Motherhood – A Lesson In Expectations versus Reality – Mommy Blogger

I am a proud first time mom to my beautiful one-year old daughter, Sawyer. She has taught me so many things in such a short amount of time and will be my inspiration for every blog post! I am also a wife and a fur-baby mom to our very large dog, Geo.

Going back to my job as an HR Coordinator after a year of mat leave was difficult, however I love juggling work and home life. There is never a dull moment!

In the small amount of spare time I do have I love to do puzzles, colour, play sudoku and creep on Facebook (of course)! I have also always loved to write and I’m excited to share my thoughts with other mommas!

I will shamefully admit that before I became a mom I had a strong stance and mindset on what I ‘would’ and ‘would not’ do if I ever became a mom. Oh how blissful ignorance truly is.

Expectations and plans are not a bad thing as they give us something to strive for. However, from my own experiences during the first year of motherhood, I have learnt that you cannot let them weigh you down and control your life because reality will get in the way and create a new plan that you may have little to no control over.

Labour and Delivery? Mine was going to be beautiful, painful and ‘natural’. No drugs, no interventions. My body was just going to do what it knew how to do and I was going to be along for the ride. It was not going to be a slow and long 44-hour labour that included an epidural, required a handful of medical interventions and ended in a C-section. No, that is not how my birthing story would go.

Breastfeeding? It was going to be breeze! It was going to be the most wonderful and natural experience. I would love every second, continue to breastfeed for at least the first year and the dreaded ‘f’ word was not an option. It wouldn’t feel unnatural and awkward. I wouldn’t hate it and cry on a regular basis because I wanted to stop, yet felt trapped because there was no way I would give my baby formula. I would not notice that my milk supply was dwindling 5 months in and that formula would soon become my child’s primary source of nutrition. No, that is not how breastfeeding would go for my baby and me.

Co-sleeping? Never! My baby was going to sleep in her crib as early as possible since co-sleeping is dangerous, risky and can creates dependence. My baby will never sleep in a rocker or swing and she most certainly will not sleep on my chest on the couch. Most importantly I would never have a 14-month toddler in my bed with me every night. No, that is not how my baby was going to sleep.

Television? Television is bad and my baby was not going to watch any kids TV shows until she was at least one-year old. She can stay pre-occupied with books, toys and interactive activities. I would never use TV as a babysitter for my 8-month old baby when I needed to get housework done or simply need 10 minutes of ‘me’ time. No, that would never be allowed in my home.

Cell Phones? Toddlers and small children do not need to play with cell phones, especially as a distraction tool in a restaurant or grocery store. I mean, my generation never did and we turned out just fine. My baby will not play with a cell phone when she is 10 months old, her face will not light up at the sight of that bright screen. Most importantly – I will never use my phone to distract my toddler in a restaurant when she is tired of sitting still. No, I will never resort to letting my baby become a ‘zombie’.

The realities of many things over the last year were the complete opposite from my expectations and I took it very hard most of the time. I felt guilty, like a failure and inadequate far too many times all because I built it up in my head to how things ‘had to go’ in order for me to be a good mom.

Then, over time I learned to let go. I discovered the beauty in my unique, messy birth story that brought my baby girl into this world. I looked at how happy and thriving she was after being on formula for a month and that my level of stress from not having to breastfeed any longer significantly decreased. I realized how indescribably blissful falling asleep with a tiny baby snuggled on my chest was and I continue to bask in my daughter’s perfection as I fall asleep with her next to me every night. I took advantage of that TV show that gave me the break I so desperately needed at that moment. I was content that my phone kept my daughter happy in that crowded public area rather than having her scream at the top of her lungs.

Looking at my healthy, happy, goofy, wild-spirited daughter who walks, talks and eats anything you put in front of her, one would never know that she was delivered via C-Section, fed formula since she was 5 months old, co-sleeps, and watches TV and plays with a cell phone on occasion.

Are some of the choices that I have made for everyone? Of course not! But I found a way to let go of my expectations and let reality sink in in order to meet the needs of my daughter and myself.

Be flexible Momma. Embrace change. Let go of set plans, ideas and notions of how things should go or what you are ‘expected’ to do. If that means veering of the path you had imagined it is going to be okay. That’s life. That’s motherhood. And it’s a beautiful thing!

 

 

We’re Going to Have to Let You Go… – Mommy Blogger

Hi! My name is Marie Stewart, a 34 year old wife and mother of one super active boy! I work as a Director of a Finance Department, and am studying part-time towards a CPA certification. I’ve moved around my whole life and have had to become good at making new friends and finding my “tribe”, while navigating my pesky introverted tendencies. I love to give advice and help out anyone who is willing. In fact, I tend to insert myself maybe too much! We love movies, (especially Harry Potter), camping, home renos and watching our little boy grow into his big personality. I am passionate about helping to educate about personal finance issues, and just share anything mommy related that I think might help out someone else from breastfeeding to careers to #boymomlife.

Have you ever been fired? I’m not talking about 15-year old you missing too many shifts at the movie theatre. I once had a friend who called in sick three times… from the bar she was drinking at. Not those young moments that you can look back and laugh about. I’m talking about a grown up professional job where reputation matters. Where the consequences are real. Where you have a family to feed and bills that depend on your income to get paid. Where you have professional training to do what you do and take pride in your work. Well, I have.

It’s something that’s rarely talked about and that happens more often than people think. I always thought of folks who got fired as the unstable “trouble makers” or the old boss that sleeps at his desk and gets gently nudged towards retirement. I never thought it would happen to me. I’m a hard worker, thoughtful, educated. I get along with people, although outspoken when I see changes that need to be made.

As you climb the ladder through your career, “fit” matters more than ever. Whether it’s at a hospital, a school, an office or a sales team. It matters much more than at entry level positions. As you move up, you’ll likely see more leaders let go, be let go yourself or even be a part of the process of letting someone go if you’re a supervisor. Leaders have so much influence on the team and organization that it’s important to get that position just right in terms of personality and skill level.

If you’re let go from a position, it can be very hurtful and downright embarrassing. It may not have been legal or just or fair. But it happens. You will wonder what you could have done differently to prevent the outcome. You will likely consider suing for wrongful dismissal. But once you grieve and accept what has happened, you may almost feel relief. Just because you weren’t the right person for that job, doesn’t mean you’re not the perfect person for another employer. If fact, getting fired can build resilience and confidence in a way that no other experience can.

You’ll have to use your best judgement to disclose to potential employers or not. However, you might find that most employers won’t bat an eye if you’re honest about being let go. And if they do, you probably don’t want to work there. Any hiring manager with a brain in his or her head knows that there are two sides to any story. As long as you can explain if asked that you took the lesson (even if you don’t feel there was one) that came from being let go and you’re better for it, a good interviewer will be impressed.

So here’s to life’s set-backs! May they come when they’re needed, leave their wisdom and take their pain with them when they go!

Temper Tantrum – Mommy Blogger

Hi, my name is Shannon Strogal, I am a wife and a mother to four children ages 22, 13, 11 and 8. I work full-time as a strength and conditioning fitness coach in Regina. My passion in supporting women’s health, both mentally and physically, started from my own personal experiences. I hope my blogs inspire and resonate with fellow mothers. I truly believe that behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.

Aw, the good ole temper tantrum. That moment all parents go through whether it’s in public or in the privacy of your home when your child is losing their (bleep) over something more then likely menial to us but devastating huge to them.

Tantrums or meltdowns can happen when children want something and can’t have it, are avoiding something, are hungry, tired, or generally not feeling well.

At some point we all have witnessed someone else’s child or your own child expressing their anger and frustration by screaming, crying, falling to the floor, flailing their limbs, hitting, kicking, throwing items and, in some children, holding their breath. Although my children are well beyond this stage I still feel compassion for any parent that I see during the moment of a full fledged meltdown because I have been there, done that.

I feel like there is no definitive do’s and don’ts in this situation because we all parent differently, and frankly so we should. Our children are individuals and react to different behaviours so we all need to figure out what is going to work best in each situation. However, I can share what I used and hopefully you can take bits and pieces of it to come up with a strategy that works best for you.

I started off with mitigating any potential meltdowns before they happened. That meant I never, ever, took my children out if they were not feeling well unless it was to see the doctor. Nothing was that important and if it was, I got someone to watch them so I could step out quickly. On that same note I never kept my kids out late in public. So many times I’ve seen children in a grocery store at 11:00 at night. I am by no means judging because I do not know the situation but most times I witness these children crying, whining and not very happy.

I also never left the house without packing snacks and juice. A full tummy is a happy tummy every single time. Kids are growing and eating constantly so It’s no wonder they literally get hangry when they’ve gone more than an hour without food.

However sometimes even the best plan falls apart and the meltdown of the century happens without us seeing it coming. In these moments I found it best to remove ourselves from the situation as calmly and quickly as we could. Whether that meant going in to another room or leaving a store in the middle of shopping and going out to the car or where ever we could be alone. Trying to talk to children when they are publicly having a tantrum never seemed to go very well, but getting them in to a quiet space where they could calm down seemed to work better. Also, remaining firm on my decision was the rule, whether I wanted to cave or not. I found if children see you changing your mind they learn quickly that the tantrum worked, and this will only cause you problems in the end. Stick to your initial decision!

And when in doubt, hug it out. Human touch has a powerful way of making us all feel better.

As any parent we are just winging it most days. These are just some of the techniques I used to use, sometimes separately, sometimes in a combo approach but it worked for us.

Salute to all of us parents just trying to make it from one day to the next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lone Dinosaur – Mommy Blogger

My name is Sally Koepke but I like to go as Sally Kaiser. I am a mom of 3 beautiful children. They are 5 months old – Addison, 3 years old – Benjamin and 5 years old – Hailey ! I’m going to school full time to become an early childhood educator and enjoy life as a single mom! I enjoy working with children and also enjoy police work and am in hopes to become an officer in 18 years ! I am new to blogging and am giving it a try! I know I am not the only single mom trying to make things work in life so hoping that my post will uplift some moms!

“What is it like to be a lone dinosaur (single parent)?” One common question I get asked. Well. I’m sure there’s more Struggles out there but here are mine.

I am a full time student for the ECE program, I’m a parent to 3 beautiful children, 5 months, 3 years and 5 years. No life is not easy, but I push past the issues and keep looking forward as much as I can. As a single parent you don’t have someone who will simply watch the child while you shower. So here comes the 5 minute showers in play. While you are cooking you don’t have someone to tell “play with the kids” so your little ones become chefs because they either get to measure or with assistance cut vegetables. What I learned from my year of single parenting: I would not change my life if I had a choice. I enjoy my hectic days, I enjoy when my kids come to me with all their issues instead of going “where is mom/dad” because I am both. I get through the day saying “if I don’t do it, who will?” My mornings start with my baby crying, I get up feed her. My son wakes up shortly after same with my daughter. Works great, dressing everybody … Well … There are T-Rex moments. But in my family when mom says “roar” it means slow down. listen. I love you. Lets do this together. The day carries on.

When night time strikes it can be tough. We are cranky from the sport activities and daycare so we slowly have our fights to get to sleep. But again I wouldn’t change a thing because at the end of the day, you have a pair of eyes staring at you in awe.

You are making the world go round, you are their firefighter and their nurse. You are showing them dreams can happen when you fight for it. It may have rocks or bolder on the street, but you can get past it because you have the strength of a team. Yes it can be exhausting. Yes your house may not look clean, but at the end of the day, you did what you needed.

It is not easy to be a parent and even as a couple, you tend to feel like you are a lone dinosaur. But with the help of your little helpers you can conquer the journey to the great valley.

Never give up the hope behind the rock there’s a path that leads further.

Post-Partum Depression and Anxiety, The Dad’s Perspective – Mommy Blogger

I’m Jenna Steranko! Currently a  stay at home mom and part time/hobbiest photographer. I have 2 kids, Jake 9 and Emma 16months. They keep us busy with Jake’s sports and Emma’s toddler terror personality. We are a very outdoorsy family, often outside and always camping in the summer! We have 2 dogs and usually a foster dog hanging around!

The ripple of change for support for post-partum mothers is turning into a title wave. There is so much more support, knowledge, studies, programs, groups, therapies, medications and acknowledgment now, in 2019 than there ever was before (9 years ago I suffered and had zero support, this time around I had support every direction I turned. And that is UN-EFFING-REAL!)

When we talk about postpartum depression, the mothers who are struggling (or in my sense barely surviving) have options. But what about the dads? While we are sitting here in our doctors’ offices getting support and help, talking about an episode of rage that happened, or why we are always sleeping or not sleeping, or why we have these terrifying thoughts and day dreams about hurting our baby or something terrifyingly bad happening to them. Again, where are the dads? They are at work. They are silently processing what is happening and has been happening. They are wondering where their wife went. Their wife that wanted this family, that loves children, that was always happy and was capable of beaming joy and light into every room.

Once my depression and anxiety medications got all straightened out, I was finally clear headed. I was able to reflect and not feel shame about the incredible roller coaster I put my family through for the last 10 months after giving birth to our daughter. I was able to ask my husband, how are you doing? He, of course, looked at me a little stunned and said: “uh, I’m good?” That wasn’t an acceptable answer so I asked again: “But no, how are you really doing? Because this has been so f*cking hard and yes, I’m dealing with these emotions and thoughts and outbursts but you get the brunt end of it. You have to stand tall and be strong so I can fall to pieces and then you have to pick them back up again. You have to sit here and watch me be destroyed by this invisible condition. You have to watch your loving, happy, full of life wife turn into this rage monster who gets absorbed completely with sorrow and darkness and panic. So, my love, how are YOU REALLY doing?”

This is bringing me to the point of this blog post. This is for the husbands/spouses who sit silent on the side lines with no control, no knowledge and no support. I made a list of questions and have 3 husbands/spouses answer anonymously in hopes to shed some light on where need to start supporting, educating and offering spousal services for before, during and after their wife is diagnosed with PPD/PPA or in rare cases, post-partum psychosis.

  1. Gender and age:

 Dad A): Male, 26

Dad B: Male, 33

Dad C): Male, 48

  1. What did you know, if anything, about post-partum depression and anxiety before your wife was diagnosed or received any help?

Dad A): A fair amount. Took a few birth classes and did some personal research.

Dad B): Not much in detail; just what I knew from the odd TV show.  Sometimes women get sad after having babies.  And I always thought it was short term… few days or a couple weeks.

Dad C): I knew quite a bit about depression since my wife has been treated for depression since before we started dating. I knew less about anxiety, but still quite a bit. I didn’t know a lot about PPD and how birthing would affect her existing condition.

  1. As far as treatment measures for your wife, were you satisfied with the help she is/had received?

Dad A): Yes and no. She has been prescribed medication which has helped a great deal but has not received much as far as counselling/therapy and the counselling that was received was not helpful.

Dad B): I’d have to say in general, no.  For the most part, the options for help are there but I feel that post-partem is such a roller-coaster that my wife wouldn’t pursue some options because she was feeling ‘good’ that day (or at least she was pretending to); namely the counselling.  I was never prepared, especially early on to talk about post-partem with my wife.  I didn’t understand post-partum and was largely in denial that my wife even had it.  It took me a long time to get my head around the fact that it was an on-going issue.  I wish she was ‘forced’ to talk to a professional.

Dad C): She didn’t receive any extra treatment measures outside of her regular treatment.

  1. Please share your experience, from the outside looking in, watching your wife struggle the way she did/does. As in, what does PPD/PPA look like from your perspective?

Dad A): Short tempers and low motivation were common. Sometimes things felt normal but there was more going on internally that I was not aware of that seemed to come up all of a sudden.

Dad B): First, I will say, I was not prepared, mentally or emotionally.  I was a terrible support system off the start.  I did not understand the struggle my wife was going through.  I was even embarrassed that she shared some of her struggles publicly on social media even though it helped her.  Also, working out of town I was able to escape and turn a blind eye.  And when I did see her struggling I tried to come up with solutions and be the answer.  As the ‘man’ of the house it is my job to fix problems.  I was trying to be a fixer rather than be support system.  In hind-site I really feel awful for how I acted.

95% of the time post-partum is quiet to the outside observer.  You wouldn’t really know it was there unless you were really looking.  It was like a lurking monster in the shadows.  When it did show its face it was scary; emotional outbursts, depression, etc.

Dad C): Again this is hard to measure because existing conditions make changes difficult to measure. For the most part when I see my wife struggle I take it on myself that I’m not doing enough being supportive enough which is difficult when you don’t have enough energy for yourself in the first place.

  1. Explain your feelings, emotions and struggles during this time.

Dad A): It is hard to understand and hard to know what to do to help. It can be difficult to have to be the support for someone struggling with mental health when we are also caring for a new baby and probably balancing work as well. I have often struggled with understanding mental health so it has been a learning experience for sure.

Dad B): It took me a long time to realize that I couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to understand what was going on inside my wife’s head.  I am glad she is doing better but I do wonder if it will come back again.

Dad C): Changes in the family and changes for our eldest made coping difficult at times. Some days you really reevaluate if having another child was the right choice. Today I don’t doubt that decision at all and things are better.

  1. If there was an option for a post-partum depression and anxiety and psychosis class to take before the baby is born, would you attend? Do you think this would be helpful? Why?

Dad A): I feel like having it in the typical birth-prep courses is helpful. There can always be more information given. Awareness and providing tools to work through it is important.

Dad B): Looking back I would definitely attend.  It took me so long to really grasp the gravity of the situation.  I wish I could have been more knowledgeable and more mentally prepared.

Dad C): I definitely would attend a class if offered. I can at times feel down and overwhelmed by many things and understanding what is regular for me versus what is added due to the changes in family would be helpful. Strategies for reconnecting with your spouse would be good as well. Often times I get so caught up in my own brain that it is difficult to relate to and respond to my wife as I know I want to and need to. The hardest days were the first ones back to work after having taken some parental time to be with the family. Those days I really wished I could be in two places at once.

  1. Did you attend any doctors’ appointments with your wife? Were you offered any help to cope ie: counselling, therapies, information resources like books/pamphlets/documentaries?

Dad A): I did not attend any appointments in regards to her mental health. I attended most of the appointments during the pregnancy. I do not remember what we received for information.

Dad B): Yes I went to one doctors appointment which was after one of our bigger fights.  This was after a long road of me not understanding, trying to fix the problem myself, make things better.  The documentary: When The Bough Breaks was also a turning point in my understanding.  I would suggest anyone having a baby to watch it.

Dad C): I didn’t attend any counseling sessions with my wife. I did help take care of our youngest when appointments were difficult to schedule.

  1. What would you say to another husband/spouse with a wife that has post-partum depression/anxiety?

Dad A): It does get better and it is more common than people think. I guess the most important thing is not to take things too personally. I often find myself shaking my head and walking away instead of arguing back.

Dad B): I would say seek help ASAP.  Address it early on.  I would say don’t try and fix it.  Don’t even try to understand it because it is next to impossible to put yourself in someone else’s shoes; especially in a situation like this.  Just accept that it’s there and support your wife needs.  Listen.  Ask how she’s doing even when she seems fine.

Dad C): The cliché that you aren’t alone. We really all feel terrible some days and parenting is not always an easy task. Knowing that there’s others that just need to get out and walk with the kids or just hang out at the park is comforting.

  1. How are you really doing?

Dad A): I’d say pretty well. It is very hard and the gratitude that I might want isn’t always there but I know that doesn’t mean I’m not appreciated.

Dad B): I am okay.  I still find myself trying to understand what is going on her head.  If a bad mood is post-partum or just a bad day.  Is it still there? Or is it gone?  Will it come back?  But overall I am happy.  My wife seems to be doing much better.

Dad C): Now, I’m doing well. Things are back to normal or at least to a manageable routine. I still struggle getting the sleep I need and finding enough time to work a job, spend enough time with both kids and still connect with my wife. If I had another five hours a day it would probably all disappear as well. But there’s a rhythm to life now that is comforting.

  1. This isn’t a question, but a point. Being someone’s rock is HARD AS F*CK. Thank you, even when we don’t have a clear head or don’t seem like ourselves. We will get there, eventually, and we couldn’t do it without our rocks. Dads need love too, so know that we see you, appreciate you and love you.

 

Meet our Mommy Bloggers

Meet our 2019 Mommy Bloggers!

We will be posting a few new blogs each week on a variety of topics including!

These ladies have some amazing ideas and I can’t want to share them with you!

 


Susan De Vries

I am a proud first time mom to my beautiful one-year old daughter, Sawyer. She has taught me so many things in such a short amount of time and will be my inspiration for every blog post! I am also a wife and a fur-baby mom to our very large dog, Geo.

Going back to my job as an HR Coordinator after a year of mat leave was difficult, however I love juggling work and home life. There is never a dull moment!

In the small amount of spare time I do have I love to do puzzles, colour, play sudoku and creep on Facebook (of course)! I have also always loved to write and I’m excited to share my thoughts with other mommas!


Jenna Steranko

My name is Jenna Steranko. I’m a mom of 2. My son Jake is 9, I had him very young at the age of 20 and my daughter Emma was born August 2017. I love writing and connecting with other moms and parents. You will realize that I write how I talk, which means I’ll be very honest, raw and at times a little vulgar and almost always vulnerable. I hope my writings bring you light, peace, smile, connection or whatever you may need in that moment.

 


Shannon Strogal

Hi, my name is Shannon Strogal, I am a wife and a mother to four children ages 22, 13, 11 and 8. I work full-time as a strength and conditioning fitness coach in Regina. My passion in supporting women’s health, both mentally and physically, started from my own personal experiences. I hope my blogs inspire and resonate with fellow mothers. I truly believe that behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.


Sally Dara Kaiser

My name is Sally Koepke but I like to go as Sally Kaiser. I am a mom of 3 beautiful children. They are 5 months old – Addison, 3 years old – Benjamin and 5 years old – Hailey ! I’m going to school full time to become an early childhood educator and enjoy life as a single mom! I enjoy working with children and also enjoy police work and am in hopes to become an officer in 18 years ! I am new to blogging and am giving it a try! I know I am not the only single mom trying to make things work in life so hoping that my post will uplift some moms!


Mehwish Altaf

Hello! My name is Mehwish Altaf, a dentist by profession and a mommy to three beautiful babies by choice, I spend the major part of the day rejoicing in the glory that childhood emanates. I take great delight in helping my kids learn through play, engage in activities to increase independence and help them foster respect, love and kindness. An ardent fan of the Montessori way, I try inculcating its teachings in our daily life. Join me as we explore the endless joys that only being a mother can bestow.


 

 Marie Stewart

Hi! My name is Marie Stewart, a 34 year old wife and mother of one super active boy! I work as a Director of a Finance Department, and am studying part-time towards a CPA certification. I’ve moved around my whole life and have had to become good at making new friends and finding my “tribe”, while navigating my pesky introverted tendencies. I love to give advice and help out anyone who is willing. In fact, I tend to insert myself maybe too much! We love movies, (especially Harry Potter), camping, home renos and watching our little boy grow into his big personality. I am passionate about helping to educate about personal finance issues, and just share anything mommy related that I think might help out someone else from breastfeeding to careers to #boymomlife.


Sabrina Moquin

Hey all! My name is Sabrina Moquin and I am a wife and currently a stay at home mom to our 2 year old daughter, Lilliana and our soon to be son!(due in 3 weeks!). Our daughter keeps me busy all day long and keeps me on my toes. She is my pride and joy. I just recently started Mat leave and boy was that a blessing! I never realized what it was like to stand on ones feet for 8 hours with a baby growing inside! Lol In my free time I love to blog, cook, bake, crochet, cross stitch, go on hikes, swim, do crosswords, do sudoku puzzles, travel, and play my piano, and a ton of more stuff!

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