Finding your groove

Right now is my favourite time in motherhood so far.  C is super sweet, curious, smart, funny, affectionate, spirited, stubborn, and fiercely independent.  She’s got such a big personality.  I predict a future class clown (which she comes by quite honestly!).  And the memory on this child – it’s exceptional.  She’s my little bestie.  We have definitely found our groove together.

While I was pregnant, and even beforehand, most people I spoke to told me that I would love being a mother (which I do).  They told me that I would love every minute of it, and that it would be the best thing I ever did in my life.  This is partly true.  Let me explain.

Perhaps it was because everyone told me that I would love every minute of motherhood, or perhaps it was because that’s what I was expecting that led to my big reality check.  Immediate bliss was what I was “supposed to” feel.  I had this expectation that I would feel fireworks and heart explosions immediately upon laying eyes on and holding my new little bundle.  I’ve always been told I’m a maternal person, so I figured that motherhood would come naturally to me.  Not so much.  I definitely did not love EVERY minute as a new mom (insert major mom guilt here).  I mean, who loves every single minute of daily life, whether you’re a mom or not?  I had delayed bonding and a lot of anxiety, which I felt extreme guilt about.   More on that in a future post.

When you’re trying to navigate your new role as a mother, you might feel like you have to figure it all out, right away.  I remember feeling very anxious that I didn’t have it all figured out immediately.  Perhaps it was the perfectionist in me that surfaces sometimes.  I needed to give myself a big break.  It’s a brand new relationship between mom and baby, and it can take some time to get to know one another and figure things out.  As a first-time mom, you don’t have the benefit of hindsight, so you really don’t know that things will get better in time, and that you will figure out all the things.  The tough moments will pass, and new challenges will present themselves.  And you’ll get through all of them.  I promise.

The first few weeks and months in motherhood are not necessarily indicative of the type of mom you are, or will be; nor is it reflective of the relationship you’ll have with your child.  Things evolve over time, as you get to know one another, as any relationship does.

I am definitely loving most moments of motherhood these days.  My heart explodes when my daughter smiles at me.  It explodes when she hugs me.  She kisses me on the forehead and cheeks.  She wants to snuggle at bedtime.  She wants to hold my hand.  She asks me what my favourite colour is.   Her little fairy angel voice makes me swoon.  She’s the best.

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xo Leigh

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Breastfeeding

If you’re a mama reading this, you probably fit in to one of two categories; you had a wonderful experience with breastfeeding and you were sad when you had to wean your last baby off of the boob, or you had a horrible experience with breastfeeding and never want to think about another baby coming close to your boob again.  I consider myself very lucky because I have actually experienced both of these polarized feelings towards breastfeeding and so I can understand and relate to both points of view.

When I had my first daughter I was completely shell-shocked by new motherhood.  My daughter was difficult.  Very difficult.  She had colic and would cry for hours and hours on end.  She was fussy All. The. Time.  Trying to figure out breastfeeding with her was an absolute nightmare.  She was impatient so it was difficult to get a good latch (which meant that I was in pain throughout the entire feed) and because she cried all the time I was constantly questioning whether something I had eaten had upset her and whether or not she was getting enough.  Not being able to physically measure how much she was getting at each feed was very difficult for me and left me in a state of constant question to which I really didn’t have an answer.  I tried for three weeks to breastfeed her and finally after a particularly difficult, screaming-filled day my husband went to the store and got some formula.  It was helpful because it eliminated my questions about how much she was getting and reassured me that her screaming was not caused by something that I was eating, but it didn’t actually solve our problem because she still had colic and still cried inconsolably for the majority of every day.

When I had my second daughter I was pretty turned off of the whole idea of breastfeeding so I decided to formula feed her as well.  They are now healthy and happy 8 and 6 year olds and I have no regrets about feeding them formula. However, when I had my third daughter I decided that I would give breastfeeding another shot.  I was mentally more prepared for what it entailed and I was totally ok with switching her to formula if it didn’t work out.  Luckily for me, it did work out, and I am so grateful that I was able to have a positive experience with it. Aside from all of the benefits for baby that we know of, there are so many benefits for mamas, too.  Just to name a few; it’s less expensive, it’s more convenient because you always have a source of food ready to go, and it’s less time consuming than sterilizing bottles and preparing Formula is.  Once you get past the first couple weeks of awkwardness and learning to latch it’s really, very enjoyable.  One thing that a lot of people don’t know is that as you nurse your body releases the hormone oxytocin, which produces calmness, as well as endorphins (the happy hormone) which contribute to your overall well-being and give you a natural high.  I personally noticed a HUGE difference in my overall mood and mental well-being.  Now I’m getting to close to the end of nursing my son and I am actually finding myself sad to think that this will be the last baby that I am able to nurse.

I understand that not all mothers are able to breastfeed, and we are lucky that we live in a time when we have an option to buy formula for our babies that provide them with good nutrition if that is the case, but if you have had a bad first experience and are thinking about possibly giving it another try, please do, it is a really incredible experience that is so worthy of getting a second chance.

Note:  I am happy to offer guidance and support to any new mother who is having trouble with breastfeeding or just has questions and would like to talk to someone who’s been through it before.

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xo Michelle

Don’t be a hero, get some sleep

So as I write this, I’m coming off a night in my basement, where I slept in the guest bedroom in the dark – two floors away from my family. My husband had both baby monitors for our toddler and 1 year old, and the dog was in his usual spot on the couch upstairs.

I didn’t sleep right through the night. I woke up 3 times to pee (not preggo just still can’t hold the pee so well after the babies were born), and my mind wasn’t calm (I thought about work a bunch right before I feel asleep). I also heard my hubby in the kitchen in the middle of the night.

But you know what I didn’t do? I didn’t get up to tend to anyone’s needs from 10:30 until 7am. And at 7am I was enjoying a hot shower when my three year old came into the bathroom to get me (he was being super cute too so it was a lovely wake-up). I concentrated on nothing else other than my own sleep during those hours.

I do this twice a week: sleep alone in the basement. I warn my hubby in advance and I do it because otherwise, everyone’s screwed. I have learned that 3 sleepless nights is my absolute maximum. And on that third day without at least a five hours-in-a row night time stint, I am an absolute monster/psycho/all-around-bitch who you definitely don’t want to cross. After 3 nights I don’t have any emotional stability (is my husband mad at me? Why am I crying at this commercial?), I have ZERO patience (Why do I feel like throwing a fit when my toddler drops rice on the floor?), and I hate all aspects of life: work, parenting, and being a wife. Forget pleasure in normal things, I just want to lay down in a corner and have no one talk to me.

You feel me ladies? Not getting sleep: my worst. Worse than not eating, not having sex, not getting time to myself, or being broke. I hate it.

So when I debate “hey I can do this fourth night in a row of night shift” – I remind myself that I am a much better human when I’ve had some sleep. You see I PREFER to be the one that gets up with the kids every night. But it just isn’t healthy.

I also remind myself that when I’m too overtired, I fall asleep driving.

Huh?

Yup. I am one of those people who if I am overtired is easily lulled by the motion of the car. And would end up a car accident statistic if I don’t get some ZZZs once and a while.

I learned that this is the effect sleep deprivation has on me in particular BEFORE I had kids: I used to be a commuter and would fall asleep on my 1-3 hour drives to and from work ALL THE TIME. I eventually learned to pull over and use techniques to wake myself.

But now? I can’t imagine putting my kids in that situation. I don’t have any long drives in my daily life, thank goodness. But I remember: mama, people will be in danger if you don’t sleep. I am also hugely clumsy and know that the less sleep I get the better the chance is I’ll fall on the stairs holding one of my precious boys!

I’ve done lots of reading over the years on the topic of sleep deprivation, and this is one of the better articles with tips that I’ve found. It’s accurate in terms of my life, take a look and see if any of these tips can help you.

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/moms-sleep-deprivation#5

This is the part that really speaks to me: “Some of the scariest risks come when a sleep-deprived mother gets in the car. Studies have compared the risks of driving drowsy with the risks of driving drunk — it’s estimated to cause 100,000 auto accidents a year. And yet mothers who would never, ever drive their children after having a few glasses of wine drive exhausted every day.”

So mamas? Don’t screw around or be a hero on no sleep. Whatever you have to do to give your brain and body a rest while momming, do it – everyone will benefit.

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xo Sara

Letting kids take risks

“Watch out!” “Don’t touch that!” “You’re too high up!” “Be careful!”

I have been knee-deep lately in articles and studies on risk in childhood. It’s because my 3.5-year old is obsessed with climbing, and while my first instinct used to be “get off that!” I’ve realized that by telling him no, I’m forced to deal with the fall-out of him doing it anyway, when my back is turned, and then he ends up really risking his own safety.

I follow a website and FB called Wilder Child, and this is a page where I’ve been reading a lot about kids and risks and the benefits of outdoor education which inherently carries more chance of risk (I love the idea of young kids doing all of their early learning in nature).

So what do we do as a society, that has gone from letting our kids run around and play until dark in the summer: “come home once the sun is down!” (I remember my mom telling me, before I jumped on my bike and pedaled away for several hours without adult supervision), to telling them that every stranger in the world is out to harm them? Why are we so obsessed with safety when, it’s been proven by many a teenager, that eventually if your kids are too sheltered, they’ll go out and have dangerous experiences to get caught up? I agree that we need to avoid knowingly putting our kids in harm’s way. I agree with teaching them about safe play and making sure you don’t get into a car with a stranger.

I certainly can’t get on board with this:

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Um yeah, no. I’m not letting my kid risk his life and his skull for the sake of taking risks (seems stupid and pointless to me). But letting him stretch a little when it comes to how he plays? Seems to me that the more we shield ours kids and don’t teach them how to respect dangerous situations, the more likely we are to push them to do things that could be very dangerous–behind our backs.

Here’s an article I just read: The risks of not letting our children take risks

I’ve really been interested in learning about letting kids experiment a little more, and how that helps their development. I want my sons to learn about being self-sufficient and how to navigate risk in the outdoors.

What are your thoughts? Has the world become too “safe” of a place? Is the argument for taking risks a silly one? Maybe it’s a more complex issue than I’m making it?

xo Sara

What it’s like running into a childless friend these days…

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Oh hey, skinny friend with rock hard abs! Have I lost weight? Bahahaha, that’s so kind of you… But absolutely not, no. What am I doing this weekend? The usual, eight thousand kid-themed activities. A birthday party, a few play dates, one of the fun characters from Treehouse is at the mall so probably hit that up. No, not the thing you actually put in a tree…. Treehouse is a tv channel that plays the same dozen or so kids shows all day long. It is as shitty as it sounds, yes.

Oh wow, a four day outdoor festival  in a totally cool city sounds awesome. Who’s there? No way, every single major relevant artist is going to be there. I’m crying inside with jealousy… the only major relevant artist I’m seeing wears a mouse costume and speaks in squeaks and half sentences. Yah, well he’s Toopy. No wait, maybe that’s Binoo. You know what, it doesn’t matter, your weekend already won the coolness factor before you opened your mouth.

What are you up to the rest of the day? Spa, yoga? That’s great that you have so much time to look after yourself.

Have I tried yoga? Yes, but my stomach looks like a puffy bum when I do any sort of plank type position because you know, it’s been stretched out to the moon and back with pregnancy. But I’m sure it’s totally relaxing to bend over and try not to fart for an hour. Sounds amazing.

Sure, I’d love to get together for drinks! Yah… You see, 10pm is actually two hours past my bedtime and often the first of four times I’m up with one of the kids. I’m more of a meet at 5pm for drinks kind of gal.

You’re going where this winter? A super hot exotic location? That’s amazing! I can’t afford to go anywhere because I spend tens of thousands of dollars in daycare, but if I didn’t have kids I’d actually be able to tour a new country for a month each year with all the money I’d have. Yah, kids are really expensive. “Staycations” are a thing now, so we do a lot of those. Um, it’s where you stay home. Yah, I guess you could call it “staying at home.”

Well we should totally meet up for a walk or for a coffee sometime! I try to get out a couple of days a week. Yah, I work full time, have the kids in a couple of activities after school, get breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks ready each day for four people, bathe the kids, do laundry, clean the house, go to the gym, cut the grass, catch up with friends and family via text or phone, read the news, and I still manage to find the time. Yep, just really good at time management I guess.

Well, when you do find the time let me know and we’ll hook up.

Nice chatting with you!

xo Guest Blogger Sarah

Ring the alarm

Our son has always been a strong personality. You’ll always know what’s on his mind, he can’t contain his emotions well at all and quickly flies off the handle. ‘Chill’ is never a word you would ever use to describe him! He’s got none of it! Sometimes I find for me that it’s easy to confuse that with teflon. To think that nothing gets to him. To think he’s tough and resilient. I’ve known deep down that’s not the case. I know that behind all the boldness that he conveys is a very sensitive, loving, and now more recently, insecure little guy and it’s breaking our hearts!

Almost 2 weeks ago at school a scheduled fire alarm went off in the daycare and simply put, it scared the living shit out of him. He’s not been the same since and I’m really at a loss as to how to help him. Basically, since the alarm he’s been afraid to leave the bathroom or bathroom area of his daycare room and has been almost entirely refusing to eat while he’s at daycare. The food thing would scare me but unfortunately for us he’s always been a very poor eater (like his Daddy) with a spotty appetite at best. He’ll eat a big breakfast for sure, and the morning has always been when he consumes the most food of the whole day. So for now, let’s take the food thing out of the equation because I know at least he’s getting lots of food at home with us in addition to his vitamin.

It’s the anxiety he clearly feels in the classroom because of the alarm that went off. He’s just 3 so he’s having a hard time understanding the difference between ‘alarm’ and ‘fire’ so when it comes up I try to explain the difference and tell him that there’s no fire and that he is safe. When I went to pick him up yesterday from daycare I watched through the 1 way mirror for few minutes. He was wandering around with his blankey which is supposed to only be for nap. He wasn’t huddled in a corner or anything like that which is great but clearly the blankey was offered to help comfort him. When I went into the room to scoop him up into a big hug he hugged me and told me about his day then pointed at the fire alarm light on the wall. I can’t remember his words exactly but clearly there’s an anxiety about it. I don’t know what needs to happen next. I’m out of my depth but I know that something needs to happen so that this anxiety doesn’t turn into a full blown obsession that prevents him from enjoying his life. Please help?! Does anyone have experience with anything like this? A sudden fear? Separation Anxiety?

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xo Kristin

Nice to Mojito You!

Fellow Bad Mom Kristin is the ultimate drink master / delicious beverage mixologist. She’s always concocting amazing combinations whenever the Bad Moms get together. It’s super refreshing, and perfect for any occasion at all, such as:

  • It’s almost Summer!
  • I had a tough day Momming!
  • It’s the weekend!
  • I’m thirsty!
  • I’m hosting a playdate! (make it for your Mom friends)
  • I just hosted a playdate! (I’m tired)
  • No reason needed! We don’t judge 😉

 

Bad Moms Sparkling Mojito

  1. Start with about 10 fresh mint leaves in the bottom of your glass.
  2. Add approx. 1 oz simple syrup and the juice of half a lime; add the lime, too
  3. Use a muddler or anything with a flat blunt bottom to help you mash up the mint leaves and lime to extract the oils and flavour.
  4. Once muddled for a few minutes…take your time – it’s a labour of love; add another ounce of lime juice, whether fresh or from a bottle, doesn’t matter.
  5. Top with a several cubes of ice then pour any white rum you have over top, 1-2 oz depending on how your day went!
  6. Top up with a lightly carbonated sparkling water.
  7. Give it a nice stir and always use a spoon to have a taste! Add more citrus or more simple syrup to suit your preference.

Enjoy!

xo Bad Moms

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