do bad things like hit, yell, and throw stuff when he's mad, and if I don't watch him for one minute you better believe he's into something he shouldn't be.

I love my son, and I love that he challenges me every day. I feel like a bad mom when I admit to finding his stages a struggle, but the reality is going through these periods with him do make me a better person. It's this perspective I try to keep when I am tired of it all. Being a mom has made me learn more about myself than I ever thought possible, and while it's hard, it's a process that only expands my knowledge and perception. For this, I am grateful for all the daily struggles.

Monday, October 3, 2016

12 Cool Things To Do With The Family In Calgary This Fall

The weather is getting brisk but that doesn’t mean the fun stops in Calgary! There are so many cool things going on around the city that are perfect for the whole family. Calgarians know that fall is the best season of the year (especially after our stormy summer) to get out and about. Our city is a great place to explore the outdoors, check out feature events, and take in some culture, and this fall there are so many opportunities to expand your horizons. If you are at a loss for what to do, check out this list of 12 cool things to do in Calgary this fall, and break up your usual routine!

Calgary Stampede Community Fall Fair
Get the kids up early and head to the free pumpkin spice pancake breakfast at the Calgary Stampede Community Fall Fair on October 15th. The kids will have a blast with the potato sack races, wagon rides, and pumpkin decorating. Enjoy some local music and entertainment and browse through what the local vendors have to offer. The fair runs from 10am - 2pm at Enmax Park.

Disney In Concert: Tale As Old As Time
The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra is putting on a Thanksgiving extravaganza featuring some of the most beloved Disney music alongside the classic film clips. Disney In Concert: Tale As Old As Time features songs from movies such as Frozen ,The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast among others. It is sure to delight the senses of the whole family. The concert is on October 7th and 8th at Jack Singer Concert Hall.

Pumpkin Patches and Corn Mazes
Experience fall festivities with the kids by visiting a pumpkin patch or corn maze. Calgary has so many choices for these classic fall activities and Family Fun Calgary has already created a huge list for you to decide which one is best for your family. Get into the fall spirit, get lost in some corn, and go grab a pumpkin for some added colour in your life!

Fall Ice Cream Flavours
Talk about cool, it doesn’t get much tastier than Fiasco Gelato’s fall and Thanksgiving ice cream flavours! Bring the kids down to the cafe for a frozen scoop of pumpkin pie, and indulge in a mulled wine gelato yourself. There are over 20 fall favours on their menu, meaning there is a perfect combo for everyone. The Thanksgiving flavours are only available until supplies last, so get yours before they are gone!

Ghost Tours Fright Night Festival
Do you love getting creeped out? Over the last 2 weekends in October, Calgary Ghost Tours puts on the Fright Night Festival at the Alexandra Centre in Inglewood. Check out vendors, mystical psychics, entertainment, and more. Admission is $5 or $10 for all 4 nights.

13th Annual Pumpkin Festival
This is no ordinary pumpkin festival, unless you are used to seeing a 500 pound pumpkin being dropped from a crane onto a car! Blue Grass Nursery is holding its 13th annual Pumpkin Festival on Saturday October 8th from 11am-3pm. Other highlights include a Cinderella pumpkin coach ride, a petting zoo, and food trucks. Admission is by donation and all proceeds go to the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.

ILLUMINASIA Lantern & Garden Festival
It’s getting darker out earlier and one way to take advantage of the nightfall is by attending the ILLUMINASIA Lantern & Garden Festival at the Calgary Zoo. In addition to the many Chinese lanterns lighting up the pathways, visitors are encouraged to check out the Chinese entertainment and multicultural programming. The festival runs until October 16th.

Get in the Halloween mood with Alberta Ballet’s production of Dracula. Special effects will change your perception of what a ballet looks like, and lavish costumes transport you to a charming village in Transylvania. Dracula himself even wears a 23-foot long cape! The enchanting performance hits the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium from October 27th- 29th.

One Man Epic Trilogy Adventures
This fall the Pumphouse Theatre presents the internationally acclaimed One-Man Star Wars and One-Man Lord Of the Rings performed by Charles Ross. Prepare to be stunned as you are guided through the trilogy of your choice in just over 60 minutes of enthralling action. The show is recommended for fans of all ages and costumes are encouraged! Check the website for show dates and times.

Studio Bell
This summer Canada’s national music centre opened up, and now that the weather is getting cooler it’s the perfect time to take the family and explore what it has to offer! Check out various exhibitions and featured events, as well as the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Collection, and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame! There is so much to do you will likely need to make a couple trips to this impressive building.

Courtesy: Wordfest

With over 40 events around the city, Wordfest is one of the highlights of autumn in Calgary. Not only are there big names speaking in various venues, but the Wordfest Youth program also travels around schools in the community to encourage a love of reading. Wordfest runs from October 7th-16th and features over 90 artists.

Mamma Mia!
Broadway Across Canada visits Calgary November 1st-6th with the production of Mamma Mia! If you are an ABBA fan you will love how classic songs are intertwined into an amazing and emotional story-line. Singing along and dancing in the aisles is encouraged. The catchy tunes make for a great show to take the older kids to. I went with my mom a few years ago and it was a blast! Tickets are on sale now.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

15 Things That Can Go Wrong at an Ultrasound

The 20 week ultrasound is such an exciting event. It's at this appointment you can first find out the gender of your baby, and learn much more about them physically. It's a time of enlightenment and anticipation, but it can also be a moment where your world comes crashing down around you. In this ultrasound a lot can be discovered, and while every parent hopes for the best, sometimes the worst is found...

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

15 Thoughts All Women Have In The First 3 Months Of Pregnancy

It seems fairly commonplace to keep your pregnancy a secret for the first 3 months of your pregnancy. During this time there are so many moments where you want to tell the world what you are going through! I's a confusing time, intense sensations are all around you, and you have to lie to everyone you know! 

It can help knowing many women go through the same thing, and it's pretty funny to read the thoughts that we all think but can't share with anyone. These are the 15 thoughts all woman have in early pregnancy when we can't quite share the news...

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Name Calling

Cheerios scattered on the floor
reminding me of my inadequacies.
A sinking feeling in my stomach.
The boy's in bed and I'm relieved.

I'm not cut out for this.
But it's something I can't quit.
I'm a bad mom.
Too bad. So sad.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Paw Patrol Season 3 on Netflix TODAY!

Parents - The moment we have all been waiting for is finally here!

This morning I went to turn on Paw Patrol on Netflix and I saw a strange red banner...

  New Episodes  

I feel like this is possibly the most excited I have been in at least a few weeks. Also, how sad is my life?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How To Cope On A Group Camping Trip With Kids!

Before I had kids going camping with a group of friends was my happy place. Granted, the booze involved gave everything a rosy glow, but beyond that I just don't think it gets much better than being with people you love out in nature.

Having a child, especially when you are the only family, could easily put a damper on those group trips.... if you let it. However, I recently went on an adventure with my toddler and it turned out pretty damn good. Here is how I coped..


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Horrible Way I Explained Tattoos To My 5 Year Old Niece

Today my 5 year old niece asked me "Auntie, what's that stamp on your back?"

Yes, my niece pointed out my tramp stamp.

Now, while I dislike my bad tattoo I don't regret it, because it reminds me of how stupid I once was; A time when I had no foresight and laughed in the face of consequence. But this is not my child, and she's 5, so I did the responsible thing and told her it was a tattoo, and she should never get one because it doesn't come off.

She was having a hard time grasping it's permanence, and why that could be a problem. So without thinking, this analogy came out of my mouth:

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Beatles for a New Generation - Beat Bugs on Netflix

beat bugs
I recently discovered a new show on Netflix for kids called Beat Bugs, and for some strange reason I haven't heard much 'buzz' (haha get it?) about this awesome show online. I thought I would add my thoughts to the dialogue because it's given me a much needed reprieve from Paw Patrol, and if I can do anything to help out other parents stuck in the 'no job is too big, no pup is too small!' loop, my life is complete.

Monday, July 25, 2016

I Have A Baby, But Don't Know How

I am getting to that time of my life where many people around me are having babies. I, obviously, also have a child. But every person's journey to how that child comes to be is different.

Before I started 'trying' to have a baby I assumed it would take a couple months to get pregnant, at least. My husband and I got engaged because we knew we wanted to start a family. So once the engagement was over, I thought we might as well throw caution to the wind and stop using any birth control.

I've had conversations with friends about what I did to get pregnant. Did I track my fertility? Did I do strange cultural practices? Did it take a long time? The truth is, I did nothing. Well that's not totally true... I did track my period on an app for my own knowledge, and the app did tell me what days I was more fertile. But other than that, I did nothing. The first time it was possible to create a human, we did. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Look

Out running errands with my toddler in tow, I often find myself giving other parents The Look.

Sometimes this look is reciprocated, and it makes me feel connected to them, like we are all part of the Borg or something - thinking with a shared brain going through the same motions and experiencing the same thing.

There are other times I give the The Look, and I feel like I might have done something wrong. Like I'm a bad parent or I offended the other parent or embarrassed them. This is never the intention of The Look.

I think, mostly, I give The Look because of a need for connection. But it's meaning is constantly changing.

At first with a newborn The Look meant "OHMYFUCKINGGOD what have we got ourselves into?!" It was a much more desperate look.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Not Quite Ready For Baby #2

When is the right time to have baby #2? That is what I find myself wondering lately. It seems everyone and their dog has an opinion about it.

"Oh... you are going to have 2 before 2? That's going to be hard."
"Three years apart is the perfect age gap."
"When is the next baby coming? You don't want them to be too far apart!"

You wouldn't believe how many complete strangers have asked me if I want another child. I feel very awkward answering them.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Essential Accessories for Camping with Children

Taking your littles camping this summer? Check out the article I wrote for about the essential accessories for camping with young children! 
....Oh, and an excellent tip about camping with wine is included! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The "Every Single Month" Sleep Regression!

4 month sleep regressionI have to get something off my chest. I am so sick of people talking about sleep regressions like they actually exist. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely believe children have worse periods of sleep, but is it just me or does it seem like every moth of a baby's life there is a 'sleep regression'?

The 10 month, 11 month, 12 month sleep regression....OK come on. Can we just call it like it is? Sometimes kids are jerks and they refuse to sleep! We don't need to label absolutely everything. I get that calling it a 'sleep regression' is a comforting feeling because it means it's normal; Other people have gone through it too, oh what a relief! But when literally every single month of a child's life has a period of sleep regression, I think we need to come to grips with reality.

I even did a little research before doing this blog and one of the most reputable sites was confused about where the legitimate sleep regressions happened. Just check out this screen grab from their site:

8 - 9 - 10 month Sleep Regression wait, scratch that...10 month sleep regression!

Are you kidding me!? Even the sites claiming to help with these so called sleep regressions can't determine when they happen? Ugh!

OK... real talk for a minute: I get that every child develops as a different rate, and realistically the reason they have periods of troubled sleep is because their little brains are developing so rapidly. And this difference in development is why you can google any month of a child's life with the words 'sleep regression' after it and hundreds of articles will come up. But this is exactly my point. Can we drop the 'my kid is in the 6 month sleep regression' talk and instead just say 'my kid is sleeping like shit this month!'.

In reality it's not a big deal. I guess if it makes you feel better to use a term like 'sleep regression' then all the power to ya. It's just a pet peeve of mine that makes me cringe every time I see it! So what do you hear parents talk about or see posted on mom groups that you can't handle? Tell me in the comments below!

tired don't care

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Miserable Milestones Every Parent Dreads

Milestones are a way to gauge if your child is 'normal', and often you will hear parents bragging that their kids reached this one or that one like they are a genius or something. But what they don't tell you is a lot of these markers of development are not so fantastic. In fact some of them are downright awful.

You see, a growing developing child is experiencing so many new sensations and realizing so many new things, that their little brains and bodies can't process it all. And that means a lot of these amazing milestones are actually torturous for both your child and you. Here are just a few of the miserable milestones every parent can expect to experience...

Temper Tantrum- The first time your child throws a full on, rolling on the floor temper tantrum in a public place.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Up-Side Of Difficult Situations

mom fears and strengthThis weekend my son full on adult threw up for the first time. This might not seem like anything super traumatic, but I only realized it happened after I smelled vomit when I went in to check on him before heading to bed. There he was, sleeping face down in, and covered head to toe in vomit. I was sick to my stomach, not because of the smell, but because of how absolutely horrible and guilty I felt.

How could I not have heard this happen? How could I let him sleep like this? I was clearly a bad parent.

I gathered my emotions and woke him up, undressing him and trying to comfort him as I dealt with cleaning up the mess.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Morning After A Night Out is What Matters the Most

The other night I went out with a group of ladies (for the first time in far too long). Naturally, the conversation turned to our partners who were at home watching the kids. Some women were getting update texts from home, while others enjoyed a baby-free phone-zone for the night. It got us talking about how it's not so much the evening away that is important, but rather, the morning after.

sorry you are tired momBefore becoming a parent I didn't realize what the big deal was with a mom or dad going out for an evening. Some spouses seemed furious that their partners were having a night out. Now I know why; It's not about that night, it's about the morning after. I'm not exactly sure why, but I can tell you from experience that it is infuriating when you are doing everything solo for a day while your spouse nurses a hangover.

One night, when we were young and naive about the morning after hell, my husband and I both partied way to hard, and ended up on a rotating nap shift for the entire day. To cope in the morning one of us engaged our baby for as long as we could, and then tagged out the other from the bedroom when we couldn't take it anymore. We learned our lesson - absolutely nothing is worth going through that again.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Fashion Gift Ideas For The New Mom

OK OK... I know what your thinking. Fashion... New moms.... Oxymoron right? With mother's day around the corner I got to thinking about how much a really nice fashion gift would have been when I first had my son. I was in a fashion rut because I was so not willing to buy anything for myself. So this Mother's Day let's help the new moms in our lives out with a cute fashion gift for them, so they don't have to worry about it figuring it out themselves.

As a new mom the name of the game for me was comfort. But comfortable doesn't have to mean wearing PJs for 3 days straight (even though we have all done it... or was that just me?). So while you won't find any pencil skirts in this list, I tried to take these gift ideas up a notch from what I would normally buy myself. I think they are fashion gift ideas that every new mom would love to have in her arsenal.

A Really Really Nice Basic T-Shirt 
I don't know about you but when a t-shirt costs over $25 I can't bring myself to buy it. But the truth is there is often a reason for the higher price. The quality is better, it fits better, you feel better. A super good quality t-shirt will make a new moms day, because the simple comfort will be a step up from the bargain bin milk-covered t-shirts she's used to. Bonus points: Not see-through and not white.

New Mom Gift - T Shirt
Cry It Out Mom Gift Pick: Very light jersey V-Neck, $48, Splendid

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Living In A World Of Pressure

A former colleague (and mentor of mine), shared this video on Facebook, and I thought it was insanely powerful. The message likely resonates with all women, but I felt it especially poignant since becoming a mother, because I do feel an insane amount of pressure to be not only a good mom, but a fulfilled, successful woman.

Are you in danger of burning out? Take a watch and see if you cried as much as I did!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Mom Trying To Put On Makeup

Whenever I see a mom who is so put together I am in awe. How does she do it? What is her secret? Because when I attempt to take 5 minutes and put on makeup with my son around I spend the majority of the time chasing him, and then rushing through what I am doing just to get it done.

I decided to record what it looks like when I try to put on makeup and this is what I got...

Monday, April 4, 2016

Parenting On the Bad Days

bad parent
Most days I don't focus on the fact that I'm a mom. I still feel like myself and go through the motions without much thought about the immense responsibility I now have in my life. But the days that things go totally sideways, the days where everything is shit... those are the days parenting really gets in your face. And it's fucking hard.

In the past I would either drown my sorrows in booze or have a pity party in order to cope with a bad day. Now, neither of those options are available to me because I have a child and need to be sober/engaging for them. Dammit!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What If Your Office Job Was Like Being A Parent?

Office Job Like Parenting

Believe it or not, before I was a mom I worked for a living. I worked a lot. I loved my job and I invested passion and energy into my industry. With over a decade of work experience, it's hard not to compare parenting to a regular job. What would the differences be? How are things easier, or more difficult? 

Check out this comprehensive list below, and if you can relate, have a laugh with me at the reality of our new-found parenting lives.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Research Obsessed Moms

potty with toys in it
Looks like I picked a great potty - for balls.
I don't know about you, but ever since I became a mom I am obsessed with online research. This pertains to anything and everything. Toys, food, baby furniture... you name it and I research it. Today I even researched a potty for fucks sake. I researched a piece of plastic for my son to pee into. I may have a problem.

I think it all started when I was pregnant and clueless about baby gear. I was not one of those moms who bought everything in advance. I didn't even make my son's room look good. I waited and waited for all of those nesting feelings to kick in, and they never did. So about a month out from my due date I finally figured it was time to buy a car seat and stroller. That's when the researching madness began.

Who knew there were so many factors to consider when buying a stroller? How many wheels do you want, what is the capacity of the basket, does it convert for a bucket seat and a toddler seat, does it include a bassinet... holy moly it was overwhelming. I actually realized in these moments that I had no clue what I was doing. And if I didn't have a clue about a stroller, I was probably clueless in general.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Finding Work During Daycare Hours Sucks (Big Time)

I know everyone has to do it. I know it's totally normal. I know it's been this way for decades. But I don't care. I hate that my work has to be limited to the hours a daycare is open. I hate it so much. So let me have this whinge please.

online job search

I know I am not the only one who had built a career in an industry where the normal 9-5 doesn't exist. Doctors, bakers, serving staff, chefs... we all do jobs that don't fall into that perfect window of time we are given to find work as parents. So what the hell does everyone else do? Am I the only one finding this really difficult?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Google Sets Their Sights on Children...

If you were born in the 80’s or earlier you probably remember going to the library and looking up information in actual books to do your research projects. The thought of your own children researching through google likely freaks the hell out of you, and why wouldn’t it?

Monday, February 29, 2016

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Selfish Reason I'll Never Speed Again

It was a busy Sunday, I had spent the morning packing up my husband's truck to drive north and drop my son with Grandma. I never thought just a couple hours into the drive my one year old son and I would be in an ambulance headed to the hospital.

Damage from the accident

It all happened so fast. I started fishtailing over some black ice, and couldn't regain control of the vehicle. Before I knew it we were rolling.

I remember everything: thinking that if I hit the car next to me we would all die, glass flying sideways across my face as the vehicle was flipping, and the most vivid memory of all -- frantically reaching to see if my son was alive once the truck came to a standstill.

It's a moment I wish upon no parent. The first possible second I could I ripped my seat belt off, lunged into the back seat, threw off the debris that was covering my son, and screamed his name. But this is a good story. I don't know how, but my son was completely uninjured.

damage from the crash
In the aftermath of the crash the inevitable questions started about what exactly happened. The truth is I've always been a pretty big follower of the 10% rule when it comes to speeding, thinking it was totally fine to go faster than the posted speed limit as long as it was within ten percent. This crash could not have changed my thinking more.

I replay that moment in my head - reaching back for my son not knowing if he was alive - and I sometimes envision the more morbid outcome. It makes me so sick to think about how many parents have experienced that horror as their reality.

We were lucky. And with this crash there isn't much that I had control of. But I did have complete control of how fast I was going.

Simply put: I will never speed again because I don't want to blame myself for the death of my child.

Speeding might not be the principle cause of an accident, but it certainly undoubtedly impacts the severity of the damage. There are so many variables with driving that you can't control. I know now that the rules of the road within my control need to be respected, if for not other reason than so there is no question on my part if the worst happens again.

I'm not suggesting I'm going to now drive at granny speeds, or that when my son isn't with me I'll be a speed demon. I'm just saying that I will drive at the posted limit from this point forward, even in those areas of the city where everyone goes above it. So keep my story in mind the next time you are frustrated behind someone coasting at that marker, and be kind. They may have just got in a rollover accident, like me, or possibly they know the impact of speed in an even worse way than I do.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Ask Me If I'm Pregnant: I Dare You

About 5 years ago I had someone ask me when I was due. I had my first child in late 2014.
You do the math; It was crushing.

Yes, even this big, don't assume.
 I have never been a thin small woman, but I certainly don't think I have ever looked 6+ months pregnant (except for when I actually was pregnant, and I looked about 17+ months). I'm not sure what prompts people to inquire about a woman's pregnancy when they aren't positive, but it needs to stop. And I have a very easy plan I think we can all get on board with.

At the time I was asked about being pregnant I responded in a super awkward way. I was worried about making that jerk feel bad, so I lied and told them I actually was with child. Later I went home and felt so sorry for myself that I ate a bag of chips and then felt guilty for perpetuating the habits that apparently made me look visibly pregnant.

The comment affected me quite a bit, which is obvious considering I am writing about it 5 years later. But I think what makes me most upset is how I handled it. That person needed to be taught a lesson, and instead I clammed up and left them to go stab at other women's self esteem in the future.

So here's the very simple plan to end this problem:

1) Don't ever ask a woman if she is pregnant. Literally ever.

2) If you are ever asked if you are pregnant, and you are not, shame the fuck out of that person. Tell them it is incredibly rude to ask. Tell them you absolutely are not, and that they should never ever ask that question of anyone again. Make them feel so bad that they never even dare to ask another woman if she is pregnant, because obviously they have horrible judgement, and shouldn't be trusted with talking to strangers in an acceptable respectable way.

Two steps. That's it. If you follow these simple instructions we just may eliminate this awkward situation from ever happening again.

So share this blog and lets get this movement started!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

To The Mom Alone With A Toddler At The Pool

To the Mom alone with a toddler at the pool,

I saw you yesterday at swimming lessons and I couldn't stop thinking about you. It seems like such a simple thing - taking your child to the pool. But I know these basic events, things meant to be fun, can be exhausting.

I'm sorry I never offered to help you when your child was running on the wet floor and you were trying to get changed. I know how hard it can be to watch a toddler, especially in a weird wet place where you have no choice but to get naked at one point. I'm sure running after a child in a towel half draped around you feels demeaning. I wish our pool facilities offered good options for parents.

Please know I can relate, and hope you don't feel embarrassed. I want you to know that I see you.

  • I see you trying to prevent a squirmy restless toddler from entering the pool before his lesson time.
  • I see you dreading the inevitable fall when your kid runs on the wet pool deck.
  • I see you trying your best to participate in the songs that occupy 75% of the swimming lesson curriculum, even though they are just so stupid.
  • I see you giving up half way through the lesson, because 15 minutes of making your child cry is long enough.
  • I see you wishing you had an extra set of hands, or eyes, to deal with your kid while you pulled everything out of your locker.
  • I see you praying your child won't fall off that small bench he was laying on while you reach for something just out of your grasp.
  • I see you hesitate about how modest you will be, and then forgo everything because it's just easier and faster to be buck naked then worry about another mom seeing your postpartum body.
  • I see you spend all the time making your child dry and comfortable, and 1 minute or less on yourself.

Most of all I just want you to know that I see how great of a mother you are. Sometimes the small things we do for our kids are really hard, and no one acknowledges them. So, mom at the pool with a toddler, I just wanted to say that you rock. Your child is so lucky to have such a selfless mom.

Oh, and the next time I see you, I'll be sure to offer to chase your little one around for a couple minutes so you don't have to worry about running around with your lady bits exposed.



Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Living In The Online Parenting Present

The internet can be a pregnant woman's best friend. With such a new, scary experience it's reassuring to be able to google every strange pain or weird sensation. But delving into the depths of the interwebs can also be a black hole, especially when it comes to parenting.

mom doing online research

Have you ever been suck in a wiki loop? It's that thing where you go to look up one thing on Wikipedia, and before you know it you have clicked on 20 links and you are learning about something so far removed from your original mission. That happens when you look up parenting advice all the time, and it is so overwhelming.

One of the best things I have learned is to stay in the present. Not with life in general, because that is way too zen for me, but specifically online. Sometimes I catch myself thinking about things that are so far ahead in the future: potty training, discipline, kindergarten, puberty... it goes on and on, further and further into time. 

If you start looking up all of these future parenting issues now, are you going to remember anything you read when they actually come around? More likely than not, you are going to be re-reading all the same articles and blogs, or there is a new best way of solving that problem, and the time you spent 'future parenting' will be time you could have gone and grabbed yourself a beer and done something for yourself for a change.

Not to mention the anxiety that already comes with all the predictable, but certainly not understood, parenting milestones to come. It seems like once you finally have one thing figured out, a whole new set of challenges comes your way. If you start thinking about current parenting stresses, the ones that could possibly come up next, and the distant ones, you are going to be a head case.

So fellow parents, lets all just live in the online parenting present. Forget first sleepovers and first boyfriends and first cars, and just google the things you need to know today. Ask your mommy groups about the most pressing of problems, and forget the fear of the future unknowns. Because doing the best you can right now with what you have is pretty much the best gift you can give your child, and yourself.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Super Easy Kind-Of Healthy Dinner Idea for Toddlers

Finished dish in a bowl
Mom's Busy Squash and Meatballs

Sometimes I just don't have the energy to make dinner. But, baby has gotta eat. So what do you do?

I am guilty of grabbing that box of Annie's Mac & Cheese too often because it's easy. But last night I accidentally made a super fast, and healthy-ish meal that my son actually ate! So I thought I would share it in case you were looking for something just as easy as Annies, but with possibly a bit more nutritional value (no promises, I am not an expert).

First off, I want you to know that I am going to add in a few extra steps here, but if you are literally looking for a meal as easy as boxed Mac & Cheese, you don't need to get fancy: Combine cooked spaghetti squash, a jar of pasta sauce, and frozen meatballs in a pan and cook for 10 minutes. That's it. Meal done.

Below is the recipe I made, but I wont blame you if you just go with the basic plan above.

Mom's Busy Squash and Meatballs

1 Spaghetti Squash
1 Jar Pasta Sauce
12 Frozen meatballs (pre-cooked)

1 Onion, diced
1 Pepper (any colour) Diced
Any other veggies you want to get rid of from your fridge, diced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Onion powder
1 tsp Oregano
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus some extra for on top
Salt & Pepper to taste
Wine, to drink while cooking (because, why not)

spaghetti squash
Cut spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds from the centre, place cut side down in a microwave safe dish with about 1 inch of water in it. Microwave for 12 minutes or until the inside easily pulls out with a fork. Let cool until you can grab it, then scoop out insides with a fork into a dish and set aside. You can do this step the day before or in the morning if you want.
Meatballs and Veg in pan
Dice onion, peppers, and whatever other veggies you want to use/your toddler will eat, and fry in olive oil until soft. You can skip this step if you don't have time. No one is watching.

Add in frozen meatballs to your hot pan (if you wanted to be healthier and avoid added salt you could make your own meatballs... but then why would you be reading this recipe). Cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

Add in jar of pasta sauce to pan with meatballs/veggies (if you want to be healthier you could just use a can of crushed tomatoes). Stir to combine. Let simmer for as long as you can/want to.

pasta sauce added to pan

Add in Spaghetti Squash

Stir in parmesan cheese and spices. Or not. Whatever. Add in your shredded spaghetti squash and stir well to combine. Stir occasionally until squash is hot.

Finished meal

Serve with cheese on top and some garlic bread (or toast with butter and garlic powder).

Don't forget to sip your wine throughout the cooking process, as it makes things much easier.

There you have it - Super easy kind-of healthy dinner. Do as much or as little as you want with it.

In it's most basic form - Squash, Sauce, Meatballs - It will take under 20 minutes to put all together, and 12 of those minutes is the squash cooking in the microwave.

Let me know how it goes. Enjoy!

Baby Eating Squash and Meatballs

Thursday, January 21, 2016

What Canadian Postnatal Care Can Learn From The Dutch

Postnatal nurse with a newborn
Today I came across an interesting article in the Huffington Post about an amazing way the Netherlands looks after women in the days following birth. I was overwhelmed with what the impact of such care would have meant to myself, and all Canadians.

Get this: In Holland a special nurse comes to your home for the first week (or longer) to help with postnatal care not only for the baby, but also the mother. Now, I had a midwife when I gave birth to my son, and one of the best things about midwife care, in my opinion, is that they come to your home for pre and postnatal check-ups. I was so grateful for her (shout out to the Saskatoon Midwives!), and felt so bad every time I heard of a mother having to travel for her postnatal care.

But the Dutch postnatal nurses, called kraamverzorgster, take things to another level. They not only do the regular check ups for mom and baby, and help with breastfeeding as midwives do in Canada, but they come to your home for a full 7-8 hours a day, acting as a caregiver for the mom's well being and ensuring she has all the support she needs. Including helping with older children.

A kraamverzorgster helping with an older child
Kraamverzorgster Back In The Day
The kraamverzorgster will even cook the mom breakfast every morning. Wait, whaaatttt? The hardest thing for me in the first few days after my sons birth was not sleep, as so many think. It was EATING. Every time I attempted to even heat up a cup of coffee in the microwave, my son squawked and it was back to breastfeeding. I truly think the first postnatal month I ate less than I ever have in my entire life. Help with food during this time is so important because of the trauma your body has just gone through, and the extra energy breastfeeding takes.

In this blog from an expat in the Netherlands she explains that the kraamverzorgster would even run errands for her! Wow, what a resource. I think any of us who have experienced having a child here in Canada realizes how amazing this would be, and how much we can learn from this Dutch postnatal care goddess program.

postnatal nurse bathing baby
These beautiful nurses also do various other things like household chores (hello new baby laundry), logging all the poos and pees (we all remember that panic don't we!), and monitoring the baby's general health. And all of this is paid by health care!

So what can we do, mamas, to get this going at home in Canada? Spread the word and insist on better support from our health leaders? I have little hope of that happening, so maybe instead we spread the word about this being the best gift idea ever for new moms. Forget the diaper cakes and cute outfits; the next time one of your friends announces they are pregnant, get everyone to pool their money and fly over a kraamverzorgster from Holland. I think we can all agree, it would be the most life changing gift to ever be given!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Falling While Carrying a Baby...

ripped jeans
Ripped Jeans Are Cool, Right?

...Or: How To Get That Authentic Ripped-Jeans Look

I am no stranger to clumsiness. I have almost fallen a good number of times while holding my son. But I've always managed to steady myself. Until yesterday.

Now in the grand scheme of things my fall was nothing. Falling with a baby can be devastating. This story was thankfully only damaging to my jeans. And maybe my ego.

You know that kind of fall that leaves you no moment to recover? That's what this was. I was leaving a breakfast restaurant with my son on one hip and a diaper bag over my shoulder, when I suddenly found myself on the ground. I don't even remember falling; it was that fast. My first thought, as any mom's would be, was "is my son OK?" Thankfully he was still exactly where he was before the fall; Happily smiling in my arms.

boy touches scrape
Does This Hurt?

It took me a minute to realize what had happened. I looked back and saw a slick patch of ice behind me, while a woman ran over to see if I was hurt. I told her I was fine, even though my knee was bleeding and I could feel a pull in one side of my body, likely from compensating for the weight of my son. But nothing was broken. My eyes welled with tears from the initial pain, but my boy was OK. That's all that mattered.

A mother's instinct shocks me sometimes. I fell in such a way that my son wasn't even phased. It was so quick that I can't even remember it, yet my body sacrificed itself for the safety of my child.

Which brings me to my new stylish jeans...

You know how ridiculous it seems when you see new jeans for sale with manufactured rips in them? I will never make fun of them again, because authentic rips really hurt.

New motto: Spend the cash, save the pain.

mom and boy

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

How To Disable That Darn Home Button on Your (child's) iPad

My son is one and I let him use my iPad. To be honest, I wish he cared about it more some days, so I could have 10 minutes to do a couple things around the house while he was distracted. In truth, he can't really focus on it much at this stage, but what he does absolutely love is the frickin' home button.
guided access menu

Whether it's on the iPad or my phone, the boy can't get enough of that enticing home button. I think him and Siri are best friends at this point, because I hear her telling him she 'doesn't understand' or 'didn't quite get that' at least a few times a day.

As soon as I get a cute age appropriate learning app set up on the iPad, my son pushes the home button and the app closes. I resolved that he was just to young to play with a tablet, but then he gets mad because he wants the app back on the screen, but over and over again, he just can't resist touching that circular finger magnet.

I finally went searching for a solution after he continually closed the Skype camera by pressing the home button while talking with his Grandma. Low and behold, there is a way to disable the home button for children built right into the iPad! I decided to post how to do it, because it's a bit hidden, in case anyone else was having the same issue.

1) Go into your iPad Settings- General                   

iPad Settings          

2)Find and click on Accessibility

Scroll to the very bottom in accessibility and click on Guided Access. Turn on Guided access, and click on Passcode Settings to set a password to exit guided access, if your child is old enough to figure out how to triple click the home button to exit. 

Now go into any app and triple click the home button. A a new menu will pop up that asks you if you want to start Guided Access, and also displays other options. Select what you want to do and hit start.

triple click home button in app

If the home button is pressed while Guided Access is on in an app, nothing will happen. In order to exit the app you need to triple click the home button and enter your password. You can then hit end to stop guided access.

VoilĂ ! Now your little one can press the strangely desirable circle as much as he wants, and play with the app too.

Hope this helps you as much as it helped me! Let me know if you have any questions.