Solidarity

After a particularly humiliating shopping trip with my two-year-old on Sunday, full of screaming, floor-rolling and all around bad behaviour, I’ve been inspired to reach out to my fellow mamas and send a little love.

To the Moms:

Who have felt the glares cast upon them in public as they struggle to contain their child, temporarily possessed by some kind of demon,

Who keep Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol or anything Disney running on their TVs for more hours than they care to admit, knowing it will keep their child happy and sane,

Who order take-out at least once a week, are entirely mediocre at cooking and have introduced their child to McDonalds before a year old,

Who feel guilt every time they drop their child off at a daycare or dayhome, or who feel a different kind of guilt for choosing to stay at home and set their careers aside,

Who have yelled at their child on occasion after reaching their absolute breaking point,

Who believe in a spank across the bum or a light tap on the wrist to get through to their child and let them know that what they are doing is NOT acceptable,

Who took a child-free vacation with their spouse or partner, just to get some much needed time to themselves or to rekindle the romance that fades quickly after kids,

Who have made a parenting choice that the Internet has deemed “controversial” or “wrong,” but that was the best possible decision for their family,

Not only do I respect you and admire your strength, but I stand with you.

Sincerely,

A part-time blogger, full-time communications professional, loving wife and proud mama to a sweet toddler, who doesn’t have her crap together most days, but tries anyways ❤

Solidarity

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Dangerous Comparisons

As parents, we’ve all done itwhether out loud or in our silent thoughts, we’ve compared our children to others. Even though we know it’s wrong, it’s like the world we live in sets us up to make constant comparisons.

Whether it’s the array of contradictory articles online, the unsolicited advice we receive from a certain friend or family member or the “trusted” and often conflicting information we get from medical professionals, there’s always some sort of milestone, either behavioural or physical, that our child should be reaching. And as our child grows to become an adult, the focus shifts to things like scholarly achievements, career advancements and physical capabilities.

Unfortunately, those innocent comparisons we make can be incredibly detrimental. It’s something I’ve had to remind myself of every day, especially when I’ve felt particularly insecure about my daughter and her progress in this first precious year of her life.

Currently, my sweet girl is 11 months old, and I’m so proud of how much she has grown and learned in 11 short months. That said, I would be lying if I denied having ever compared her to other babies, both her age and younger.

My daughter is quite advanced in her fine motor skills, with an impressive vocabulary for such a little thing! In terms of gross motor skills though, like crawling and walking, she seems to be a bit behind the curve (or as much as my educated guess would have me believe).

Deep down, I know that all babies develop at different rates, and that I have nothing to worry about. Yet, I still feel this need every so often to compare. The problem is, if I don’t have faith in my daughter, how is she supposed to build any kind of self-confidence?

Even though I’m not saying it aloud, she can no doubt pick up on the vibes I’m transmitting. And as her mother, it’s my job to be her biggest cheerleader, no matter how I’m feeling on the inside.

When the inevitable time comes for peer pressure, low self-esteem and even bullying, I need to be that strong role model and confidante she can trust. I need to be that steady person in her life who she can count on for unconditional love, support and encouragement.

If it’s not crawling or walking, it will be something else. That kid in her math class may be able to solve problems with ease while she struggles to figure out basic times tables. On the other hand, with her above average height, she may succeed at sports like basketball, while her peers avoid them like the plague. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, all of which make us unique and awesome.

This post today is a little reminder (mainly to myself), that I have a daughter who deserves to be loved and accepted for exactly who she is. And no matter how big or small, I should be celebrating and recognizing her achievements as they come.

unconditional-love

 

 

No Judgement Here

Yesterday, I came across an excellent article titled, “Mind Your Own Womb.” With each word I read, my heart sank a little bit more. While I haven’t experienced those types of struggles (or not to that degree), I know enough close friends and family members who have. And I know how important it is to think before I speak – in any situation.

Still, the article had me thinking about some of my own choices and how they may affect others – in particular, my choice to have a strong and visible online presence. This includes my sharing of stories, experiences and most notably, photos, through various social media platforms.

Here’s the thing. I’m a writer, a professional communicator and a storyteller. I love to draw people into my world through my words and photography. I often post pictures online of my daughter, mainly for my family to see as she grows and develops. I enjoy writing online about my experiences as a new parent, mainly because I want to start a conversation and seek advice from other more experienced parents.

That said, none of these choices make me any less aware or considerate of the fact that there are women out there who struggle with fertility issues or face their own unique challenges in regards to having/not having children. I wanted to make this clear, in the case that I have offended anyone through my online actions.

From my end, there is absolutely no judgement when it comes to women and their decisions about children. In return, I kindly ask that you don’t pass any judgement on me for how I choose to express myself creatively, either through my writing or photography that I share online. I think we can all stand to be more kind and accepting of each other.

RadiateLovingKindness

 

 

 

 

Fitting It All In

If I won a million dollars tomorrow, I’d likely spend the money on a new house, car, trip around the world or unpaid debt. But before any of those, I’d hire a full-time cook, house cleaner and nanny.

Why? Because I can’t seem to get my life in order. Since having a baby, I’ve found it hard to accomplish even the most menial of tasks, like showering or getting dressed. And while I’ve never been a Type A person that has my checklist of to-do items, I’ve put more pressure on myself than ever to be productive.

I suppose the reason is that I don’t have work (in a professional sense) to focus on, so once I’ve finished my regular motherly duties, I can’t help but notice the stack of dirty dishes, pile of unfolded laundry and empty pantry shelves surrounding me. As much as I love time with my daughter, there’s nothing more frustrating than having a whole day pass by without completing the tasks I started or without leaving the house as intended.

My best friend recently gave me some great advice. She said: “For that first year as a new Mom, keep your expectations low. Pick a small project each day, and make it your goal to finish it. And feel good about it when you do.”

Maybe I just need to change my outlook. Maybe choosing sleep over a shower this morning was a good thing. Maybe my house is more organized than I realize. Maybe two outings a week with my baby is plenty, and something worth celebrating. And maybe the friends I haven’t seen in ages are fully understanding of the fact that I’m busy at home with my little one.

At the end of the day, I’d rather skip a shower, miss a social gathering, have a messy kitchen or eat takeout food if it means I get to spend more time with my daughter, catering to her needs and making her happy. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget what’s really important.

To all my Mom friends out there, new and seasoned, I encourage you to share with me how you “fit it all in” and find balance in your lives. I’m all ears!

piles-of-laundry

 

 

 

Keeping You

“Your life will completely change after you have kids.” – Advice of  many wise parents

Agreed. One hundred per cent. You’ll love like you’ve never loved before. Your priorities will shift as you focus on keeping that little human fed, rested and cared for in every way. Your schedule (as you knew it) will never be the same. And most importantly, you’ll become selfless, because you have to be.

I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world, because I love my daughter so much. Though, my one hope in all of this is that I don’t lose myself while putting so much time and effort into another human being I adore.

I want my sweet girl to grow up knowing exactly who “Mom” is, understanding the many layers to her personality, and knowing that it’s perfectly normal and awesome for her too to develop into her own unique person.

Last weekend, I went out (on my own) for the first girls’ night out in ages. My wonderful husband babysat while I took some time out with friends. We ate, we boozed, we laughed, we danced and we had a time – one I won’t forget for awhile.

That night out was exactly what I needed. It reminded me that being a Mom doesn’t mean giving up on who you were before you had a baby. Today, in writing, I want to share with my little love who her Mommy is:

Dramatic, weird and funny all at once,
Strong, intelligent and brave,
Sweet, kind and accepting,
That girl who blasts her favourite rap tunes loudly in her car and dances to them,
One of those people who watches terrible reality TV,
An avid wine and beer drinker,
A fan of Timbits, sushi and lemon garlic shrimp pasta,
A lover of travel, culture and worldliness,
Passionate about photography and the capturing of special moments,
A writer who loves to create an experience with her words,
Someone who values her friends, family and husband above anything else.

My dearest Audrey, this post is dedicated to you. As the years go on, I can’t wait to show you who I am, and I’m even more excited to discover the person you become. Love always, Mom.

 

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Photo credit: Blake Loates Photography (blakeloates.com)

Finding Joy

A few months ago, I was feeling pretty down at the prospect of trying to get pregnant. It’s not that I had heard bad news from my doctor, or that I had been working at it for an unusually long time, but it was the pressure I put upon myself, expecting everything to fall into place immediately, on my schedule.

Of course, that’s not how life works—a fact even I have to remind myself sometimes. The best advice I can think of (from a certain wise husband) is that there’s no sense worrying about what you can’t control. No truer words ever spoken, in my opinion.

As most of you know, and as I am thrilled to report, I am now pregnant—18 weeks as of Thursday! John and I couldn’t be more excited and grateful to embark on a new adventure and chapter in our lives.

That being said, the worry and anxiety (I seem to constantly struggle with) doesn’t stop here. From what I’ve been told, this is only the beginning. And if I don’t take measures now to manage my stress, it will become all-consuming.

The truth is, getting pregnant is just the first step. There are no guarantees my pregnancy will go smoothly, start to finish. Even when that time comes for me to go into labour, there could be complications or  health issues that arise with myself or the baby. Then, there’s that moment when I become a mother for the first time: “Am I doing this right? What does ‘right’ even mean?” And the never-ending list goes on.

But that’s no way to think about things. I know I need to stay positive for the sake of my my own well-being and that of my husband.

At the end of the day, no matter what the situation, it’s important to find joy in what is constant, what isn’t changing, what will always be there to bring you comfort and happiness.

It may be the unconditional love of your family, friends or spouse. It may be a hobby you’re passionate about, that never fails to put you in good spirits. It could be a job you adore, that inspires you to learn, grow and be the best you can in your field.

For all the people out there who are trying to conceive, to advance in their careers, to enrich in some way in their personal lives or in their relationships,  I encourage them to find joy in the present, to be content with what they have, and to celebrate the small successes each day that are 100 per cent within their control.

~ There’s always something to be grateful for ~ Anonymous

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The Longest Wait

Often, I’m able to write about the topics I find difficult to talk about. Maybe it’s because it’s easier to put my thoughts into words. Or maybe it’s because I prefer a delayed, distant response rather than an immediate and personal one.

For quite some time, there’s been something on my mind that I’ve been scared to share with my closest friends and family out of fear of being viewed as selfish or insensitive.

But I’m starting to think I’m not the only one that’s feeling the way I do, and that for the sake of those others, it’s important to establish a safe and healthy place for us to talk about what we’re thinking and feeling.

That “something” I’m referring to is the constant struggle, both emotional and physical, in the process of trying to conceive—the longest wait some of us will ever have to endure for what may or may not happen in the end.

Like so many others, I’m at that age where the baby announcements are coming out by the dozen, whether it be from family members, friends or co-workers. I know it’s my job to be supportive and to celebrate those exciting milestones in the lives of the people I care about most.

Yet, sometimes, all I want to do is curl up in a ball, shut the door (literally) and cry for a few hours. And there are times where I wish I had someone beside me, who understood exactly where I was coming from, who could cry with me too.

Ninety five per cent of the time, I’m overjoyed to visit with the precious little ones in my life, to watch them grow and learn and become awesome little people, but that other five per cent, I’m left with a profound and guilty sadness I can’t explain.

When I’m having a crappy day, I love nothing more than to see an adorable baby photo, showing an ever-changing little face. At the same time, when I see these photos from friends and family, I can’t help but feel a bit down and wonder, “What would it be like to have one of my own?”

I realize there’s another side to the fence. I know I should be enjoying all the things and activities I won’t be able to appreciate as much when or if I become pregnant, and more importantly, when I become a parent (i.e.: travelling, sleeping in, alcoholic beverages, certain foods, endless free time, etc.).

And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing—enjoying life in the present. But now, I finally feel like it’s OK for me to be honest with that other, less flattering side of myself.

To conclude, I’d like to share a quote that resonates with me, and that I think we can all aspire to:

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.

– Anonymous

kindness