Comparison Is The Main Ingredient to Your Unhappiness

When I was younger, someone very important to me said something I don’t think I will ever forget. They said to me; “The man who always looks to his neighbours plate, will always be hungry.” Honestly, no truer words have been spoken and I think it’s so important for all of us to keep these words at the forefront of your mind. 

Those words, as wise as they are, weren’t words I really paid much attention to until the other day. 

As a new mom, I am looking to a lot of parenting forums, apps, and articles for information. My life is changing, I am a mother suddenly responsible of keeping this adorable little girl alive, and although 11 weeks have past and I am getting the hang of things, I still don’t know what is best for my daughter and how to get her on the right track developmentally. So for a lot of the answers I need, I look to others for guidance. 

This is really a double edged sword. Someone will tell you that at 2 months, your baby should be loving tummy time. They should be reaching for things and copying little noises you make. That will make you as a new parent sit back and think, Is my baby doing all that? If the answer is no, it is going to make you wonder about your child’s development. Are you not doing enough? Should you have done more earlier? Why is that baby already supporting itself on it’s front arms at 3 months? Will my daughter be doing that in just 2 more weeks?

As I sat there on the floor beside the mat my daughter was lying on and watched her angrily yelp and squeal (she absolutely hates tummy time), I wondered why she seemed to hate it when all the other parents told me that every baby loves tummy time. What’s going on with my Sunshine that she acts as though its some kind of torture?

I found myself comparing my situation, my parenting, and my daughter to other parents and babies. Let me tell you, this is a slippery slope. 

What started off as a routine exercise for my daughter that usually ended up in her giving me the stink face for several minutes afterwards, turned into me wondering whether or not she was where she was supposed to be. 

If I was baking a cake of unhappiness, I had already put in the most important ingredient: comparison. 

Any time in your life when you compare yourself to anyone else, you are asking for trouble. Yet, it something so many of us struggle with. I am a confident person in certain ways. I won’t change who I am as a person for anyone, I don’t care about people’s opinions about me, and I will always stand beside someone who I care about. That being said, I am not always the most confident when it comes to my looks and I feel like those waves of low self-esteem seem to hit me when I compare myself to someone else. 

Today, it’s impossible not to. Everywhere you turn there are images of beautiful, fit women who everyone tells you are perfection. It’s hard not to look at them and ask yourself what is different about you, what elements of yourself are keeping you from being seen like people see them? 

As a new parent, you are so vulnerable. Being a new parent, in my opinion, is isolating and in a way lonely. Even when you have an amazing support team, it’s hard not to be lonely. Sometimes it feel like you are losing the person you were and you experience that loss all on your own, no one else can share in that with you. As strong as you are for your new baby, you are vulnerable to the world and I feel like this is when you will most compare yourself with other people. 

You compare your delivery, you compare your bodies with other women who have just become mommies. You compare you weight loss, your stretch marks, your sleep, your feeding routines. It’s like there are just columns and columns of other women and every day you see if you can add a check next to something they too are doing. It’s tiring, it’s difficult, and at the end of the day, it’s just throwing more and more ingredients into that cake of your unhappiness. 

So, what can we do?

It’s not easy to just undo years of subconsciously comparing ourselves and our accomplishments to the people around us. It’s like our lives are a competition or a game, and everyone is working to get the high score. We can’t just turn it off, can we?

No. We are creatures of habit and once those habits have etched themselves into our character, they are hard as hell to get rid of. Trust me, I’ve tried. 

I do think that being aware of it is so important though. These past few days I have been aware of it more than ever. That first night I compared my daughter to other children her age, I was miserable. I reduced my daughter to this nameless faceless thing that was nothing more than her age and accomplishments. I have to admit I went to bed feeling extremely shitty. 

My daughter is the greatest gift I have ever received in my whole life. She is wonderful, silly, stinky at times, and I wouldn’t change her for anything or anyone else. So why the hell does it matter to me what other babies her age are doing?

You know what? It doesn’t! It honestly and truly doesn’t now that I realize that I was comparing her to other babies, I could care less if she is copying noises I make, or whether or not she loves the dreaded tummy time all other mothers swear their babies loved. 

We do not have cookie-cutter babies. They are not all the same. Some are late-bloomers. Some are creative things that want to imagine what they are doing instead of practicing to do it. Others are athletic, others are terrors, others are calm and content. There are no two babies that are exactly alike. Every baby is different, so why even bother comparing them?

My life right now is complex. I am happy as a new mother, but that doesn’t mean I am not struggling. Most days the only people I physically talk to are my 11 week old daughter, my 8 year old dog, and my husband for about 2 or 3 hours before bed. This often leaves me feeling like I am on this new Mommy Island that not a lot of people can get to, and that I can’t leave. 

It’s lonely and time does this weird thing of passing both slowly and all too quickly. I never get to really sleep, and most days I am just a cow for my daughter to constantly feed off of. 

Mentally, every day is a rollercoaster ride that I can’t get off of and I have a feeling I won’t get the chance to get off any time soon. 

But, we all have to celebrate small victories. 

I have stopped comparing my daughter to other babies and that has eliminate a lot of the stress and worry that had weaved itself into my every day life. She will love things and hate things at her own pace. She is her own little person that is growing and learning every single day, and I am so excited to see what and who she will grow into. 

The oven is off, the mixing bowl is in the sink, and I have thrown the main ingredient to my unhappiness in the trash. No more comparisons for me. 

I can breathe a little better knowing that… 

Everyone else out there that has been subconsciously baking a cake of their unhappiness that they will undoubtedly end up eating through thick tears while they struggle to breathe through heavy sobs in the dark, I hope you’ll join me in throwing it all away. We are all struggling through different things, there is no point in comparing lives, bodies, or anything else. 

Just live your best life, the best you can. 

Happiness will come. 

How Important Is Including Your Family In Your Child’s Life?

When you are pregnant or thinking about starting a family, it is so common to think about the kind of family you want for you baby. You start to think about your own childhood and your experiences and memories, and you make a mental list of all the things you want to do differently, all the experiences you want your baby to share with you. 

My childhood was rocky. It was chaotic and messy, and in a way lonely.

I have four siblings, an older sister and three younger brothers. It was an odd place to be in the line-up. My sister was a cool kid, very Regina George from Mean Girls. She was the It Girl, she had all the friends, knew everyone, did all the partying. Because of this a lot of the time people just knew me as her sister, and not as myself. Having Regina George as an older sister also meant that I was bullied mercilessly, and put in the supervisory role for my younger brothers because she was always doing something that kept her from babysitting. 

My mom was a single parent. She worked tirelessly to make sure we all had what we needed, but that also meant that I didn’t get to see her very often. One of the first things I told myself when I started making a family of my own was that I wanted to spend a lot more time with my kids when they came along. It isn’t something I hold against my mother at all, I admire her work ethic and she taught me a lot, but it is something I wanted to do differently. 

My relationship with my father was complicated. He had cheated on my mother when I was a kid and had an abusive relationship with her both emotionally and physically. It was difficult for me as a kid because when I was really small I was more of a Daddy’s Girl. He was the one I ran to when I had a problem, he was the one I ran towards with pure joy, he was a big part of my life and I idolized and loved him more than I could ever say. 

However, watching what he put my mother through and the emotional toll losing him put on my brother, he suddenly became the villain in the tale of my life. Parents are human, and I completely understand they will make mistakes, we will all make mistakes. But I do think as a parent, it is your job to hide some of you mistakes, some of your villainous attributes from your kids and he made no effort in doing any of that. He included us in his villainy, made us bear witness to it all, and that to me was unforgivable. 

When I became a teenager, I cut all ties with my father. He is a toxic person and I could no longer stomach his influences. I just needed distance, I needed to pull away for my own survival. I think in a big way that is what being an adult is, realizing that a lot of life is just trying to survive different situations. 

When I was pregnant, I thought a lot about family. My husband’s family is the kind of family I always wanted when I was a kid. Two loving parents. A mom that is supportive and just radiates joy and love, and a father that finds a lesson in every situation. He is close to his two brothers and they have this bond that seems as though it would survive anything. Not to mention both his parents come from huge families and he is close to all 15+ aunts and uncles, and their children. It’s just such a wonderful family vibe and I am so happy to be a part of it. 

However the downside of being the new addition to such a great family, is that it makes you look at your own in this sort of judgemental way. It made me long for they type of family I never really had. 

In our family it is just us. We aren’t close with my mother’s sister and her kids. We don’t speak to our dad who remarried and has a whole new family. We don’t have relationships with our grandparents. It’s just the 6 of us, my mom, my four siblings, and I. Over time that family has grown a bit. My sister had a son, my brother had a son, I married adding my husband and now our daughter. Our family of 6 has become a family 11. It’s dysfunctional at times, but it’s mine and I love it. 

When I was pregnant a lot of family related questions came to mind, but the biggest question I asked myself was whether or not I would finally answer one of those emails from my father, the ones where he makes a weak effort to reach out and attempt to rebuild the bridges he had burned. 

Hormones can make you act crazy and question everything. I questioned my decision to completely cut him out. 

I am happy to say I resisted that urge. Why? Because although family is important for children, there is nothing better for them then a healthy environment where they can witness healthy and functioning relationships. 

There are no cookie-cutter families. Some families are two parents, four grandparents with lots of aunts and uncles and cousins. Some are one parent, four grandparents. Some are just a grandparent. Some are just one parent. Families come in all shapes and sizes and as long as everyone in that family is constantly working to make one another happy with their best interests always in mind, that’s what’s important, no matter what members make that family. 

Toxic relationships are never good for anyone, and although it’s hard, sometimes you need to say goodbye to the harmful people in your life to ensure your happiness, and the happiness of your children. 

It’s so important to make a family for your baby and your children, but it’s important for us as parents to be smart enough to know what family our children need. Sometimes including everyone isn’t what’s best. 

How Pregnancy and Becoming A Mother Has Changed My Confidence

Last night I was sitting on the couch with a fussy baby on my breast. Scrolling through the many options on Netflix, I was hoping to find something humorous that I didn’t have to 100% pay attention to and still follow. I settled on the movie I Feel Pretty starring Amy Schumer. 

The movie had a lot of laughs, but it also got me thinking about body imaging and how social media, shows, celebrities all affect our confidence and body image. It can be so toxic. 

Amy Schumer may not have the ideal body that advertising and Instagram pushes, but she is not outside of the norm for so many of us. Her body is relatable to so many, and it is beautiful. Yet, this movie made it seem as though we should laugh at her having confidence in a body that isn’t the typical hour-glass figure society wants us all to strive for. 

Every day is a battle for women to cling to confidence and not to succumb to what the world around us tells us is beautiful. As a woman, and as a mother to a baby girl, I find the very thought of beauty terrifying. I know that somewhere down the line I am going to have to wipe tears from under my daughter’s eyes because she may not fall into the category of beautiful every outlet out there pushes at women. 

Pre-Pregnancy I was skinny. 

My body was athletic and thin. I often had women ask me if I ate, or what my secret was. Both were equally frustrating questions. We are hardwired to crave smaller bodies, to want curves with minimal fat, wide-set hips, a full bottom and heavy breasts. Passive aggressive comments are made to those people we find too heavy, and people we find too thin. There really is no winning, and it’s shameful the way we, as a society, make women feel. 

Despite having a small waist, and being thin, I still didn’t have confidence in my body. I often would have people walk up to me, especially older women, and wrap their hands around my waist, commenting on how thin I was. They would comment when they hugged me, at the size of my clothes “Did you buy that in the kid’s section?” no matter where I turned, there was always someone commenting on my body in one way or another. In some ways, being skinny is worse to someone who doesn’t have high self-esteem or confidence in their body because it is somehow more acceptable for people to comment on how thin and skinny people are as opposed to people with a larger body type. If you aren’t confident in your body, there are people reminding you of it every single day, as those comments are completely acceptable. 

Pre-pregnancy I struggled to maintain my weight. I have an over-active thyroid and because of that, if there were days when I didn’t eat as much as I should have I felt as though I could see that on my body, that I could feel it in my energy and how I went through my day. 

When I got pregnant, weight was definitely something I worried about. I worried whether I would be able to put on the weight my baby needed. Whether my baby would get enough nutrition or whether I would be on all sorts of supplements to help me through this important time in my life. I was lucky to gain all the weight needed, and then some. 

I gained weight slowly in the beginning. Through the first five months of my pregnancy there was no one that knew I was pregnant. I kept it to myself for two major reasons. The first reason was because I thought it was a nice bond that was being built between my husband and I. Having this secret between us, such a happy secret, really pulled us closer together. The other reason was that I knew the comments I would get. People telling me I was too thin and not putting on the weight I needed to be in those early stages of my pregnancy. I didn’t need the judgements of others adding onto the anxieties I already had. 

For whatever reason, the outside world gets to have all these opinions about women’s bodies. 

During pregnancy, if you weren’t the kind of person that radiated confidence before, chances are, your confidence levels are going to drop. I think the main reason for all of this is because of the major changes your body goes through and with each change that happens there is one questions that repeats itself in the back of your mind, over and over and over. 

“Is this normal?”

The problem with this question is that we all put ourselves in these comparison columns where we compare every change to other women we know or see that are going through the same thing forgetting the most important fact: we may be going through the same thing, but we are not the same. 

Every single woman is different. Even my sister and I who only have two years separating us, are as different as can be. Night and day. As were our pregnancy experiences. As are our body types, and body images. 

It’s important to keep reminding yourself that there is no normal, just what is normal for you. 

My body went through a lot of changes during my pregnancy, and my confidence went through changes right along with it. At the beginning, I felt my body was still mine. Sure, I was nauseous all the time, but outside of that, I still looked like me. 


My confidence was as it always was. Not the greatest, but still there at times. I kept wondering when I would start to show. When would I finally get breasts, something I had always been lacking in my life? When would I get a little bump? Would I balloon out of control? Something my sister said she did although I always thought she gained weight normally. Or would I stay more myself? I had so many questions at the beginning and as much as we don’t want to admit it, a lot of our confidence as women is tied to what we look like and our bodies. 

At 28 weeks I was probably my most confident. I had the bump I wanted, my breasts were looking pretty nice if I do say so myself, and I had gained a good amount of weight. My doctor was happy with my progress, and that made me happy. In the back of my mind, I was still a little worried I would get a lot of stretch marks. My sister had a lot, she had them on her belly, on her breasts, on her arms, she even got them behind her knees. My sister has a lighter complexion than me, more pale like my mother so her stretch marks were angry and red. I remember that being something I worried about a lot in the beginning. Would I get those?

I worried whether my body would be so changed after becoming a mom that it would shatter the small amount of confidence I had. Or would my post-pregnancy body make me see myself the way Amy Schumer’s character saw herself after she hit her head during a spin class?

I took a photo of myself right before heading to the hospital to deliver. Towards the end of my pregnancy I was too exhausted for confidence to even register in my brain. My feet were swollen, none of my clothes fit, I had a lot more discharge, I was tired, hungry…. if I had confidence, or a lack there of, it was a mystery to me.

In the days that followed I was exhausted, sore, and uncomfortable but bigger than all of that was my happiness. I was a mom, I couldn’t believe it. I was also amazed at how quickly my stomach shrunk while breastfeeding. I forced myself to take a postpartum photo. 

Today I have been a mom for 2 months and 10 days. My weight seems to stay at 130lbs which I am happy with since my goal weight pre-pregnancy was 125lbs. I look more like myself but have extra weight in the places I always wanted.

So how is my confidence?

It goes up and down. 

The skin on my stomach is darker than the rest from stretching to accommodate my baby. The skin, although shrinking back, is looser than I am used to and honestly I struggle with accepting this. I don’t need it to go back to what it was, I just… if I’m being honest I’m not entirely sure what I want or need for my confidence to build up to a place where it doesn’t negatively affect my happiness. 

It’s a journey and I’m finding my way. Hopefully I figure it out soon. The grey weather is also weighing on me a bit. I’d love to just be out enjoying my new mommy life but feel a bit restricted. 

For any new moms reading this or mommies to be, just know that you are beautiful and we are all amazing! Everything else we will figure out as we go.

One Week PostPartum
Today: 2 Months, 10 Days PostPartum

Living In Chaos: Is It Possible To Have A Routine With A Newborn?

I have been a mother for two months now, and a lot of the blogs and forums I had read to prepare me for being a mother (yes, I read some books too) told me that it would be so difficult in the beginning and that the best way to get through it, was to give up on the thought or idea that you can keep a routine this early in your baby’s life. Is this true? If you had asked me that the first week I had brought my baby home, I would have told you it definitely was. A routine was something single people and people with older children could possibly keep if they planned and had a strong desire, but for a new mom, it was completely out of the question. 

Now, I realize how wrong that was. 

Babies are unpredictable in a way, but if you pay attention to all the little things, you will realize that your baby does have a routine… it just may not be the one you want them to keep. 

My daughter wakes up between 10:00am and noon. She is NOT a morning way in any way shape or form. You may think I am just making that up, but if you spent a morning with me at my house and watched how utterly miserable she was for no other reason than because it was before noon, you would whole-heartedly agree with me. 

My daughter + mornings = one unreasonably cranky baby.

When she gets up I change her out of her sleeping clothes, wipe her down (we usually give her a full bath in the evenings) and then I take her to the rocking chair (glider) or the couch depending on how we feel for a feeding. She eats until she falls back asleep which is anywhere from 30 minutes to and hour. I use the time she is asleep to pump out the remaining breastmilk and do a few things for myself (wash my face, brush my teeth, change my clothes, read through some news highlights, have my cup of decaf coffee). 

She will usually sleep for two-three more hours and be up by 3:00pm. By that time, I layer up, get her layered up and she and I take our fur baby out for a walk. We are usually out for between fifteen-twenty minutes depending on the weather. I really wish it was summer or even fall weather because then I would go out and walk for around an hour, and hour and a half and just spend a lot more time outdoors and less in my apartment. 

When I take her in, I usually check and see if she needs a change because outside I can’t necessarily hear her volcano eruption of poop. Even my daughter’s diaper change has a routine. I lay her down and weather she is wearing socks or a onesie, I make sure her feet are bare when she is getting changed because she loves when I kiss her feet and kissing her feet or nom-noming them is sometimes the only thing I can do to calm her down is she is fussy while she is on the table. 

We play with her feet before and after her change, I usually give her a few cherry kisses on her tummy as well before I get her dressed again. Now, the dressing her after her change is always a bit of an adventure because my daughter hates wearing clothes. If she is being overly fussy, I will just shrug the whole idea of clothes off and let her be free in her diaper and some socks. If my apartment is too cold, I will put her in a cover-all onesie. Her happiness does depend on how much clothes she is wearing so typically if she gets off that table in a onesie we have to do a couple laps in the apartment before we get on the glider and she feeds again. 

Typically after this feeding she will stay awake. We will move to the floor for her tummy time which she also hates. Usually she does about five minutes of that before she is grunting in frustration, bright red, and ready to stop talking to me for the rest of the day. Toby of course accompanies us for tummy time and tries to soothe her with his toys or kisses if she gets too fussy. 

After tummy time, I put her in her swing with the music playing and she will enjoy that until she dozes off (the life of a two month old). She usually dozes for an hour to two hours. At this point… mama takes a nap/break. 

When she wakes up, she eats again. Usually when she is done eating I will realize I haven’t eaten since her first nap and I try to get something in me and I will do my 7 minute exercises (I usually choose three different ones and do that for about 20 minutes). By this time it is between 6:00-6:30.

This means we bundle up again and take Toby out. If we popped out for only a short fifteen minutes earlier, I will typically stay out longer. If we were out longer in the morning, I will typically do the same amount of time or less depending on the weather. 

We come in, same changing routine, she eats some more. Then I usually sit with her and chat with her for a bit. Exercising her legs, playing with her arms, rubbing her tummy if she has excess gas. She will doze off, eat, get changed. Before I know it, it’s 9:00pm and I try and set her back in her swing so I can get dinner started. (I know, my husband works weird hours and usually doesn’t get home from work until around 10:30pm)

My daughter will be wide awake from 9:00pm until around midnight. There is no way around this. She will be cooing, and squawking, and kicking and punching and just keeping herself up and entertained. 

We go into the room and I chat with her some more, telling her stories, singing, and usually after another long feed, she will clock out at 1:21am every morning like it’s shift work. 

In the beginning I thought it was madness and there was no routine to it. I only started to realize there was a routine when I went out for the day with my sister and she was fussy in the morning. I told my sister it was because she usually napped between 1:00-3:00pm and then I wondered to myself if that was true or something I just thought she did. Sure enough, the whole routine started to play out in my mind and I realize there was a routine.

For all those new moms who were hoping to have a baby that goes to bed by 7 or 8 and you could get them up early, feed them and have your breakfast, have your lunch at noon, dinner at 6 and that they would fall into the schedule you had before you had a baby, then you may be feeling like it is chaos, because it isn’t normal. But you aren’t that person anymore, and you have to be open to changing your schedule to suit a new baby, even if that schedule doesn’t work for you. Their routine will change as they grow, and sooner or later it will click into place with what you had planned. 

“What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” This is important to remember. We were spiders before and now we are feeling a little more like flies, because a lot of our planning isn’t up to us anymore. 

And there is nothing wrong with that. 

So you can definitely have a routine, I just can’t promise it will be the one you want. Here in Canada, not living in that work life routine for months on end is fine because of our Maternity leave we have the time to adjust and months to figure it out before we go back to work. For those living in other countries without maternity leave, I definitely understand how frustrating it can be to have a newborn that doesn’t make your transition from pregnancy, to new mom, to working new mom easy as you ride the wave of their schedule. 

I would strongly suggest keeping a journal of their naps, feedings, and diaper changes so it is easier for you to notice these patterns and plan your life around them. When you feel like you are falling into the groove of things, even though you may not be getting much sleep or living the hours you want to live, you will start to feel less anxious, less tired and enjoy being a new mommy. 

Everything in life take times to adjust to. Give yourself that time and try not to rush a change that may end up making life more difficult for you. It’s better to have a baby on a night-owl routine than to have a miserable baby who cries all the time because you are trying to change it. Then no one is getting any sleep. 

Until next time, hang in and keep pretending you know what you’re doing. 

Going Out With A Fussy Infant

With the temperature dropping and my calendar almost completely empty aside from doctor’s appointments, I have settled into comfortable clothes, thick reading socks and knit sweaters. When my sister gave me a call to ask me to go out with her so she could do some shopping, I thought; ‘What the hey…’

My daughter has been fussy for the past week and a half. She is inconsolable at times which has even led me to consider whether or not she is colicky, but I am leaning more towards overly gassy. That and the change from having constant attention all the time when we were at my in-laws, to her having to be okay with just having plain-ole-mommy. The thought of going out with her, with her in the mood she was in, was a little daunting. 

Bundled up in her adorable bear outerwear, with a handful of binkies in the diaper bag, her favourite caterpillar rattle, and several spit-up blankets we headed out to meet my sister for the day. 

The first half of the day started off pretty well. I had fed her right before leaving the house knowing full well that a full belly and a car ride would soothe her right to sleep and her naps these days can range from one hour to three (I had my fingers crossed for three hours). She slipped off to sleep and we ventured out to the mall in the middle of nowhere that had the outfits my sister was looking for. 

On the way back, my daughter was awake, alert, and miserable. Having a fussy baby in the back seat while you are driving is frustrating. My daughter’s cry has a way of chipping away at pieces of my heart and my breasts immediately start to leak like they are auditioning for a role as Niagara Falls. 

When my sister ran in to get my nephew from his after-school program, I popped in the backseat and fed her again hoping this would be enough to calm her, even just a little bit. 

As a new mom, I try not to restrict myself. If I want to go out, I go out with baby in tow. I ignore the looks from people when she is fussy, I talk to her in silly voices while we walk the aisles at the grocery store. We are a little team and I am happy to bring her out into the world. 

I think one of the mistakes a lot of new parents think is asking themselves what other people will think. ‘My child is a little fussy today, I don’t want to cause a scene.’ ‘It’s crowded in that store, I better wait until baby is in a better mood.’  This world is as much your’s and your baby’s as it is everyone else’s. Limiting your movements and outings to when your baby is content would mean you never get the chance to go out. 

Go on! Get out there! Screw those people looking at you out of the corner of their eyes! 

Your happiness matters, and unfortunately if you spend all your days inside with greasy hair, half-dressed, with spit-up and poop stains all over your clothes you will eventually be driven as mad as you look. 

My daughter was unbelievably fussy when we went out yesterday. I went into several stores and had to listen to her wail in the backseat of my car for several minutes at a time, but we got out. I feel a little better for it today, and I don’t think she even remembers being out. 

No matter how prepared you are when you go out, there will be times when absolutely nothing in your large diaper bag will soothe her/him. And that is absolutely okay. Mentally prepare yourself for the possibility that you will be out, your baby will be crying, and there is nothing you will be able to do in that moment. Come to terms with that possibility and it will make going out a lot less daunting. 

As a parent, we feel like we need to be in control of every situation. The sooner we realize that is unattainable, the happier and less stressed we will be. 

Now, if you will excuse me. I am off to clean up another diaper blowout. 

Winter Weather Blues

New parents have a lot on their plates. When you have made the decision to stay home with your new little one for the first year or so, a lot of people think that is a blessing. You get to stay in your PJs, you get to binge-watch your favourite shows, you get to avoid the bad weather if you have your baby right before the winter. 

I will admit, those are big pluses. 

On the other hand, when your partner is back at work, or you are doing it alone, staying at home with your baby can be isolating. With the temperature dropping outside, the sky remaining that bleak grey, and they fear of your little one contracting something during the flu season, you are more likely to stay inside. 

It’s easy to fall into a routine of nothingness. You wake up, spend most of your day in the same clothes, feeding your baby, entertaining her and changing her. The small naps she takes you tell yourself you will use to get things done, but chances are you use that time to catch up on some of the rest you went without the night before. 

Days of the week start to all blend together, and without people coming in and out for visits, they don’t really matter. 

It’s really hard to get motivated. I am trying to add working out at home to my daily routine to at least do a little something for myself, but it is hard not to fall into winter weather blues. 

My husband is at work typically all day. He has an unusual work schedule so I typically see him for an hour or so in the mornings and then not until after 11:00pm. That means that most of my day is spent with my beautiful daughter and our fur baby, but neither provide me with the stimulating conversation I crave. 

With us being a one vehicle family, spur of the moment outings are off the table because my husband typically takes the car to work unless I tell him I would like it for the day, which usually, I have no plans. 

So what can you do? 

Besides texting out constant SOS messages to anyone who will answer, I think it’s important, even in bad weather (so long as there isn’t a blizzard taking place outside) to go out and get some fresh air each day. For me, it’s easy because I have to go out to walk my dog anyway. I have to kick myself in the butt lately to actually go for long walks as opposed to just taking him out to do his business and retreating back into the warmth of our apartment. 

We have the Bugaboo stroller which has the large bicycle tires on the back to make it easy to get out in any weather. If you live somewhere with all four seasons, like me here in Canada, I would definitely invest in a stroller with big, capable tires. 

It’s also important to make plans to incorporate different people in your days each week. Seeing the same three faces, although you love your little family, every day can leave you feeling like a bit of a hermit. I try and see my mother, sister, brothers and nephew at least once a week. Usually we do Sunday dinners, but I also try and get together with my sister when I can. 

Do something every day just for you. 

Don’t set big unattainable goals that will depress you when you don’t complete them. Keep them simple. Maybe something as simple as getting up, putting make-up on and getting dressed every day. The routine can make you feel like your old self. 

I have been going without make-up since I started staying home from work in August. Without that routine I had before working in the morning, it is really hard to get myself going. I used to get up, make a cup a coffee (decaf unfortunately) bring that into the bathroom with me while I put make-up on and did my hair for work. Then I would get dressed and be ready to start my day. 

Now, as a new mom, that routine is almost impossible to stick to. Your baby wants your love and attention, so spending thirty-minutes in the bathroom by yourself is a no-go. 

I’ve changed this routine a little bit to include her. Now, I put some music on and put my daughter in her carrier on my chest. I have her with me in the bathroom as I dance around, wash my face, brush my hair… just make myself look a little less like a sleepless cave-woman and more like myself. I find the music keeps my daughter in a good mood while I do things like pluck my unruly eyebrows or moisturize. 

When I leave the bathroom, I feel more refreshed and less like I am a zombie just stumbling through the day. 

Despite my lack of appetite in the morning, I still get myself a bowl of cereal and eat it while I breastfeed. It’s like I am not eating alone and makes me feel great. 

Normally after breakfast my daughter will doze for a bit. This is the perfect time to put her in her swing while I do a 7 minute workout using my 7 minute women’s workout app on my phone. (I love this app!) 

Lately I have been using it just to guide me through stretches and easier workouts. Nothing overly taxing as I can’t necessarily wind down afterwards depending on my daughter’s mood. 

Reading this you may be thinking that none of this will work for you. That’s fine, we are all different. The point is, because the weather restricts what you can do outside of your house, it’s important to make your home comforting to you. A place that doesn’t feel like a binding prison but like it’s full of opportunities for you throughout the day. 

Maybe it’s reading a book. Maybe it’s taking time to do some journalling. Find what makes you feel good and do it every day to help you keep your winter weather blues at bay. 

Your mental health is as important as your physical health, especially as a new parent!

Toxic Relationships and How To Improve Or Move On From Them.

A few years ago, I went through a mental spring cleaning, so to speak. My mind was full, it was clouded and I found myself slipping into negativity. I would often pause and think back to the person I was just a few years earlier. I was someone who smiled often, fell back on being silly and carefree, and had this whole ‘Glass Half Full’ outlook on life. 

I sat back and reflected on a bunch of things going on in my life. 

After a lot of reflection, I realized it was some of the friendships in my life that were altering how I viewed the world and myself. Some of my friends had this way of changing my whole mood, which changed how I viewed things and how I thought about things. 

It’s important for a lot of people to realize that you personally define what is toxic to your mental state. I think when a lot of people think of a toxic relationship, they think about abuse or neglect. There are so many other little things you may not realize are sinking the ship of your happiness. 

I realized a lot of the friends in my life are overly dependant on me. There is nothing wrong with that, everyone needs a shoulder to cry on or someone to lean into when times are tough. Yet, when I thought about it, for so many of my friends, times were always tough. No matter how well things were going in their lives, they always latched on to that one thing that was going poorly and looked to me to encourage them and lift them up. 

There is nothing wrong with being someone’s moral support. This can be as beneficial to you at times as it is to them, but if you look back on your relationship and realize the only time they reach out to you is when they need you to lift them out of the emotional hole they had dug themselves into, it’s important to note that maybe they view you more as a therapist than as an actual friend. 

Relationships like this can be taxing and can leave you feeling worn and used which is not good for you. 

A lot of my relationships were like this, and all I did to clear the space in my mind and my life was stop reaching out to them first to see if they really valued me as a friend or thought of me outside of their problems. Another thing I did was took a day or two off from responding to their SOS text messages. If they messaged me when their crisis was over, then I knew they were friendships worth holding onto. 

When I was pregnant, I was emotional and a lot of those sad days were brought on by the thought that I didn’t have a friendship circle. I have one real and true friend. That’s it. 

I have a few other friendships that I would consider more of an aquaintanceship. They are there, and I reach out to them on occasion, but days, weeks, or even months could pass without speaking and neither one of us really has a problem with that. 

When you become a parent you think about whether or not these types of relationships are worth it, or whether it is just better to move on and make new friends. People grow, and because of that, it’s not uncommon for people to grow apart. 

Any relationship that weighs down on you, makes you feel negative or used, or holds you back from things you hope and dream for would be a toxic relationship. 

If you are hoping to hold onto these people and continue to have them in your life, the best thing to do is to speak to them. Let them know how your relationship makes you feel and that they are important to you, but that you can’t continue on in this relationship the way it is. You need a change, and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about wanting to free up some mental space and improve your mental health. 

Whether this is someone you are in a romantic relationship, a platonic relationship, or even if you are related, you have every right to want something more out of your relationship, especially if it makes you feel bad. 

Although people do grow, it is difficult for them to change. Some people may hear what you are saying but revert back to how they were after a few weeks. Don’t be afraid to pull away if that is what you need. 

Toxic relationships can really change the way you live your life, but it is still your life. Surround yourself with people that enhance your life and the way you live it.