6 things Moms of Autistic Children Wish You Knew – Mommy Blogger

Kristen Raney is mom to a sweet little boy who just happens to be autistic.  She is a freelance music teacher and the voice behind the prairie lifestyle blog, Shifting Roots.  When she’s not doing these things, you can find her drinking coffee or walking around her neighbourhood dreaming up her next big idea.

April is Autism Awareness Month, and being that I have an autistic child, I feel as though I should probably write something about living with Autism.  I think the perception in society is that Autism is this terrible disease that ruins lives.  It’s not.  For us, it’s just our way of life.  

Yes, there are challenges.  However, once you know how to manage your own child’s particular set of sensory needs, the only thing that’s frustrating is the way that strangers who don’t really know what Autism is react to your child.

For the record, our family is really lucky.  Our son is high-functioning. we have a really supportive community around us, and so far he’s had very sensory-aware teachers and made a lot of progress in school.  

I also realize that in writing this article, I can’t possibly cover what every Mom of an autistic child thinks.  So please bear in mind that these come from my particular experiences and that moms with children at other spots on the spectrum may have differing opinions.  To read another Saskatchewan mom’s experience, please check out my friend Wendy’s blog, My Unexpected Journey.

Alright, with all that preamble out of the way, let’s get to the article!

6 Things Moms of Autistic Children Wish You Knew

If you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism.  As annoying as the saying is, it really is true.  Kids with Autism can be verbal, non-verbal, varying degrees of social, and have many different sensory issues that can sometimes change from day to day.  Whether our kid is high functioning or low functioning, we all want the same thing: for our kids to be accepted for who they are.

Please believe us when we tell you our child is Autistic.  I’m probably showing my high-functioning-autism-privilege, but it’s really insulting when strangers don’t believe us.  We understand that you mean it as a compliment, but we’re really sensitive about it.  In our minds we think of all the times we’ve gotten dirty looks because our child did something socially unacceptable, the judgement for our child’s extreme picky eating, or all those physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech appointments we’ve went to.  However, honest questions about Autism and how it affects our lives are always welcome.

Please don’t ask us about vaccines.  Anti-vaxxer or not, it implies that Autism is worse than life-threatening diseases.  It’s not.  For the record, my son is up to date on all his vaccinations and I’m happy we live in a country that provides them to us for free.

Our children are social and experience emotions.  Quite frankly, I believe our kids experience everything more deeply than the average person.  Part of the reason Autistic children find eye contact difficult is that they have so much sensory information overloading them that they can’t handle one more thing.  Let the child get to know you better and he or she might eventually be able to give you some eye contact.

Moms of autistic children want to bring our children to playgroups, but are sometimes terrified to do so.  Please be understanding if our child is all over the place, really loud, doesn’t play with anyone, says something socially awkward or we have to leave early.

We are really grateful for sensory-aware schools.  Dimmed lights, natural materials, and fewer visual distractions might seem weird, but they really make a difference to an autistic child.  Solid class routines are a lifesaver and a teacher who is willing to tell you in advance that she will be missing a day is GOLD.

We don’t want to “cure” our children.  We suspected that our son had autism since he was 18 months old, and after a lot of reflection I really believe he’s been autistic since birth.    The conclusion I’ve come to is this: I wouldn’t want him any other way.

Yes, some of his sensory issues can be frustrating to deal with, but if he didn’t have Autism I wouldn’t have all the gifts that come with it.  He’s quirky and sensitive, loving and sweet, and I love the way he sees the world.  While all the other neuro-typical boys his age are into trucks and superheros, my boy wants to know about the animals of the high mountains, the order of the planets, and how chameleons can change colours.

Do I worry about how society will treat him?  All the time.  But my husband and I are determined to build a community around him that sees his strengths instead of his weaknesses.

Resources

If you want to know more about Autism, or are looking for some information to help you along your own child’s journey, here are some resources I’ve found so far that have helped me.

And Next Comes L is a blog that provides so many amazing free resources for young kids with Autism and Hyperlexia.  Tons of free printables and “hidden rules” resources.

Amalah While she doesn’t blog about Autism as much any more, reading the archives of her oldest child’s journey is really helpful.  I love reading her blog anyway for her wit and sarcastic humour.

Raising a Sensory Smart Child was the book my son’s OT recommended.  It opened my eyes to how he experiences the world and was the turning point in how I parented him.  I finally realized that a lot of the times when I thought he was being bad, it actually had something to do with a sensory issue.  (Not to say that my child never does anything wrong!)

Neurotribes helped me understand the history of Autism research and why different generations of people react differently to my son.  It’s a long read, but very worth it in my opinion.

Facebook Support Groups.  I personally belong to this Saskatoon based one, but if you search Autism and your location, hopefully you’ll find that someone has created a group near you.  If you live around the Saskatoon area, we’d love for you to join us!

 

You Are A Good Mom – You’re doing a good job – Mommy Blogger

My name is Erin McCrea. I’m a Momma, a pet Momma, and a writer. I had my first baby at age 35 in May of 2016. Becoming a mom was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, and I have loved every moment of it. I blog at  http://erinisawriter.blogspot.ca/, but haven’t done a lot since Anthony arrived. It’s my goal to be a consistent Writing Mom by the time his birthday arrives. I’m shy, caring, weird, bossy, and I try to be happy every day. My baby helps with that.

You Are A Good Mom – You’re doing a good job

            I have been a Mom for the quickest 10 and a half months ever. Some days, I feel like I’ve got it all figured out. Most days, I don’t.

I noticed something within the first few months of my baby being in my life: I didn’t get a lot of positive comments about how I was doing. I wasn’t insulted. I never felt like I was judged. (Well, not very often). I certainly didn’t think people needed to tell me I was doing a good job.

It would have been nice though.

I can think of many moments when it would have helped with the insecurities of mom life. A lot of people (in my life) tend to joke about things. I do too. Unfortunately, being a new Mom with lack of sleep, instead of being able to laugh at the jokes, I let them bother me. Sometimes I said it out loud, sometimes I didn’t.

It’s a little different now. I have more confidence in myself. I know I’m doing everything I can. If I feel like I need to do more, I do it. Being a good Mom is pretty important, and I feel I am good at it. (That being said, I’m still new, and still learning so much.)

Back then? I didn’t have the confidence. I was unsure of almost everything.

In fact, as I write this, I wonder if people did encourage me, but I didn’t hear it. I was too busy worrying about what I was doing, and what choices I was making, that I didn’t have time to take credit for things when they were given to me. Or to take the encouragement.

I think when they did give me positives, I just heard the negative. Sometimes they come together. If I had it to do over, I would grab hold of every positive thought or comment, and learn from it.

I’ve read a lot of blogs/books about what to do when somebody has a baby. A list of things they need before somebody comes to visit. I have rolled my eyes because I think if somebody took the time to come visit, that’s good enough. (Although, I liked getting lots of notice.) However, if I were to add something to the list, it wouldn’t be food, or house cleaning, it would be encouragement. When you are holding a new baby for the first time while visiting, make sure to let the Mom (or the Dad) know they’re doing a good job. Even though they may be so tired they can’t get a coherent sentence out.

I remember crying when a nurse came to visit. Because it was hard. She didn’t take the tears as a negative thing. She knew that tears and anxiety come with being a Mom.

Even months down the road of parenting, instead of telling a Mom what they could be doing to make their baby happier, tell them they are doing a good job. Instead of joking that they’re making a baby cry (I heard that one more than once), tell them they are doing a good job. Tell them they are a good Mom.

It means the world. At least it did to me. I had a friend give me a card for my birthday that said “You’re a good Mom.”  I almost cried. It was the best present I could have asked for.

A lot of people give advice about parenting. They’ve gone through it. Advice is always good, but sometimes, you just want to hear what you are doing at that very moment is the right thing.

As I write this, I’m trying to remember if I’ve made sure to let my Mommy friends know how unbelievably awesome they are. Because they are.

            All this being said, I think the person who needs to know you’re doing a good job and to tell you that you are doing a good job, is you.

I need to remind myself that even though I hear something negative from others, I am doing the best I can, and my son is happy. I need to know when I feel upset about something I didn’t do right, that I AM still a good Mom, and I AM still doing a good job. If I know it, I don’t really need to hear it from anybody else. (Although it’s nice to hear it.)

Through the tears (mine and his), the mischief, the messes, I just have to keep reminding myself that I am an awesome Momma. I assume, the more I do it, the better I’ll get.  If I’m confident, the whole house will be happier, and the stress level goes down.

As a side note, maybe the person that is reading this never felt any of these things. Maybe you’ve felt that people are encouraging, and you know you are doing a good job. That’s awesome. I hope everyone feels like that. Just in case you don’t though, please remember – You ARE doing a good job.

Or maybe you’ve done nothing but tell other Mom’s they are awesome. I know people like you, and want to be just like you. Thank you.

 

Keep Calm and Sleep On – Mommy Blogger

I am a wife and a mother to a beautiful baby boy. I am an avid animal lover, with an extreme affection for rescue dogs. I have a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology and a love for studying early childhood development. However, most of what I know I have thrown out the window since becoming a mom (haha). I have worked as a behaviour therapist for Autistic children and as a research coordinator. Running is my therapy, Country Music is my jam, my dogs make me happy, my family and friends mean everything to me, and my son makes my life complete.

 

Sleep. It’s the hottest topic when you have a child. It is all people ask you about, it’s what you coordinate your day around, and it’s an area of contention for most couples. Do you have your baby sleep in a crib, in a bassinet, or do you co-sleep? Swaddle or sleep sack? Stick to a strict routine or go with the flow? Sleep train or not?

All I have to say is do what is best for you and your family! Whatever works for you, your spouse, and your child in order to get some sleep! If that means you need to swaddle than swaddle, if you need to co-sleep than co-sleep, or if you need to sleep train than sleep train!

From day one, I went with the flow. My son napped on the go and bedtimes were random. I didn’t want to have a strict schedule, but the older my son got the more I realized we needed to stick to a schedule. We, as Moms, know what our children need, and my son needed the predictability of a routine – he takes after his Momma. At first, he also would only sleep when he was held or in close proximity to me. He wouldn’t sleep in a swing, a bassinet, or a crib. So for the first eight months of his life we co-slept and snuggled. I wouldn’t dare tell anyone I did this in fear of judgment because we all are familiar with those fear-mongering, unsolicited advice-givers who like to make you feel incompetent or like a bad mom if your child cannot sleep on their own – excuse me while I roll my eyes.

At one of my son’s check-ups, my doctor gave me the okay to co-sleep, as research showed the benefits of co-sleeping for breastfeeding mothers who don’t smoke. Co-sleeping has shown to regulate and promote healthy cortisol levels1, to act as a protective mechanism for which babies learn to mimic their mother’s physiology (heart rate, breathing)1, and to lower the risk of SIDS2. I was lying to her for months about co-sleeping in fear of being ridiculed, and here she was telling me that it was okay to do so – phew! So don’t feel bad or ashamed if you co-sleep as well!

However, as much as I loved to snuggle with my boy, the bigger, and stronger he got the more unappealing co-sleeping was becoming. I figured it was time he start to sleep on his own when he started to maneuver himself in the middle of the night to a horizontal position, with his feet in my face, and incessantly kicking his defenseless mother. With much anxiety, I tried to get him to sleep in that beautiful décor piece in his room, called a crib. I do behaviour modification with Autistic children for my job so I thought it would be a piece of cake, right? Nope, wrong! Plus, I admit, I am a bit of a sucker when it comes to my son! He would not sleep longer than one-hour stretches. I even tried sleeping on the floor of his room to smooth the transition. All that got me was a sore back!

I know all about the sleep regressions, the developmental leaps, and the teething that affects baby’s sleep, but this waking-up-hourly-thing lasted for months. To say I was exhausted was an understatement. I envied those parents whose children slept well, but mine had serious trouble. I needed help, but emotionally, I didn’t know if I was ready for the change.

I loved to cuddle with him even if it meant I didn’t get a good sleep, but I was holding him back from learning to sleep on his own. A part of me didn’t want him to learn to sleep on his own because that meant he was growing up. That he was already starting to not need me as much, and becoming more independent. It hurt my heart a little even though I knew it was best for the both of us. Pathetic, I know, but he is my first child so give me a break! Our children are only little for a short time, and I just wanted to soak up all those special moments. I knew that one day the snuggles would be a distant memory, but I was hindering him from sleeping on his own.

I shed a few tears – okay, more than a few tears – and decided it was time to say goodbye to my little cuddle buddy. I had to face the fact that he was and will continue to grow up, and I needed to provide him with the tools to succeed to sleep on his own. So I enrolled in a parent sleep-coaching workshop because my previous trials had failed. I needed help from an objective outsider, and also the moral support, accountability, and continuous consultation that I knew a sleep consultant would provide. All it took was a little tweak to our routine, and a little less coddling. He started to sleep like a charm, and I started to feel like a human again! For so long, my husband and I were anxious every time it was bedtime because we knew a struggle awaited us, and now that anxiety is gone!

To those who can’t get their babes to sleep on their own, know that you are not doing anything wrong, you are not alone, and you are not a bad mom! Every child is different, and what works for one child may not work for another. Just keep doing whatever works for you; co-sleep, cuddle, rock, or sleep train! And always remember that the challenging times will pass, and they grow up too fast so make the most of every moment!

Happy Mommying,

Marissa


References

1Beijers, R., Riksen-Walraven, J. M., & de Weerth, C. (2013). Cortisol regulation in 12-month-old human infants: associations with the infants’ early history of breastfeeding and co-sleeping. Stress, 16(3), 267-277.

2Hauck, F. R., Thompson, J. M., Tanabe, K. O., Moon, R. Y., & Vennemann, M. M. (2011). Breastfeeding and reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome: a meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 128(1), 103-110.

 

 

Diastasis Recti – Mommy Blogger

My name is Valerie Caron and i am a new mum to our four month old daughter. I am a physiotherapist that loves to read, play board games, and spend time laughing with friends and family. As a family we like to travel, camp and watch too much Netflix

The purpose of this blog post is for information only. Any advice taken from this post is to the reader’s discretion. This does not replace medical/professional advice from your physician or other practitioner. All clients/patients are different and should be evaluated/assessed/diagnosed/treated in person by their practitioner of choice. Consult your practitioner for any medical issues that you may be experiencing. This blog post is, to the writer’s best knowledge, accurate and sources can be found at the bottom of the article. It is important to note that medicine, physical therapy and other sciences are ever changing and recommendations/available resources are also constantly changing.

 

Diastasis Recti: what is it and what can you do about it?

During pregnancy, our bodies change at a rapid pace to accommodate baby. These changes can include (but are not limited to!)

  • rounding of the upper back
  • forward lean of the neck
  • increase in the curve of the lower back
  • changes in balance
  • varicose veins
  • and one of the most important for baby’s expansion: ligamentous laxity and stretching of connective tissues.

This increased stretchiness of connective tissues can lead to generalized joint pain, back pain, foot pain, difficulties with mobility, urinary incontinence, and diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is often associated with “Mummy Tummy” BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY is associated with drastic losses in function, loss of abdominal control, and pelvic floor problems (prolapse and incontinence).

Diastasis recti has traditionally been defined as a separation of the rectus abdominus muscle along the linea alba of more than 2 cm during and after pregnancy. That’s anatomical-speak for a larger than 2cm gap down the middle of the tummy or your “6-pack” muscle. It is caused by a normal thinning of the linea alba (a fascia responsible for creating tension across the abdomen) during pregnancy and the pressure of the expanding uterus and baby on the abdominal wall. Although the thinning is normal, a diastasis recti (small or large) can cause severe disruption of the abdominal wall and pelvic floor postpartum. This can greatly impact function of the trunk and appearance of the abdomen due to the fascia not being able to create enough tension through the abdominal muscles (http://dianelee.ca/articles/DRA-InTouch.pdf).

Although the size of the separation has long been the main focus of treatment (closing the gap), more recent research is suggesting that treatment should really focus on the “whole picture”. There is currently no standardized distance that is an agreed upon “normal” which is also a big part of why treatment has shifted towards a more multifactorial approach. Often the diastasis recti is one part of a much bigger picture that encompasses a whole person (abs, bum, pelvic floor, hips, back, etc.). Diagnosis of diastasis recti can sometimes be discouraging and conservative management is not always considered. Our bodies have an amazing potential for recovery and I encourage any woman (whether you just had your baby or you had a baby 25 years ago) to get informed and seek advice from a Women’s Health/Pelvic floor therapist!

This is where my plug for Physical Therapy and Pelvic Floor Therapy comes in… Diastasis recti can be challenging to treat conservatively because it relies on your fascia’s ability to recover. Physios are experts in retraining movement synergies, restoring function through new recruitment patterns and providing pain management strategies. Treatment will focus on return to sport/activity, providing education, postural re-education, manual therapy, safe exercise prescription and abdominal training, pelvic floor activation, breathing techniques, pain management strategies and SO MUCH MORE!

If any of this sounds familiar, PLEASE seek out advice from a local pelvic floor physio therapist! It will change your world! There will be a follow up post on pelvic floor therapy and the benefits! We have some amazing therapists here in Saskatoon and area including Charlene Reynolds at Nomad Therapies, Paula Anderson and Marina Forester at Lifemark 8th Street, Lisa Lepage at CBI Health East Location on 8th Street and Haylie Lashta at Warman Physiotherapy and Wellness.

 

RESOURCES:

http://www.juliewiebept.com/diastasis/diastasis-zip-it-up/

http://www.juliewiebept.com/diastasis/dear-diastasis-community-can-we-talk-about-planks/

https://mutusystem.com/mutu-system-blog/you-can-have-a-flat-tummy-and-a-small-diastasis-recti-i-have

http://dianelee.ca/courses-conference-presentations.php

 

To the Mom Who Wants to Throw Her Hands In the Air and Give Up

Do you ever have one of those days where you are ready to throw you hands in the air and say I’m done?

Being a mom is hard. It’s the hardest job I have ever done. And you can’t explain it to people until they are in the situation – we can tell all our friends who don’t have kids how hard it is but they don’t really get it until they have their kids (and then they say why didn’t you warn me and I said I tried!)

There are some days where you know from the very start that it is going to be one of those days – maybe your child woke up earlier than usual, or they had an accident during the night or wake up sick. You know from the start that it isn’t going to be a great day and you look at the clock and wonder if it’s too early to add Bailey’s to your coffee (and it’s never too early for Baileys and coffee!)

Other days it may seem like the day is going well and then bam, your child hits their wall of tolerance and they are done. And it doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing and most often then not it happens when you’re in public (because why would it happen when you’re at home by yourself, of course it’s best to have an audience!)

And then there’s the other moments – you just wash the floor and your child comes in with sticky fingers and food and suddenly the floor is dirty; you fold the laundry and leave the room for a second and come back and they have emptied out the basket of folded laundry to use the basket to play with. They decide to empty every toy bin looking for one particular toy (which is often not even in the boxes!). All these lovely motherhood moments!

In these moments you can feel totally overwhelmed. You can feel like a failure.

Take a moment. Take a breathe.

There’s no such thing as a perfect mother or a perfect child. They all have their moments. We all have those days where we feel like a rockstar, where the day went great. But then the next day can be one of those days where we feel like our life is a complete disaster and nothing is going right. And it’s unpredictable, we don’t know what type of day we are going to have at the start of the day (or else on those disaster days I’m sure many of us would stay home in bed!)

Before becoming a mom I had all these visions of what motherhood would look like – and it’s not like that at all. It’s messier. It’s dirtier. It’s not as organized. It’s unpredictable.

But then I look at my girls and I wouldn’t change anything. Yes, they can fight with each other, refuse to eat supper, have a meltdown at the store. But then there are those moments that make it all worth it. The “I Love You Mommy”, looking back in the vehicle and seeing them holding hands in their car seats, the snuggles, their laugh. So many amazing moments that you get to experience.

Motherhood is not easy but we need to take it one day at a time. Stop focusing on yesterday and tomorrow. Focus on today and what you can do.

Remember that you are a great mom. You may have bad moments but you’re not a bad mom and you don’t have bad kids.

And remember to ask for help, you’re not in this alone.

Body Image – Embracing your postpartum body – Mommy Blogger

Hi! I’m Amanda Brindley. I have a 23 month old little girl named Molly (she’s not 2 yet!|) I’m also the owner of Fitbump – a fitness studio specializing in Prenatal & Postnatal fitness. I grew up in rural Saskatchewan, and went to the U of S. I lived in the mountains for awhile (miss them) , spent 4 years living in Edinburgh, Scotland (absolutely amazing) where I met my husband. We moved back to Saskatoon, got pregnant, had Molly and opened Fitbump in the space of two years so it’s been a whirlwind to say the least.Being a mom and running a business is pretty challenging so I like to keep it real, with a bit of humour along the way. I don’t think anything can really prepare you for motherhood, but I feel like the more honest we are about mom life the less of a shock it can be to new moms.I am passionate about making motherhood less lonely, and creating a village where we can connect with each other, whether it be through social media or in person. I’m excited about this blogging opportunity and the opportunity to reach some more amazing moms!  Check out Fitbump’s Facebook page to see what I’m all about.

We need to change the conversation about postpartum bodies. We need to change the conversation about bodies period. But let’s start with postpartum. New moms are constantly targeted with a barrage of “get your body back” programs, weight loss detoxes, wraps; the list is endless. We are supposed to erase any evidence we even had a baby! Pregnancy and labour are extremely hard on the body; postpartum recovery whether it be VBAC or C-section is super difficult. Not to mention your mental health in the early postpartum period.  I teach Mom & Baby fitness classes for a living so I’m surrounded by new moms daily and for so many of them the focus is their body, and weight gain. New moms should NOT be worrying about “baby weight” or counting calories. This is the time to focus on sleeping when you can, eating nutritious food, and bonding with your baby. Gentle walks are great for exercise and fresh air can really help with mental health too.  Why do new moms feel the need to get back into exercise so quickly??

Because that’s the society we live in. Everyone is on a diet, the 21-day fix, “eat clean” etc. Diet and weight loss fads are a billion-dollar industry with very little success rate. Diets are NOT sustainable. They are restrictive and lead to bingeing. We need to stop with the diet culture and putting so much emphasis on appearance, when really at the end of the day it is what is inside that counts. Your kids will love you no matter your size, shape, or colour. It is called unconditional love, and we need to figure out how to love ourselves the same way. It is super hard in a world where we are constantly bombarded with unrealistic body images. Generally marketing and advertising companies use thin, Caucasian women. And we hold up this ideal that is what we should look like… when it is unattainable for most people, and has nothing to do with health. Skinny does not equal healthy. Often these images are photo shopped; and it is only a picture, you have no idea if that person is happy or healthy. The average women in Canada is 5’4” and weighs 155 lbs, about a size 12/14. [Macleans]  Yet where are all these women in media and marketing?? Nowhere to be found. The lack of diversity is appalling. The only way we can change this is by becoming aware of it.

About a month ago, I had the opportunity to watch the documentary Embrace. (Highly recommend every woman seeing it.) This documentary is the work of Taryn Brumfit, a mom of three from Australia who found herself hating her body after she had her children. She decided to improve her body, and started strict exercise and diet so she could compete in a bikini competition. After gaining her “ideal body” she realized she still wasn’t happy, and neither were the women on stage who had amazing bodies. Taryn knew then this was a problem that needed to be addressed so she created the documentary to create awareness of body positivity and body confidence. She is on a mission to spread her message of embracing your body, no matter what size. This documentary was so amazing and eye-opening. After watching the film I was chatting with one my friends who is tall, thin, athletic and in my mind has the ideal body. And she was crying because she felt bad about her body like so many of us. I couldn’t imagine her having any issues yet she did. And we all do. 90% of women feel bad about their bodies. Things need to change.

There are young girls out there who are on diets, trying to lose weight. Feeling bad about their little bodies because we live in a society where smaller and thinner is better. This makes me so sad, and really inspires me to want to create change, and hopefully it inspires you too. Now that I have a daughter I am more mindful of this than ever. I’m always telling Molly she is smart, kind, strong; hoping I can make things less about appearance for her. Many of the moms who take my classes talk about how their moms were (and are) always on diets, speak negatively about their body, etc. I was very lucky to have a mom who never talked about bodies in a negative way but I know now this is a rarity. I have always been confident in my body, but there so many things I would change. I am working on learning to love my body as it is. I am active, eat well, but I am never going to be “skinny”, it is just not possible for me. It is not possible for many body shapes and types because we are all DIFFERENT. I look at all the babies in my classes, they range so much in shape and size. And so do we. Look like you. Do you. Be you. And don’t forget what you created. You are strong AF. Appreciate and love your body.

You can start by surrounding yourself with positive reinforcement. Join Healthy Habits Happy Moms, a group of amazing, supportive women who get it. Follow body positive people on social media. Unfollow anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself. Stop commenting about people’s weight loss. Are you a better person if you’re thinner?? Read this amazing and profound article. Let’s stop trying to be smaller. Focus on being healthy, strong. Thin does not equate to healthy. Let’s make things less about appearance and focus on what is really important.

“You make me laugh.”

“I appreciate our friendship.”

“You have such a kind heart.”

“I admire your courage.”

Change the way you feel about food, all food is good. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life counting calories, stressing about your weight, diet, and exercise? Think of how much more time and attention you can spend on your kids, husband, friends and self care if you are not worrying about these things.  Learn to love your body for what it is capable of, not how it looks. You are STRONG, you have carried and birthed a child. Your body is AMAZING. This is not an overnight change, you need to keep telling yourself this every day. What do you love about your body?? I love my strong arms for lugging around my toddler and carrying 10 bags of groceries in one go. Eat food you love to nourish your body. Find exercise you love to keep you moving. It can be going for walks, dancing, it doesn’t have to be a HIIT workout or running on the treadmill for half an hour. If you love running, great! If you don’t then find something you do love. Life is too short. Your body is not an ornament, it is a vehicle. Let’s create change ladies.

For us, for our daughters and their daughters. Let’s learn to embrace and love our bodies. One day at a time.

Reference: http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/how-canadian-are-you/

My Husband, The Dad, Not The Babysitter – Mommy Blogger

Nicole Betker is a mother, wife, rabid Toronto Blue Jays fan and a pop culture junkie. Always having an opinion or something to say, it’s time this journalism grad found a place to share her musings on the acts of “adulting”.

Of course, I was anxious. And yes, I was worried.

In my son’s 22-month life I had never been away from him for longer than a 12-hour work day. Sure, he’d been put to bed without me, sure I’d left before he woke up. But I had never been in a different city than my tiny human, let alone away for nearly a week.

Then I snapped out of it. Well, not the missing part – not giving him a kiss before bed for 6 nights in a row sucked – but the worry.

He was with his dad.

Too often it is suggested that dads are babysitters, that they can’t take complete care of the tiny people they half made. It’s not right, and an unfair assumption, particularly in my life.

For 50% of the year, my chosen profession is beyond demanding. I work numerous days in row for long hours. And my husband takes care of it all. He hasn’t complained, he hasn’t questioned it. He lets me sleep in after long days, brings my son to me at work and ensures my son knows he is loved, cared for and sees me via FaceTime (side note, what the heck did parents do before this technology existed?).

I have to admit – and, yes, this has become a bit of a brag post – but I am lucky.

I am a self-proclaimed workaholic. I love my job. I love my career and I love the people I work with. But I also love my family. The support of my husband helps these two things coexist and thrive.

The traditional society views of only the mother can provide a certain something to a child needs to stop, or that a father can’t truly take care of their child in all aspects needs to be debunked.

My husband isn’t a babysitter, nor is he a lesser parent than I. In fact, somedays I think he is a better one. He’s patient, loving and understanding with our son. They both have a sparkle when they see each other and the father-son bond is strong. But so is the mother-son bond.

In our house, we co-parent together and when one of us isn’t around, the other picks up the slack in every way we can. And because of that, we are the best parents we can be.

There is No Right Answer – Mommy Blogger

My name is Christina Hnatiuk. I am a new mom of a 6 month old baby boy, Marshall. I am married to a wonderful man, we will have been together for 5 years, married for two. I work full time in Human Resources and part time as a Ukrainian dance instructor. I love to try new things, especially new restaurants and food. In my free time, which is hardly ever, I love to bake, specializing in cheesecakes. This is my first time writing a blog but I am looking forward to sharing my adventures in parenting with everyone!

As a first-time mother, I did a lot of research. Sure, I had friends and family with a lot of experience, but I wanted to be independent and informed. I read all kinds of pregnancy books, baby books, sleep training books, mommy blogs, and don’t even get me started on Pinterest. I had all this information and all of it contradicted the rest. Every book, article, blog and person I talked to would tell me different “Milestones”. And in my very honest and personal opinion these so called “Milestones” are the worst!

It all starts from when you find out about your little bundle of joy. We start reading everything we can in preparation for what is to come. All of the books and all of the articles give you some kind of schedule that the development process should follow. So what happens when you can’t feel that little peanuts movement at 16 weeks, or the baby doesn’t drop at 36 weeks? Panic sets in. All these other people had these things happen at this time, I mean they wrote a book on it, it had to have happened to more than one person right? I never felt the baby drop. And I panicked. I thought something was wrong for sure. I bounced on the exercise ball, walked, and pretty much did everything that people told me to, all because I read somewhere it was supposed to happen! Turns out it just didn’t happen and that was something that was different for me.

Then the baby is born and there’s a whole new set of questions that arise. My little one is 8 months now and I still struggle with milestones. How long should he be sleeping? Is he eating enough? Why isn’t he crawling? Did he stand up too fast? The list goes on. The truth is, there is no right answer to any of these questions. Every baby is different. Every parent is different.

Our little one has always been quick to do things, he had amazing head control from day one, sat up on his own, crawled and even stood earlier then the information said. This is great if you are always ahead of or on time with the schedules. But when it came to feeding and sleeping our little one wasn’t in line with the “experts” suggestions.

According to pretty much any information I read, at 7-9 months our little one should be sleeping 11-12 hours a night and 2-3 hours during naps, weaned from night feedings (although 1 feeding for formula fed babies is normal as well), and 2-3 naps per day. Most sites say at this age babies should get 12-14 hours of sleep a day. Now I know these are just guidelines, but as a new parent it’s hard not to question your every decision. We look to these sites and inforgraphs for the information that we ourselves are unsure of. Our little one sleeps nowhere near 12 hours a day. At night, he sleeps from 8-9 hours, that’s if we catch him before he is overtired or nothing else interferes.   He still eats 2-3 formula feedings a night, and until this last month he still slept in our room. He maybe only naps 1-2 times a day, and totaling 2 hours if we are lucky. I figured for sure we had done something wrong. But he is the happiest baby, rarely fussy and smiles all the time. So obviously, we are doing what is right for our little guy!

It’s hard to come to grip with that though. Friends on social media, your doctor, and even your mother or mother in-law, can make you question if you are doing the right thing. Everyone is different including our little ones. Make sure you do things at your own speed and what you are comfortable with. Read and listen to advice and suggestions, but take it with a grain of salt. These are not the same for every child and every parent. Remember you have instincts too, follow them and have confidence you are doing the right thing.

“There is no such thing as a perfect parent. So just be a real one.” -Sue Atkins

King’s Castle- Shopping local and planning Birthday Parties just got easier!

Hello! My name is Julia Dawn and I am a singer-songwriter, blogger, hula hooper, worship leader, and full-time Mom. My little girl was born May 2016 and has turned our lives into a beautiful chaotic whirlwind.  I live for her giggles, make it through the day with re-heated coffee and unwind with beautiful stationary and a nice fountain pen in my hands. Oh, how I love my stationary. My goal is to be real, raw and honest about Mom life, marriage, friendships and living life with passion.

If you are like me, you love to support local businesses and keep your money in the community. This is important for so many reasons. It strengthens the local economy, it keeps people in business who may not be able to work outside of their homes (hello stay at home Mom, I see you there), you are giving back to your community, it helps us build friendships and a sense of belonging, etc. (if you aren’t convinced, go google “Why shop local” and be amazed at all the reasons)!

King’s Castle is no exception!  Jennifer King started this brilliant business in her home in 2012 and it has since exploded into a storefront at Lawson Heights Mall, here in Saskatoon.  What started as wood signs and a few costumes hanging in a basement, turned into exhibition shows, princesses and superheroes and is now a fully run party place full of your favorite local businesses, all in one.

At Lawson Heights, located directly across from the playground in the food court (perfection), you can find everything from bibs, cloth shoes, grow-with-me sweaters, and pants, wood hangings, teething gel, shampoo and conditioners for your babies, natural laundry detergent, towels, dress up masks, little bows (that also fit adults in case you are wondering), teething toys and so much more! They even carry big kid underwear for when your littles reach that oh so fun stage of life! All of these things are made by other local businesses that Jennifer has brought in.  So when you shop here, you are supporting a local business who is supporting local businesses. *WIN*

King’s Castle is always getting in new stock, so every trip is a new experience. Always something beautiful to see, a new product to try out or let’s be honest, a place to drop all that hard earned cash. Who doesn’t love spoiling their littles?

Other than being my new favorite place to buy gifts for all the coming babies and birthdays in my life, it’s also a wonderful option for birthday PARTIES!

Jennifer has turned the back of the store into a party room (genius) that looks like you are walking into a castle (also genius). You can rent and have your birthday party right there, and have a princess or superhero join your kids! The room holds about 20 people comfortably, and you can choose whatever superhero or princess your kid wants! They have almost anyone you can think of, from Elsa to Super Girl, Moana, Iron man,  Spider-Man or Batman! They can do a special appearance or stay to do activities with the kids!  Batman shows up to your kids birthday party? And the Best Mom Award goes to…

 

You can also ‘rent’ the superheroes and princesses away from the Castle, meaning they can come right to your house!! I know, this just keeps getting better. Can you imagine Olaf showing up to your kid’s party to say hello? … Can he come to my birthday party? I love that guy.

 

A few of the characters are only available for special appearances (Iron Man, The Hulk, Batman, and Olaf) but most of them can stay if you’d like as previously mentioned. Some of the activities they can do are nail-painting, play with a parachute, singing party, simple face painting, you can get goodie bags (for an extra cost of course), and my personal favorite, a crowning ceremony for the birthday girl! Again the options seem endless. They have thought of it all over at King’s Castle.

 

To top it off, Jennifer King, the owner, may be one of the friendliest people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. You are always greeted with a smile and a laugh, she’ll help you find exactly what you are looking for or leave you to wander around. Her dreams have become reality, which ironically is helping your kid’s dreams come true. Working with her is smooth sailing, drama free and best of all like I’ve said, you get to support local businesses.

 

I could go on about how amazing I think this store and all its products are, but you should really just go check it out for yourself.  Feel free to follow them on the Social and see how amazing it is for yourself! Happy Shopping!

 

FB- https://www.facebook.com/KingsCastleDesigns/

IG- @KingsCastleDesigns

Why Dad Can Do (AND SHOULD DO) What Mommy Does & Vice Versa – Mommy Blogger

Hi, I’m Cierra and I was born and raised right here in Saskatoon.  I am a brand new mom to a beautiful baby girl, a loving wife, budding entrepreneur, and lover of all things girly.  I believe that life is exactly what you make it, love conquers all, and to never stop learning.  I love coffee, make-up, home décor, DIYing and reality TV (guilty pleasure okay!). Through my posts on the blog, I hope to tell a story and speak on topics that people can relate to, even if they aren’t widely talked about or discussed.  Since I am a brand new mom, every day is something new for me.  So let’s learn together and build each other up, because let’s face it, this mom thing is hard and we need all the help we can get! To continue keeping up with me off the blog, follow me on Instagram @Ciierrajade.

We have all heard the phrases ‘Just you wait until your dad gets home’, and ‘Mom, what’s for supper?’. The roles of how mothers and fathers are ‘supposed’ to act have been relatively the same for the past 100+ years.  Fathers were the disciplinarians, the providers, and the overall decision makers.  Mothers were seen as the nurtures, the caregivers, and homemakers.  While we still see plenty of these traditional roles today – society is evolving and we are starting to see moms and dads share these roles.

In our household I was the primary breadwinner for most of our life together up until I went on MAT leave, and that was just FINE with me! I enjoy working, and having a purpose outside of the home.  My husband LOVES to cook, and is excellent at it! Me on the other hand, not so much.  When it comes to our daughter, we each give 110%.  We both change the diapers, we take turns getting up in the night with her, my husband picks out just as cute of outfits as I do for her and so on.

We see so many families and households that still run the traditional way of dad working and mom taking care of the home.  I personally have seen in relationships around me and even in my own, how when we define roles like that so cut and dry, we start to feel resentment for the other person.  We sometimes think we are not appreciated enough, we don’t have enough help, and it wears on our relationship.

Studies have shown* that children who have their fathers highly involved in their life, have greater perseverance, lower rates of depression, and are 43% more likely to excel in school.  Dads are JUST as important as moms, and sometimes, maybe even more.  Behavior problems, delinquency, depression, substance abuse and overall psychological adjustment are all more closely linked to dad’s rejection than mom’s.  On the other hand, dad’s love is sometimes a stronger influence for children than mom’s. Research has found** that when kids know that they are loved by their fathers, it is a better predictor of young adults’ sense of well-being of happiness, of life satisfaction than knowing about the extent to which they feel loved by their mothers.

Some men have expressed the concern that they feel ‘un-manly’ changing diapers, helping around the house, or even earning less money then their partner.  Women have completely squashed those concerns by saying they are actually more attracted to their partner when they see them being great caregivers and helping around the home.  It gives mama that time to breathe and enjoy a glass of wine every once in awhile!

Now, some of these lifestyles may not work for you.  One spouse may work away often and cannot be there for all those physical caregiving duties, BUT we are in 2017 and with the gift of technology such as FaceTime and Skype, parents can be more involved in their kid’s lives even when they cannot physically be there.

At the end of the day we need to do what’s best for us and our family, and if that means sticking to more of those traditional gender roles in relationships and parenting, then that’s what you should do!  But do try to step outside of the box, you never know what small change could make a huge impact on your family and its future!

 

*The Study of Fatherhood: Why Dads Matter

** Personality and Social Psychology Review (journal)