Taking Time For Yourself

After hitting about my fifth month, the routine I seem to follow when I am off is sleeping in as long as I can, eating as much as I can, and living on my couch. I work long hours, the hours I work are physical and require a lot of walking and being out in the heat and sun, so by the end of the week, exhaustion is just a word that doesn’t even begin to describe how I am feeling come Saturday morning… okay, okay afternoon.

Falling into this kind of routine may lead you to believe you are giving yourself the rest you need, and physically, maybe you are. But I have started to see a change in my mood lately. There has been a slow decline and now I am at the point where I literally don’t know what to do with myself.

My husband was the one who looked over at me one day and said; “You should do something for yourself. Go to a spa, get your feet done.” At the time, I was in the middle of my lazy routine. My feet were up, my socks and shorts were on the floor and I was watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine in my underwear. I let out a groan to let him know that I had heard him, but just continued on with my day.

Lately though the thought has been banging around in my head. As my stomach grows and less and less of my clothes fit (I still haven’t taken the jump into maternity clothes yet, and at this point of my pregnancy I don’t think I will) I have been taking less effort with my overall appearance. Now, a week or so of this isn’t much of a big deal, but months of this has me feeling rather “Blah”.

My sister is the kind of person whose appearance is always exactly what she wants it to be. She has this confidence that I wouldn’t even know what to do with. Whatever she wants to wear, she wears, whatever she wants to do, she does. It’s admirable. Her hair is always dyed some unique colour, she is amazing at make-up, so she always looks like she is ready to go out somewhere or have her picture taken.

She tends to get things like her nails done regularly. I am more of a low maintenance person in regards to my appearance, but have recently decided that it was worth trying just to see how routine beauty maintenance could make you feel in the long run.

Personally, I don’t think it’s for me. I think I am more the kind of person that would enjoy having a few hours to read a book, or do some writing. I would like an hour to just go kayaking or SUP boarding. I would love to spend the day in the lake with my dog, letting him swim around with no schedule.

Whatever makes you happy, I think it’s super important to start a routine of it during your pregnancy. After the baby comes, you may not get that time to yourself. If possible after pregnancy, it would be good to at least get a weekly thing scheduled on your calendar where you and the baby, and if possible, your partner could go out, get out of the house and do something together.

Through my whole pregnancy I have been telling myself I am going to do a prenatal yoga class. I have found a place that seems great because it has classes for when you are pregnancy, it has classes for after you deliver where you can bring you baby with you and they teach you baby massages and stretches and stuff like that. I think it would be a good thing to get you out of the house for an hour or so, give you a chance to socialize in a time where you may feel a little isolated.

I am going to toy with a few ideas today, and hopefully I will have an update for you guys in a few days.

Until next time…

Staying Fit While Pregnant; Is It Possible?

Before I got pregnant I was extremely thin. I had little to no chest, I had a very small waist, thick thighs and a butt that I got all from genetics. Needless to say, with my body type, it wasn’t hard for me to keep in shape.

I used to love to run, it was a bonding experience with my dog who has an infinite amount of energy, and it was a good way to tire me out before bed as I had awful insomnia. After an accident, I stopped running and people in my life wondered how it would impact my shape. Would I suddenly gain a bunch of weight without running 10 kilometers in a day (5 in the mornings and 5 at night before bed).

In short, nothing really changed besides me overall stamina. Without that constant energy, my body got lazy and doing overactive things robbed me of my breath but my body remained pretty much the same. I was actually hoping I would gain more weight as my BMI has always been low and I was always 10-15 pounds under where I wanted to be, especially for my height which is almost 5″8.

When I got pregnant, especially in my first trimester, I got really lazy. I was plagued with exhaustion and spent every spare moment of my time in a mini coma. However, I also couldn’t keep any food down. So my weight in my first trimester actually dropped.

Once the nausea seemed to subside at about 14 weeks, I started eating everything I could get my hands on. My doctor had told me that she wanted me to gain 40-45 pounds because of where my weight was before my pregnancy. The very thought made my brow furrow.

I had always struggled to gain weight, and now she was telling me she not only wanted me to gain the average 35 but she wanted me to exceed that by ten more pounds. Could I even do that?

How I laugh at the thought now. Before I got pregnant I was 110 pounds. Now at 7 months, I weigh 147 pounds. Sure, I haven’t quite hit the 40 pound mark my doctor has wanted, but I still have almost two months to gain.

I think what is important for pregnant women to come to terms with during their pregnancy is that the extra weight doesn’t mean you are not fit or that you are unhealthy. Sure I have gained 37 pounds, but that was what was needed to ensure my baby gets everything it needs, and I walk at least two-four hours every single day.

Gaining weight during pregnancy is not only normal, but it is necessary and it is all just a number. I can’t tell you how many times I have been told by people who ask me how far along I am that I am too small for seven months. Yet when I tell them how much weight I have gained so far, they tell me that I shouldn’t gain much more because I am already at the top of where I should be.

It’s just a number and I can’t tell you how many pregnant women I see and talk to who seem defeated by that number. It makes me really sad.

Staying “fit” during pregnancy doesn’t really take too much. All you really need to do is make sure you are walking enough. This is also helpful with bloat and swelling. In this insane heat, I thought for sure that walking as much as I do would make my feet swell and be extremely painful. I’ve actually noticed that days I walk more and drink more water they seem to look less swollen. They are still somewhat sore at the end of the day, at this point in pregnancy everything is.

Stretching is also important. I am always so stiff. Stretching your calves and legs seems to have been the most important thing. I started stretching when I would get these painful spasms in my calves that would wake me up about a dozen times a night.

Stretching out your back is also helpful because all that extra weight in the front because of your belly will through your back completely out of whack.

Honestly, just the walking and the stretching is enough to keep you fit through your pregnancy. I am outdoors and walk a lot during the day for my work as well, which helps. I think if you have a job where you are immobile most of the time you should make a point of getting up and moving around as much as you can.

Again, these are things that I have noticed in my personal experience. Everyone is different and you may need to do a little bit more but I don’t think you can do any less.

Until next time…

After Pregnancy Woes

If all goes well with the remaining time of my pregnancy and I deliver on time, I will have my precious little Kiwi in my arms in 58 days. That is in less than two months time.

Knowing that fills me with an excitement I don’t quite know what to do with. I have butterflies, I am antsy, I just keep thinking that I am so close to the finish line and can’t wait to reap the rewards of this pregnancy. I keep picturing what our baby will be like, marvelling in the moments when I get to touch our baby’s little hands and feet, and inhale that sweet new baby smell.

I am over the moon excited.

However, that in no way means that I am ready. In the past couple weeks, I have been on a hunt for my car seat, something you need in order to take your baby home from the hospital.

I had found a second-hand Bugaboo Frog stroller and bought it for $100. It was barely used as the couple who had purchased it got a Chameleon a few months in and used that one through the duration of their babies use of strollers. What I like about the Bugaboo is that it is convertible. You can use the frame with a car seat, the bassinet, or the seat. The handles go both ways so you can have the baby facing you or facing away, and all the replacement pieces were relatively cheap. This was important to me because in Toronto, with how much salt is used in the winter and the changes in the weather, tires get worn and I don’t want to have to replace my whole stroller. Having a baby is expensive enough with having to replace things you’ve already bought.

Another great thing about the Bugaboo line is you can buy pretty much any car seat and they will sell an adapter so that seat can fit on. Now, my problem with my search has been that not a lot of stores have a large selection of infant car seats on display for you to actually look at and see. Why is this a big deal? Well, because if I end up ordering one through the store and online and I don’t like it, that means I can’t go into the store and just pick up another one and go. I would need to wait for the replacement.

It isn’t a huge deal, but I find things like this tend to pick away at me in a way that things didn’t before. I find myself hypersensitive to everything. Something like a store discounting my crib and me having to look elsewhere for other options, or not being able to physically see the car seat in the colour and options I want seemed to send me down the rabbit hole of emotions. Once I start falling, I find it impossible to figure out which way is up, to see how far I’ve fallen or even think of finding my way out.

This worries me because I find myself stressing about how I will cope when I do have my baby. Will this whirlwind of emotions calm once pregnancy is over, or will they intensify? I already find myself feeling overwhelmed in my pregnancy and all I have to do is be pregnant. How overwhelmed will I feel when I have not only myself to care for, but another person?

I am a mentally strong person. I don’t let things burrow under my skin, I don’t over think things I know I can’t change, I don’t wallow in mistakes. I can brush things off that other people tend to carry with them, and the opinions of others has never been enough to darken any of my clouds overhead.

A few years ago I was hit by a car while crossing the street and I felt a change in who I was mentally as much as physically. Suddenly there was a little more weight on my shoulders. I would play and re-play scenarios in my head… for the first time in my life I felt myself dealing with things like anxiety and depression. It was odd, it was like I was slowly drowning, losing the breath of who I was.

It was a lot for me to process.

It was scary, changing so drastically over such a short amount of time. I had been shaken, down to my very core and I guess in the process, all these cracks seemed to form in my psyche. Those cracks allowed things to creep in that hadn’t been able to before.

Three years have passed since my accident, and for the most part I have done my best to repair those cracks. As my pregnancy comes closer and closer to the end and I get closer and closer to my delivery, I can’t help but worry about the state of those cracks.

Most people are worried about more superficial things. Will those stretch marks fade? Will I be able to lose all the weight I have gained during my pregnancy? Will my acne calm? Will my hair go back to its thickness, or regain it’s luster?  Those thoughts are ones that don’t cloud my mind too much. To be honest, I don’t much care about those things. I am more worried about if I will return to the person I was before my pregnancy. If I will regain the creativity that I seem to have lost since my mind became so fogged and fatigued. I wonder if I will regain some of my ambition, if I will continue my writing, if I will finally be successful at it. I wonder if I will get back the smile I had, the one that stretched across my face and made me forget that my teeth aren’t as straight as I want them to be, or that I always seem to laugh a little too loud.

I wonder if the silliness that seemed to course through my veins will replace the sudden short fuse, the temper that always seemed to be burning in my belly, the darkness that seems to require more and more light to navigate through.

I wonder if I will see myself again, or if the woman I was before will become more of a distant memory. My hope is that I will see her again, that we will somehow evolve, fix the remaining cracks together and that I will overcome whatever hurdles the hormones in my pregnancy seemed to have put up.

Pregnancy is weird. The transformation we go through, at least the one everyone always talked about was physical. I wasn’t prepared for the mental transformation, or the emotional one. I wasn’t prepared to completely lose myself in it all.

If there is one thing I hope anyone who reads my blog learns, is that it’s okay to feel this way, but it’s important to talk about those changes. To lean on others for support when the weight of it all seems to heavy. It’s okay to say you’re overwhelmed and you need a break.

Man, do I need a break.

Hopefully the break I so desperately need comes when I get to see my little bundle of joy. I will be sure to keep you all posted.

Until then, you know me… I’ll just be here. Pretending I know what I’m doing.

Expecting The Unexpected

Pregnancy isn’t anything new. Women have been pregnant for thousands and thousands of years. In all that time, people have collected all this data that is supposed to help the pregnant woman know what to expect while they are expecting their beautiful babies.

There are countless books written, blogs, interviews and studies. At this point, it would be safe to say that almost all the information about pregnancy should be out there and readily available. Yet, even with all this information, there were still things that crept up on me and took me by surprise.

Women saying they ‘just knew’ they were pregnant is pretty accurate for some. 

When I had first heard this, I mentally rolled my eyes and thought ‘Okay’. However, when I did get pregnant I felt somehow different almost right away. I had this pressure in the pit of my stomach, and was more tired than I had ever been in my whole life. This was after just a week or so of conceiving. Some will say ‘That’s way too early, it had to all be in your head’. Hey, I’ve lived through it and I think we all know our bodies enough to be able to say when we can feel something different.

The amount of vaginal discharge is unreal and starts as soon as a few weeks after conception. 

This was probably one of my earliest symptoms. There were times in the day where I would get this rush of fluid that pretty much soaked through the crotch of my underwear and I would think to myself ‘What the hell? Did I just pee myself?‘.

Any change that seems dramatic is enough to make you question what’s normal. What I am learning about being a woman is there is no such thing as normal. Charles Addams said it best when he said; ‘What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.’ Every woman is different in countless ways, so it’s so hard to compare.

As far as discharge goes, as long as it’s consistent, not an odd colour, and doesn’t have an odour, I think it is pretty safe to say all is normal. Itching and discomfort is also another telltale sign that something is amiss. Basically, the volume would likely have changed during pregnancy, but that should be the only change in your discharge.

Going poo will become as uncomfortable as getting teeth pulled without anesthesia. 

If you are like me and constipation hits you like a ton of bricks, you can find yourself actually dreading the feeling of having to go to the bathroom. It will take long, it will be extremely uncomfortable, and you may get a hemmroid or two to reward you for your efforts. I wish this was something that was discussed during my first doctors appointment. It would have been helpful to know just how backed up I could potentially get and what would have been safe to take as opposed to waiting until it was already an issue.

Restoralax seemed to be the most helpful but you have to add it to your diet and it is not an instant fix. I did some at breakfast mixed in with milk every three days during my late second trimester and just continued with that routine.

During your first pregnancy, it will take a while for you to ‘pop’.

I kept waiting for my little baby bump to make its appearance. It wasn’t until my second trimester, around 24-26 weeks where my belly seemed more like a pregnancy belly and less like I had one or two beers too many on the weekend. Bloat is very common during the first and second trimester and it can be really discouraging.

One day you wake up and think to yourself that you see that baby finally showing, and then later that day it’s gone. Just like that. I can’t tell you how many mornings I would wake up and rub my stomach thinking ‘Oh my gosh, this is it!’ only to have it disappear after an hour of passing constant gas or going to the bathroom.

Once you finally do pop, you will be surprised how a small bump can limit your movements. 

Getting out of the car, putting on my shoes, getting up from slumping on the couch. These were all things I had done without even thinking about it, yet suddenly they seemed like tasks I had to set my mind to. Even just a small bump seemed to make everything a struggle and as time passed and that bump grew into more of a full belly. Nothing got easier. Everything seemed to require 100% effort and took my breath away.

The emotional rollercoaster they describe pregnancy as is pretty accurate, but it may not hit you the way you thought. 

This circles back to every woman being different, but when I used to watch movies about pregnancy or shows, it always seemed like women became these teary, weepy things. Their heartstrings were constantly getting pulled by the smallest sentiment.

Before pregnancy, I was an inwardly emotional person. I never cried in public or in front of people. I didn’t get emotional when I discussed things with people, I kept most of my inner feelings to myself. In nine years of being with my husband, he has seen me cry about four times. My husband had wondered if I would become this mess of tears when I got pregnant. Although I did feel a huge shift in my emotional compass when I got pregnant, I didn’t become weepy or over sentimental. I became more ‘blah’. I had more days where I felt overwhelmed and as though I was drowning in everything.

I think this is important to say because I have never really seen this depicted on my type of platform. I have seen the glowing pregnant women, I have seen the beaming and happy pregnant women, I have seen the teary-eyed pregnant women, but I haven’t seen ones battling with themselves. I haven’t seen ones full to the brim with anxiety or feeling like they were teetering on the line of depression. All of this makes me extremely nervous, because I am afraid of what will become of my emotional state once the baby is here. I will probably touch base on this a bit more in another blog post.

Those are a few of the things I wish I had been privy to before I got pregnant. I would have been a little more prepared and wouldn’t have felt like I was on an island all alone.

Hopefully this helped someone. Hopefully there was another woman out there, first time mom, battling her way through pregnancy that read this and gave a sigh of relief after reading it.

Until next time, I’ll keep on pretending I know what I am talking about.

 

Can Your Baby Beat The Heat?

Toronto went through a heat wave that began Friday, June 29th, 2018 and didn’t let up until Friday, July 6th. The humidex had temperatures feeling as high as 45 degrees Celsius or 116 degrees Fahrenheit. With me being well into my sixth month of pregnancy, bordering the seventh, I wanted to stay indoors. I wanted the A/C blasting, I wanted to be strutting around my apartment in my underwear eating ice cream and waffles completely unaware of how hot it really was out there.

Unfortunately, I am an adult and have to do this annoying thing called ‘work’ which meant I had to venture outdoors. The kids I work with were also feeling heavy because of the heat which meant it was easy to convince them to stay inside with me on the Friday, however, I had already agreed to take my mother, my sister and my nephew to Niagara Falls over Canada Day weekend.

Ugh!

Now for anyone who has been to Niagara Falls, most people tend to spend their days outdoors enjoying all the attractions. There is everything from haunted houses, mini golf, 4D theatre experiences, arcades and of course the new go-kart track. Needless to say, convincing an eight-year old that I wanted to be inside somewhere where it was cool was like talking to a psychiatrist while in a straight-jacket.

I dressed for the weather, wearing as little as I possibly could. A thin cotton dress on both days with some comfortable, yet breathable shoes that I could walk in all day without feeling like I suddenly had hams for feet. Needless to say, even drinking litres of water and migrating into the arcade where the AC was blasting every so often, I still felt like I was melting right out of my skin, and my baby was kicking the crap out of my ribs letting me know how foolish I was being for trying to beat the heat.

I felt like I had been wandering the Sahara for weeks, hallucinating a praying for a sudden snow storm or something to ease the constant burn of the sun.

What completely blew my mind was the amount of new moms I saw out with babies that couldn’t have been more than a month old. Tiny, tiny babies out in the scorching heat while their parents walked around enjoying the attractions.

Call it pregnancy hormones, but seeing this made me completely livid.

It was boiling, unbearably so. I was already feeling like I was a toddler about to throw a tantrum if I went more than half an hour without an ice-cold drink and getting out of the sun, just imagine how these poor babes must have felt.

I am not a parent yet, sure, but I like to think I have a lot of common sense. I know that babies, much like our furry friends, can not sweat. Why is this a big deal? Well, because sweating is our body’s way of trying to cool itself off. What does not being able to sweat mean? Well, it means that you have no way of regulating your own temperature and are more likely to suffer a heat stroke.

After some research, I found out that most pediatricians suggest keeping your baby, especially a newborn inside if temperatures rise above 26 degrees Celsius or 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidex put it well above that.

After seeing people cart their pets and newborns around in that heat, I wondered what in the world they were thinking. Could they not feel the heat? Do these people not care about the overall health and well-being of their pets and their beautiful babes?

When it comes to my dog and the weather, I do not take any chances. I press my hand to the cement and hold it there to be sure it’s not too hot for my dog’s paws. If it is, I carry him over to the grassy area in front of our building for him to do his business and then take him back in, saving a longer walk for exercise for later in the evening when it cools down.

With my baby, I would definitely not be taking them out for too long in the heat… no less someplace crowded with little places to hide from the weather like Niagara Falls.

I don’t like to think of myself as a judgmental person. Most times I shrug my shoulders, tell myself it’s their life and their decision and go on with my life. Two instances where I can absolutely not keep myself from being overly judgemental is when it comes to the health and safety of animals and children.

Get your s**t together people. If it is too hot for you, it is most definitely too hot for your infants and you pets.

There is no way for them to beat the heat, so it is up to you to pretend to be a responsible adult that knows what they are doing, and keep them indoors!

Happy Father’s Day!

I think the hardest thing for a lot of men, or partners who are not physically going through the pregnancy, is connecting with their baby while still in the womb. To them, it’s easy to disconnect from it all, to forget how close they are to becoming fathers or mothers.

They can go through their whole day, go to work, think about all the little tasks that need to get done in their regular routine without even thinking about the baby that will be here all too soon. It’s not something they intentionally do, it’s not like they are purposely trying to stand on the other side of the glass looking in, but when you are not the one that is pregnant, it is easy to continue living your life even though parenthood is right around the corner.

When you are pregnant, every breath you take reminds you there is life blooming inside you. Every moment of discomfort, every flutter, every movement, every aversion to smells or cravings reminds you that all too soon, you are going to have to have a little person to take care of.

Today is Father’s Day. If I am being completely honest, Father’s Day has always just been another day to me as my father and I have not kept up a relationship since he and my mother went their separate ways when I was about seven. It was never really something I celebrated, so it wasn’t something I thought too much about.

However, since I got pregnant, today seems slightly more special. Excitement and anticipation make me want to do something for my husband, to celebrate the closing of this chapter in our life and the start of a new one.

My husband is not so open to it. He doesn’t want to celebrate being parents until the baby is here, in our arms, keeping us up and night and peeing all over us during midnight changings.

Personally, I think we are parents already.

I wondered if it was because he wasn’t pregnant, he wasn’t experiencing the all consuming things that I am. Every second seems to evolve around my pregnancy and my baby. Even the person I am seems to be shifting and changing because of it. In my mind, I am a parent now already.

I wish there was a way to wrap our partners up in everything, to get them as entangled in our web of pregnancy as we are. Maybe then, it would be easier for them to feel so connected, for them to celebrate a day that is as much for them as it is for the parents who are already chasing their little ones around.

Next year, I am going to go all out, he isn’t even going to know what to do with himself.

So to all the papas out there, Happy Father’s Day! I hope it’s a good one!

Little Women

As the hot weather comes around, one of my own personal issues bubbles up to the surface. Now, with my hormones on a never-ending roller coaster, I find the issue that used to just have me exhaling dramatically and rolling my eyes now has my eye twitching, and me biting the inside of my cheek.

So what is this issue?

Age appropriate clothing styles for kids.

Look, with Instagram one of the most popular apps and sites, a lot of people care more about what they look like, they love to be wearing the most stylish clothes, and sporting the most adorable accessories, and I have noticed, that some of these accessories are their own children.

I see it every day, even though I am not on Instagram. I see the photos where the mom wearing her ripped jeans and cropped off the shoulder top with her hair in dramatic ringlets is standing side by side with her toddler, wearing a matching outfit whose hair has been just as carefully styled.

I do get it. I can see myself wanting to match with my own child, or having the whole family in matching colours and outfits. It’s adorable! I can hardly wait, however, there are some styles that I personally don’t find appropriate for my three-year old.

When I was a child, there were a lot of restrictions on what my sister and I could wear. My mother was no a religious person, the restrictions she put into place weren’t due to the church, or our chastity. It was merely because we were children, and my mother wanted us to dress as such.

We weren’t allowed to wear shirts with spaghetti straps, we weren’t allowed to wear skirt (although in the 90s, skorts were all the rage), and our shorts were the safari type, not the short kind that tend to be popular today. Our swimsuits were one piece with thick straps, our fingernails were without polish until we reached our teens… you know, we looked and acted like kids.

We got messy, we rolled around in the grass, we lived with a free-ness that came with not worrying about our hair or clothes.

If I have a daughter, I feel like I will raise her similarly to how my mother raised us.

Lately, I have seen such unbelievable fashion trends for toddlers. Crop tops, ripped jeans, even wedges. Every day I see something that has me stopping and rolling my eyes in disbelief.

In all seems to be pretty one-sided. Fashion for little boys, although limited seems to almost always be appropriate. I guess it is hard to dress them in styles that are for an older age group, without dressing them like little men which… come on, it’s cute! I guess the most I have seen is over the top hairstyles for boys, too much product, that kind of thing, which again, can be reigned in a bit.

Maybe what bothers me most about little girl’s fashion is when it is over sexualized. There is no reason for me to see your child’s belly and for her bottom to be hanging out of the bottom of her shorts. On top of that, in the summer, that is so much of their sensitive skin to be exposed.

Even just today at the park there were little girls in spandex shorts that barely covered their underwear, spaghetti strap tank tops, and they had rolled their tank tops up so they looked like little sports bras. Did I mention these kids were five?

It irked me. Maybe this is just personal opinion and other people out there see nothing wrong with it, but there is just something about seeing a five year old dressed up as though they are in their late teens, early twenties that makes me shudder.

Don’t worry, I am not approaching parents and kicking up a stink. Mostly, I pretend I don’t notice, that I don’t think it’s inappropriate and that I am not judging them.

Back to pretending, as usual.

 

It Takes A Village

“It takes a village to raise a child.”

We’ve all heard the old proverb, but how many of us think it actually rings true.

On one end, I understand what they were saying. So many of us who are having babies reach out to our friends, our family, and our communities for help when we feel like we are drowning in the new life we have thrown ourselves into.

It’s a baby, it’s small, how hard can it be?

Well hold on, because you are about to find out.

Reaching out to other’s when you need help is completely understandable to me and when I think of that old proverb, that is what I think.

However, in this day and age where being nosy seems more common than minding your business and the rush most people get for being a good samaritan has some people looking for trouble just so they can spring into action, it makes me wonder if some people don’t really understand what that old proverb was trying to say.

When I was a kid, supervision was a loose term. We walked home from the school bus stop on our own. Went home, dropped off our bags and were out the door and into the neighbourhood. Your friends were decided for you based on who lived in your neighbourhood, because these are the kids you would be with until dinner time. There were no parents, there were no rules, we were free.

Did this mean we were running naked through the streets getting into trouble? No.

We lived in a time where we thought our neighbours would tell our parents when we misbehaved or got up to no good, so we didn’t. It was a live and learn type of time, and we flourished.

As someone who works with kids, I spend a good deal of time at the parks. I observe all the different types of parenting and I am not so proud to say, I judge some of them. Of course I do, I am only human.

What I noticed is there are a good deal more parents who spent time on the jungle gym than ones who spend time on the bench. There are a lot more parents who are afraid of their kids going down the slide on their own, or climbing etc. These were things I was doing at the park completely unsupervised when I was a kid.

As for those parents who sit on the bench and let their kids be kids? The ones that don’t jump to their feet as soon as their kid starts wailing because they got scared, the one who will yell over “You’re okay” instead of going over to inspect them, they are the parents getting side glances from the others.

Sure, I was not at the park alone when I was five or six, but you would never catch my mom in the play area with me. I was there to socialize, to meet other kids, and to give my mom a little bit of a break. She had been with us all day, and when she took my sister and I to the park when I was five and my sister was seven, it was to let us do our own thing while she took a bit of a breather.

Did that mean she walked away, turned her back on us and let us completely fend for ourselves?

No. It just meant that she had her space and we had ours. She kept an eye on us but encouraged us to be a little independent. Back then, that was completely normal. You couldn’t find a single parent in the actual park. All the parents were bordering the park, one eye on their kids as they chatted with the other parents hoping for some grown up interaction.

This seems to be the trend. Kids who play more with their parents than with other kids.

I don’t remember really playing with my mom as a kid. I played with my older sister when she wasn’t torturing me, or with the other kids. My mom was there when I needed her, but she wasn’t there to entertain me. This type of parenting, at least in the neighbourhood I work in, seems to be fading away.

We have mother hens who are still practically sitting on their kids like they’re in the egg waiting to be hatched. They keep their kids constantly entertained, never getting a moment for themselves.

How do they live?

Then there are others who seem like they don’t supervise their kids at all, or worse, they don’t discipline their kids. Parents who ask their kids instead of tell them.

If people saw the way my mother raised us, I feel like they would have reported her. They would have seen the way she was so no-nonsense. Her demanding tone, and the way she left us to our own devices as neglect.

But is it?

It takes a village, but does that mean the village’s opinion on your parenting trumps your own? When I was a kid, my mother was the Queen. We were her subjects and no one dared interfere with that. Now, I feel like you doing something as simple and innocent as letting your child play unsupervised in the back yard could warrant a call to child services from a nosy neighbour.

Are these hovering moms only doing that because they are scared about what the village may have to say if they did anything differently?

As I get closer and closer from transitioning from pregnant to parent, I wonder if the parenting style of my mother, is a thing of the past.

I respected my mother. Her word was law and we abided by it. She allowed us room to grow, but wouldn’t hesitate to tighten the reigns if she could see us becoming too wild. The village that helped her was one of her own choosing.

If there is one thing I do know, it’s that there is no one way of parenting. Every kid is so different, and what works for one may not work for another. There were five of us being raised by my mom all by herself, she used the same techniques on all of us and there was still that one black sheep that seemed to swim against the tide at all times. What I am wondering, is when did it become okay for everyone else to have a say in your parenting?

Do I think we should stand idly by when something is happening that is putting a child in physical or emotional danger? Absolutely not. But do I think it is up to every Tom, Dick, and Harry to comment and report on everything they personally disagree with?

It really all boils down to opinions. What someone thinks is okay. For people on the outside looking in, especially people who don’t have children of their own, it’s so easy to judge.

This early in the game, I can’t say exactly how I am going to raise my baby. One thing I do know is that I am the type of person who is going to be okay with someone back-seat driving during the whole thing.

Does it take a village?

I am going to have to go with no.