How to Feed Your Baby – One Mom’s Guide – Mommy Blogger

Before you give birth to your first child, you will inevitably be asked pretty personal questions about your baby and your personal life. Are you finding out the sex, how far along are you, do you want a boy or girl….are all common inquiries. And one you will inevitably be asked…breast or bottle?

It’s a personal choice, but suddenly, you become pregnant and everyone gets to weigh in on your decisions…I get it, it takes a village and all. And then there’s mom-shaming and the trends changing throughout history (wet nurses, only man-made formula, breastfeeding in public, etc., etc., etc.). And the anecdotes! Every baby-different, experience-different, mama-different, everyone wants to share their knowledge and advice!

There’s an entire movement dedicated to this choice #fedisbest. However you choose to feed your baby is what’s best for them. Feeding our babes takes love, patience and effort, no matter which method you chose, so you do you, gurl.

If you choose to breastfeed, you will hear how hard it is. It’s such a vague threat. No one tells you the specifics of what you’re actually going to go through just to feed your baby. Breastfeeding is hard. What’s so hard about it?

To begin with… Your milk may or may not come in, you may or may not have to supplement, a soother may or may not ruin breast feeding, baby may or may not have a tongue or lip tie, your nipples may or may not make breastfeeding more difficult, babe may or may not know how to latch and you may or may not have a plethora of other unknown issues.

And that’s JUST the beginning! If you are able to, there’s also a million other things that could make the journey more difficult… Nipple pain, thrush, engorgement, blocked ducts, nipple shields, pumping?, thrush, milk storage, mastitis, thrush (it’s SO hard to get rid of) and more.

Its time consuming, frustrating, tiring, aging (my old back!), and so Incredibly wonderful. But there’s no mistaking: It. Is. Hard.

And then I think of the exclusively pumping mamas, ohhhh man, they have it bad! Instead of having a sweet, cuddly alarm clock (aka baby) to hold, they have to adhere to a schedule, pump in closets, store the milk, sanitize the parts, lug around a pump, get carpeltunnel (hand pumps anyone?!), deal with bottles, and then after all that, they still have to feed their babies at the same intervals as breastfed babies. Could that be harder?! Talk about commitment!

Or the formula mommies, who have to buy bottles, wash bottles, sanitize bottles, make bottles, feed bottles, (repeat forever) buy new nipples for the bottles (bottles are sold in threes, nipples in packs of two, there’s a flaw in this system, folks!), and basically it’s bottles all the time. Then they have to worrying about physically choosing/changing/remembering to purchase the formula, and actually still feeding their babies. Too hard. It’s all too hard!

There are so many ways to feed our babies, and each method requires an insane amount of effort and time and commitment, but the point is, no matter how you feed your baby, take comfort in the fact that you are doing the hardest (and arguably, most important) job in the world, and you are crushing it. Your baby is literally – in the dictionary sense of the word – still alive because of your efforts.

So I say, let’s forget about judging each other, forget about sharing unwanted and unasked-for advice, feeding our babes is just one of the hard, never ending jobs of parenthood, so let’s support each other and lift each other up!

Feed your babies. You do you, Momma.

#sohard #fedisbest #crushingit

Surviving The Teenage Years – Mommy Blogger

My name is Shannon Strogal. I am a strength and conditioning fitness coach at OPEX Fitness in Regina, a wife and a mother to four children, 2 boys and 2 girls ranging in ages from 22, 13, 10 and 8. My passion in women’s health, both mentally and physically, comes from my own personal experiences. I am recently new to blogging and I hope my stories can inspire and resinate with fellow mothers.  I truly believe that behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.

Some of you may be many many years away from your babies entering the teenage years but having gone through this once already I feel like I can share some insight.

I don’t claim to be an expert in raising a teenager. I mean really, are we ever an expert at parenting? Every child is so different and some struggle with the teens years more then others however there are always the same common themes that pop up in conversations with other moms. I always say that these were the most challenging years as a parent, the terrible two’s have nothing on this stage. However as challenging as it was it I think it is by far the most important.

1) Let’s start off with the mood swings.

Most teenagers will most likely want nothing to do with you, and then desperately want your attention, approval and love.  They will sigh and eye-roll at your requests, but then want to be cuddled when they are feeling sad or under the weather. They will be mortified by your presence at their big game, but angry with you if you miss it.

There is one answer for this…hormones.

You will feel like you don’t know who this human is starring back at you but trust me in saying this will pass. They are struggling with it just as much as you are.

2) They’ll probably make some really stupid choices.

 Remember though, didn’t we all?  Most of the time, the dumb things we did as teenagers just end up being dumb things we did as teenagers, nothing more.  They’re the things that lead us to new experiences, new places, new friends.  They’re the things that make us realize, even as we climb into that van to go to a party with a bunch of strangers, that we likely shouldn’t have done it, and know that even though all went well, we won’t do it again.

Here’s a quote I read once and wanted to share: “A teenager who never makes any mistakes may grow into the adult who never takes chances.”

3) They can be very messy!

Between coats on the floor when they walk in the door, leaving their clothes wherever it is they happen to take them off, leaving dirty dishes in their rooms and never, ever, making the bed. Their rooms will drive you crazy. And sometimes, it will smell.  Like, really, really bad. My advise, get a room deodorizer of some sort and keep their door shut.

Cleanliness isn’t their top priority, and frankly most teenagers are just lazy.

Sorry.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.

4) Don’t ignore the big stuff.

I feel this is by far the most important point. If you think your child is using drugs, alcohol or dealing with depression, do not look the other way, talk to them about it now and seek professional help if necessary.

These are the years when it is essential for parents to stay involved.

Watch for changes in your teen’s behaviour, appearance, academic performance, and friends. And remember, it’s not just illicit drugs that are abused now.  I don’t want to scare you, but just know that these are different times that we live and and don’t be naive to the fact that your child will never be in contact with it.  We did random room and cell phone checks as a way to keep in the know. Surprise, your teenager will not be forthcoming all the time and tell you everything.

This is not an invasion of privacy, it is your house and this is your child.

5) Am I Disciplining too much or not enough.

Some days it may feel as though you are losing control over your child’s behaviour, and you want to crack down every time they step out of line. And then there could be days where you avoid all conflict for fear you will push them away.

Forcing a child to follows the rules to a tee, may make your teenager fall into line but they could be missing the chance to develop life skills because you’re making the decisions for them. Too little discipline doesn’t help, either. Teenagers need a clear structure to live by as they start to explore the world outside.

It’s about finding a balance between creating rules and expectations and giving them the freedom to grow in to young adults.

Time goes by quickly. Next thing you know they’re all grown up, they move out, go to university, get married. You will miss them. I remember on the difficult days sitting in my own room crying thinking I was a terrible parent. I now look at our 22 year old and we are so very proud of him and the young man he has turned in to, and I can say… I wouldn’t change a thing.

In the end you will always love your child. Tell them often, and most important, keep talking to them, even if they have nothing to say or seem like they aren’t listening. Because letting them know that you love them unconditionally, even when it’s tough love, is the only thing that really matters.

5 Tips & Tricks to Boost Speech, Learning, & Independent Thinking When Reading with your Child – Mommy Blogger

Kristin Pierce is a Self Awareness Educator, the Founder of Inner Compass Books, and the Author of Your Inner Compass That Could and Mayva O’Meere, Creationeer. Kristin’s mission is to create mindfully crafted children’s books that spark imagination and fuel creativity, while educating and empowering children to trust their inner knowing. For more information, visit www.InnerCompassBooks.com

Top 5 Tips for Infusing FUN into Reading with Your Child

If you are a parent, you know the immense benefits of reading with your child. Here are a few tips and tricks to infuse FUN into reading to keep your child interested and engaged. The best part is that while you’re at it, you’ll also help to boost your child’s speech, vocabulary, and comprehension while learning, connecting, and bonding with your child. I bet you’ll even have fun too—Talk about a lot of wins!

Here are my Top 5 Reading Tips:

  1. Repeat Back to Me.

Ask your child to repeat new words. Regardless of age, this tip can increase your child’s vocabulary, confidence, and enunciation. From easy words to difficult ones, this is a trick that can be a huge confidence boost for your child, plus it can get them to practice and work to improve on their speech.

  • “Can you say truck?”
  • “Can you say hippopotamus?”
  • “Can you say flibbertigibbet?”

Be sure any feedback you give is constructive and encouraging so they will have a positive experience and want to continue.

  1. Fill in the Blank.

When reading books with rhyming verse, or books with repetition, leave out some of the rhyme words or common phrases to get your child to fill in the blank. This keeps your child engaged, paying attention, and (trust me) your child will surprise you with how quickly they catch on. It won’t be long until they are busy telling you other words that rhyme too!

  1. Word Meaning.

When you come across new words, ask your child if they know what that word means. You’d be surprised how often there are words that kids will say that they do not know the correct context of. And you’ll probably also be just as surprised with the words that your child does know!  If your child does know the meaning of the word, ask him/her to tell you about it. Remind your child that if there are ever any words that they don’t know the meaning of, to simply ask—because that is how we learn!

  1. Exercising Choice.

When reading books with illustrations, it can be fun to ask your child which option he/she would choose or which is his/her favourite and why.

  • “Which one would you choose?” Whether it is options, pictures, inventions, creations, animals, etc., it can be fun for kids to exercise their choice!
  • “Ooh, that’s a fun choice—why did you pick that one?”
  • You can take it a step further by asking the reasons for their choice. A simple answer of “because I like it” is totally fine.

However, this process will encourage independent thought and you can also participate to show your choice and reasons for your choice which will teach your child about difference of opinion.

  1. Learning Takeaways.

Reviewing any pages that have great learning messages is a great way to reflect and connect your child with the learning points of the story.

  • For young toddlers, asking posing questions where they can answer Yes/No, and expand on their answers if they are able is a great way to develop their comprehension and independent thinking.
  • For older kids aged 3-8, you can pose questions that will elicit a reflective response, such as: “What do you think the main character learned in this story?” Or “Can you tell me 2 things you learned from this.”

There you have it! Give these Top 5 Reading Tips a try and let us know how they work for you! If you have any other tips that you use and have found fun and successful, let us know in the comments below.

Find us on Facebook & Instagram @InnerCompassBooks or check out our FREE Parent & Teacher Learning Resource that is full of FUN printable activities for your children.

 

To My Baby on Your Half Birthday – Mommy Blogger

 Hi, I’m Lindsay, and I’m new here. New to blogging, new to Mommy Connections, and new to this crazy rollercoaster of a ride called motherhood. I’m from Regina, Saskatchewan and I share my life with my husband Jordan, little dog Rascal, and of course my mini dictator of a boss, our daughter, Hartley Dawn. Mom life can be hard, exhausting, frustrating, amazing, awe inspiring and as I’m finding out, incredibly empowering! Join me as I share my open and honest experiences and tips (that worked for us!) as I fumble my way through this motherhood journey!

I don’t know why this month feels like such a big milestone. It’s not a particularly long period of time, in the grand scheme of things 6 months is relatively short. Maybe it’s because the last 6 months have been the busiest, most tired and most amazing 6 months of my life. Your birth, bringing you home, your first few days, each milestone you’ve hit…6 months of memories, flashing before my very eyes.

I knew that having you would be a different kind of love, but I didn’t know it would be quite like this.

Every single day you amaze me. The movement of your hands, the way you discover and explore your world with them and the wonder on your face as you watch your fingers stretch and move. I lose track of time just watching you.

You make me so proud. The smallest achievements, things that we as adults take for granted you are learning and doing for the first time. You are the inspiration for ‘If at first you don’t succeed,’ and while some of your achievements make my life a little harder, I hope you know I am and will always be proud of everything that you can accomplish.

You are so beautiful. I can’t stop touching your smooth skin, or gazing into those big blue eyes or kissing those pink round cheeks. You are like sugar. Sweet and irresistible to me. If we were in the wild I’m sure I would have eaten you by now, but in reality I hope I can help build your confidence to always see yourself the way I see you.

You can make me smile like almost no one else can (though your daddy is definitely a contender). Silly looks, discovering your tongue, confused expressions, imitations of the rock, snuggling into my neck, there is no limit to the ways that you bring me joy. Even in the dead of night, a sweet, sad cry can bring a smile to my face. The smile lines that you will inevitably cause me will be more than worth it.

I love sharing things with you. I love going through all of our firsts together. I love taking you with me everywhere I go and just spending time together. Mundane tasks become opportunities for you to see and learn about the world and it is so exciting to show you the blue in the sky and the changing colours of the leaves, and the wonders that are hidden in grocery store shelves.

I feel so lucky to have you. Not every woman who wants to be a mom is granted that gift. Some have to try significantly harder than we did, some experience loss, and heartache to get their babies. And not a day goes by that I don’t feel so incredibly lucky to have my sweet baby in my arms.

You make me excited for the future and long for the past. As each day passes and you grow and change, I’m conflicted and torn between wanting time to speed up so we can do even more exciting things together, and wishing we could turn back the dial. You were so tiny, such a short time ago, and each time I put away an article of clothing that you will never fit into again, I’m reminded how fast time truly goes.

I love watching you with your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. You are so loved. You have so many people in your life who would do anything for you, and I can’t wait to see your relationships grow. They will teach you so much about life, and their wisdom will be instrumental to the person you will become. I hope that you always cherish them as they cherish you.

Watching your daddy take care of you makes my heart so incredibly happy. He is so patient, loving and caring with you. I love him more for the way that he loves you.

And lastly, thank you. Thank you for being patient with me as I fumble through this unfamiliar territory. Thank you for teaching me perseverance and a whole new world of love. You are truly the gift that keeps on giving, the apple of my eye and everything I could have wished for. I love you so much.

Momma

Who’s In the Ring With You? – Mommy Blogger

Shaleen is a proud mom to Leo, a lover of iced coffee year round and the dessert bring-er to every occasion. She blogs over at www.bagofflour.com and she’d love it if you stopped by!

It’s no secret that parents are bombarded with all kinds of unsolicited advice from everyone we encounter as soon as we make the big announcement. Then, as soon as our child is born, the criticism really begins. All my life I’ve tended to worry too much about what others think and unfortunately, this was beginning to bleed into how often I accepted other’s opinions while raising my first child.

Recently I read a post on Instagram from Rachel Hollis, of Girl, Wash Your Face fame. It read, “You’re going to have to make the decision that other people don’t get to weigh in here. That means you will stand up for yourself and understand that someone who’s sitting in the cheap seats doesn’t get to tell you how to fight in the ring. If you’re not out here on the field, if you’re not fighting for more, if you’re not running these miles with me or writing these words with me or making new habits with me or eating this kale with me— if you’re not in the game with me, then you don’t get to call any plays, and you darn sure don’t get to offer negative comments about the work I’m putting in!”

When I read this, I immediately thought about where that advice could apply in my life at the moment: motherhood. People give us grief about all of our choices, from gender reveals and epidurals to formula feeding and screen time. I’ve always felt an obligation to take advice to heart just because someone meant well, or it was a family member or simply because they were older or had more kids than I did. But here’s the truth. Unless those people are actually alongside you raising your child, day in and day out, through the good AND bad, you are not required to take their advice or treat their opinions as gospel.

If someone criticizes my parenting choices, now I ask myself:

-was this person in the delivery room when I gave birth to my son?

-was this person sitting up through feedings with me at night?

-was this person coming over to hold the baby after he was born so I could get some rest?

-has this person helped us when my son was sick?

-has this person watched my son when I was in a bind?

There are a million other variations on these questions, but you get the point. In short, when the times got hard, who has been there for you? Those are the only people whose advice you need to even CONSIDER considering.

Now when the neighbour gives me grief about my son’s thumb sucking, or my aunt rolls her eyes at his sleep routine, all I do is take a step back and ask myself, is his person “in the ring” with me? 99% of the time that answer is no, and if you’re a bit more anxious about other’s perspectives like I am, this might be the answer for you to take your power back a bit. This approach has given me a newfound sense of freedom and confidence as a mom that I haven’t had before and isn’t that something we could all use a bit more of?

The Million Dollar Myth – Mommy Blogger

Mommy Blogger Laura

It’s a phrase we’ve all heard before: “A boy and a girl, how lucky!”

If there’s one thing that we can agree on on the journey to and through parenthood, it’s that family is priceless. But if you’re included in the statistic of 1 in 4 women who experience a pregnancy loss, the “million dollar family” phrase hits a little harder.

My journey to parenthood included months of uncertainty, dozens of tests, three devastating miscarriages, and a lifetime of heartache. I know others whose journeys included countless consultations, hundreds of needles, and thousands of dollars— along with the heartbreak of losing a precious baby. No road to parenthood is easy— but how can anyone say your resulting family is worth more or less than the next? You can bet we all believe our families are worth a million dollars, whether that means one or two or seven kids, of our genes or not, boys or girls, red-, brown- or purple-haired. So can we please put an end to this shit about the “million dollar family?”

October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. So, to all the mamas out there with hurting hearts, with children in heaven or on earth— your family, however you define it, is priceless. This is for you:

I was in the store with kids in tow

When I heard her loud remark.

“A boy and a girl, what perfect luck! You know that’s worth a million bucks.”

 

She cooed and waved towards my babe;

Her words were innocent enough.

To her, they meant not much at all

As she tossed them off the cuff.

 

I weakly smiled and trudged away

but inside my head was reeling.

Her naked eye could not see through

To the emotions I was feeling.

 

One boy, one girl was all she saw;

I’d been dealt a perfect score.

But the true grade of my life thus far

Was the mark of 1 in 4.

 

My babies that I had with me

are just two of my five.

I never got to hold the three

who were not born alive.

 

These three I hold tight in my heart;

My tiny angel babes.

They live within my dreams at night;

I still ache to know their names.

 

I count my lucky stars each day

That I have the kids I do.

I kiss them more and hold them closer

Than they’d probably like me to.

 

But the three I lost, I wish were here;

Oh, what I’d pay to have that bliss.

So this ‘million dollar family’ thing

Is really nothing but a myth

 

Cuz those of us who’ve lost a babe

Would give up our last dimes

To see our babes and say their names

And hold them for all time.

 

So be mindful of the things you say;

I pray you, hold your tongue.

Although our hearts and hands be full,

we still hold our missing little ones.

 

Our Favourite Thanksgiving Desserts

Happy Thanksgiving! The leaves are changing and falling down – it is truly a beautiful time of the year.

We are busy today baking our favourite Thanksgiving desserts and wanted to share them with you.

Our first is Pumpkin Cake.

We started by getting 2 pie pumpkins, cutting them in half and scooping out the seeds.

Once they were baked we putting them on a cookie sheet and cooked on 400 degrees for 45 minutes

Once cooled we then scooped out the pulp from the rind

We then used a hand blender and mashed the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter Icing

    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree or canned pumpkin
    • 1/2 cup warm milk
    • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda

 

      • Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
      • Butter a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan.
      • Line pan with parchment, and butter the parchment.
      • Coat pan with flour, and tap out any excess.
      • In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda – Set aside.
      • In the bowl of an electric mixer beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
      • Add eggs, and beat until combined.
      •  Add pumpkin puree and milk

      • Beat until combined
      • Add flour mixture
      • Beat on low speed until just combined.

      • Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 55 minutes

 

    • Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool.
    • Let cake rest 20 minutes.
    • Unmold cake
    • Using an offset spatula, spread Brown Butter Icing over top of cake

 

Brown Butter Icing

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk

 

 

      • Unmold cake
      • In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until nut-brown in color, about 10 minute
      • Remove pan from heat, and pour butter into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind.
      • Add sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk
      • Stir until smooth.
      • If the icing is too thick, add the remaining tablespoon milk, a little at a time, until consistency is spreadable.
      • Let cool 5 minutes.
      • Use immediately

ENJOY!


Even with our Pumpkin Cake we always make Pumpkin Pie with some of our fresh pumpkin puree (don’t worry you can used canned too!)

Here is my family’s favorite pumpkin pie recipe – enjoy!

**You can also use a frozen pie crust, here is our recipe for our homemade crust.

Double Crust Sour Cream Pastry

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup cold lard, cubed
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 3 tbsp. sour cream

 

  • In large bowl whish flour and salt
  • Using a pastry blender, cut in butter and lard until in fine crumbs with a few larger pieces

  • Whisk water and sour cream
  • Pour over flour mixture and toss with a fork briskly

  • If necessary add a little more water until ragged dough forms
  • Divide in half and press into 2 disc
  • Wrap discs and place in refrigerator until chilled – about 30 minutes

After the pastry was cool we took it out of the fridge and rolled it out and put it into the pie pans

We then got all the ingredients out and ready for our pies!

Pumpkin Pie

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 unbaked pie shell (check out our favorite pie crust recipe above)

  • Beat all ingredients until smooth – in either a blender or mixer
  • Pour into unbaked pie shell

  • Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes
  • Reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook another 30 minutes

 

Stop The Mom Body Shaming – Mommy Blogger

My name is Jenna. I’m married with 2 kids and 2 dogs. Living the simple life in a small town just outside of Regina. My family and I love to spend as much time as possible camping, hiking and exploring in the mountains.

Oh my god you don’t even look like you had a baby!

Wow, you bounced right back!

You got your body back, you’re so lucky!

How did you get your body back to normal?

Wow you lost that baby weight fast, what’s your secret?

Are you doing beach body or something?

It must be nice to lose the baby weight so fast.

THESE QUESTIONS NEED TO END.

Hey all, I’m going to shine a little light for the small/skinny/fit moms who have to deal with comments like these. First of all, we all need to stop commenting on peoples bodies. Whether they are skinny/fit or not. It is not appropriate to comment on someone’s body size, EVER!

I am a skinny-ish/fit mom, but I don’t have “my body back”. I say that because well, my body didn’t f*cking go anywhere. But it has transformed. It has grown two healthy full term babies and it isn’t close to what it was; but instead it’s so much more. Literally, more capable of anything I could ever imagine, more skin, more sag, more wrinkles, more transforming, more magic.

I can go on and on and on about how inappropriate these comments to any woman are, but let me tell you the psychological damage it’s done to me, personally.

It gives me anxiety. The idea of taking my kids to a pool and wearing a bikini makes me nauseous. I’m always getting commented on being small, I’ve been small my ENTIRE life, but it also makes me feel insecure and ashamed. You’re probably reading this thinking “omg how she can possibly feel ashamed for being small is stupid! She should be grateful”, well let me tell you:

I can’t count the glares I’ve gotten at public pools and the beach while simply having fun with my family…let that sink in…with my family! I can’t tell you how I feel like “less of a mother” because I didn’t gain my “tiger stripes” and “look like I’ve had a kid”. And what kind of role model are you being for my daughter as she sees you glare directly at me? Or commenting about my physical appearance in front of her? How do I explain when I was about 5 months post-partum I had plans with some other moms to take our babies to the pool and I almost had a panic attack because I didn’t have a one piece bathing suit. I had flash backs of what it was like with my son at public pools for swimming lessons and I couldn’t handle the glares from other moms because, well, I’m small. No matter how friendly and kind I was, I still got the glares. I used the excuse that he hated the water so we quit lessons, when really, I just couldn’t bring myself to go back.

You might be reading this thinking that I have a self-confidence issue, and maybe I do. Maybe all of the times I’ve been glared at and whispered about and bullied by other moms has triggered something. Or maybe, I’m just sick of not living up to all of the different standards there are from other moms. I am just me. And I am small.

Being compared to other women by other women is a nightmare and all that’s wrong in the mothering world.

And lastly, how you do know how I feel about my body and what gives you the right to comment on it? You don’t see my breasts that sag 4 inches more than they should because I was so engorged with milk. Or my saggy belly button that literally hangs down and I try to hide it with high wasted clothes and a belly ring. You weren’t there when I dedicated myself to mommy and me baby work out classes and pushed myself physically and emotionally.

You don’t go around saying “wow, you’re still carrying around that baby weight”. But if you do, you’re a sh*tty human and I hope someone throat chops you.

So if we could please stop commenting on the sizes and shapes of women’s bodies like that somehow defines us and our identity as a mother… THAT WOULD BE GREAT!

Motherhood- a Journey of Empowerment – Mommy Blogger

Hi, I’m Lindsay, and I’m new here. New to blogging, new to Mommy Connections, and new to this crazy rollercoaster of a ride called motherhood. I’m from Regina, Saskatchewan and I share my life with my husband Jordan, little dog Rascal, and of course my mini dictator of a boss, our daughter, Hartley Dawn. Mom life can be hard, exhausting, frustrating, amazing, awe inspiring and as I’m finding out, incredibly empowering! Join me as I share my open and honest experiences and tips (that worked for us!) as I fumble my way through this motherhood journey!

Being a new mom is tough. Between the diaper changes and the feedings (and let’s be honest, that doesn’t leave a lot of time in the day!) you still have to navigate your relationships, figure out your new responsibilities, keep up with your hygiene, drink enough water, and take care of a tiny human!

But, being a new mom can also be incredibly empowering. From the first night alone with the baby, to the first day going pad-free, let’s have an honest conversation about those moments that make us all realize…maybe we can handle this Mom thing, after all 😉

#momlife #realtalk

Bringing baby home. We spend months preparing for this little person, we buy all the things and prep all the meals and are as ready as we can be.

But, after going through the really scary part of ACTUALLY delivering a baby (Um, hello, aren’t our bodies incredible?!) now you have to leave the support and guidance of midwives, nurses and doctors, and you have to take that baby home. You’re probably bleeding, you may have stitches, everything hurts, you are likely more than a little tired, and now people expect you to take care of another human life?!

As scary as it is, the first night that you (or you and your partner) are alone with baby can be incredibly empowering! Surviving that first night, whether you get any sleep or not, is a pretty incredible feeling. Pat yourself on the back and be proud of yourself, because you battled the fear and your baby is still alive – success!

Your first shower alone. I remember my first shower home alone with babe. After the grandparents had gone home, and dad had gone back to work, and there was no one there to hold my baby, I successfully got her to sleep in her bassinet, took the monitor into the bathroom, and got all hot and soapy! It was so great to realize that I could actually do things on my own (bonus: I also managed to brush my teeth before babe woke up – small victories, amiright?!)!

That first day you can confidently go pad-free without ruining your underwear. Listen, if you’re one of the lucky ones that bled for a few days or even a couple weeks, I’m happy for you (but more than a little jelly, tbh), but for those of us who bled for WEEKS, bordering on months, the first day where our newborn is the only one wearing a diaper is a hella good day. Goodbye pads, hello pretty underpants.

The first date night as Mom and Dad. I won’t lie, leaving our precious bundle (in the very capable hands of her grandmother) for the first time was scary, but you know what? Connecting as husband and wife, being partners outside of Mom and Dad, and showing each other that we are still the people who met and fell in love? Totally worth it.

Leaving the house with just you and baby. Diapers? Check. Wipes? Check. Blankets, soother, extra clothes? Check. Check. Check. No matter how prepared you are for your first outing with babe, it’s still going to be scary. What if I need to breastfeed in public? What if baby projectile poops on the first out of the house diaper change (True story, sorry about your carpet, Linda!)? What if baby screams (for what seems like forever) as we rush through superstore for extra baby wipes? The point is, you will get through it, and the next outing will be easier, you will be less stressed and less anxious, and you will learn to keep extra wipes in the car 😉

Being a new mom is filled with doubt and uncertainty, and it’s a hell of a learning curve, but with a little faith and a can-do attitude, it can also be so empowering to take care of a tiny human!

Whether you’re a first time mom, or a Mom with plenty of experience, what are some of your most empowering Mom moments? Share them in the comments!

#mompower #mommyconnections

Raising a Special Needs Child – Mommy Blogger

My name is Shannon Strogal. I am a strength and conditioning fitness coach at OPEX Fitness in Regina, a wife and a mother to four children, 2 boys and 2 girls ranging in ages from 22, 13, 10 and 8. My passion in women’s health, both mentally and physically, comes from my own personal experiences. I am recently new to blogging and I hope my stories can inspire and resinate with fellow mothers.  I truly believe that behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.

Being a parent is hard, there is no doubt about it. Being a parent of a special needs child is even harder. We love our children just as much as those who are parents to typically developing children, but the struggles we face are so much more challenging than the average parent.

From the moment our fourth child was born she was diagnosed with Mosaic Ring 18. A rare genetic condition in which one of the ends of the 18th chromosome joins together to form a ring. The condition affects all areas of her development, so at her current age of 8 she can not stand, sit, crawl, speak, feed herself, toilet, etc. She is completely dependent on us for everything from bathing her, dressing her, even holding her up to be sick when she has the stomach flu.

At first, you don’t want to acknowledge a diagnosis. I was in total denial and prior to the blood work confirming it I was sure my doctor was wrong. Then you don’t want to believe it. And once you get over that hurdle, you need knowledge. I poured myself into the computer and read everything I could about her condition. Then you need to vent. You need a friend. You need people to understand but you feel alone.

I recently saw a video on social media where a mom talks about her child who was severely autistic and she spoke about feelings and thoughts that no one else would understand other then special needs parents.

She cried as she spoke, and I cried for her, a complete stranger because I knew exactly how she felt.

There are rough days, and when I say rough, I mean really rough. Last weekend was one of those moments in our lives. Our daughter lives at home with us where she is safe, and healthy. You think after this many years it would be easier, we would be able to handle it. As I stand on the other side of her bedroom door listening to her cry and scream I take a video to share on social media about what life is like with a special needs child. I talk about how she has moments likes these quite often and all we can do sometimes is let her cry to exhaustion. I tell the camera that she has eaten, she has been given a drink, I have changed her, checked for signs of illness, I’ve given her her favourite toys, moved her around the house, basically tried everything I can to calm her.  And then I delete the video. I delete it because all I can here in my head is the judgements and comments. Why am I videoing this when I should be holding her. Why am I not spending every moment making her feel better. I’m not going to lie, I probably should be holding her and there are times that we do, but there are days when I can’t take it anymore, when the crying and screaming won’t stop and I have to lay her in her bed and shut the door and walk away because I am mentally exhausted.

I feel the guilt and the shame but it’s so hard some days. It’s hard when we can’t do certain activities with our other children because all facilities or activities are not wheelchair friendly. It’s hard when I have to miss your other children’s extra curricular events because your special needs child is sick or having a bad day once again. It’s hard to watch other children ride their bikes and run and say I love you to their parents when you know you will probably never get to see or hear those things.

We think about her future, and our future. We think about her quality of life and how we will be able to take care of her as we get older. She will never be able to live on her own. Who will take care of her when we are gone?

I know that her general health and happiness should be enough and that we should be grateful, and believe me we are, we absolutely love her to bits. We live for her smiles and can’t get enough of the giggles when we are lucky enough to get them. Watching her move herself around on the floor and get onto her elbows is amazing and when we are at her rehab appointments and she is standing with assistance or sitting on a specialized bicycle it has brought happy tears to my eyes. We are blessed to have her in our lives as she has taught us many lessons. I’ve heard the “I don’t know how you do it”, and I know people mean well but it’s not like I/we have a choice. You just live with the hand your dealt with and you keep on living each day.

My advise to all special needs parents.

On your darkest days, I want you to know that you are not alone. What you feel is completely normal. I want to tell you that you will make it through this journey.

Go easy on yourself. Feel every feeling. Be upset. Be sad. This life is hard. And then learn to laugh because that’s the only damn thing that will get you through. I promise you with every ounce of my heart that you are going to survive this.

At the end of that video I mentioned earlier the woman smiled, wiped her tears and wished everyone a good day as she went off to work. That’s what we do… we put on the happy face and we carry on.

Much love,

Shannon Strogal