Parenting fail or parenting win?

If becoming a parent made one thing abundantly clear to me, it was the fact that both my husband and I have dirty trucker mouths and drop f-bombs like they’re verbs, nouns, adverbs and quite frankly commas. I joked while I was pregnant that my greatest goal as a parent was really just to ensure my child would swear in the correct context. I will never forget Gunner dropping his sippy cup on the floor and saying “Shit.” His daycare lady says it was one of the funniest things she’s ever heard when Gunner was struggling to make a toy work and she heard him say “Oh my fucking god.” He was promptly corrected by another child who told him “No Gunner, it’s: oh my goodness!”

In my mind this is both a parenting win, and a parenting fail. He shouldn’t be fucking cussing but at least he’s not randomly toddling around repeating “Shit fuck fuck shit fuck.” Unless there’s a truck around of course- and then it’s all kinds of fucks (see previous blog post “Dump Truck”).

Now, that’s not to say we haven’t made strides to reduce our swearing, or use other words but honestly when your toddler goes parrot on your ass and starts saying “what the funk” the truth is that they aren’t pronouncing it correctly anyways and it’s coming out as “what the fuck” regardless.

Enter new strategy…We’ve now taken the approach to tell G-man that these are adult words and he’s not big enough to be saying them – we acknowledge and apologize when we’ve used excessive ‘Adult’ words in his presence and  let him know that he is not allowed to use those words (we obviously try not to do this, but shit happens). The little smart-ass has even started to point out when we’ve used ‘adult words’ which is a blessing and a curse because while I knew I swore a lot I didn’t realize quite how freely ‘fuck’ slipped off my tongue. So far it’s worked, my -ahem- three year old has not cussed (intentionally) in a long while. Parenting win? I fucking think so.

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(image courtesy of davebrockett.com)

xo Guest Blogger Steph

 

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“When are you having a baby?”

We live in a world where babies are constantly around us (or so it seems). When I was younger, I always thought you got pregnant when you were ready. Yes I’d heard of endometriosis and cervical issues but they were never discussed in terms of how it affected your ability to get pregnant. It wasn’t until I tried to conceive that it hit me: not everyone gets pregnant when they want to (even if it seems that way to outsiders!)
People are quick to talk about their pregnancy, their cravings, the names they’ve chosen but few are willing to share the how. I don’t mean “I lifted my legs in the air for 5 minutes after sex to get the sperm up the canal” (this doesn’t actually work btw) but more “we tried for 4 years before we had a full term pregnancy and consulted ob/gyns, fertility specialists, etc”. If I had heard just one person tell the honest truth about how they had conceived or struggled to conceive, maybe I would have been prepared for what was to come on my journey to potential motherhood.
I had been married a little over a year (was 27 years old) when we decided to try to get pregnant. I bought the ovulation kits, the basal thermometer, made sure my husband didn’t masturbate at all during my ovulation time to maximize the amount of sperm I was getting (and don’t act like they don’t still do it after marriage!) After a few months and no positive pregnancy tests, I reached out to my GP. I was told I had to try to conceive for a year before I could be referred to an OB. A YEAR! At that moment, it felt like an eternity but realistically at 27, I still had plenty of time on my biological clock (or so I thought). 12 negative pregnancy tests and countless ovulation kits later, still nothing. I get referred to an OB who took one look at my chart and said “there’s nothing I can do for you. You’ll have to see a fertility specialist in Toronto”. A fucking year of waiting to be told in less than 2 minutes that I was going to need professional help if I wanted a biological baby of my own. I’d always wanted kids (I was definitely the mom in our friend group) so it was a complete shock to me that I wasn’t going to be able to conceive easily.
Fast forward 5 years later and I’m still childless. I’ve had months where I’ve had my blood drawn daily to measure luteinizing hormones, procedures done to make sure my uterus was functional using a catheter and circulating water, more trans vaginal ultrasounds than I can count and still no baby. I’m ok with the fact that it’s probably going to take IUI or IVF to conceive at this point but what really hurts is the assumptions and advice I get on the daily.
The litany of things that have been said to me range from supportive to maniacal. “You’re so good with kids, you should have one!” Thanks, I’m trying. “Just don’t think so much about it and it will happen.” Oh really? Positive thoughts can cure infertility! I had no idea. By far, the worst was “some people can’t get pregnant because they aren’t meant to be parents.” You’re telling me that every person you’ve met who has a child is a good parent? I highly doubt it.
No matter the journey you take, your path to motherhood is just like you: unique. Don’t let someone else’s expectation of you and your biological clock define you. I know that once I have the baby I’ve dreamed about, this journey will only make me appreciate it that much more.
xo Guest blogger Lindsay
(Photo courtesy of the CBC)
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Mompreneurs?

What the fuck is this about? Sorry not sorry. I would like to ask the person who came up with this little moniker. Call me crazy but I’m really at a loss. I’ve been an entrepreneur for going on 10 years now and you know what I call it? Entrepreneur. You know what all the people with a penis call it? Entrepreneur.

I am a proud feminist. I believe women to be 100% equal to the male gender, I’m in a marriage that is equal in terms of respect, responsibility and employment. 

As soon as I heard this term being thrown around I hoped that a women didn’t come up with it because well, thanks for that.  I’m trying to really understand what my issues are with it and I’d like to propose the following questions:

-is it a rationalization? ‘I know I’m an entrepreneur but i haven’t forgotten I’m a ‘mom first’ and just want to the world to understand that.’ You don’t need to do that. Not only do you not need to rationalize this evolutionary drive you have to forge your own path, build something from the ground up and be financially autonomous but you most certainly don’t need to justify it because you’re also a mom. The two ideologies are not mutually exclusive! 

-is it an apology? I read an article a while back about how there’s one word that could be undermining your credibility when writing emails to colleagues, clients, coworkers and employees and I had a huge wake up call and have since deleted it from my repertoire. The other interesting part about it was the observation was that men didn’t use this word in their emails. The word is ‘just’….’just wondering what you thought…just checking in….just following up.’ It’s an apology before you’ve even gotten to your point. The word mompreneur feels like that. ‘Oh you don’t need to worry about little old me, I’m just a mom with a hobby, I’m no threat to anyone or to my role as mom.’ Stop that, no you’re not. You’re kicking some serious ass and it’s unapologetically awesome…and you happen to be a mother too. 

I didn’t mean for this to be a rah-rah feminist post. I actually don’t think men have much to do with it. The men in my life have been my biggest champions, I think the problem is we need to stop with the meek humility and own our fucking ambition. 

So here’s to all the entrepreneurs out there – let’s punch the word ‘mompreneur’ right in the vagina!

For those interested, here’s the link to the original article cited:

https://www.the-pool.com/work/work-advice/2015/26/just-the-one-word-that-undermines-women-at-work

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xo Kristin

Anger

You have to feel calm and collected on the inside to express those feelings on the outside. It’s as simple as that.

Having been a human being for 35 years, I know from watching people and existing in the world that the emotions a person expresses outwardly don’t always match those that the person is experiencing. I know that there are a lot of people out there that have to work very very very hard to make sure those inner emotions don’t explode and spiral out of control—this especially applies to parents. And we have all been on both sides of the fence: the one where we are judging a parent for screaming at their kid public and the other side where we are the one screaming – in public or otherwise. I recently read an article that I thought was worth sharing (by Wendy Bradford in 2013): The part of parenting we’re too embarrassed to talk about.

Parenting is an exercise in self-control. Control your voice, control your feelings, control your language, control your reactions, and control your actions. But what happens when you just can’t? When you have pent up emotions (i.e. anger) from many years of being a human in the world and someone triggers those emotions (i.e. a kid who won’t listen, throws an insane tantrum at the grocery store, and becomes irrational in a situation when you can’t calm them)?

Staring down the barrel of a temper tantrum, an explosion from your own offspring, whether at home or in public, is an intense situation that requires the utmost emotional intelligence and control. But often, our kids can push us to the limits of what we can tolerate, and I know for myself, that the intense emotions I feel in those situations surprise me all the time. Who knew people that we love so much could push us to the brink of tryingnottoloseitcompletely. And often, multiple times, in one day!

Kids have a way of bringing us to the edge of everything, including anger AND love. What other role than parenting can do that? I for one have never felt any emotions so strongly as those related to mothering and I’ve been very in love with my partner for over 12 years.

So when you’re on the edge and you feel like you might “snap” with your kids, what do you do? I am lucky. I have rooms to escape to, help to call upon, a supportive network. And even with that support, I am so sad to admit that I am regularly “losing” days to my emotions, and most particularly, my anger. I am often ashamed by my anger. My little guy and I have a fight, where he has a tantrum that inevitably leads to me exploding, and that day is lost—lost to emotions I should be able to control. I spend the next week reflecting, hoping I didn’t scar him with my raised voice, and longing for a time when he just wanted to snuggle me, not throw fits with me. I can see each tantrum and its outcomes clear as day in my head, and I have so many regrets about how I handled certain situations.

Mom anger, meet mom guilt: you two are very good friends aren’t you?

I think about those of you out there that don’t have any support. You might be a single parent or you might not have friends and family close by. And often, even when all of those supports and pillars of sanity are in place, you might just be too overtired to be able to control those emotions.

I want you to know, those of you in those situations, that we all feel you. And that there is support for you if you don’t have it around you already. I have been doing a lot of digging on research on anger and mothering, and to be honest, the stuff out there barely scratches the surface. This article is the one I felt had at least some useful tips: Managing Your Anger: How to Cool Off Before You Melt Down.

One of the most striking insights: “Until one has children, it’s often easy to escape the darker parts of our personality. Yet, once we become a parent, we are often so tired or pushed or overwhelmed that those darker sides we’d rather not acknowledge make all-too-frequent appearances.”

Don’t lose too many days. Find some support if you find that your anger is over-the-top. Your kids and your heart will thank you for it.

If you know of online resources or local ones you can share for mamas out there looking, please post in the comment section.

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Xo Sara

I don’t know how we do it

It sounds trite but I really don’t. My brain goes to two places when I have a hunch my kid is sick…’ah shit, there goes my day’ quickly followed by ‘meh, you’re not throwing up and it’s only a mild fever…off to daycare with ya’. I somehow feel the need to push the boundaries of it and wait until I’m getting side eye from the daycare staff or another parent thinking why in the hell I thought I should bring my kid to daycare when they’re clearly sick in some capacity.

No, to answer their question I don’t want my kid to get other kids sick, of course not. But honestly, who’s to say it didn’t come from your kid to begin with? It’s a shit show in there! And the struggle is real…The dichotomy of not wanting my kid to get other kids sick and the pressure to get back to work. Literally at least once every two weeks one of my kids has something dribbling out of their nose or squirting out their butts, it’s insane. I’m lucky in that I am self employed and if I need to rearrange my day I can. The other side of that though is if I’m not there, no ones making money. No sales are happening, the buck stops with me. 

My millennial non-parent employee looks at me like, this can’t be happening again?! Oh but it can, just you wait. Or don’t! 

I just don’t know how people with really rigid policies at work get through all of their kids’ illnesses. I would really like to know what happens when perhaps several times a month during the winter your kids are sick and you have to stay home with them? How does your family handle it? How does your employer handle it? Let’s discuss!

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xo Kristin

10 random things pregnant women think about

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1 – Sweat

Why am I so sweaty? Seriously, I’m standing still and my armpits are soaking wet. No effort is being exerted. Yet the sweat persists.

2 – Skin

What is up with my complexion? Why is my face all red and splotchy? And why all the sudden breakouts?   My skin looks mad. Cover up is a must.

3 – Cellulite

I have accepted the cellulite on the back of my thighs. Why, now, is there cellulite on the FRONT? Why?? And will it ever go away?

4 – Hair

You’ll look in the mirror and proclaim, “Damn, girl. Your hair looks fabulous – so thick, lustrous, and shiny.”   Enjoy this thick hair moment, before it starts falling out after baby comes. Sad, but true.

5 – Body hair

I could have sworn I just tweezed my eyebrows yesterday. And didn’t I just shave this morning? Time to pluck / shave again?! Yes, yes it is. Keep those tweezers and razors close by.

6 – Mood

One minute I’m fine, and the very next, watch out! Things can escalate from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, there is absolutely no reason for this shift in mood. I blame hormones. It’s gotta be.

7 – Cravings

Gimmie all the carbs. Never mind the strange flavour combinations. I want bread, rice, and more bread. Toast with peanut butter, specifically. French fries, too.

8 – Bodily fluids

Panty liners. That is all.

9 – Nipples

What is happening here? The day your nipples change can be a frightening one. Think darker and bigger. Good luck eating chocolate macaroons again.

10 – Hormones

Why do I smell like an onion? Is it because of the hormones? Can anyone else smell me? I blame it all on hormones.

xo Leigh

If at first you don’t succeed

I have been trying to adequately work through my struggles parenting my 3-year-old for the last two months, analyzing and re-analyzing how I could have handled certain situations better. But the truth is, I am having a really hard time.

Since a month before his third birthday my eldest has tested my very upper limits. And I know exactly what went wrong. When my second son was born I completely fell apart when it came to disciplining my first son. I felt guilty that I wasn’t able to spend the same amount of time with him that I did when it was just him and mommy. Couple that guilt with my exhaustion having a baby and going back to work right after, and I just stopped throwing down the “nos.” So basically, for the last year, I have been trying to have any nice quality time I can with him, and if he throws a tantrum or gives me a hard time, well, I usually just give in.

Therein lies the problem. No wait, therein lies the crisis. The issue is that now, fast forward a year, and he knows he can do whatever he wants. He has learned that mommy is usually too tired to really follow through on her “if you do that again I’ll put you to bed threats”, so, he does it… whatever “it” is…again. And again. And again. Until finally, mommy blows. Son number two is left in his high chair while son number one gets thrown over mommy’s shoulder and into bed (and after a few minutes, he comes out of his bedroom – a door is not going to stop this kid).

There have been countless screaming matches. This kid has a voice. And mommy has lost it so many times counting is silly. On the weekend for instance, he yelled “no!” at his little brother when he was trying to play, and little brother wailed because he just wanted to get close to his buddy. I put older brother in his room. He came out. I threatened everything. I took his toys away. Nada. No listening. He is willful, he is stubborn, and he is relentless (just like his mama, uh oh.) Daddy steps in often. But daddy gets listened to and I think daddy probably wants me to get my shit together (understandably).

Result of all of this: Mommy is so, so done.

So what is a tired momma to do? I’m sad. In a full day together we will have at least three meltdowns and I feel like all of sudden I’m going to have lost years. Does it get better? Do 3 year old boys eventually start to be less tough?

I cried to his dad on Sunday (who has been incredibly supportive, reminding me I’m a good mom all the time) because I just felt so heavy. I know other mommas have gone through the tantrum stage, and I also have gotten some great advice. I know I need to be harder on him and quicker – no more “one more chance kid”, because that’s what’s gotten me to this situation in the first place.

But what else is there to try? I am nervous about the toll it takes on him when I yell at him. I don’t like yelling and I don’t want our house to be a place that he associates with raised voices.

You got tips? Bring ‘em on. Thanks mamas.

Xo Sara