Holiday Sleep Tips For The Busy Family – Guest Blogger

Another holiday season is approaching and it gets so exciting with little ones in the home! I remember growing up just loving the holidays and taking in all of the festivities, but it really is magical to watch your children around the holidays. Colorful light displays, decorations in stores, smells in the home… all of these bring happiness and joy and it can be so contagious. With all of this excitement, try and ensure your baby gets the rest she needs to be happy, healthy and alert during this time to make it more enjoyable for everyone.

TIP 1. Don’t overschedule

One of the biggest mistakes I make around the holidays is trying to pack in as much fun and adventure as I did in my before kids days. This doesn’t usually spell fun at the end of the day anymore! Going ice skating, playdate for lunch, shopping in the afternoon and family visits in the evening can just be too much for littles.

Slow your pace down and learn to say no when you start to notice that nap times are being moved too often or bedtimes are becoming late. I call it being balanced… and it’s not easy during the holidays, especially if you are away from home. Plan your activities around your nap times (if they are predictable…), and you will be rewarded with a baby who is less fussy and easily consolable.

TIP 2. If you are not a co-sleeping family, now is not the time to start

If you will be travelling, borrow a play pen, rent a crib, ask family and friends, bring a bassinet along… You will find yourself with a big problem when you get home and put her back in the crib. Even a few nights of co-sleeping can create a habit, so if this is not something that you want to continue with, I would avoid doing this.

If you are a co-sleeping family, enjoy those early bedtimes together! You can even use it as an excuse if you have friends and family that want to keep you up late drinking holiday cheer and catching up. There is nothing better than a mom who gets extra sleep!

TIP 3. Bring your teddy, blanket, stuffie, lovey…

If your baby treasures something while sleeping, don’t forget it! Pack it along with some cotton, breathable pajamas to have that scent of home close by. If you will be planning a late night but not staying overnight, just put you baby to bed as usual where you are, and at an age appropriate time, then transfer her to her crib when you get home. You will not want to keep her up late but this is also a great time to have actual, non-interrupted conversations with friends (which can be so hard to come by these days!).

TIP 4. Preserve naps and bedtime

My children are the definition of meltdown if they go two days in a row with messed up naps and bedtime. So I don’t do it!

If you plan to travel, try to reserve the next day as catchup and focus on those crib naps and use an early bedtime to eliminate some crankiness. The occasional nap in the carseat or a later bedtime won’t do you too much harm, but several days in a row will start to wear your baby thin. Not only can your baby’s mood change drastically, he might start crying and forcefully refusing sleep, causing stress for everyone. There can be a lot of pressure with family around, so the consistency is worth the effort.

Tip 5. Relax. Enjoy. Make memories.

The holidays are about friends, family, love, laughter, kindness. If sleep is elusive in your home, don’t try and make changes while you travel. When the New Year hits, you will be in a much better place to start shaping your baby’s sleep. Watch my Facebook page for some great sleep tips and promotions in January to support your family!

Happy holidays from my family to yours!

Trista Cave

Sleep Coach, Educator and Child Nutritionist

www.cavebabies.ca

 

Depression and Parenting – Mommy Blogger

I am Amanda Grace. I am a full time working mama of 2 beautiful sassy girlies and 1 handsome husband. I started blogging a few years ago and have recently published a blog the Blue Bird Journals. My goal for blogging is to inspire and support other parents. I want others to know that they are not alone in tough times and that they have someone to celebrate the good times with too! I truly believe the corny saying ‘sharing is caring’. ❤️ I invite you to browse my site at www.bluebirdjournals.com or catch me on instagram (@bluebirdjournals) or facebook (@bluebirdjournalsblog).

When I was pregnant with both of my girls, my depression and anxiety were at its best. I was pleasantly surprised that even though I had to stop taking my medication, my body adjusted on its own and I felt good mentally. I had extreme morning sickness the whole time with both of them, so it definitely wasn’t all cupcakes and rainbows, haha. But I felt good about my mental state.

After my first, I had a few regular downs (times when my depression and/or anxiety was interfering with my everyday life) but nothing too bad.

After my second, all bets were off. I went through a heavy postpartum period and since then have dealt with some extreme lows. Even though I had my second two and half years ago, I know my body is still in recovery. Still trying to figure out my hormone balance every month and as a result, has left me trying to figure out what I can do to make sure I am at my best.

Our whole body, physical and mental, goes through so much during pregnancy and post. Hormones change with pregnancy, postpartum and with age. It can be difficult for some women. I happen to be one of those women.

Parenting is a tough gig and I find parenting when you are depressed is a whole different challenge. Don’t get my wrong, I know parenting already has its challenges and I’m not trying to take away from that. This is just my view on the last 5 and a half years of my parenting journey.

There are days that I want to lay in bed and hide in the dark. I want to ignore the world and not move at all. But I have two little girls who need me and no matter how I feel I need to show up for them. This has been one of the toughest parts of having depression and being a mom. It has also been one of the greatest things. The days that I struggle I know I have two very important reasons to get up. To move forward.

So if you are also one of those women, hold onto that. You are a mom, it’s a word that holds a lot of power. It is a reason to get up, a reason to hold onto hope for better days. A reason to get the help you need to be the best mom you can be. It also means you are not alone. Motherhood is an amazing community and there are other moms going through ups and downs just like you. Reach out!

So, mom, no matter what you are going through, hold on! It’s okay to not be okay but no matter what, you have to do what you have to do to get better for them!

Amanda

Mom

Insights on Having a Newborn – Mommy Blogger

My name is Teri and I’m the proud mama of a busy, hilarious, brilliant toddler and an awesome, beautiful, snuggly baby. Being a mom is a challenging and beautiful adventure that nothing else in my life prepared me for. Luckily, I have an amazing husband who is there through all the ups and downs, awesome friends who are happy to share their parenting knowledge (or at least laugh with me through the chaos!), and an extended family who is always ready to help. I work as a marketing and communications professional when I’m not at home on maternity leave, and I love sharing my experiences as a mom.

  We recently welcomed a baby boy to our family, and suddenly (OK, not suddenly, but it still feels a bit shocking, even after 40 weeks of warning), we found ourselves back in the newborn stage. With this being our second son, we weren’t strangers to this phase, and yet I found myself remembering things I had forgotten from the first time around.

We have all heard the regular wisdom people love to share with moms-to-be: sleep when the baby sleeps, you’ll miss these days when they’re gone, etc. This is my own list of random observations and/or advice that you might not have heard before. I’m definitely no expert—this is based solely on my own experience and personality. Also I’m the sleep-deprived mama of a newborn and a busy toddler, so honestly at this point I’m just happy I can string some sentences together.

Make your bed.

It might sound strange, but with as much in and out of bed as you’ll be doing during the first few months, this was something I found comforting. Each morning I try to at least somewhat make the bed so that when it’s time to crawl back into bed at night it feels a bit more refreshed, and gets whatever sleep you are getting off on the right foot.

You might not feel like yourself.

If you’re anything like me, your self-confidence will be all over the place and your world will suddenly seem quite small—not unimportant, just very focused on this new little person. The things you would normally spend your time on get the short end of the stick for the first little while. Taking the opportunity to actually get ready and leave the house when I can goes a long way to helping me feel more like myself—not only a mom, but also a woman with friends, and a social life.

It’s tough not to keep score.

As the mom, it’s hard to not feel like you’re doing more of the work that comes with a newborn. Even if your partner is super helpful (and mine is), there just seems to be more responsibility that falls to mama (especially if you’re breastfeeding, obviously). Just know that your partner is likely trying to help you, even if it doesn’t always seem like it. Talk to them about it if it’s a problem, and try to keep the scorekeeping to a minimum.

 Find your hot shower.

You probably already know that your time won’t be your own when your little one makes his or her arrival. There will be days when you literally will not have a minute to yourself. To keep your sanity, find something that you can do easily, probably at home, and in a short amount of time. For me, a hot shower is something that always leaves me feeling refreshed, less stressed and more like myself. Whatever that is for you, make time for it whenever possible. It won’t always be as often as you would like, but every little bit can help.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Having a baby is so overwhelming. It’s happy, exciting, exhausting, confusing, stressful and everything else all at once. Add on hormones, sleep deprivation and the sudden aloneness that comes with maternity leave and staying home with a new baby, and it all adds up to a pretty crazy situation. If you feel like you could use some extra help, reach out to people you know or to a professional. I saw a counsellor and a psychologist a few times after my first baby, and talking things through with an objective person really helped me gain some perspective.

There is no right answer.

Everyone is an expert on babies. You’ll get all kinds of unsolicited opinions on literally every baby-related topic, and if you go looking you’ll find even more. The truth is, there is no one right way to be a mom, or to care for your newborn, or to raise a child. So stop looking for the right answers and do what works best for you and your family.

It will go slowly, but also fast.

This is my last point, and it’s probably a variation of something you’ve heard before. Days will sometimes feel long, but all of sudden you feel like you blinked and your baby isn’t quite as much of a baby anymore. He’ll start to smile, and then he’ll be rolling over, sitting up, crawling, walking. So take deep breath, soak it all in, revel in the madness. You’ve got this mama.

 

 

 

It Goes by so Fast – Mommy Blogger

Hi my name is Jen and I’m a mom to two beautiful boys (age 2, and 5 months). I love being a mom, which was partially surprising given I used to be the first to politely shake my head “umm, no that’s OK” when someone would bring their new baby to the office and pass them around the gaggle of women who couldn’t wait to have their turn. Now I’m that woman, currently on my second maternity leave, doing all the baby things and loving it.

 Everyone always tells you, “it goes by so fast”. The idea of time flying by makes me feel sad, but also grateful for the many moments everyday with my kids. Weird, I have kids? Kids? Plural? Two in fact, and some days I emerge from the sleep-deprived fog of exhaustion caused by said kids, I still can’t believe I made two humans with my body, without even trying. Often when I’m out and about with them, another parent with grown kids or grandkids will give me a sweet smile and look at my little ones and say “cherish this time because before you know it, they are all grown up”. Ahhh enter stab to the heart as I stand there in the grocery store, gripping the handle of my stroller, imagining my sweet little boys as grown men with chest hair and retirement savings accounts.

The hard thing about it going by so fast is figuring out when to go fast and when to go slow as a parent. Take the nightly bedtime routine for my toddler, for example. Everything I’ve read about sleep for little ones stresses its importance for their development. You need a bedtime routine to help them establish good sleep habits so they’ll (a) become functioning young people and adults, and (b) go to sleep for long stretches so that you won’t go insane from prolonged sleep deprivation. This runs through my mind when I’m cuddling with my toddler in his bed and he wants one more story or says “mommy let’s talk.” Do I go fast or slow here?

When I write it here in a nostalgic way, of course I’ll choose one more story or to talk with my son, knowing someday he might not want to talk quite so easily. On the other hand, when a toddler learns to stall at bedtime night after night and I want to get him to sleep so that I can finally sleep, sometimes I rush the routine.

I don’t have any answers or advice for other parents and this is just my experience. I’m sure I’m not alone. This motherhood thing is the most emotionally rich experience of my life. Ever since my second son arrived, I have to split my attention between two and that is an adjustment. And because I’m breastfeeding I often have to leave in the middle of a game or story with my older son to feed the baby, which makes me feel guilty or like I’m missing out.

What this experience has taught me is to be as present as I can with each of them as often as I can. When my little baby is sleeping, I notice the fuzz of his baby hair and the sweet look of his little closed eyelids and pursed lips, and relish the feel of his warm little body snuggled up against me. When I’m playing with my toddler, I pay close attention to the inquisitive look in his bright eyes when he’s playing, I watch his imagination blossom, and try to bottle this feeling of being amazed at everything he is learning every day.

My parents always said that having kids was the hardest, yet most rewarding job on the planet. I get it now. The physical act of parenting is exhausting, and then you pile on the mental and emotional aspects too and it can be overwhelming and all consuming. Everyday I must make a hundred little decisions to care for another person and I never know if I’m doing the right thing, and that’s OK. It’s just plain hard. But, one thing I do know for sure is that someday when they are all grown up, I will have cherished every single sweet moment from when they were little because it really does go by so fast.

What Moms do the Day After Election – Mommy Blogger

I’m a teacher, wife and mom of a very proud soon-to-be big sister. My blogs highlight the happy and humorous moments of parenting. I love music, writing, the outdoors and mommy-ing and I enjoy sharing how kids have a magical way of making favourite past-times like these even better.

While lunch rooms are buzzing, elevators are more alive with conversation than usual and every car radio is tuned in on the commute to work, what do moms do the day after election?

They wake up to bright-eyed bushy tailed children whose opinions, moods, and priorities are unchanged.  And moms smile.

Then moms ask the kids who they think is the new leader of Canada, and kids strain to remember who the options were.  Moms give little prompts in full trivia game style, and the names are repeated back, with equal enthusiasm from the kids who are happy they got the names right.  Moms say the names again, reminding the kids to practice their “sh” sounds as they say  “Sheer” and their “tricky tr” sounds as they say Trudeau.  The kids try again, spitting a little with over-emphasis.  Then they scurry away as if that was the last of the discussion.

Moms tell the kids who the leader of the country is and they repeat it without much connotation or emotion besides the natural pre-school emphasis that comes with every second word.  Then they go back to their toys.

Moms write the word Prime Minister with pencil and get kids to trace it with red marker, and talk a little bit about what that person does.  Kids trace half the word and then start writing their Christmas list all over the page with scribbles and whirls of fake hand-writing.

Moms turn on the radio to hear a bit of the aftermath that comes with post-election day, but are in the room for only seconds before they are called to the bathroom to find their toddler wrapped up in toilet paper pretending to be the “new queen of Canada”.

Moms look at their kids and think about how important federal politics are in Canada, and the tremendous impact they have on our kids. But moms also look at their kids and smile, considering how quickly this term of federal politics will go by, and how much will change in each child’s life as compared to the country.  There are big important things happening in the outside world, but there are a million small important things happening in the lives of our littles each day.

So the day after election, moms are moms.  They are a hundred times more important to kids than the new leader of the country whose name the kids strain to remember, and the impact moms have on their microcosm of society, their family, is more impactful than any leader could ever be.  So moms, as always, show their kids how much they love them, and it means more than any election ever could.

 

 

For the New Mom Struggling – My Journey Through Pregnancy and Postpartum – Mommy Blogger

Hello! My name is Keira, and I am a new mom to a beautiful baby girl.  Motherhood is as everyone says – the most amazing thing.  It is also the hardest, loneliest and most exhausting thing.  I’m here to share both sides of motherhood with you.  I hope you enjoy.

Even though I dealt with a few interesting things throughout my pregnancy, I’d still classify it as an “easy” one.  Albeit in a zombie-like trance throughout my first trimester, I never got morning sickness.  Although I had to take thyroid medication, and then ended up having gestational diabetes, I felt as though I was taking everything in stride – tackling things one by one and succeeding.

It wasn’t until a third-trimester ultrasound that I began feeling anxious about the tiny human growing inside of me.  We learnt that her weight had begun to plateau – she was no longer gaining and we would likely need to be induced.  Soon enough our girl was given her eviction notice, and at 37 weeks she was born at 4 lbs, 13 oz.

Once we got home from the hospital my postpartum anxiety seemed to grow like the plants that were beginning to grow that Spring.  We had a hard time nursing, and she needed to gain weight.  So we had a very regimented schedule: try to nurse, bottle feed and then pump.  After a month of the “triple-feed” schedule, I couldn’t take it anymore.  We stopped trying to nurse and I started exclusively pumping.

Fast-forward another month or so, and I was completely wiped.  I knew deep down that I had to stop breastfeeding and switch to formula for my own sanity, but that didn’t make the decision any easier.  Our struggles with feeding also seemed to trigger negative thoughts about everything else that I was doing – “I don’t cuddle her enough,” “She’s been on her back for too long: what if she gets a flat head?” “Oh she fell asleep in my arms, I better put her down so she doesn’t get spoiled.”  My emotions were out of control.  Amidst the happiness was rage, sadness and pure exhaustion. I honestly thought I was failing at everything.

One day I ended up sitting in my doctors office in a puddle of tears.

We are now six months post-birth, and I am feeling A LOT better.  Being in the trenches of motherhood is no joke, it can be a very dark place. I wanted to share with you the things that have helped my postpartum anxiety immensely:

  1. Medication – don’t be afraid to admit you need external help. I was hesitant to take anxiety medication, but it has been life changing.  There should be no shame in needing extra help.
  2. Getting back into hobbies – crafting, reading, exercising… whatever you are interested in. Once you have some time, get back to them!
  3. Ensuring you have some “you” time – whether it’s 30 minutes to take a bath, getting your nails done or taking a solo trip to get groceries, make sure you have some time to yourself. Ask your partner to watch the baby, get a sitter – do whatever you need to do.  You are still a human being OUTSIDE of being a mama.

There are still days where I feel down – like I have no idea what I’m doing.  But those days are fewer and farther between.  They are manageable. This can be the same for you. You aren’t alone in the struggle of being a new mom. Don’t ever forget that.

 

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy the Second Time – Mommy Blogger

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

I thought it would be easier the second time. But fun fact… pregnancy still sucks.

Yes, I know it’s a miracle and after a long-period of trying to conceive, I’m so happy to have a healthy baby number 2 coming. But to those women who say you love it… you have to be lying!

It starts with the nausea, followed by the extreme exhaustion and the bloated, fat and uncomfortable feeling. Not only did I find my body changed much faster this time, but I could barely keep my eyes open. Life mixed with a full-time job and a four-year-old was much different this time. I quickly realized I couldn’t just lay on the couch and do nothing for hours until bed time like the first.

The glory days of the second trimester couldn’t come fast enough. I was ready for more energy, soft, thicker hair, and clear skin once again! I’m 25 weeks and still waiting… suffering through hip pain.

And let’s not forget the struggle of deciding on a name. Good luck thinking that it is easy, especially when prepping for the same gender. I thought I could just go back to the list of names from my first. But I’ve come to realize that if they weren’t good enough then, why now? I also feel more prepared for names after hearing a preschooler speak and joining activities. I don’t want a common name, and I want his friends to be able to say it when they are young.

The one thing I didn’t expect is the love, excitement, pride and helpfulness from my preschooler. Besides him asking to name the baby “Carson 2” or “KeKe”, he is happy, wanting to help and is very ready to be a big brother. He’s helped pick the nursery theme, sort clothes. shop for needed items and talks to the baby already. I’m truly thrilled with this.

For so long, it had been me and him. I hope he can keep the happiness, excitement and understanding as we bring our new family member home. He has felt part of this journey and he is.

So maybe it’s not all bad! Well, besides the hip pain!

Mom Life – Mommy Blogger

My name is Erin. I’m a toddler mom and a pup mom. I had my son in May of 2016. Becoming a mom was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, and I have loved every moment of it. I am a stay at home writing mom. I write everyday after my son goes to bed. My partner occasionally works away from home. When he’s home, we spend as much family time together as possible, and when he’s gone, I practice my Solo Mom Life. Life isn’t always easy, but I try to be as grateful as I can. My son helps with that. You can find my blog at thewritingmomma.ca or follow me on Instagram and Facebook at thewritingmommalife

I’m late writing this. I call myself a writing momma, but I have not written in the last few weeks. I have to be honest: when I don’t write, it hurts my soul a little. I find that my mental health improves when I give myself moments to write. Unfortunately, I haven’t been taking the time for myself that I should be. 

Tonight, I am writing my Mommy Connections post. Better late than not at all. I’m going to start my writing every day with a blog post to some amazing moms. 

I’ve been trying to figure out what mom subject to write about. I was going over topic ideas in my head when I suddenly figured it out. I need to write about my now. I need to write about my current mom life. It’s always changing, and this week, it’s been tough.

I am writing this with a heavy heart (and I don’t say that lightly). I am sad. I’ve had a tough couple of days. 

I’ve been sick with a cold. 

My toddler has also been sick. We took a trip to Edmonton with my mom and sister, and while the trip was amazing, it was also exhausting. We tried to ignore the cold for as long as possible, but by the time we got home we let it hit us completely. It took two day for me to get the energy to change out of my pajamas. 

Of course, even though my son is also sick, he’s already better than I am, and even while sick, he has more energy that I’ve ever had while I was sick.

Wednesday (today) is the first day we’ve gotten dressed and out of the house. My kiddo made it to preschool after missing Monday. We felt much better getting out of the house even though I still don’t have a voice. 

I’m still sick, but as all parents know, it doesn’t mean a lot. I don’t get a sick day. Staying home in my pajamas with a box of kleenex is a sick day, but add on keeping a toddler happy and fed, and the day off ends. I will be honest, I miss the days where I could take a day off work, and be sick while also binge watching something on Netflix. Being a stay at home mom changes everything. It’s rewarding, but sick days aren’t an actual thing. I’m happy to say that I am healthy enough to officially be a Stay at Home Writing Mom again – or I will be when I finish this post. 

I’ve been dealing with anxiety. 

It’s not because I’m sick with a cold, but just something that I’m constantly battling. Some days are worse than others, but lately, I’ve had small panic attacks, and terrible sleeps. I know a lot of people deal with anxiety, and I know a lot of people have it much worse that I do. Writing helps me deal with it which is probably why it’s been worse lately. 

Anxiety is something I need to deal with sooner rather than later. My priority is my health. My priority is being there for my son. I need to be healthy – mentally and physically – for my son. I can’t let myself sink into an anxiety attack because I have a son to take care of. Before Anthony, I had anxiety, but didn’t recognize it for what it was. Now that I know what it is I’m dealing with, I can do things to make it better. Breathing is the first thing on the list. I’m happy to have my son because he motivates me to prioritize my mental health. 

I’ve been dealing with grief. 

The truth is, I’ve been dealing with this particular grief for almost a year. It comes and goes. I miss my friend every day. I am angry over the way her life was taken. I am sad that she never got to be a mother. I am heartbroken that I will never speak to her again. Somebody once described grief as a roller coaster. There are a lot of ups and downs, and you never know when it’s going to hit you. It’s been bad this week. 

While I’ve dealt with loss before, this is the first time I’ve had to deal with loss as a mom. My son is too young to understand. He doesn’t know why his mom is sad. He doesn’t know about the amazing person he won’t have in his life anymore. He also doesn’t allow me to stay sad. He will do anything to cheer me up, and I don’t want him to see me sad for an extended time. I can honestly say that this year has been easier to get through because I am a mother. This child of mine can cure me with a hug, or a smile, or he can make me laugh out loud even when I want to cry. He’s saved my day more than once.

Gratitude

I’m a huge believer in gratitude. It’s what keeps me grounded. It’s what helps me breathe. It’s how I keep calm when the world gets scary. The days are very hard sometimes, and life is not always easy, but I can still look around and try to find the good. I can be happy for a friend sharing great news. I can be happy because my son is always trying something new. I can be happy I’m drinking coffee or wine. Little or big, gratitude is what keeps me going.

Being a mom is freaking hard. We all know that. Without being sick, dealing with grief or anxiety, being a mom is hard. Others are dealing with so much more than me. I can look at my problems, and know things will get better. No matter what I’m going through today, I know that my son will always need me. As hard as it gets, I am always a momma. I am always his momma. 

I wrote this with no plan, and I didn’t write it to give myself a pity party. Life is good even in the rough patches. My cold will go away. I will write away my anxiety (I’m already doing it), and my grief will come and go, but I will always have my memories. 

I’ve got this. And so do you.

 

Happy Baby – Mommy Blogger

I’m a teacher, wife and mom of a very proud soon-to-be big sister. My blogs highlight the happy and humorous moments of parenting. I love music, writing, the outdoors and mommy-ing and I enjoy sharing how kids have a magical way of making favourite past-times like these even better.

I lovingly stared down at my three month old munchkin in my arm as I breastfed her and then looked over to the wide-eyed toy doll with crayon streaked across her cheek staring back at me from her position tucked in my other arm, also supposedly getting milk from a “real boog”.  And that’s when it hit me.  I wasn’t exhausted from caring for a newborn and a toddler.  I was exhausted from caring for a newborn, a toddler, and a doll.  The toy who underwent an extensive humanization process after the birth of our second daughter, and took on an uncanny resemblance to a very needy, always hungry, and ever stinky child, was now draining my last bit of energy.  That was it, I thought.  That’s why I’m exhausted.

This doll was a Christmas gift from Little G’s great-grandparents.  And Happy Baby, as Little G affectionately refers to her, has come everywhere with us since she came out of the box.  She’s Little G’s security blanket and that’s just fine.  But it was when our real live newborn came along that Happy Baby became much more than a tag along toy.  All of a sudden Happy Baby needed Mommy to change her diaper, not only every time the new baby needed one, but also any time a diaper was in view, a diaper change was mentioned, or anytime Mommy’s hands were generally tied up.  Not only that, but Happy Baby began to have her most stinky poops and became most urgently in need of changes whenever Baby G’s most stinky urgent diaper changes came along.

Happy Baby also needs her clothes changed twice for every one time my real kids each do.  But unlike how I generally have pretty good luck finding my girls’ clothes in their dresser drawers, the specific outfit Happy Baby is after is never anywhere to be found.  Never mind it being the middle of July, Happy Baby will undoubtedly be after her black toque on a +35 day.

Most recently I spent our family photo shoot largely tending to Happy Baby while my hubby maneuvered our two munchkins into their poses.  Happy Baby had, of course, tagged along for our family photos, and with the encouragement of Little G, was determined to be in every single picture.  At last, when, at my suggestion, the doll became “hungry”, I was able to wiggle her out of the photo and find her a snack out of the diaper bag to feed her while Little G kept a semi-smile on her face for some solo pics, all the while watching me to make sure I was feeding Happy Baby “real snacks”.

Honestly, I adore my two-year-old’s mothering nature, especially as the oldest child in our family.  The care she practices even with this floppy, rubber faced security item is a sign to me that she’s learning to care for other people and as a mom, there’s not a whole lot more you can ask for from your little ones.  So I’ll continue to track down Happy Baby’s bathing suit all winter long, I’ll make her a morning bowl of Cheerios along with Little G’s, and I’ll hug her every time my toddler’s little hands hold her up to me for a feel-better-hug.  Because in doing all these things caring for Happy Baby, really I’m caring for my daughter.  And that right there is the number one reason I love being a mom so darn much.

 

Villages – Mommy Blogger

Hey, all! My name is Kristin Smysniuk and I am over the moon to be part of the Mommy Blogger community. I am a mom to three beautiful boys who work to teach me lessons and keep me humble each and every day. Bennett is 9, Sawyer is 6 and Elliot is 4! I have been married to my husband, Tynan, for 11 years and am a fifth grade teacher with Saskatoon Public Schools.

Who do you lean on when this whole “parenting gig’ gets too hard? Yes, yes … I know.  The correct answer should be us happily reciting “my spouse” but let’s tell it like it is, shall we?  He is usually part of the reason we are stressed, no? #hardtruths

But seriously, do you have a squad? A partner in crime? A person that you can pour out all the ugly too when life feels a bit too overwhelming? My hope is that you do. Because we need them.  As mothers, as women, we need them.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of my life, shall we?

I have three boys aged 10 and under and I am being completely and utterly honest with you when I say that 98.7% of the time our life is chaos.  I’m not saying that for effect or for dramatics.  I am saying it because it is the truth. Our life is chaos.

There is always someone crying.
There is always someone disappointed.
There is always someone hurt.

There is always someone feeling extremely hard done by.

But enough about me … haha.

I am always failing someone (in their eyes anyway).
I am always comforting someone.

I am always pleading with someone to do one of the things I have asked. JUST ONE!

I am always nursing someone back to health.

The three of them can never ALL get along.

The three of them can not make it one hour without arguing.
The three of them can not play the simplest of games without making it full body contact.

The three of them can scheme, plot and plan better than anyone I know.

My days consist of putting out fires, feeding growing children, replacing things that are destroyed, and buying new clothes because nothing ever fits.

This is my life.  And while it can sound witty on a piece of paper and I can make light of it all over one too many paralyzers on a Wednesday … err … Friday night, it can all be very overwhelming.

Tied up in all of this chaos is a constant state of wondering if I am failing this whole gig I’ve been gifted. I have looked in the mirror more times than I can count, wondering which topic will be the one that lands us on Dr. Phil in 10 years.

I’ve shed tears, I’ve locked myself in the bathroom for peace, and I have struggled.  And if I had to do any of this without my squad, I don’t know how I would be able to put one foot in front of the other.  I don’t know how, in all the overwhelm, I would get up and try it again knowing full well that the same result is likely to occur.

Without my people, I can’t image what my days would look and feel like.

They make me a better mother by reminding me of who I am outside of parenting. They make me a better mother by reminding me that I am not alone.  They make me a better mother by carving out space for me to laugh, cry and recuperate. They make me a better mother by offering to lift me up and carry me through the hard parts.

They make me a better mother by loving me through it.

They say it takes a village to raise a child and I agree. I think the village is there for the mother when she needs them – and because they are there for her – she is there for her children.

I love my village and am grateful for them every day.  I am the mother I am because of them.

Hold tight to your villages ladies … they are the light at the end of your tunnel.