About amberhill

My name is Amber Hill and I am currently mother to a crazy spitfire of a little 2 year old girl named Maya. She definitely keeps me busy and on my toes every day and I love every second of it! My husband and I are also awaiting the arrival of Baby Hill #2 at the end of April 2017. I always knew that I wanted to have a family of my own. I grew up an only child and was lonely at times - I remember asking my parents on many occasions for a younger brother, but alas that did not happen! Ever since I was younger, I wanted a large family - back then I wanted 8 kids, I have rethought that considerably! My love of young children grew more when my husband and I started dating (and then married). It was at this time that his older siblings were starting to expand their families and I got to spend more time around nieces and nephews. I knew even more so that a family is what I wanted in the future for me! Prior to being a stay at home mom to Maya (and future kids), I worked in the oil and gas industry for a few years. I have been lucky enough to obtain an Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education/Kinesiology from the University of Alberta. Prior to my education and during, I also coached many basketball teams and loved being involved with not only children/teenagers, sports but also community! I grew up in Wetaskiwin which is also a smaller community, and have always loved the feeling of a small well-knit community. Due to growing up in a smaller city, it has given me this view of community and how I would like it to be. Despite Leduc being bigger than my hometown, I love the sense of community in this city - it still has the small town feel. I have met many loving and caring people through various programs as well as small businesses that make living in this city so enjoyable. I look forward to exploring this community more and being able to extend more opportunities to those that choose to be involved with Mommy Connections!

C-Sections: Recovery & Reflection – Momma Blog Feature

Hi, I’m Chantal- wife of Steve, Momma to Natalie, Layla & Olivia, Photographer, Blogger, and Dreamer. I started blogging in 2017 to find fun, local family gems in Alberta. I love inspiring families to create memories with the activities I find and appreciate the insight I gain through the parenting stories I share. I am a stay at home mom in the prairies and I help with my family’s toy store business. I believe in supporting local businesses to keep our communities vibrant.

C-Sections: Recovery & Reflection

By Chantal Aird

If you have ever been to a party or work function, you may have played an icebreaker game called, ” Have you Ever.” A game where each person takes a turn asking a question beginning with the words Have you Ever…the question goes around the group and people answer I have or I have not. It can be a fun way to get to know one another and see who shares our experiences.  This game can also provide moms with a sense of solidarity and reassurance when they discuss their childbirth stories. While each birth story is unique, we also experience many similar symptoms, feelings and outcomes.  In my case, my question would be, “Have you ever had a Caesarian Section?” For those that have, my experiences will resonate with you. For those that have not, here is an open view of my 3 C-sections in 4 years.

My first C-section was an emergency. It was not planned, nor expected. After being in labor for quite some time, my Dr finally recommended a C-section as baby was facing upwards.  It was scary, but I wanted baby to be safe and knew this was the right thing to do.  When my daughter was born, she was not breathing. She was whisked away to ICU and I could not see her until the next day; I was a mess of emotion. Through the night, I felt like a failure and I doubted my choices leading up to her delivery. Once my daughter stabilized and I could see her, I finally started to feel better. Although my healing took longer than I thought and my feet were swollen to the size of beach balls, I knew I had done my best in the situation and she was here now, safe and sound.

For my second C-section, I planned it. I scheduled a time, date and discussed the procedure with my Dr. beforehand. I knew more about my options and how my body would react and heal. My second experience was entirely different than my first. My second daughter arrived with no complications! I got to see her right away.  I felt like I could do cartwheels after she was born, that was how good I felt! My feet did not swell up due to wearing compression stockings and I wasn’t exhausted from being in labor beforehand. I thought to myself, “I can do this again if I need too, I got this!”

My third C-section is still a mystery to me. I thought I had this thing all figured out…third time to the rodeo, I was a pro! Like my second C-section, I planned this one. I didn’t want to risk what had happened to my first daughter and I was prepared for the healing process and procedure. I also knew how to pack my hospital bag like a pro! (My top comfort items would be slippers, a loofah with a handle and moist towelettes). My third daughter was also born with no complications and she had chubby little cheeks. I got to see her right away too. After seeing her, I was taken to recovery so the anesthetic could wear off and I could be monitored. I started throwing up and I was extremely itchy as the wearing off process took effect. This was a first. Other times I had no issue with the anesthetic; my nurse told me it is pretty common and not to worry.  Once I got home I also found my back very sore and tender. Again, this was a common side effect of the epidural given to me.  I managed to figure out how to control the pain and just enjoy my new baby girl. If I learned anything from my other C-sections, it was to figure out self-care in order to care for my kids.

After settling in at home, I got to reflect on all of my experiences. Here is what I learned:

  • You only get to eat “liquid” food after your C-section until you pass gas (my brother snuck me in a cheeseburger because I was so hungry…but you will pay for it in the form of a stomach ache)
  • Try and move around as much as you can – it helps with recovery
  • Bring loose fitting clothing and a few heavy flow pads
  • You wouldn’t be able to go in a fancy “theme room” for recovery
  • Keep your incision area clean and dry – watch for signs of infection
  • Take the time to heal. Don’t rush it
  • The love for your new baby makes all the effort worth it!

In the end, I’ve realized that motherhood is a journey. Our paths will be different, but our hearts will be open. We will discover our strengths and overcome struggles. Each of us has a story, don’t be afraid to share it.

To follow her blogging journey, check her out on Facebook here!

Hello! My name is mom and I’m a yeller. – Momma Blog Feature

I’m the farmer behind FrugalBushBunny CSA Farm just an hour from Alberta’s capital. My life as wife & mother of two is pretty crazy!

Gardening, hunting, foraging, fishing & raising farm animals keep me outdoors a lot. I love to shop…anywhere. I’m as happy thrifting as I am visiting William Sonoma & my obsession with stationary & Hello Kitty are probably detrimental to my bank account. 

I’m the mom at the park talking loudly on the phone dropping F bombs & not really paying attention to my kids. Because honestly I brought them to the park so I could have a few moments to catch up with my long distance BFF. 

I’m also the mom who teaches my kids to be strong independent individuals by showing them that you don’t have to be a push over to be nice & that compassion for others is not a weakness. That learning something for yourself is always better than relying on someone else & the only way to fail is to give up (but none of that everyone is a winner crap!)

I’m the mom with crayon/paint/s**t (probably literally😂) on the walls, housekeeping never makes it on my To Do list. I let my kids cook & bake & use sharp pointy knives under my supervision (I swear I’m not THAT bad!) And we try to go on as many family dates & adventures as possible.

I’m a little bit of everything rolled into one & I’m going to keep following my heart no matter what! 

Hello! My name is mom and I’m a yeller.

By Melanie Gallie

I’m a yeller….not always but more than I’d like to admit. But here I am….admitting it. Why? Because I think, no, I know that yelling isn’t always as bad as everyone makes it out to be.

You see, read and hear it everywhere. The non-yeller moms at the park, the mommy blogs & the parenting books on the shelf at the library. Yelling is bad.

They all insist yelling will screw your kids up, scar them for life, turn them into screaming lunatics AND how they won’t listen to you anyway…well I disagree. But before you freak out, no I don’t think it’s okay to scream 2 inches away from your kids face, call them degrading names or keep yelling until they cry.

There are times yelling is an effective tool if you use it right, like when your little one is about to bolt across the road in front of a car. When I yell, my kids know I mean business.

Stop the mom guilt. You’re not messing your kids up, your not turning them into serial killers. You yelling won’t be the memories of you they’ll keep.

They’ll remember going to the strawberry u-pick and eating berries until their little bellies are full and bloated. They’ll remember you tucking them in at night and rubbing their backs. They’ll think back about you teaching them to ride a bike or cast a fishing rod.

It’s all about balance.

So when you finally lay your head down tonight worry about something else because yelling won’t ruin your precious babies.

*This post is solely my opinion of occasional yelling, if you feel your yelling is affecting your children or you feel angry, overwhelmed or depressed please contact your local Parent Link Centre for non-judgmental guidance.

To see more of Melanie’s Farm, check them out on Facebook here!

Twins: (The First Year)… ~ Momma Blog Feature

I’m a stay at home mama to boy/girl twin toddlers that likes to read, write, craft and practice yoga. I am discovering a new passion somewhere deep down for baking and am a huge animal lover. I drink way too much coffee during the day and stay up too late at night. I enjoy crime reality shows, Vietnamese food, potty humor, any movie with Vin Diesel except for The Pacifier and colorful fluffy socks.

Twins: (The First Year)

What I remember of it….

By Andrea Spaude-Kerr

I read probably a good chunk of the books out there, went to the What to Expect when having Multiples class, researched, planned. There’s so much information out there in the world of multiples, but I don’t think anything can truly prepare you for the experience.

This is not a list about what you need/don’t need, I’m sure by now you’ve read more than your fair share of those. You won’t find this list in your “What to Expect” book because it’s a combination of my experience, advice I got in those beginning days from veteran multiples moms and things I wish I would have done differently.

Take Lots of Pictures

Seriously! Empty your phone, ipad, cameras, all of it well before your expected date. You’ll need all of the space you can get!!

The first 6 months for me were a blur and the next 6 months were not much better. I literally don’t remember much of anything, if it wasn’t for the hundreds of pictures and videos I took I would have to question my presence for probably 90% of the time. Also, if you’re anything like me and buy ridiculously detailed baby books that you can’t seem to keep up with- it helps to look back and fill in the missing pieces. Being born will likely be the only thing they do at the same time, I found myself recording the firsts of everything but then missing out on writing the firsts for the second one (I swear second child syndrome still happens with twins) and don’t get me started on teeth!! Which brings me to number 2..

Choose your Baby Books Wisely

Of course I chose the most detailed book I could find and Toddler A has an amazing record of nearly all of his pearly whites; the exact date they came in, the moment we noticed it. Toddler B? She has a few exact dates and a couple of rough estimates but despite nearly having all of her teeth, it shows a total of 7… but having hit many other milestones first she has great records there while her brother…not so much..

My advice? Simple books are great if you’re wanting to do a book at all. Or enlist the help of someone else to fill it in for you, just for that first year. Maybe a grandparent that you would text with every detail anyway or even your spouse! You’ll be busy enough that you won’t want to even have to worry about this.

Get Out

I can’t stress this one enough! I know of several twin moms that were terrified to go anywhere with their babies, fast forward a couple of years and it’s still anxiety inducing for them.

Maybe I’m selfish but I couldn’t stay cooped up in the house all day every day, that just wasn’t me. I started taking my kids somewhere, anywhere when they were only a couple of weeks old. For my sanity really… It’s completely doable, you may just have to get creative! Especially when they’re still in bucket seats and you can just move them from car to stroller and back again while they sleep completely oblivious to anything around them. Aaaah those were the days. We’d go for a walk, to the grocery store, to the chiropractor, coffee shop, joined baby groups through Mommy Connections, play dates, you name it.

Sometimes with 2 under 1 you definitely have to be creative. You can still go shopping at the big box stores like Costco with 2 bucket seats. I remember pushing my giant tandem stroller in front and pulling a cart behind me loaded with wipes and diapers feeling like a bit of a side show but it was great, I could get my shopping done and get out in civilization for a bit all while they napped. Others prefer baby wearing one (or both)- totally doable, I wore both of mine until they were around 6 months to weekly chiropractor appointments simply because my stroller wouldn’t fit in the small waiting room.

The sooner you take the jump and get out alone with your littles, the more comfortable you’ll feel, I swear!

Oh the Awkward Conversations..

Did you know the cashier at the grocery store has an Aunt who went to school with a set of twins? No? Well you will. 😉 One thing I definitely was not prepared for was the attention I’d be getting nearly every day I went out with my twins. Not to mention the questions. People are generally fascinated by multiples. Of course, what’s not to be fascinated about! They’re pretty amazing. I used to joke with my husband about how when I went to the grocery store I avoided eye contact with everyone. Truly, I did. Probably for the first 9 months.

It wasn’t the questions around what it’s like having twins but rather the uncomfortable ones that revolved around how my twins were conceived or my personal favorite “are they natural?” that led me to speed shop more often than not.

2 years later, I still get caught off guard. Example, the elderly gentleman behind me in the checkout that insists ‘there’s no way’ my kids are twins because they look nothing alike. “Are you sure?” “Hmm.. yes, I’m pretty sure”… so I don’t have any great advice for this because everyone is different and every situation is unique but fair warning! I try to remind myself that the people that are prying a bit umm.. too much probably don’t even realize it, they’re just genuinely interested.

Don’t Compare

I know, easier said than done. Try to remember, although they were born at the same time, you still have two different babies with two different personalities. I can look back now and see how different they were even as infants but at the time I just worried.

My daughter was always more vocal, she would just randomly yell when she was only a couple of month old. Now at almost 2, she speaks in nearly full sentences often and has for a couple of months now. She hit most of her milestones long before her brother. She also was the reason I was put on bed rest very early in my pregnancy (we joke that she was trying to be first even then). She likes to stay up late and sleep in in the mornings. It’s always been who she is.

I found myself constantly worried about my son. Why isn’t he crawling? Why isn’t he talking? He just took his time and still does but once he’s ready to master something he picks it up fast, much faster than my daughter. There’s no messing around once he’s finally decided. He’s also amazing when it comes to putting puzzles together and general mechanical things that his sister doesn’t have the patience for. He likes to go to sleep at a decent time (usually) and get up before the sun. And that’s who he is.

Be Selfish

That’s right, be selfish. Babies are hard let alone two babies at once. No, I’m not going to tell you to sleep when they sleep- of course you should sleep any chance you get though! You have two things to really focus on. You and your babies, ok, I guess 3..that’s it. As much as you can, delegate the rest even if it’s just temporary. Maybe your spouse can take care of some of the other things (walk the dog, feed the cats, clean bathrooms, etc) or family/friends can help out with some hot meals or if your budget allows, hire a cleaner once every couple of weeks or month just so you have one less thing to worry about. That first year can be exhausting and you have many more years to wear all the hats you want, don’t empty your tank so early on, be kind to yourself.

Try to Enjoy the Ride

It will fly! Before you know it you’ll be planning the first birthday party and baby proofing everything in your house. It will feel like its moving at a snail’s pace some days/weeks but they will change so much in just twelve months, they’ll have so many milestones, so many moments together that you’ll treasure forever. The first time they really see or notice each other, the first time they make each other laugh or try to “talk” to each other. It’s amazing, Enjoy!!

 

 

Confession of the Working Mama – Momma Blog Feature

I am 28 years old and a first time mom to a baby girl who will be a year at the end of April. Where has the time gone? I will have been married for 3 years in the summer. My husbands put up with my crazy ideas for over 10 years though. I am also a crazy dog lover and have 2 fur babies. One is a rescued black lab heeler and the other is a dachshund. They are the goofiest pair of friends. I am  passionate about my family, friends, being outdoors, fun adventures and teaching and inspiring children. I will be returning to work at the beginning of April and will be teaching grade 2 just to add another thing to my crazy life. 

Since this is our first baby, we have found that we have made some mistakes but we have learned even more. My newest challenge will be balancing work, being a mother, and a wife. I hope to inspire and help other moms by sharing my relatable stories. 

Confession of the Working Mama

by Amy Holland

My husband and I made the decision that I would return to work when our daughter was 11 months. It was such a hard decision and every time I thought about it, I would burst into tears. I was so scared that she would forget me. As the date got closer, I felt sick to my stomach about the thought of leaving her. I was so worried I would miss out on important milestones and important moments that I would never get back. I tried to stay positive and to realize that this would be better for us in the long run. I constantly cried to my husband and my mom hoping to feel better. I knew all of my mom friends would be making plans with our group and I would have to decline all of them because I was going back to work. I felt like I was missing out on so much and I was letting our daughter down. It broke my heart.

We are lucky enough that my parents are watching her until the summer time. I am a teacher so I only have to go back to work for 3 months and then I get 2 months off with her over the summer. I have so much respect for people who #1. have to get somebody other than family to watch their baby #2 have to go back earlier than a year and #3 have a job where they don’t get much time to spend with their family. Being a working mama is so challenging! You work so hard during the day and then you have to keep it all together and be strong for your baby after work. You have to keep your energy level up so you have time to clean, make supper, as well as, play your heart out with your little one. Being a mama is tough work! Being a mama is a full-time job never mind throwing another full time job into the mix.

As a teacher, I chose to go into my class early to meet the kids and learn all the routines. I was actually worried that being on leave for almost a year would make me forget how to do my job. As soon as I went into the class, my love for teaching and excitement about my job came rushing back to me. I was excited to pull out all of my nerdy teacher things for my desk and work on designing my classroom. When I officially started, the kids were so excited to see the changes that I had been working so hard to create. This made me so excited and it lit a spark inside me. There is nothing more exciting than seeing the look on a child’s face when they are completely thrilled about something or when they finally understand something that they’ve been struggling to learn.

After a short time in the classroom, I am completely exhausted. My house is not nearly as clean. Our meals are not nearly as fancy and organized but our daughter is happy and she is loved. That’s the most important. We will adjust to the rest. I promise it will get easier. You will find your groove and things will slowly start to fall into place.

My short tips for you:

  1. Make freezer/crock pot meals. This will save you a lot of time having to prepare something last minute. I know that this is something that we’re working on.
  2. Find a mom friend that can support you every step of the way. It will help more if the mom friend is also working and knows what you’re going through.
  3. Enjoy those little moments that you can hold and cuddle your little ones for as long as you can.

I hope that all you working mamas know how special you are!

Second Pregnancy Thoughts/Concerns From Me

Well, well, well… I figure I have gone long enough without writing up my own personal blog post for all of you to read – I did take over Mommy Connections Leduc/Beaumont back in November after all! I am your friendly neighbourhood Mommy Connections director and am going to take this time to get something off my chest that has been pressing for some time.

I have briefly mentioned in a few posts that I am expecting my second child at the end of April. And yes, it is now close to the end of April which means it is fast approaching. I am having my little guy next Wednesday to be precise. I had an emergency C-section with my daughter and opted to have a scheduled one for this pregnancy. This in itself has brought mixed emotions for me.

A little fact about myself: I am a planner. Meaning that I have multiple calendars that I physically write everything down on, as well as utilizing my phone’s calendar to jot down the smallest reminder/appointment. Right now, with being pregnant, this also allows me not to forget EVERYTHING, but I do continue the same practice when not pregnant. I am the planner/organizer for our family and my husband has learned not to plan anything without consulting me first 😉 SO, with knowing exactly which day I would be having my child put me a little more at ease with becoming a mother of two (because it honestly scared me to make that big change!). I now could organize with my parents what days they would need to take off of work to be with our daughter since I will be in the hospital for a few days post-birth. I was also able to plan my Mommy Connections classes that I facilitate accordingly to conveniently end just a few days before my scheduled C-section! My husband was also able to ensure that his vacation days were booked and he wouldn’t be leaving on an out of country job for a few weeks.

On the flip side, there is now no element of surprise for me… and I LOVE surprises! We now know: the gender of the baby, the date that he will arrive (unless he chooses to come early) AND his full name – again going back to me being a planner and wanting to have his name ready. As of Monday, after a pre-admission clinic I have to attend, I will also know an estimated time that the baby will be born! Now that the date is getting closer, it is bringing up some feelings that I really didn’t think I would have.

I have always wanted a large family. I am an only child to parents who are a little older than most of my friends, so I knew growing up that I wanted to have a large-ish family. Now, back in the day, I used to say I wanted EIGHT kids… crazy I know! I would never want 8 kids now, but props to those mamas who do have large families – you are killing it! I knew that I wouldn’t want to stop at just one child. With that being said, these last couple weeks as a family of 3 have made me very anxious to welcome another child. I have NO doubts that I will love my children the same, but I continually worry that my daughter will feel slightly neglected. I don’t want her to think that mama doesn’t love her as much, or want to spend as much time with her as I previously did. I know that it will be an adjustment in the beginning, but I just hope that my sweet little girl will adjust easily.

She has never been a cuddly child – except for the very early days when she couldn’t yet hold her head up 😉 Once she was able to, she wanted nothing to do with my shoulder (which broke my mama heart!). She has done a complete 180 in these last two months (likely due to the impending change) and I cannot leave her sight for more than 5 minutes anymore. Some days it gets to the point that I need a little breathing room, but then I sit back and think that soon enough she will need to share my attention with her little brother. So instead of pushing her aside, I sit down and take her into my arms and snuggle for as long as she wants. I am so worried that my heart will not be able to love her and her brother with the same intensity and attention she has gotten for the last 2.5 years. I know that I am not alone in this thinking and that others have felt the same way.

In writing this blog post and if you are reading this and feel the same, just know that you are not alone and others have felt the same. It is an adjustment in more ways than one going from a family of 3 to a family of 4, but everything will be okay! It will all work itself out with a few bumps along the way. Thanks for reading this and letting me get some things off my chest! 😊

Amber xoxo

Guiding Our Children Through Bullying – Momma Blog Feature

Dangerously close to turning 30, I am a stay at home mom to 3 angelic children (HA!)…Colin (7), Molly (4) & Quinn (8 months).  My incredibly hardworking husband Nick and I have been together nearly a decade & have called Alberta home since 2008.  I am passionate about my family, volunteering, fundraising/charity work, and truly enjoy putting my heart into the community.  A huge part of MY community is a circle of 3000+ women in the Facebook group, Leduc Mamas, which I founded 7 years ago as an insecure, lonely, brand new mom.  

I’m a pop culture nut, and love to cook.  I would like to call myself a Pinterest guru, but I have more failures than successes…trying is worth something though, right? Old man winter and I don’t get along, but I love to be outdoors when it doesn’t make my face hurt.  I’m always looking to explore more of what Alberta has to offer and can’t wait to continue building our crazy little life here in Leduc!  

Guiding Our Children Through Bullying

By Katie Presse

Hi, my name is Katie and I am a Netflix binger.  My husband and I recently watched the series ‘13 Reasons Why’ and it triggered a lot of different emotions for me. Mostly, it really got me thinking about the experiences my children will have as they get older. Will they be bullied? Will they be strong enough? Will they BE bullies? The peer relationships, the trust they have in us (their parents), and the struggles they will inevitably have to overcome.  I am so scared.

My son was 6 the first & only time he was called fat.  It was one of the first warm days of the year and he wore shorts to school.  When I picked him up at the end of the day I could sense that something was wrong. Almost immediately he said “Mom, I am never wearing shorts again”.  Shocked, I asked him why. “Kids were making fun of my legs jiggling because I have fat legs”.  Holding in emotions has never been my strong point, I silently cried as we drove home. Like I said – this was the first and ONLY time he has ever been called fat to my knowledge, but he remembers it every single time he puts on a pair of shorts.  How do 6 year olds even know what fat means? And why are they using it as a verbal grenade? I was not prepared for issues like this to begin in grade 1.  How much worse is it going it get? At this age, you can’t blame the children.  They aren’t figuring this stuff out on their own.  Video games, older siblings, YouTube, parents, TV, Movies…we can’t shelter them.  But, we can help to teach kindness & empathy.  Right vs. wrong.

I have dealt with my fair share of bullies, but thankfully have always had a ton of confidence and a strong backbone.  My biggest fear as a parent is that my kids don’t grow up with that same strength. The bullying in today’s world is different – it doesn’t just stay at school. With the advances in technology our children can’t escape it.  There is no safe haven or break.  As parents, we need to do a better job.  Bullying is a global problem, but we can help stop it where it begins – at home. Be conscious of the things you say – to your spouse, to your children, and to yourself.  Kids are ALWAYS listening.

I hear parents talk all the time about raising a generation of “victims”.  As if being a victim is something to be ashamed of.  I don’t want my children to “toughen up”, I want them to feel, learn and grow from their emotions.  Shouldn’t we be trying to find the problem and create solutions instead of blaming kids for having emotions? With this kind of attitude among adults, it’s no wonder so many kids are afraid to talk about it.  I am all about standing up for yourself and speaking out for the things you believe in, but being too afraid to do so is a result of the environment, not a problem with the person you are.  Let your children know YOU are listening and you want to help them deal with whatever it is they are going through.  Even if you don’t have all the answers (I am stumped more than half the time), communication goes a long way.

The hardest part of all of this is knowing that as my kids get older, I am going to be less and less informed about what is happening in their social lives.  I don’t know how I am supposed to guide them when I don’t have all of the information I need.  I hope they know that no matter what the circumstances, I am always going to be here to protect & love them.  I will always be an anti-bullying mom, doing my best to educate my children.  Maybe that means I am raising victims.  But, I would rather stand WITH my children than stand above them telling them to stop being vulnerable or weak.

Parenting is so hard.  We all want the same thing – to raise happy, positive members of society.  It feels overwhelming a lot of the time. I don’t know if I am doing/saying the right things but I do know that my children thrive to be kind.  They talk about their feelings and feel bad when they hurt someone else.  I am sure the day will come when the pain they feel or have caused is much deeper than I can comprehend right now.  All I can hope for is that they are able to process and understand the feelings they have, and take steps to make everyone involved feel better.  I think we are on the right path, and I am proud to walk it with my children.

 

If you are a mom local to Leduc and would love the support of a large number of moms, check out the Leduc Mamas Facebook page here!

When your baby makes you look like a liar! – Momma Blog Feature

Kayla is a 26 year old certified interior decorator that gave up a life of glamorous tile selections to pursue motherhood, co creating her own business (Cherry Creek Soap & Co.), and becoming a cliche #momboss!

When your baby makes you look like a liar!

By Kayla Kaliszuk

I’m going to make this short and sweet for all the work from home mamas like myself! I’m guessing that you are probably trying to read this while also trying to fetch snacks, do laundry, spend 5 minutes working before your needed again and repeating that 10x a day.

(Picture for cuteness… he totally thinks he’s helping)

Okay now to the good stuff!

Please tell me that I am not alone.. So the first time in weeks you decide to share (aka brag) about your babies amazing milestone, maybe you mention that he is sleeping in until 9am, using the potty with no accidents, doesn’t really have any tantrums and you are so damn proud… okay wait for it.. wait for it, BAM here comes karma and it bites you right in the tit (I feel like a bite on the tit hurts a little more than the ass so I decided to switch it up there). Low and behold guess who decides to wake up at 5am the very next day or poop on the floor or even better yet, have a major meltdown at the grocery store! Yes you guessed it, that would be your lovely little bundle of joy! I have now come to the conclusion that unless it’s another mom who understands what life is like with a child and has experienced the good and the bad, that I try to refrain from sharing all of my proud mommy moments and hope that none of my instagram followers see us in real life! (Totally joking but they really do see a lot less of the everyday struggles that moms have, since we usually only wanna share the good stuff!) ✌

Check out Kayla’s business Cherry Creek Soap & Co here!

Laid Off During Mat Leave – Momma Blog Feature

Hi, I’m Chantal- wife of Steve, Momma to Natalie, Layla & Olivia, Photographer, Blogger, and Dreamer. I started blogging in 2017 to find fun, local family gems in Alberta. I love inspiring families to create memories with the activities I find and appreciate the insight I gain through the parenting stories I share. I am a stay at home mom in the prairies and I help with my family’s toy store business. I believe in supporting local businesses to keep our communities vibrant.

Laid Off During Maternity Leave

By Chantal Aird

I was cuddling with my third daughter and chatting to my husband about returning back to work after my third maternity leave.  While we were chatting my husband asked, “Did you get a return of leave letter yet?” I had to pause. Usually our company would send a letter outlining my return date, details of position, etc… a few weeks before my leave end date.  No letter had been sent yet. So, I decided to email my boss to check in, she responded back asking when I would be free for a “meeting.”  I was aware that the structure of our organization was changing and I knew changes were coming. The economy was also not faring well and although I did not want to be negative I knew there was the possibility of losing my job.  We met at a coffee shop and I was informed that due to the economy and a restructure, my position was being eliminated.  The effective date of termination was dated for my first day back at work.  I was handed a severance package and wished well before we both left the coffee shop. Before signing off on the package, I wanted to review the law and speak to a lawyer.

Your rights in Alberta Do you know your rights in the workplace? Alberta Employment Standards States:

“An employer cannot terminate an employee on maternity or parental leave, unless the employer suspends or discontinues the business. Employees returning from maternity or parental leave must be reinstated in the same or a comparable position with earnings and other benefits at least equal to those received when the leave began.”

With my HR background, reviewing Employment Standards and meeting with an Employment lawyer, the employer in my case did everything legally. Some will argue that it can be done legally but it doesn’t make it right or allow very good PR on how the company treats its employee; regardless, these decisions happen and I felt it was important to share it so you become more informed. Our company restructure and role elimination had nothing to do with me being on leave or my pregnancy and therefore, they were able to lay me off.

My Advice for Others

This can be a very stressful time, you may not even know where to start. Here are a few things I learned from my situation:

  • Educate yourself on the laws and your rights in your province and Canada
  • Find out about severance packages in your specific workplace. You may want to speak to an Employment Lawyer and have them review your specific package if you are offered severance.
  • If you come from a unionized workplace, review your collective agreement, get in touch with your union representative if necessary.
  • Don’t sign your paperwork until you are aware of all the conditions and feel confident doing so. It’s ok to negotiate terms or clarify if something doesn’t look right. For example, your employer may be willing to put off your Severance Payments until your Maternity Employment Insurance has ended so the payments do not affect this. If you’re comfortable, talk to the HR department or contact listed on your paperwork. If you are not comfortable, you may want to hire a lawyer to do the negotiations for you.
  • You may not have enough insurable hours to qualify for Employment Insurance if you are laid off during maternity leave. However, Severance Pay may be deemed as Employment Earnings and can count towards your hours. Speak to Service Canada to clarify.
  • This can be hard while on leave; but, keep your skills sharpened; attend a workshop, networking event, class, etc…A best defense is an offense!
  • Keep your resume polished! Ensure your references are up to date, keep any performance evaluations or recommendations.
  • While on leave, stay connected with your office. Some employers allow remote email access, check your inbox once in a while (this can helps gauge how the company is doing). Having a social media presence, like a profile on LinkedIn, can help you stay connected and help with networking in the future.

You will go through a range of emotions, I was a roller coaster full of fear, embarrassment, sadness, anger and finally contentment (it does come, once you become confident in your next step decision…it will also lead to excitement for a new chapter in your life).

I am thankful for the opportunities that I had with my previous employer for the eight years I was there. I gained experience, knowledge and met wonderful colleagues.  Now, I proudly wear the stay at home mom badge as being a parent is the most important role in the world.

To follow her journey, check her out on Facebook: facebook.com/3chicks1hen

You are a Great Mom – Momma Blog Feature

I am a wife of almost 11 years to a man that loves me and all my crazy ideas and ways, mom to 3 totally different and look nothing like me kids(2 girls 9,7 and a boy 18 months and 2 angel babies up in heaven.)

 I have been a stay at home mom for 9 years and after my 2nd child I realized I love being home but it wasn’t as fulfilling as I once dreamed it to be. I longed for my own identity and the opportunity to contribute in my own way to our family. 

Three years ago I was introduced to Young Living Essential oils and I have been an oily addict ever since. I have since built a team and business from home that fulfills me, I teach and share with others how to implement essential oils into our daily lives and reduce chemicals and toxins in our homes. 

Outside of my domesticated duties and working, I fill my days with friends and coffee, motherhood has brought me a whole tribe of woman I couldn’t live without. If you are a mom you need mom friends. They will keep you sane, assure you that you are not alone, encourage you, cry with you and laugh with you!

My other loves include home decor, MLS listings, blogging, and a well delivered F bomb.  As I near 40 and reflect on the last 10 years of creating life, learning, growing, stretching, failing and surviving I hope to continue keeping it real and encouraging moms to embrace our perfectly imperfect lives.

 

You are a Great Mom

By Michelle Mack

You, yes you I am talking to you. You are a great mom. I know you are tired, you are hungry, you are lonely and you are tired. But you are great.

I fantasized about being a mom for as long back as I can remember. I knew some day I would have 3 beautiful kids and I was going to be a great mom. Many of us saw our moms do it and they made it look easy and flawless. We started having kids “later in life” @ 30 which I feel like is the new norm but back in our day we were late starters! I watched many friends embark on the motherhood road and they too made it look all warm and fuzzy. They would smile, despite the tireless nights, spit up laden clothing and shower less days. Any mom will tell you it’s the most rewarding job they have. And if anyone were to ask me I would agree.

They are miracles. But they are also the scariest thing you will have in your possession that requires many skills you have yet to acquire or learn and the responsibility to raise them is enormous. Plus, add in the all the social expectations and the fish bowl of social media that basically has a magnifying glass on our daily lives. Which then highlights it all day long via Facebook and Instagram. Where once there were books and magazines we now have online classes, blogs, and support groups. All these things offering varying opinions or a myriad of topics~ it can be exhausting.

Some of you will stay home and some of you will return to work, some maybe before the year is up others maybe will extend the year. Some of you will nurse and others of you will not. Some of you will use cloth diapers, many of you will not. You will research every piece of baby furniture and new gadget or toys all day and in between or during feedings. Because your iPhone will become your companion, taking photos to document your days, online shop to keep your eyes from closing while you feed in the night and advice on what is making your baby so unhappy when all you want is some piece and quiet.

Just know whatever your journey or how your day looks or how your baby sleeps or eats or doesn’t do anyone or either of those things. You are doing just fine, you are getting to know your baby and your kids and you are learning each day what their needs and wants are. No two people are alike and neither are moms. You are showing up and you are doing your best. And on the days, that you are at your wits end and struggling or feeling inadequate, if you know nothing else, just know your little one thinks and knows you are a GREAT mom.

Xoxo Michelle

If you liked what you read here, check out Michelle’s personal blog here: http://www.backtobasicslifestyles.com/

 

No sweetie, steaks don’t grow in a Styrofoam tray – Momma Blog Feature

I’m the farmer behind FrugalBushBunny CSA Farm just an hour from Alberta’s capital. My life as wife & mother of two is pretty crazy!

Gardening, hunting, foraging, fishing & raising farm animals keep me outdoors a lot. I love to shop…anywhere. I’m as happy thrifting as I am visiting William Sonoma & my obsession with stationary & Hello Kitty are probably detrimental to my bank account. 

I’m the mom at the park talking loudly on the phone dropping F bombs & not really paying attention to my kids. Because honestly I brought them to the park so I could have a few moments to catch up with my long distance BFF. 

I’m also the mom who teaches my kids to be strong independent individuals by showing them that you don’t have to be a push over to be nice & that compassion for others is not a weakness. That learning something for yourself is always better than relying on someone else & the only way to fail is to give up (but none of that everyone is a winner crap!)

I’m the mom with crayon/paint/s**t (probably literally😂) on the walls, housekeeping never makes it on my To Do list. I let my kids cook & bake & use sharp pointy knives under my supervision (I swear I’m not THAT bad!) And we try to go on as many family dates & adventures as possible.

I’m a little bit of everything rolled into one & I’m going to keep following my heart no matter what! 

 

No sweetie, steaks don’t grow in a Styrofoam tray.

By Melanie Gallie

 

I had an entire different article for you moms out there but it’s just like me to change things up at the last minute.

After hearing a conversation about how wrong hunting is at the Oilers game we attended last night (great game btw!), I feel as if it was just meant to be! Something good may as well come from having to listen to loud blabbering the whole game!

One of the women behind us was saying how she would never eat wild game or birds because it’s wrong. According to her it’s much more humane to buy a steak from Wal-mart. I’ve even met someone years ago who didn’t know that meat from the store came from an actual animal….um, okay?

We live in the country on a small farm, we grow veggies, we raise animals to eat and we hunt. And I can tell you that a deer has a much better life than the cow that provided the steak at Wal-mart. It makes me a little sad thinking some people feel better about eating a cow who has been penned up, never set foot on grass and maybe even mistreated rather than a deer who has lived completely free it’s entire life.

I’m not saying hunting is for everyone, but buying from a local farmer is a great equivalent! (And if you buy your steak from Wal-mart that’s okay too, just know there are alternatives).

So where does this fit in with raising children? The importance of where your food comes from!

Any good parent out there tries to feed their kiddos a healthy variety of foods. (Don’t feel offended if you had mac & cheese for the third night in a row or you deal with a picky eater etc… I’m not judging you, we all do the best we can.) But is it enough? Do your kids know where their steak comes from or what animal pork chops are made of? Mine do and they still love them but can also appreciate the value of animal itself.

There are many benefits associated with knowing where your food comes from, here are a few:

Abolish picky eating. We all know kids love to get involved! Visit a u-pick this summer and I bet you’ll be suprised by how many veggies your veggie-hater will eat. Let them know where supper came from, having steak? Casually mention that it comes from beef, which is a cow. Talk about what cows eat, where they live etc.

You can find a farmer who suits your needs. Eating organic? Find a no-spray farmer who believes chemicals aren’t necessary in growing great produce. Want your meat to come from animals who have enjoyed their life? Find a family farm who raise their animals ethically.

Create new relationships. Everyone can always use a new friend with benefits! When you get to know the person behind your food, you’re also supporting an actual family. They may invite you out to a long table supper, give you some extras for free or even show you around their farm!

Getting your kids outside. My kids love TV but when it comes to helping in the garden they shut it off in a flash! Grab a packet of veggie seeds go to your backyard or get a large planting container with some soil and let them do the rest!

Saving money. Yes, you read that right! I know, I know…. there are some “expensive” local farms, but the thing is sometimes paying more for less is actually more! Ground beef from a farmer is usually the equivalent of extra lean at the store. Fresh local meat & produce are also (for the most part)higher quality than grocery store items and will fill you up with less. For example, our farm-raised chickens cost around $25 each but I get three to four meals out of each chicken (we’re a family of 4 big eaters!).

Knowing where your food comes from can also instill a sense of appreciation for the farmers and animals who feed you.

Well, I better go check on our kids playing with the new chicks (that we are raising for food).
Check out Melanie’s farm Frugal Bush Bunny Farm on Facebook here:

www.facebook.com/FrugalBushBunnyFarm/