Baby Proofing Your Relationships – BEFORE Baby Arrives

One of the best things you can do to prepare for life with your new baby, is to learn about the little (and big) things you can do now, to help baby proof your relationships. I say relationships, because it’s not just about partners. Strained relationship with in-laws or other family members, introducing a new baby to older siblings, and well meaning (but not always requested) input and advices from family members, over stepping or not stepping up, understanding and setting boundaries etc. etc. etc.. The addition of a baby changes the dynamics, and no matter how strong your relationships are, things will be different.

Unmet (or even unspoken) expectations are frustrating and can lead to resentment. The sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, and requirement to be on parenting duty (All. The. Time.) are just a few of the stressors that can weigh on us. Often parenting styles aren’t discussed before baby is already on the scene. In one of our recent Mom & Baby classes, 90% of the moms said they still hadn’t talked with their partners about parenting topics such as, discipline tactics, or how they would handle disagreements in front of their child.

Romantic bliss can take a hit when a new demanding little customer shows up in your family. The reality is that your partnership is the foundation of that family, and in order to provide the best environment for your new bundle, you have to re-invest in your relationship with your partner. Just like financial investing, it matters where and how, you choose to invest. The addition of a child is one of the BIGGEST tests to your romantic relationship (I won’t even tell you how many people have confided in me that they have felt like punching their partner in the throat – Jokingly of course, but their frustration and resentment is REAL).

These are the reasons why I have decided that adding the relationships piece to prenatal planning is so important. If you are expecting a baby (not only for first time parents), please join us Sunday June 3rd for our Midtown Mommy-To-Be: Prenatal Workshop, to cover some of the things that traditional prenatal prep classes often leave out. Our prenatal workshop includes some extra time at the end to socialize, or to chat with our experts, so that you can leave feeling empowered and supported.


Parenting educator, and life & professional coach, Liz Berholz of Liz B Parenting, will be joining us for the Baby Proofing Your Relationships portion of our prenatal workshop. Liz works with families and individuals to help them discover their ability to create homes and lives filled with mutual respect, understanding, cooperation, connection, responsibility and fun. She helps them uncover their gifts and strengths to create effective change and live lives filled with their deepest dreams of success. www.lizbparenting.com

5 Tips To Help You Find Your Way, On Your Journey into Motherhood

Guest blog post by: Ishtar Gabriel, Child & Family Therapist


Becoming a new parent is one of the most life altering events you will experience and requires a huge amount of learning, surrendering, exploring, growing and discovering. It is like starting a new job without any training or manual. All the other employees have been around forever and seem to think it is their sole purpose in life to tell you how to do your work but none of them are staying after hours to get their project done. Parenting can feel lonely and overwhelming, and yet once you find your way, it can be the most amazing journey ever traveled. So here are our tips to help you find your way as you start your new job:

Let go of expectations
Wow this is a big one! This is one of the most anticipated events of your life. This can be a scary and exciting process. Expectations and plans help us make sense of the unknown—and a new baby is uncharted territory. But when plans don’t go as we expect it is hard to adjust and enjoy the moment for what it is—not what we expected it to be. Just being aware of our expectations is a step in the right direction. I was expecting the baby to sleep longer, I was expecting to breastfeed, I was expecting a girl. Exploring ways to feel safe and supported will help you to stay open to the new possibilities on your parenting journey.

Parenting is a process not a destination
Before baby even arrives most parents have read all the right books, registered their child for mommy and me classes, decorated the room, researched the best diapers, taken lessons on how to push and open the stroller and started making homemade organic baby food. We cannot “parent” until the baby arrives and we really have no idea what is going to be expected of us until we get to meet our baby. You cannot start your job until you arrive at your office or receive your first project. So expertise—-parenting expertise just like work expertise—develops over time. It means you are going to make mistakes and you are not going to do it all—-and definitely not perfectly. Becoming a skilled and confident parent takes practice, time and conscious effort. So meet the baby first and then start your journey together.

Try not to compare
Every child is unique and comes pre-package with their own personality, likes, and mannerisms. You are unique and that means the relationship between you and your child is unique. A healthy and thriving relationship between you and your child requires a deep understanding of yourself and your child and develops as a result of exploring and becoming curious about who you are and who your child is becoming. Comparing your child to those of others forces us to focus on what our child cannot do verses what they can do and we miss the things that make them unique. This is what Brene Brown, author of “The Gifts of Imperfecting Parenting” refers to as scarcity. Scarcity is the idea that we are not enough. The way to combat scarcity is to practice gratitude–appreciating things exactly as they are—trusting everything is exactly as it needs to be. Your child’s self esteem and self-worth will thank you for it. And you will become a more confident, loving and grounded parent.

Have fun
Have fun you say when you are knee deep in puke and poop. One of the best ways to laugh about your new experiences is to call another mom friend that you trust and share your story, keep a journal or video tape the chaos. It might not seem or look funny in the moment but it will become funny days or even weeks later…..okay who are we fooling it might take years to appreciate the humour. The point is to not take yourself too seriously. Children have survived for centuries with much less. According to Judith Warner of Perfect Madness we are the most educated mothers to date and tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be “perfect”. We will never be perfect but we can be enough and exactly what our children need us to be. So remind yourself of this mantra next time things seem totally out of control, progress not perfection.

The love affair evolves
As you get into a routine (however chaotic of a routine this might seem—especially for all you type As) and you get a handle on feeding, sleeping and showering and begin to distinguish day from night you will begin to have time to see, feel, smell, hold, play and laugh with your baby. This is when the love affair begins. So don’t worry if you are just not feeling “the love at first sight”. These things take time. Love evolves and grows. You will fall in love with your baby as time evolves.

Remember motherhood is a journey not a destination. Measure your progress not your perfection. Acknowledge the things you did get done and you did do well—even if it is simply stopping to look at your baby for a few minutes in the business of the day. Motherhood if done with self awareness, self care and deep dedication and love means you will evolve and grow right along side your new bundle of joy.

HAPPY PARENTING
Ishtar


Ishtar Gabriel – MSc, OACCPP – Child and Family Therapist – KIDU.ca – Specializing in potty training and toddler sleep solutions, mother guilt / shame, finding balance, and marital tensions.

You Know You’re A Mom When…

Guest blog post by: Kirsten, Coffee With Chloe’s Mom


There are many telltale signs that I am a mom (e.g. I post way too many photos of my daughter on Instagram), but here are six things that have officially made me a mom of an under-2 year old.

I put random things in the fridge
Since becoming a mom I have put a whole bunch of strange things in the fridge without even realizing it. The other week my husband texted me at work wondering why an empty carton of yoghurt filled with vegetable scraps was in the fridge. A couple of weeks ago it was a pair of scissors.

I sing nursery songs on the street
My husband tells me I sound like Adam Sandler when I sing, but my daughter seems to love my tone-deaf songs. And I’ll do anything in an effort to stop her from having a meltdown on walks.

I do the ‘mom sway’
Even when I’m not holding my daughter, I find myself swaying side-to-side. I’m most likely to be found doing this in grocery store lines.

I eat off my child’s plate
I used to think it was gross, but now I find myself falling into this trap. I’ll eat the scraps off her plate. I’ll even admit here that I also eat half-chewed pieces of food when she hands them to me as part of ‘sharing’.

I randomly talk about nursing
Since returning to work I’ve found myself randomly talking about nursing and how I’m still doing it. Why do I do this? I have no clue.

I no longer have a name
Over the past few months, I’ve come to realize that my husband no longer refers to me by name. I just get called mom. I suppose there could be worse things to be called!


 

DSC_0155About Kirsten

Hi, Im Kirsten. A mom. A wife. A daughter. And someone who really loves to travel and hates mayonnaise. I also write a weekly newsletter called Coffee with Chloe’s mom and Instagram way too much.

5 Things I Would Say To A New Or Expectant Mom


First, let me say; I remember when I was pregnant, becoming mentally exhausted (and slightly scared) from all the well meaning, but unsolicited, and often unwanted, advice I received. Unfortunately, most of the advice given is scary, negative, old-fashioned and “I know best” kind of advice. I can honestly not remember one person who simply told me how much fun this was going to be. Or, how delivering a baby doesn’t necessarily turn you into a shrieking, husband-hating monster. Everyone is always so happy for you, yet, they can’t come up with one positive thing to say.So, here is what I will want to say (if she asks…) to my future daughter-in-laws about how to survive, enjoy and graduate from motherhood (not that we ever stop being moms)

1.  Nourish yourself spiritually, emotionally and physically. You are about to become a mother, don’t lose yourself

While you are trying to become pregnant or are pregnant, pay attention to the little things that nourish you as a woman, a person and a friend and wife. What are the things that make you smile; make you feel happy and fulfilled? Is it time alone with

Practicing Self-Care helps you take care of you.
Practicing Self-Care helps you take care of you.

your spouse and/or friends? Is alone time important to you? Reading? Pick at least one of these and make time for it once the baby has arrived. You can do this AND be a wonderful, committed mother.

Prioritize your health. Learn what you need to about preparing for, pregnancy and recovering post partum. Find and see your local Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist. Learn about the inside of your body and pelvic floor. Do your Kegels and bind your belly immediately post partum.

2.  Treasure the moments

If you already have kids I am sure you have already heard advice like “don’t rush through it”, “enjoy, they grow so fast”. I heard it so many times, but still would think: “I wish he would walk soon”, “If only he could talk and tell me what he wants”

My oldest and I
My oldest and I

I can tell you as someone who has 4 grown children and just moved one of my youngest out – They are right! Enjoy the small moments and the wonder. I know it gets crazy at times with these little, not always cooperating, but adorable people. I now spend a fair bit of time reminiscing and enjoying those memories in my mind. You see, I listened to that advice, but not well enough. I really tried to still my day and sit down with my boys and just enjoy the story they were telling, the cuddle or simply watching them do their thing quietly, but I worried about my house-work too. Now that they are older I still look for any opportunity to sit down and enjoy time with my boys.

3.  Parent in a way that feels right for you and your partner.

I figured out early on that I really only wanted to ask for and listen to advice from certain friends/family members, namely, those with similar parenting beliefs and philosophies. So, I rarely give advice, unless asked. And I never asked for advice except from those specific moms. That way you are not getting judged simply for asking and you don’t have to listen to advice you have no intention of following. Except for from your mother and mother-in-law of course, because they will give you advice whether you want it or not. Just listen, smile and nod…and then erase from your memory so it doesn’t sneak up on you in a weak moment 😉

4.  Prioritize your marriage/relationship

Your marriage comes first! You got together and had a family for a reason, now you owe it not only to yourselves, but to yourP1000127 children to make this work. I am divorced, and I can honestly say, there is no hockey game or practice, ballet recital, or homework assignment that is more important than that. Parenting and maintaining your relationship are two equally important entities. Obviously you will meet your children’s basic needs of life and much more. Make it just as important to do something for your relationship with your spouse every day. It can be really small like sitting down for 5 minutes together – alone and just being together; a kiss and a hug at the end of every day; a sweet text to say you are thinking of each other. And yes, schedule date nights – often, even if that simply means going to bed early and not watching television… 😉

5.  Be a mother, not a friend to your children

I too often hear mothers brag about how they are “best friends” with their daughter. It is great if you are close and share and talk to each other openly, but your daughter is not your bff, nor are you hers. Being a mother is a true privilege and pleasure and a very unique place in life. You are a confidant, advisor and the one who loves them without condition or limitation. With you they are completely safe. Safe to be wrong, inconsiderate, apologetic, remorseful, wonderful, funny, goofy and so much more. There is a life long bond between a mother and child that doesn’t need the tag of “best friends” to have meaning. Because when we try to be best friends we try not to displease. We don’t say things that might upset or anger them, and thus we stop parenting. It is our job as parents to say the things they don’t want to hear when they need to hear it. It is their friends’ job to cheer them up when you do. My boys don’t think of me as their best friend. I am their mother. I am always there for them and they know that. I am their first call when they need something, or want to share an experience. I feel so lucky to be that. I know one day their wives will take that place, but I also know they will still call me and check in, because that’s what we do.

Walking behind them I could actually see their little toddler self.  I am so proud of the young men they have become.
Walking behind them I could actually see their little toddler self. I am so proud of the young men they have become.

Oh dear, this ended up being a little longer than I intended it to be, but thank you for sticking with me to the end. I would love to hear from you! What is the one thing you will tell a young mom one day?

With love, Elisabeth


elisabethELISABETH PARSONS is a pro fitness trainer, nutritional counsellor, and lifestyle coach to women. She is a mother of 4 very active boys, and enjoys sharing her life experience and knowledge about adding vitality to your life through healthy, active living.