9 Reasons why Mothers Don’t Speak Up about Chronic Pain

You wouldn’t know by looking at me, but I have suffered from chronic pain for over 5 years.

I was recently diagnosed with a medical condition called endometriosis It took over a year, five different doctors, several ER visits, countless tests and a long list of medications to finally get an answer.  In the end, it was too late anyway and I lost the majority of my reproductive organs.

And while I want to blame the medical system for failing me, I can’t deny the fact that I ignored the pain for FOUR YEARS before deciding to do something about it.

As a mother, there are so many reasons why I didn’t feel my pain was a priority.  Prior to having children to take care of, I’m sure it would have been a major concern and perhaps I would have gotten a diagnosis sooner rather than later.   Here are some reasons why mothers don’t speak up about chronic pain.

9 Reasons Why Mothers Don't Speak Up about Chronic Pain

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.**Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


1. we put others first

One of the most distinguishable characteristics of a mother is that they put others before themselves.  The more people we have to take care of, the more our own needs get bumped to the bottom of the list.  And some most days that list never gets completed.  So while we might have every intention of taking care of ourselves, there just aren’t enough hours left over at the end of the day after taking care of everyone else.


2. we don’t want to scare our children

I will never forget the fear in my daughter’s eyes when she came to visit me in the hospital, hooked up to machines and IV’s and unable to move.  In an attempt to protect my children from seeing their mother in such a vulnerable state, I kept quiet about my pain around them.  When they think back on their childhood, I wouldn’t want them to remember me in constant pain and not able to do anything fun with them.


3. we hate to let people down

We want to be supermom, as unattainable as it might be.  We want to be there for our kids and our spouses, our families and friends.  We want to bake the perfect cupcakes for the bake sale and volunteer at every charitable event.  We want to cheer our kids on from the sidelines and chase after them at the playground.  Dealing with chronic pains means we probably won’t get to do all of those things and so we push through it just to avoid disappointing anyone.


4. nothing compares to childbirth

Sure, you’re in pain, but it’s not as bad as childbirth.  It’s worse if you’ve given birth without any drugs because then you’re expected to be able to handle anything.  But chronic pain and labor pain are two entirely different things.

Labor pain is a right of passage with an amazing reward at the end.  All mothers have had a chance to experience it in some way or another, it’s just part of life.

Chronic pain means something is wrong.  It is not a welcome pain, and there is no end in sight.  Add in the psychological trauma that comes along with wondering WHY you’re in pain and it’s a whole different monster.

My labor experience

5. it’s hard to ask for help

This rings true for most people, not just mothers suffering from chronic pain.  To ask for help means putting aside our pride, which is something most mothers have a very difficult time doing.  We are proud of the home we’ve kept and the children we’ve raised.  We’ve got a system and routine and we can’t expect just anyone to come in and take over.  If we admit that we need help, then we’re no longer in the running for supermom.


6. no one knows how to to do what we do

I’m not even sure what I do all day.  All I know is that no one else knows how to do it.   So if my husband asks me what needs to be done, I couldn’t tell him.  I just get up in the morning and do what I do.  I see something that needs to be done and I do it.  There is no master list.  There is no “how-to guide” to being a stay at home mom.  And even if I wrote out a to-do list, it would probably need to be changed at least 12 times because… toddlers.


we keep quiet about a lot of things…

7. we’re afraid to miss out

These kids grow up so fast.  We’re afraid to blink for fear of missing out on something and so taking time off to deal with our chronic pain is out of the question.  As much as we want alone time, we also want to be there to experience it all.  We want to see that excited expression on their faces when experiencing something new.  We want to hear their hysterical laughs while playing at the park or watching a funny movie.  We don’t want to miss out on our children’s childhood because of chronic pain.


8. we’ve tried all the home remedies

We are lucky to live in a world where we have so many choices when it comes to our health.  If you want to know what all of those options are, then all you need to do is mention to someone that you suffer from chronic pain.  Product recommendations, home remedies, naturopathic solutions, essential oils, vitamins, etc., are all wonderful and often welcome suggestions… at first.  And we get that people want to help but, after a while, we’re tired of being targeted by those selling some type of miracle product that promises to cure all that ails us.

Chronic Pain: Cost Effective and Quick Fix Methods to End Your Pain: Innovative Solutions to a Pain Free Life by [Longstaff, Nicole]
Amazon.ca

9. we hate being labeled

Complainers.  Hypochondriacs.  Unhealthy.  Drug addicts.  There are many people who use pain as an excuse.  Those people make things much harder for the rest of us who are in actual pain.  We don’t speak up about chronic pain because there are so many people who don’t understand it.  It’s not just about what others think of us, it’s about how we are treated.  For five years I suffered from chronic pain but was still able to do anything and everything and I often wonder if things would have been different if I was more vocal about my pain.


The cause of chronic pain is less important than how it affects your life.  Many people have no choice but to speak up about their chronic pain and ask for help.  But for some mothers, myself included, we are afraid to show weakness.  We don’t want to be a burden.  And so we keep it inside and go it alone. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. If you’re reading this and felt like I was talking to you, maybe it’s time to let your guard down.  Seek help and let those in your life know that you are suffering.  If they truly love you, they won’t think any less of you and will want to do whatever they can to ease your pain.


click here to learn more about

Chronic pain and endometriosis

4 Tips for Surviving Three Car Seats

Families with three kids are often put in a difficult position when it comes to choosing a vehicle.   The struggle that is three car seats.

If you weren’t driving a minivan before baby #3 came along, you may be strongly considering one now.  But a minivan isn’t the only option.  It is entirely possible to accommodate three car seats comfortably in many different vehicles.  Here are my best tips to help you get through this phase.

*Sponsored Post*  I received compensation for this blog post, however all opinions are my own.


1. The right vehicle

Whether you’re looking to upgrade or wondering if your existing vehicle will be able to accommodate three car seats, it’s best to do your research ahead of time.  You can use Cars.com’s car seat check to find out the rating on your vehicle or one you’re considering buying.

16HondaPilot_SO_ES_CSC_Lead.jpg
cars.com

The busy lifestyle that this stage of parenthood is infamous for means spending a lot of time on the road. If I factor in our regular 2 hour road trips back to our hometown on the weekends, it’s safe to say that we spend nearly as much time in the vehicle as we do anywhere else. Purchasing our family vehicle was as big of a decision as was purchasing our home, so research was essential.


2. The right car seat

The type of car seats you’re using will also have an impact.  In a perfect world, you may have one child in a high back booster, one in a convertible forward facing seat and one in a rear facing bucket seat.  But if your children are closer in age or if you have multiples, you may have two in bucket seats and/or rear facing.  The combination possibilities are endless.

The other thing you’ll want to consider is the brand of car seat you are using.  Some are created bulkier than others and this can affect how well they fit side by side by side.

Cars.com has done a lot of this research for you.  Here is a list of vehicles that can fit three car seats side by side.  

17-honda-pilot-fits-three-es.jpg
cars.com

3. The right position

Which car seat goes where?  There’s no right or wrong answer.  As long as the car seats are installed correctly and don’t hinder the position of the driver and passenger seats in front of them, it doesn’t really matter which child sits where.  You can watch this car seat safety video from Cars.com for more information.

Consider keeping easy access to the child who needs the most attention.

If the baby tends to sleep during car rides, then you may want to keep the rambunctious toddler within arms reach instead.

OR, you may want to keep the oldest child closest to you in order to pass things to them to distribute among their siblings.

Another thing you need to think about is the convenience of getting into and out of the vehicle:  

If the oldest child can buckle themselves in, put them the farthest away from the door. 

Bucket seats on a base are simple enough to move but can be heavy and bulky and usually best suited close to a door. 

Give yourself enough space and leverage to buckle in that squirmy toddler.

Factor in the weather.  Dealing with car seats is one of the reasons why moms hate winter.


4. The third row shuffle

Having a vehicle with a third row isn’t always a necessity with three kids.  But it IS a bonus.  I, like many other parents, avoided getting a minivan and opted for an SUV with a third row instead.  Here’s a list of the best three row SUV’s for car seats.  And while that third row isn’t regularly used, it’s a nice feature to have, both for additional seating and for when the kids get older and will want their own space in the backseat.

17_GMC_Acadia_CSC_ES_02.jpg
cars.com
Because as much as I don’t want to admit it – the day will come when they will no longer be in car seats and the struggle of the daily buckle will be another memory for the baby book.

 

 

Tips for Your Child’s First School Year

I can honestly say that I feel much more prepared for the back to school season this year, with my oldest child going into the second grade.

But a few years ago, when he started kindergarten, I was completely lost and had no idea what to expect.  Actually, that’s not true.  I expected it to be like daycare.  But I soon realized that it’s not AT ALL like daycare.  Kids are expected to be much more independent and parents are expected to be much more involved.

This year my second child will start kindergarten and while I’m feeling all sorts of emotions about her growing up, I’m also more confident knowing what to expect.

Here are my best tips for your child’s first school year

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.


Research the enrollment options

Usually for kindergarten there are several different options depending on the school.  At our school, for example, we only had the option of half days, 5 days a week.  Some schools offer full days, 3 days a week or even full days, 5 days a week.  But we did get the choice of morning or afternoon classes.

If you are faced with this decision, think carefully about your schedule and your child’s habits.

For my son, we chose morning kindergarten which worked best for him because he’s a morning person, loves to eat breakfast, and my husband was able to drop him off at school on his way to work.

For my daughter, we chose afternoon kindergarten because she is NOT a morning person (neither am I), hates breakfast, and takes forever to pick out what she wants to wear and get her hair done.  I did not want to have to struggle with her every morning, so afternoon kindergarten gives us an entire morning to prepare.

Preschool can be a great opportunity for you to discover what type of routine and habits work for your child.

50 Things Kids Learn at Preschool
Click here to read more

Make time to volunteer

Schools will usually send home letters asking for parent volunteers during field trips, fundraising events, concerts, etc. Keep in mind that these are normally held during school hours, so you may need to make work or babysitting arrangements if you plan to volunteer.  A criminal record check and/or other background checks may be required.


Forever fundraising

Schools rely heavily on fundraising both for charitable events and various school projects.  Expect to see at least 4 different fundraisers throughout the school year.  Schools have gotten pretty creative in their fundraising methods so there will be a variety of different ways to help raise money, many of which are useful and affordable (like these personalized labels).

Try to get your kids involved in the fundraising projects themselves, instead of doing all the dirty work yourself.  Have them phone friends and family or take a video of them talking about their fundraising event and e-mail it to anyone on your list who might be interested (but don’t spam people).  Some schools might even have a Facebook event for bigger fundraising events that you can share on your social media.

Click here to see if your school does fundraising through Mabel’s Labels!

Keep in mind that if you have more than one kid enrolled in school, you will need to buy/sell twice as much!


Don’t skimp on the supplies

School supply shopping for the first time can be either super exciting or super intimidating.

Click to read full post

If you need a specific notebook in a specific size and have no idea what you’re looking for – ask for help.  The back to school staff at most stores have probably helped other parents find the same notebook a dozen times already.  (Or shop online instead!)

Take a picture of the school supply list on your phone so that you will always have it when you’re out shopping.  You’d be amazed how many deals you can find at the grocery store.

Get the name brand crayons and glue sticks – some teachers will put their preference on the list and they’re the experts.  Your kids will be doing A LOT of creative stuff in their first school year and they need the right tools or it can end in frustration for everyone.

Buy an extra box of tissue or donate extra school supplies to your child’s class if you find a really great deal – teachers will be forever grateful for your generosity!


Prepare for the weather

If you live somewhere with temperamental weather like I do, then it’s easy to worry about kids at recess time if you didn’t send them to school in the right gear (one of the many reasons why moms hate winter.)

In between seasons, dress them in layers so they can add one or take one off as needed.

Black & Leopard Hooded Layered Coat - Infant, Toddler & Girls
Zulily.com
Olive Quilted Layered Jacket - Toddler & Boys
Zulily.com

Keep an extra pair of socks and mittens in their backpack just in case it’s colder or wetter than expected.

Mitten clips are a good option for kids who keep losing theirs.

amazon.ca

Splash pants & rubber boots will be your kids best friend in the springtime.

Opt for a neck warmer or a balaclava instead of scarf because it’s easier for kids to put on and offers more coverage in the winter.

Label every single piece of your child’s outerwear because it’s guaranteed to end up in the lost and found box at some point.

Try Mabel’s Labels – dishwasher & laundry proof!
Back To School _DSeries 300x250
mabelslabels.com

Zippers and Laces

It’s tempting to keep your child out of their brand new shoes and jackets until school starts in order to keep everything in good condition, but it might be a better idea to let them get used to them instead.

Zippers can be tricky especially with the added stress of the recess bell ringing and the bustle of other kids in the hallways.  Same goes for running shoes and winter boots.  Kids should get as much practice putting these on and taking them off as possible before their first school year starts.

Let kids get dressed for school completely by themselves (this includes snowsuits) so that you know they will be able to duplicate it at recess time.

If your kids have a hard time with laces, try these Hickies no-tie elastic laces instead.

Hickies - No Tie Elastic Shoelaces
hickies.com

Homework time

While there isn’t much actual “homework” in your child’s first school year, there will be more than you expect and it will require your participation.

Whatever it is, now is the time to start establishing a homework routine because this will be an important part of life for the next several years.

indigo.ca

Choose a place and a time to sit down without any distractions and make it a habit.  Even if there was no homework sent home that day, read a book together, practice writing skills or do an age appropriate learning activity.

You may also want to invest in an organization center in your home to keep track of all the notes, forms, calendars, library books & homework that your child will bring home each day.


first time mom
Click to read full post

No matter how many children you have, sending your first child to school makes you a first time parent all over again.

It’s incredibly hard and emotional.  Your baby is being sent out into the world to learn and do for themselves.  It’s unlike daycare in that someone is not being paid to take care of them the entire day.  They are supervised of course but if they have a problem, they need to speak up and ask for help, and all you can do is hope that they will.

Your child’s first year of school will be a true test of how independent they are.  Even if it all seems overwhelming at first, they learn quickly by watching the other children and they will be a pro by the end of the year!

Hope you have a great first school year!

10 Websites for Back to School Shopping in Canada

I used to love shopping… until I had three kids.  Now it’s more of a marathon run than an enjoyable activity.  Enter online shopping!

While the odd trip to the malls is unavoidable, I try to do as much shopping online as possible – especially when I’m looking for something specific.  I can research and price check and read reviews – all from the comfort of my own home and without being begged to go to the toy section.

In Canada, the selection and shipping options seem to be much more limited (vs. the US) but there are still plenty of deals to be found if you look in the right places.  Here are a few of my favorite stores for Back to School Shopping in Canada.

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.


1. Indigo Books & Music

WEBSITE: www.chapters.indigo.ca
WHAT TO BUY: Backpacks & Lunchboxes
indigo.ca

I love their unique designs like this Scented Emoji Backpack or this Lego Backpack.  There are lots of great name brands and the prices are also super affordable!

They also have a big selection of cute lunchboxes and accessories like reusable snack bags in a bunch of different patterns and bento box lunch kits.

SHIPPING: FREE shipping on orders over $25 + FREE to ship to any Chapters Indigo location in Canada.


Free Shipping on Orders Over $25!


2. Staples Office Supplies

WEBSITE: www.staples.ca
WHAT TO BUY: UHU glue sticks, Crayola products, binders, notebooks, pens, pencils, etc.
UHU® Glue Stick, 40 g
staples.ca

You can pretty much find anything you need on your school supply list at Staples, with the same prices you would find in store!

UHU glue sticks are by far one of the best and preferred by teachers but they’re pricey and harder to find.  Staples carries them by the caseload so you can stock up (this is great if you have multiple kids with glue sticks on their supply lists)

SHIPPING:  FREE shipping on orders over $45 + some items are available for FREE pickup at your local Staples store in as little as 2 hours!

3. Zulily

WEBSITE: www.zulily.com
WHAT TO BUY: Kids Clothes & Shoes
zulily.com

This is a great site to get deals on dress clothes for picture day!  There is a huge selection from different brands but it changes nearly every day and offers don’t last long so if you see something you like – buy it!

You need to sign up for a free account before you can start shopping, but beware – it can get very addicting!

If what you’re looking for is time sensitive – then order well in advance as Zulily does not ship out their products until the entire promotion ends.

When shopping from Canada, make sure that you change your country flag and currency in the top right corner!

SHIPPING:  The price of shipping varies however, when you pay for shipping with your first item then you get free shipping on all your other purchases for that day.



4. Mabel’s Labels

WEBSITE: www.mabelslabels.com
WHAT TO BUY: Personalized Labels for Clothing and School Supplies
Ultimate Back-to-School Combo
mabelslabels.com

The Starter Pack offers a good selection of different sized labels, but they also offer an Ultimate Back to School Combo if you need more.

I love the variety of different customization options and also that the labels are waterproof, dishwasher & microwave safe – so you can apply them once and never have to worry about them coming off (even in the washing machine!)

Whether your kid is just starting preschool, or ready to graduate – they’re going to need their things labelled.  Get the labels that are sure to last.

Click here to check if your school does fundraising through Mabel’s labels before placing your order!

SHIPPING: FREE shipping for all orders in Canada!


5. Sportchek

WEBSITE: www.sportchek.ca
WHAT TO BUY: Kids Athletic Shoes
Reebok SoQuick Kids' Grade-School Running Shoes
sportchek.ca

Starting at $40, you can get a pair of Under Armour or Reebok runners for your kids for gym class or to use as indoor shoes.

I normally cheap out on shoes because my kid’s feet grow 2 sizes/school year, but considering that they will be wearing these shoes for the majority of the school day, I’ve learned it’s better to splurge on good quality ones.

SHIPPING: Free shipping on orders over $50

6. Hickies

WEBSITE: www.hickies.com
WHAT TO BUY: Adjustable elastic shoelaces
Rainbow
hickies.com

Kids and shoelaces…  I don’t know about your kids but mine still don’t know how to properly tie their laces.  And I’m certain that when the recess bell rings they’d rather run off with loose laces than spend time trying to figure it out.  I’ve avoided buying them shoes with laces for this very reason, however velcro runners aren’t always the most stylish or comfortable, either.

I discovered these Hickies elastic shoelaces last year to save my son some time at recess and they’ve been a lifesaver.  I love how many different ways you can customize the fit and they look so sleek and low profile.

Click here to learn more about how they work and to see all the different customization options.

SHIPPING: Starts at $10 (Sign up for their email list and get 20% off)

Hickies - No Tie Elastic Shoelaces


7. Old Navy

WEBSITE: www.oldnavy.gapcanada.ca
WHAT TO BUY: Jeans, Leggings, Sweaters, Graphic T-shirts
Currently loving all these new styles.
oldnavy.gapcanada.ca

Two words… Super Cash.  Spend money, get money back to spend again.  It’s brilliant.

Old navy clothes are a staple in my kid’s closet because they’re affordable, stylish and durable.  And for school clothes, I need them to be all of those things…

SHIPPING: Free shipping on orders over $50

8. The Children’s Place

WEBSITE: www.childrensplace.com/shop/ca
WHAT TO BUY: Jeans, Dresses, Outdoor Shoes, Accessories
childrensplace.com

Like Old Navy, The Children’s Place is my go-to for kids clothes.  You can buy clothes in extended sizes like husky or slim (only available online) and their pants all have the adjustable elastic waistbands.

They also have a ton of accessories like headbands, purses, wallets, hats and sunglasses which are usually quite hard to find in kid sizes!

Sign up for their email list so you can be notified of sales.  I find their stock is strictly seasonal so get your back to school items now and don’t wait too long to shop for winter gear.

Shipping: FREE!

9. Amazon

WEBSITE: www.amazon.ca
WHAT TO BUY: Obviously you can find just about anything on Amazon, but my favorite picks for back to school are…

this chalkboard calendar wall sticker

amazon.ca

this pocket organizer for the millions of notes that get sent home in backpacks

amazon.ca

and this kids alarm clock to help get kids out of bed in the morning

amazon.ca
SHIPPING: Varies.  Click here to sign up for Amazon Family (free for Prime members) and get free 2 day shipping, 20% off diapers and other discounts and benefits designed for families with young children.

And lastly, if you plan to do ANY online shopping at all, I suggest you join…

10. Swagbucks

WEBSITE: www.swagbucks.com
HOW IT WORKS: You can earn cash back on your online purchases, plus earn points that you can use for gift cards and other merchandise.  There are several other ways to earn points as well. (Click here for more detailed info)

I know there are plenty of sites like this out there, but the reason why I like Swagbucks is that it’s a no-brainer.  You can download the browser add-on and a big blue bar will appear at the top of your screen if a website you are on is eligible for cash back (and also if there’s a coupon code available for that site).  There’s no additional steps or website you have to go to first in order to get your cash back.  Simple.

Click here to sign up for Swagbucks now and then start shopping!

Tips for Exploring Local Attractions with Kids

Recently my family of five paired up with my sister’s family of four and we spent a few days touring local attractions in my hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

The goal was a memorable fun filled summer vacation for the kids and relaxation for the parents – a far stretch for four adults and five children under 8.  With so many local options to choose from, we had to carefully weigh out the pros and cons of each activity and choose ones that were age appropriate and affordable.

While there are still several more local attractions we’d like to cross off our bucket list, the ones that we did visit were a good combination of fun and educational and most importantly – we all had fun!



*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.


Pack Properly

Snacks are a must when travelling with little kids, in fact I never leave home without a little something in my purse.

Water bottles because it’s summer and whether you’re indoors or out – you’re going to need to stay hydrated. (These are my favorites)

A change of clothes for everyone (including the adults).  Summer fun usually consists of something messy and or heat-relieving i.e. water.  Packing a change of clothes to leave in the car is usually a good idea.

Wear Proper Footwear

Exploring local attractions usually means a lot of walking is involved so trade in the flip flops for a comfortable pair of runners.

Plan Ahead

Check out the attraction’s website or Facebook page if they have one.  Familiarize yourself with their prices, policies, hours and map (wheelchair accessible = stroller accessible).  Enter any contests they might have or take note of their hashtag so you can share pictures to their social media.

Ask for advice from friends – local attractions mean that someone else has been there before and will have some tips for you!

Make a Backup Plan

Rainy day?  Mom’s got a migraine?  Have a plan B so that no one ends up disappointed.

Timing is Everything

Try to schedule your visit in between meal times so that no one ends up “hangry”

If it’s an all-day event then pack a lunch – don’t rely on finding something there unless you have lunch plans worked out ahead of time.

If the little ones need an afternoon nap then work that in somehow – whether it’s driving the long way there or back – or bringing a stroller that properly reclines.

Map Out Your Route

It may be unrealistic to expect to see EVERYTHING at a local attraction when you’re exploring with little kids.  Map out your route based on the things you want to see and do MOST to LEAST.  The kids will have the most energy and be most interested at the beginning so take full advantage of that.

Have an Escape Plan

Little kids and meltdowns are almost inevitable.  Heat, cold, hunger and tiredness are all contributing factors but they can also happen for no reason whatsoever.

Don’t anticipate them but be ready for them and have an escape plan that is in-line with your parenting methods.  Do you plan to ignore it and carry on?  Remove the tantruming child from the situation?  Call the entire visit short and try again another day?

Don’t cause yourself extra stress and be prepared.

Don’t Overdo it

It’s OK if you didn’t get a chance to read every single plaque under every single statue or if your kid missed out on most of the rides because they fell asleep.  The great thing about local attractions is that they’re local and you can visit them anytime you like!


At the amusement park

Our local attraction: Tinkertown Family Fun Park – www.tinkertown.mb.ca

We have been to Tinkertown several times and what I love most is that there are rarely long lineups for rides since they are open all summer long and there is plenty of shade and places to sit down which is especially important on long hot summer days.

The window of opportunity for children to enjoy Tinkertown is quite small as it’s an amusement park geared towards younger children.  While there are a few rides for older children, I strongly suggest that you take your kids while they still enjoy the “little kid rides.”  I feel like the best age range for kids to enjoy Tinkertown is between 4 – 8, where they are able to go on most rides by themselves and still be thrilled by them.


TOP THREE TIPS for exploring an amusement park

Let the kids choose which rides they most want to go on first, rather than which one is next.  They may not have enough steam to make it through the entire park and may miss out on some rides they especially like.

If the line ups are long, choose a different ride and come back.  Unless it’s a ride that is notorious for having a long line, it could just be a matter of timing (ex. one ride finishes and everyone rushes to the next one)

Measure the kids and check the height requirements of the rides in advance.  This way you will know if you need to accompany your child on the rides (and therefore buy extra tickets) and it will be less disappointing for your child if they already know they won’t be tall enough to go on a particular ride.


At the Museum

Tips for exploring local attractions with kids

Our local attraction: The Manitoba Museum –  www.manitobamuseum.ca

*** I was given free passes for the World’s Giant Dinosaurs exhibit in exchange for this blog post, however all opinions are my own.

The Manitoba Museum is another local attraction that I have been to several times but it never gets old (no pun intended).  On this visit we went specifically to see their latest exhibit – World’s Giant Dinosaurs – and it did not disappoint!

Tips for exploring local attractions with kids
World’s Giant Dinosaurs @ The Manitoba Museum

My 7 year old son is a big fan of dinosaurs and always has been.  He has several books about them and in each one he likes to look at the little diagram of the man standing next to the dinosaur and imagine how huge they must have been.

We never would have thought that we’d be able to experience that magnitude in person until we walked in the World’s Giant Dinosaurs exhibit.  It is literally a jaw dropping experience.

In addition to the gigantic animatronic dinosaurs there were interactive activities for the kids like a chalkboard painted dinosaur where the kids wrote their names, a dinosaur to feed and a sandpit where the kids were invited to grab brushes and help dig for dinosaur bones.

My daughter’s favorite interactive dinosaur was the one with the foot pedal that made it pee…

Tips for exploring local attractions with kids
Learning how dinosaurs pee

Whether you enjoy dinosaurs or fear them – the exhibit did a great job of putting them into perspective and I couldn’t help but wonder what life would be like if these giant beasts were still roaming around the countryside.

World’s Giant Dinosaurs @ the Manitoba Museum
Check out the World’s Giant Dinosaurs Exhibit at the Manitoba Museum before it ends on September 4th! 
TOP THREE TIPS for exploring a local museum

Talk to your children in advance about some of the things they’re going to see.  You can look up some facts online or check out a book at your local library.  Since it’s a local museum they will get a chance to learn about the place they live in and it’s history – something much more personal to them than a museum about the entire world.

Do your best to help the little ones understand what they’re looking at – especially the ones who can’t read.  While it might be interesting enough to look at all the old artifacts or displays, kids will enjoy them even more when they know a little history about them.

Give your children a map or a guide that they can follow along in to keep them interested and exciting about what they’re going to see next.


At the National Historic Site

Our local attraction: Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site – www.pc.gc.ca

To celebrate Canada 150 admission to Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site is free of charge for all of 2017!

While I’m certain that I had been here many, many years ago, none of it was fresh in my mind and it was essentially a first visit for me and my children.  I had an idea of what to expect but what surprised me was how authentic everything was.

There were characters dressed in full costume who spoke as if they were living in the 1850’s.  The massive collection of real furs in the “fur loft” was a sight to see and made me appreciate the importance of the fur trade.  The children enjoyed interacting with the characters and getting to touch and smell things like the sheep’s wool and the bricks of tea leaves.

Each little house and building in Lower Fort Garry had it’s own production going on, it was like walking back into time and witnessing a moment from history.

TOP THREE TIPS for exploring a national historic site

Get the kids involved by comparing some of the tools and equipment used in the past to what we use today.

Ask questions and encourage the kids to ask questions too – the characters play a part but they also know more about the site than anyone else.

Encourage the kids to role play as well – what job would you have liked to do in 1850?


Sometimes staying at home and exploring local attractions can be just as much fun as a vacation to somewhere else.  The trick is to get your kids involved and interested in their local community and the history that comes along with it.  Learning that their favorite playground was once an open field covered in grazing bison might open up a whole world of imaginative possibilities for them.

There is no better way for kids to take pride in their city and country than to learn more about them and support the local businesses that contribute to them.

Which local attractions are your favorites?

tips for exploring local attractions with kids

50 Things Kids Learn at Preschool

As a parent of one child who attended two years of preschool and one who didn’t attend at all, I do believe that preschool provides children with an advantage prior to beginning kindergarten.

However, that being said, I don’t think that children who do not attend preschool are at a disadvantage.

It sounds like I’m contradicting myself but I’m not trying to…


When my first child started kindergarten, I expected it to be rocky because neither he nor I knew what we were doing.  But you know what?  He got the hang of it really quickly, and sure there were some bumps in the road, but we learned along the way and that’s just the way I thought it was supposed to be.

At the same time that my son started kindergarten, my second child started preschool (something I never even considered for my first, by the way).  The only reason we decided to enroll her was so she wouldn’t feel left out, but in the past two years I am surprised at how much she has learned and what a great routine she’s gotten into.  I know will make it that much easier on her (and I) when she starts school in the fall. 


Here is a list of things that my daughter has learned in her two years of preschool that I believe will result in a smooth transition to kindergarten.

50 Things Kids Learn at Preschool

50 Things Kids Learn at Preschool

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.


1. How to stand in a lineup 

This is a big one because at school there are a lot of lineups.  And if you’re like me, all your kids probably know about lineups is that they’re something worth complaining about…

2. How to socialize with other kids 

Obviously friends, relatives, play dates, childcare, etc.,  all offer this same opportunity.  The difference is that school socialization is more “unsupervised” (to a certain degree).  Which means that children get the chance to socialize without an adult hovering over them making sure they “play nice” and “share.” So it’s up to them to do this on their own.

3. How to take turns 

Preschool aged kids are naturally self-centered and having to let someone else do something that they want to do can be extremely tough.  The more practice they can get at it, the better.

4. How to wait patiently

In a class with a lot of children it can take a while for everyone to get their turn.

5. How to raise your hand to speak

Where else does anyone do this except in school?  It’s iconic school aged behavior and it has to start somewhere.

6. How to ask for help

Asking someone you don’t know very well for help can be frightening to some kids.  Especially if it’s something embarrassing.

7. How to identify the spelling of their name

They may not be able to fully write their own name, but they need to be able to pick it out of a lineup.

8. How to make the letter sounds

Singing the alphabet only helps kids identify the names of the letters but learning what sounds they make is an essential first step to reading.

indigo.ca
indigo.ca
Jolly Phonics – indigo.ca

9. How to count and identify numbers up to 10

Specifically when those numbers are out of order.

preschool number flash cards
indigo.ca

10. How to recognize the date  

Learning the days of the week, months of the year and the seasons is a crucial part of daily life at school.

Amazon.ca

11. How to tell the time  

Actual lessons in telling time are reserved for later but kids learn pretty quickly what time school starts and ends.

Learn to tell the time with this clock from amazon.ca

12. How to listen quietly when the teacher is speaking

This is another big one that kids will need to do their entire school life.

13. How to sit in one spot for a designated amount of time

Whether it’s a story time rug, in a circle or at a desk, kids will need to learn to sit still during school hours.

The WOBBLE Chair – amazon.ca

14. How to follow instructions

Especially two, three or four step instructions.

15. How to maintain a school routine

A school routine is different from a home routine and can change often.  Kids need to be flexible and learn what to do and when.

16. How to stop one activity and move onto another activity

Maybe they’re not done coloring yet, or they want to finish building that tower – too bad… time to move on.

17. How to wait for classmates to be done a task before moving on 

Kids need to learn that everyone works at different paces and just because they are done something, doesn’t mean everyone else is.

18. How to cooperate with others  

Working together is an essential life skill but it can also be very hard to learn for little ones with their own agendas.

19. How to sing along with others

My daughter loves to “shush” me while she sings because she wants the spotlight to herself – in preschool there are a lot of group songs and chances are, she won’t be able to hear the sound of her own voice…

Preschool Circle Time Songs, The Kiboomers
The Kiboomers – purchase on iTunes!
Top 30 Award Winning Preschool Songs
The Kiboomers – purchase on iTunes!

20. How to participate in group activities

School is littered with group activities, not just in the younger grades, so the earlier they can master this skill, the better.

21. How to clean up in a timely manner

There are only so many minutes in a school day.

22.  How to deal with separation anxiety.

Saying goodbye can be one of the toughest parts of starting the school day.  The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is a sweet little story to help kids who have trouble parting from their parents.

indigo.ca

23. How to socialize with other adults

Whether it’s the teachers, special guests, helpers or volunteers, kids are going to need to interact with other adults all the time at school.

24. How to greet people with respect  

Everyday when I drop my daughter off at preschool her teachers greet her and for the longest time she stared off into oblivion, too busy watching all the hustle and bustle around her.  I pointed out that the polite and respectful thing to do when her teachers greet her is to greet them back and now it’s the part of drop off that she looks forward to the most.

25. How to introduce themselves to new people

Sure, they’re great at making new friends but do they know their friend’s name?  Does their friend know their name?

A sweet book about friendship – indigo.ca

26. How to wait for attention  

Kids are so demanding.  In school they will have to learn that if they need attention, they may not get it immediately.

27. How to take care of their neighborhood  

Learning about the community is so important to help kids become responsible neighbors.

28. How to care for the earth and environment

Sorting recyclables, reusing containers and picking up litter are just a few ways that my kids show me how much they care about the world we live in.

29. How to help raise funds for their school and/or charity

Fundraising is a huge part of the preschool and school age years.  Usually preschools offer fundraisers that encourage kids to get involved and offer opportunities for them to learn about money, priorities and doing good for others. [Click HERE to find out if your preschool uses Mabel’s Labels as a fundraiser]

30. How to identify their own belongings 

Kids seem to like a lot of the same things.  You’re going to have to label everything and they’re going to have to know how to look for the label with their name on it.  I recommend the Mabel’s Labels Starter Pack – they’re durable and waterproof and they come with so many different design options! [Click HERE for free shipping from Mabel’s Labels]

Back-to-school supplies with Mabel's Labels.
Mabel’s Labels

31. How to open snack packages  

Ziploc bags, re-usable containers, yogurt, wrappers, etc., can all be a challenge for a kid and having to wait for help from someone else means they get less time to eat.

32. How to change to indoor shoes/outdoor shoes and where to put them

At home my kids throw their dirty runners all over the mudroom, but at school there is a place to keep them and they need to be kept neat and tidy.

33. How to do up their own zipper/buttons on their jacket  

In preschool they get a lot more help than they do in kindergarten but the last thing you’ll want is your child running outside for recess on a cold day with an unzipped jacket.

amazon.ca

34. How to put on their own snowsuit

Like the last one, consider the ratio of teachers to students and realize that there won’t be enough people to help your child get dressed every recess.  This will take some practice but, from experience, your child will miss a lot of recess time in winter if they spend half the time putting on and taking off a snowsuit.

4-Piece Fleece-Lined Snowsuit Set
Carters OshKosh

35. How to locate something that is lost 

Knowing where to look for something they’ve lost will help kids remain independent and responsible.

36. How to pack/unpack a backpack

In preschool, there isn’t much in their backpack but the important routine of packing it before school and unpacking it after school will help them in the school days to come.

37. How to take care of toys that belong to the school

All toys should be taken care of, but especially ones that don’t belong to you.

38. How to do special jobs

Kids often rotate as “special helpers” and they need to learn how to be responsible enough to do them.

39. How to be safe in an emergency

Fire safety is a big deal at school and kids need to know what to do in the event of an emergency.

Free Fire Safety Booklet
TeachingMama.org

40. How to speak in front of the entire class

Having to get up in front of everyone and say something (ex. show and tell) can be terrifying for even the most outgoing child.

41. How to perform in a group for special events 

Holidays and other events are exciting times when the kids get to do a performance on stage and having to practice songs and dance moves beforehand can be a fun challenge.

42. How to accept compliments

Kids get praised by their teachers all the time – how does your child react when they get a compliment?

43. How to decide who to be friends with

Some adults are still learning this life skill.  Kids often tend to be drawn to other kids who are similar to them or who have similar interests.  But what if your child made friends who someone you thought might be a “bad influence”?

44. How to observe right and wrong behaviors in others  

Knowing the difference between right and wrong is another lifelong battle.  Kids need to be able to identify when someone is doing something wrong so that they can know NOT to mimic that behavior.

45. How to use appropriate words

Don’t know about your kids but mine think bathroom words are hilarious.  They’ll need to learn how to use appropriate words at school.

A book that covers the basics of school behavioral expectations – indigo.ca

46. How to speak up when observing something wrong (without tattling)

Tattling on someone for no good reason is different than speaking up when they some type of injustice or something dangerous.

47. How to handle being interrupted

It’s bound to happen when they are one child in a class full of children.

48.  How to handle jealousy  

I am constantly working on this one with my daughter.  For some reason she thinks she should have whatever anyone else has too…

49. How to include everyone

Cliques do start earlier than we’d like to admit.  Preschool is a great opportunity for kids to learn how to play with everyone and not just with their favorite people.

A cute story about inclusion – indigo.ca

50. How to interact with kids of different cultural backgrounds

This one is especially important.  Kids need to be exposed to others who are different than they are.  They will probably have questions about why those kids are different and the earlier they can learn about diversity, the better off they will be in life.  I love that my kids go to school with children of different races, religions, abilities and family structures and I want them to feel comfortable asking questions, learning, reaching out and trying everything they can to relate to others who might seem different than them.


Check out these awesome mom blogs for FREE printable preschool worksheets that you can do at home!  
Wow, look at all these fun preschool and kindergarten printables. I can't believe they are all free printables, can't wait to use for my homeschool preschool!:
Mommy is My Teacher
More than 20 FREE Learning Packs for Preschool and Kindergarten - This Reading Mama
This Reading Mama
Have some fun with your preschooler and learn at the same time with these education free preschool printables in various seasonal themes.
Living Life and Learning

 

The Pros and Cons of a Combined Sibling Birthday Party

If you’re like me then you’re lucky (?) enough to have three kids whose birthdays are less than a month apart.

The pros and cons of combined sibling birthday parties

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.


When baby #2 was born only three weeks after my first child’s 2nd birthday, I had mixed feelings about them sharing a birthday party.  And then my third child turned up only two days after my first child’s 5th birthday so there was almost no avoiding celebrating their birthdays together… at least for a little while.

For the past 4 years we’ve had one big combined sibling birthday party and this year was no exception!
Dreamworks Trolls Inspired Birthday Party
Click here to read about our most recent sibling birthday party!

Our first combined sibling birthday party was shortly after we moved almost 900 kilometers away from home and all of our family.  We decided to host the party back in our hometown so it made sense to combine the celebration and save us having to make two trips in.

sibling birthday party
Mickey & Minnie Mouse themed 1st & 3rd Birthdays – 2013

While this is still one of the main reasons we choose to do a combined sibling birthday party (despite now only living 200 kilometers away), there are several pros and cons that we take into consideration each year. 


P R O S

The date is flexible.

Since it’s not a celebration of one specific day, it becomes more of a “birthday season.”  We’ve had our parties anywhere from a few days before or after, to a month away from their actual birth dates!

Bigger is better!

One big party can be easier than trying to throw several small ones.  I tend to go overboard on the party planning and wouldn’t even know how to throw a “small” party.


MY FAVORITE PARTY PLANNING SITES:

Party City www.partycity.ca is my go-to website for party related decor items and game props.  They have a huge selection of themes and color schemes and I’ve always been able to count on them to have something specific that I need for a great price! 

Etsy www.etsy.com is my favorite place to shop for custom invitations and downloadable printables!  I’ve purchased everything from party decor to costumes on Etsy and absolutely LOVE the personalized service!

Amazon.ca www.amazon.ca is a lifesaver for situations when I need something that I can’t find in a store! (like pink and blue light bulbs for a gender reveal!)  And even if I can find it, I always price check on amazon first!

Blitsy www.blitsy.com is not a party planning website, but one of my favorite places to stock on craft supplies in order to make party decorations!  They have amazing prices on paper and cardstock and free worldwide shipping!

Beau-coup www.beau-coup.com not only has adorable little party favors for every occasion but they also sell a ton of things in little miniatures that are perfect for dressing up a cake table or candy bar or to use as cake toppers. 


It’s a one time effort.

Party planning is exciting (at least for me it is).  When I know there’s a party coming up, I go all in and put in as much effort as my budget will allow.  But if I had to do it several times in a year, I’m sure that either my effort or my budget would run out by the time the last one rolled around.

Theme parties FTW!

Finding a theme for a combined sibling birthday party can be a challenge but with so many options – it’s actually a lot of fun!  Our most recent theme was based on the Dreamworks Trolls movie but we’ve also done one inspired by The Minions Movie (for our three little minions) and Mickey & Minnie (our first one for our son and daughter).

sibling birthday party
Minions themed 1st, 4th & 6th Birthdays – 2016
No one gets jealous.

Since all the kids get to be part of the celebration, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of one child being jealous seeing their sibling get presents and cake and attention.

Everyone gets a gift!

When we were young, my grandmother always bought presents for each grandchild, no matter who’s birthday it was.  It was one thing we could always count on – and we knew that no matter how jealous we felt about not getting to be the center of attention – we would at least get something from grandma.  So I’m glad my three kids each have gifts to open together.

There’s room for new traditions.

Having a separate party means being able to do something special on each child’s actual birthday.  There are so many creative ways to start a new birthday tradition in your family!


these awesome mom blogs have some great ideas for birthday traditions!

The House of Hendrix
Looking for fun and unique ways to make your child's birthday really special? You will love these 30 ways to make birthdays special (that aren't gifts)!
My Life and Kids
25 ways to make your childs birthday special
Honeybear Lane

It’s easier on the guests.

While your children are young, all of their guest lists will likely be the same – family and close friends.  Having one party means those guests won’t feel obligated to attend several different parties throughout the year.

Group gifts become an option.

A combined sibling birthday party provides an opportunity for guests to go in on larger group gifts together that your children wouldn’t normally receive.


C O N S

There’s no individual attention.

Each child won’t get individual attention at their birthday party and may harbor resentment towards their siblings for always having to share the spotlight.  This may bother some kids more than others, but know that combined sibling birthday parties won’t last forever.

Finding the right theme can be tricky.

The kids may have a hard time agreeing on one theme, especially when they’re into different things.  Finding a common color scheme can be difficult and the older the kids get, the more opinionated they become.  The age gap between them can also have affect which themes are appropriate.

sibling birthday party
Dreamworks Trolls 2nd, 5th & 7th Birthdays – 2017
It’s just one and done.

Once the sibling birthday party is over, there isn’t anything new to look forward to for the rest of the year.  It can be depressing when “birthday season” is over, similar to post-Christmas depression.

In some families, or large circles of extended family and close friends, birthday parties become one of the few reasons to get together throughout the year.  Having only one party means there aren’t as many opportunities for celebrations.

Parties don’t grow on trees.

It can be financially straining to pull off one really BIG party once a year instead of several smaller ones scattered throughout the year.  Considering what time of the year the birthdays fall can also impact the budget.  Anything close to Christmas is almost always doomed…

The “happy birthday” song plays on repeat.

No matter what options you choose for a cake (individual cakes, group cake, cupcakes) you will always have to sing “Happy Birthday” more than once.

Trolls Cake
6 Layer Rainbow Cake Recipe
The gifting situation…

It can be a burden on your guests to have to bring gifts for several children as opposed to just one.

The children may come to expect that they will ALWAYS get presents when their siblings do (or other children) and it will take away an opportunity to help them work through their jealousy.

Kids may receive “one gift for all of you to share.”


I know the day will come when my children will beg me for their own birthday party and I will graciously oblige…
… but until that day…

we will party like it’s Christmas in April!


Do you have any ideas for next year’s theme?  Leave me a comment!


Dreamworks Trolls themed birthday party for three kids
Minion Themed sibling birthday party for three kids
Mickey and Minnie Mouse themed brother and sister birthday party

The Perfect Mom Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.

I have never been much of a baker.  In our family, my husband comes from a family of bakers and I don’t just mean Christmas cookies.  I mean, my husband’s father is an Italian pastry chef who has owned multiple bakeries in his lifetime and even baked for the Queen of England.  Who can compete with that?

I always wanted to be one of those “perfect” moms who could whip up the most delicious chocolate chip cookies as an after school snack.

I tried and failed many times since becoming a mom.  They either turned out too flat or too hard or too chewy.  I gave up for a little while and resorted to buying store bought Pillsbury ready-made cookie dough.  And while I didn’t hide the fact, or try to disguise them as my own, I couldn’t help but feel like a complete failure as a mother.  My kids, on the other hand, didn’t seem to mind one bit – as long as they got cookies they didn’t care how they came to be.

But I was determined!  I just wanted to be able to grab some ingredients from around my kitchen and make some cookies whenever I wanted – I didn’t want to have to go out and buy cookie dough!

Pinterest is my go-to source for all things recipe related and no matter how many different cookie recipes I tried, I could never get them to turn out right.  The list of ingredients were fairly similar – butter, flour, eggs, sugar, etc., so I knew the secret had to be in the method.

It’s been 7 years in the making but I’ve finally perfected it – a classic, soft, gooey-centered chocolate chip cookie that you can bake for your kids as an after school school or on a weekend and feel like a hero.

Here are my TOP THREE TIPS to make sure these chocolate chip cookies come out perfectly!

1. use room temperature butter

Don’t rush this process!  I load up on butter when it’s on sale, throw it in the deep freeze and move one brick to the fridge when I need to, so if you’re like me – this is going to take some planning and forethought.  In the past, I’ve tried every method from defrosting butter in the microwave to grating it into little pieces and it’s never turned out well for me.  Take it out of the fridge in the morning and by the afternoon it should be ready to go!

2. chill the dough

It seems redundant that you would have to soften your butter and then chill it again but you want your butter to melt in the oven once it’s holding together all the other ingredients. So give it at least 2 hours in the fridge (if your butter was super warm and soft when you mixed the batter, leave it in longer.)  You don’t want the dough to dry out in the fridge, though, so make sure to keep it in an airtight container OR cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.  Warm batter will result in thin, flat cookies which will over bake and won’t be soft.

*Bonus Tip:  You can make a double batch and freeze it for instant cookies any day!

3. don’t over bake 

The recipe calls for 12 – 15 minutes at 350°F but ovens vary.  Set your timer for 10 minutes and then keep a close eye on them after that.  I take mine out at 11 minutes.  The size and shape that you make them will affect the baking time also.  I tend to keep mine on the smaller side for the kids (about 1 tablespoon of batter).  You want to look for a VERY slight golden color around the edges but they should be puffed up all the way across (not sunken in the middle).

 

The Perfect Mom Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
A classic chocolate chip recipe for thick, soft cookies the kids will love!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup softened butter (room temperature)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a stand mixer (you can do this by hand but a mixer is preferred) cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Use the highest setting on your mixer and mix for 1 - 2 minutes.
  2. Add in the egg, vanilla, salt, baking soda and baking powder and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add in the flour and mix on low speed until just combined.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips by hand.
  5. Transfer the cookie dough into an airtight container and CHILL for at least 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 F
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat
  8. Scoop 1 tablespoon of dough onto sheet or roll into small balls spacing 2 -3 inches apart
  9. Bake for 10 -12 minutes. Look for the cookies to puff up all the way across, not sunken in the middle and a slight golden color on the edges.

 


Of course, I couldn’t bake without my favorite tools!

Mommy is who I pretend to be

I might be a full time stay-at-home mom but that doesn’t mean that I am “MOMMY” all the time.  In fact, the person I am when my kids aren’t looking is a very different person…

MOMMY is patient.  Mommy will allow the children to put on their own pyjamas.  She will watch as they put their leg repeatedly into the same hole and coach them through it with enthusiasm.

I am not patient.  In fact, having to watch someone struggle to do something that I know I could do without any effort is an effective method of torture for me.

MOMMY can listen to long elaborate stories that don’t make any sense.  She even makes eye contact and nods and smiles and laughs and makes sad faces and asks questions.

I prefer a “get to the point” type of story.  I especially despise the stories that have no point whatsoever.

MOMMY is never too tired to read one more book.

So.  F#%^ing.  Exhausted.

MOMMY cooks healthy meals and stresses the importance of eating vegetables and trying new foods.

New food makes me uneasy.  If I could order pizza every night I would.

MOMMY takes the kids for walks to the playground because fresh air and exercise are important.

The gym and I are not friends.  I don’t like to walk or run or climb things.  I like park benches.  Or the swings, I could do the swings as long as I don’t pump my legs too much because that’s tiring and I don’t want to be sore tomorrow.

MOMMY doesn’t let the kids watch too much television.

Binge-watching Netflix should be an Olympic sport.

MOMMY has strict limits on video games and tablet time.

My internet went down once for an entire hour.  Worst hour of my life.

MOMMY is not afraid to speak up, to call someone out or to walk around covered in spilled milkshake.

I get embarrassed pretty easily so I try to avoid awkward situations at all costs.

MOMMY is a teacher.  She can come up with age appropriate lesson plans for preschoolers and has the ability to help her children figure out the right answer on their own.

Who really needs math anyway? That’s what calculators are for…

MOMMY realizes that making memories can be messy.

#NeatFreak #OCD #ewwmyhandsaredirty

I know I sound like a total hypocrite.  Why can’t I just be myself around my kids? Because I want them to be BETTER THAN ME.

The world has changed me from an innocent, fun-loving child to a grumpy and tired adult and I’ll be damned if that’s what my children see me as.  So I pretend to be excited about every little thing.  I pretend to have a limitless energy supply.  I pretend to be a good example for them to follow in the hopes that they will grow up to become a better person than I am. (And, while I don’t want to admit it, I think all this pretending might actually be turning me into a better person.)

But one thing that MOMMY and I have in common is that we will both do anything for our children, no matter how embarrassing or exhausting it may be.

 

 

The middle child will always be the mediator


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When it comes to my middle child, I have very strong emotions about her.

She is our most passionate child and she loves as strongly as she hates.  All day long she rides an emotional roller coaster causing drama and chaos one minute and then peace and serenity the next.  Of all my children, she is the child that most completes my life – the one that has turned me into the resilient mother I am today and the only one who makes me cry on a regular basis.

Middle Child

When she was born our oldest was 2 and he was still very much a baby.  Perhaps it’s why I’ve treated them the same all their lives.  They played with the same toys, bathed in the same tub and slept in the same bedroom.  They share everything (sometimes willingly, other times not).  So it was hard for her to stay home while he went off to school because she was used to doing everything with him.

While she knows that he’s older than she is, I don’t think she sees him as her “big brother” instead she sees him as her “best friend.”

By the time the baby came along her motherly intuition was a force to be reckoned with.  It felt as though she grew up overnight and was no longer a little kid but suddenly a nanny to her baby sister.  I questioned whether or not they would develop a sisterly bond because what seemed to be happening instead was that the baby was getting a second mother.  The relationship between the baby and the older kids was much more separate, but yet they have all grown into best friends in spite of that.

Middle Child

I owe that friendship to our remarkable middle child.

She is the one who is creative enough to build a Lego tower with her brother but also patient enough to let the baby knock it down.  She is the one who sets up tea parties for everyone to attend and suggests group games for them to play.  It’s a rare moment when I see my oldest and youngest playing alone together.  And when they do, they mostly just sit next to each other and play with their own individual toys in a peaceful silence.  It’s our middle child and her dislike of being alone that brings everyone together.

Middle Child

And while I count on her to keep everyone together, I also know that she is more than capable of being her own person – of standing out and having her own identity.  If anything, being the middle child has taught her that she needs to be loud and wild and unique to make her voice heard.

She has an amazing ability to read people and understand what they need.   She’s on an emotional roller coaster all day because she’s trying to keep up with the needs of everyone around her.

Middle Child

She might be the dramatic one full of tantrums but she is also the peacemaker, the mediator and the one who unites us as a family.