A New, Emotional Me

Since I was a child, I was not the kind of person to cry freely. I shrug a lot off, bottle up more than I should, and thought suppressing tears that threatened to bubble over was an accomplishment.

Strength was beauty to me. Vulnerability was weakness and there was something so shameful in weakness. Weakness was like a wilting flower, sad and depressing.

Pregnancy changed that frame of mind for me. When I was pregnant, I was at my most vulnerable. Every waking moment was a struggle, a challenge I had to overcome. There were days when I was so uncomfortable, I didn’t even feel like I was myself anymore. I felt as though I were staring down at the water, watching the ripples completely change what I looked like.

Discomfort seemed never-ending.

Then suddenly, everything became still. I would get a day with minimal discomfort and feel like I could finally see myself again. Here I was, I was me, and I could get through this pregnancy.

Those were the days, the days when the waters were still when something lurked there underneath the surface.

It would happen suddenly, without prompting or warning. I would get a tightness in my throat, my eyes would cloud over and my chest would sink.

I found myself asking why a lot back then. I didn’t understand it, this wasn’t the person I was. Alone in my apartment, suddenly I was crying. Not just a sniffle and a lone tear. I was full out bawling, hysterically like my whole world was ending, for absolutely no reason.

It was ugly, it was so foreign to me, and it was this unprovoked weakness. One I thought was brought on by a new blend of emotions my body and my mind weren’t used to processing.

I thought of these emotions as a storm, thinking that along with my pregnancy, this would all pass.

My daughter is 6 months old now, and those emotions are still there. I get teary-eyed watching cartoon movies, I have a full on break down where I watch any movie where a parent receives bad news about their child over the phone like Soul Surfer or Walk. Ride. Rodeo.

Ads turn me into mush and even movies and shows that never affected me before can completely buckle me into an emotional rollercoaster.

That stoic person I once seemed like a distant memory. Now, I am this emotional ball of fatigue.

I definitely have realized that being a parent transforms you. It pulls you out of who you were and opens your eyes up to everything and everyone in a way you may not have considered before. And in that transformation, hopefully, comes a better understanding.

Our idea of women as a society is and has always been that our emotions are unreasonable and irrational. There are so many negative stereotypes that go along with women and our emotions that I personally feel like any public display of my emotion is downplayed or seen more as comical than for what it really is, which is genuine. Not all women are crazy or dramatic, but if someone sees you vulnerable just once, they will act as though that is the only way they’ve ever seen you.

Being a woman who is going through emotional changes is difficult. It’s hard to know who we can reach out to, we don’t know if there is anyone who will validate how we feel and not just make it seem like we are being hormonal. Even other women have fallen into asking us if we are on our periods when we tell them how we are feeling and about changes to our mental and emotional state.

Women are strong. We are given so much to constantly juggle, it’s understandable that at times our emotions get the best of us.

It’s okay. We are human, and our emotions are a huge part of that.

For any of your women out there who have been called over emotional, or crazy, or irrational. For those women who find themselves sobbing hysterically when they are on their own or just crying silently when the loneliness or sadness becomes a little too much.

There is beauty in your heartbreak, there is beauty in your vulnerability and your sadness.

You are beautiful! You are strong!

You can do this!

Day 3: New Me

Last entry, I talked about the toxic lifestyle of pushing things off until tomorrow. This is something I have been extremely guilty of lately. After months and months of living like this, Sunday was the day I looked at myself and said; “No more!”

After a bit of research, it seems like it takes 66 days for something to become a habit. That means I will need to overcome my recently weak willpower for 66 consecutive days if I am hoping to make this new lifestyle I have in mind a reality.

I am going to be honest with you, this seems like a really tall order. With a fussy baby in tow, sometimes it seems like I will not get the 30 minutes I will need a day to do my stretches and my small workout. Especially lately, when co-sleeping with my 5-month-old is threatening to be the death of me. I wake up with less energy than I had going to bed and the idea of dedicating 30, undisturbed minutes of my day to working out instead of logging off and just vegging, seems like a major task.

I am stronger than my procrastination… at least that is what I am telling myself.

A lot of women, especially after becoming a mother, forget about their strength. They fall into survival mode, forgetting to take a moment to think “Holy crap! I made an entire human being in a mere 9 months. When all of that was done with, I summoned the strength needed to push that baby out. Exhausted, worn, and feeling a little bit like I have been in a car accident. I had a meagre 24 hours to heal with help before being handed this tiny amazing thing I had just created, and being sent home to weather the rest of the storm of parenting on my own. Nervous, and still healing myself, I am suddenly in charge of this little being. I have to be their everything, 24 hours a day. That is amazing. I am amazing.’

Really, to all the parent out there, I am there with you. I appreciate your sacrifice, I see your worth, your beauty, your strength. It really is amazing.

We are amazing.

Pregnancy is hard. Childbirth is hard. Parenting is hard.

Admitting that to other people seems to be one of the most difficult things any of us have to do. Something so many of us refuses to do.

Why?

Nothing worthwhile comes easy. It only makes sense that one of the most important things you will ever do be a struggle. Boy, is it a struggle. Some days I feel like I don’t have the strength in me to roll out of bed. Exhausted and worn, emotionally broken, I find a way. For my daughter.

So, this is day 3 of 66.

I cheated a little bit yesterday and only did stretches because I wasn’t prepared for how sore my body would be after just a small workout. Sure, it has been months, but I was feeling like I had been caught in a wave, unable to get out of it and back to the surface. My body was aching, I was so weak, it was definitely not something I thought would be as difficult as it was. Yet, I would still count it as a win because before Sunday I would have used my soreness and fatigue as an excuse to do nothing that day.

66 days.

I can do this!

Don’t Sink Into the Quicksand of ‘Tomorrow’.

I can tell you the moment it all began. It was the 17th of August, my last official day of working before the year I would have off for maternity leave. I told myself I was going to stay active. Working as I did as a nanny to twin toddlers, meant that I was always on the go, even when I didn’t want to be.

It was great, being on the move so much as my beautiful daughter was growing in my belly. It meant that I was healthy, I was fit, I was the best possible vessel to carry the budding baby girl in my belly. As tired as my job made me most days, I was happy that this was the job I had, this was the active lifestyle that made most of the weight targeted to just my belly, that kept me bending down to tie my shoes (most days), that just made me feel a little more ready than I would have sitting at a desk all day.

The first official day I had off, I slept in obnoxiously late. I ate more than I should have and if I am being completely honest, I am not sure I even moved from the couch that day. I had unknowingly planted the seed of laziness in myself.

My goal was to have at least one long walk a day. I would get Toblerone all ready, put on a little backpack with water for him and myself in there and I would go for a long walk, that would last at least an hour a day so that I could stay in the best shape I could until my baby arrived.

Well, summer was not kind.

Here in Toronto, there was heatwave after heatwave. I would get ready in the morning to walk my dog, and once I stepped into that wall of heat, my mind would change completely.

Screw that. Was usually my thought as I hobbled back inside, shed every piece of clothing I could without being completely naked and resumed my post on the couch. I binge-watched more Netflix than I care to admit, snacked constantly and kept telling myself ‘I will do it tomorrow.’

The problem with that mentality is it is quicksand. Every day, the reminder that something could always be accomplished tomorrow prevented me from accomplishing anything today. If I could go back to August, I would push myself and prevent that seed from ever being planted.

Why? Well, because back then when I was still plump with child, all I had was time. I had time to go for long walks, I had time to enjoy the sunshine, I had time to get things done. I could have written more, I could have read more, I could have edited a lot of my written work that is now sitting around in hardcopy collecting dust. I could have reminded myself that, although there is a lot I can accomplish tomorrow, there is more still I can accomplish today.

Start something today, and finish it tomorrow, only if you run out of time.

Now, time is something I just don’t have.

Sleepless nights drag into sluggish days. A baby takes up a lot more time than you would have thought and those hours you thought you would have when your baby is rested, aren’t long enough if you even get them.

It’s hard on you mentally, especially as a mother. You forget that outside of a mother, you are also a person. You put off self-care. You put off showers, and hair cuts, and brushing your teeth, you put off workouts, and lunches, and socializing. Everything gets put off as you are sinking in the quicksand of ‘Well, maybe tomorrow.’

Time changes when you are a parent, your mind becomes mush, and if you are a mother, your body is this new thing you aren’t used to anymore. I was this thin little person before. After giving birth, I lost the bulk of my weight. I really shouldn’t complain, I know there are those who are having a lot more trouble than I am losing weight or feeling like themselves again, but each of our journeys is our own, and we are allowed to feel sad, to feel helpless. We are allowed to experience whatever we do because our struggles are not comparable, and the sooner we realize that the sooner we can be happy with ourselves and with our fellow mommies and daddies.

The biggest thing I am having trouble coping with is the fact that suddenly, after 28 years, I can feel my stomach moving when I walk. It’s such a small thing, but it’s something I am so aware of. It’s new and a little unnerving.

So one of my biggest goals since becoming a mommy was to get more into fitness. To workout and stretch and feel good. This has been the biggest thing I have been putting off for tomorrow. I have been putting it off for tomorrow for 5 months now.

It’s hard. I co-sleep, so most mornings I wake up more tired than I was when I went to bed. My husband works most days and usually, he works until late. Which means the plan to get to the gym as often as I wanted is another thing I have been putting off. Mostly because when he is off, that is time I would rather spend together as a family than at the gym. Most days I feel like I am sleepwalking through the day, more exhausted than alert, a plaything for my daughter, until he gets home. He spends a mere hour with her before her bedtime and then the cycle continues.

Did I mention being a parent is hard?

This morning I woke up completely worn. I zombie-walked out to the living room, put my daughter in her jumper while I went back down the hall to brush my teeth. There was nothing I wanted more than some decaf and to just sit by myself for thirty or so minutes until she became bored and it was time to kick my day into gear.

Brushing my teeth, I looked at myself. My hair hasn’t been washed, my skin is oily, and I look like this blurred vision of who I was before. I decided right then than there that tomorrow wouldn’t be the day. Today would.

Today would be the day where I stopped sinking in that quicksand and started living a little bit more for myself.

Today.

Teeth brushed, face washed, I opened my workout app on my iPad and pushed everything out of the way. I put on The Greatest Showman (yes, she is still obsessed with this movie) knowing it would give me the 30 minutes I needed to get started.

Today.

I completed my workout, downed two large glasses of water and then sat down to write this blog. Writing has always been my passion, and it is something I have almost given up on lately. There isn’t enough time in the day, or so that was what I was telling myself. I thought I would never get the consistent time I needed to write something worth reading. I would never get to re-read the novel I am editing and hoping to have published sooner rather than later.

If you want something badly enough, there is enough time. You just have to use those little moments whenever you get them. Sure, it’s not the way you thought you could do it, but you can push through and accomplish those goals so long as you claw your way out of the quicksand of ‘tomorrow’ because once you start to sink, it can be so hard to find your way back.

This is just day one for me. I still have sand all over me and can still feel that seed of laziness fighting to bloom inside me.

I just hope that I can keep this up until it becomes a routine, and then until it becomes a lifestyle.

Here’s to that hope.

Sending Out An S.O.S.

One of the hardest things to do when you are a new parent is to find a balance. Suddenly, you can’t just run out for a coffee, you can’t go to a movie, you can’t slip out to grab a bite. The spontaneous life you had been living before is a thing of the past because when you have a baby, your life suddenly becomes all about planning.

Doing anything without a plan, is impossible. You have to factor in if you can survive with a baby where you are going.

”Will the place I’ll be going be too loud? Will there be somewhere I can park my stroller, or should I skip the stroller all together as wear a carrier? Are the bathrooms there ones that will have a changing table? How long will I be out? How much will my baby need while we are out?”

Exclusively breastfeeding also means I have to think about whether there is a private place to feed. I am not overly shy, but I also don’t want to be gawked at while feeding my daughter, so knowing there may be a place a little more secluded where I can take my time is always best.

Making plans isn’t easy, and it becomes even more of a task when your friends don’t consider you and your baby as a package deal.

They invite you places or to events thinking your baby is something you can just hand off for the night so you can enjoy yourself. I really wish people who weren’t parents would stop for a moment and think about how much of an ordeal it is to actually come out to something where our babies aren’t considered.

I am a considerate person. I am not going to bring my baby to your wedding, or a dinner party, or anything where I know I may disrupt or pull attention away from the main event. If we are being perfectly honest, it isn’t worth the hassle of finding a fancy nursing dress so I can attend comfortably with my baby anyhow. However, don’t expect me to come to lunch or something without my baby. I am a mom, a new mom at that, and parenting is difficult. Even if I could find someone to watch my baby for the few hours, chances are, I may not want to leave my baby home.

Leaving your baby with someone when they are so young and parenting is so new is probably something you are not completely comfortable with yet. Even putting my daughter to bed and watching her on the monitor gives me anxiety at times; and I can see and hear her.

It’s understandable. When we are young and we don’t have families of our own, we are selfish. I know I was, and I am not faulting anyone for it. It’s hard to wrap our minds around anyone not having the same freedoms we do.

That being said, I’ve realized as a new mom that some of the friendships I had before are no longer ones that work for me now that I am a mom. It’s sad, but it’s true. I can’t drop everything and meet friends wherever they want. I can’t go everywhere some of my friends want to go when I have a baby in tow, and when they don’t consider that or at least try to meet me half way, it makes me realize that our friendship may not be what I want it to be. And that’s okay.

As people we grow, and sometimes the people in out lives don’t grow with us, or grow in completely different directions. I love my friends, but I realize that in my group, I was the first to have a serious relationship, I was the first to get married, and now I am the first to have a baby. A lot of my friends aren’t even close to considering building the kind of life I am already knee deep in, and that is absolutely okay. I am not trying to be the architect of their lives, I know they all have plans and dreams that they will work towards at their own pace.

I also know, that I can’t go on weekend getaways right now, that going axe throwing or go-carting is not really something I can do either, and I realize that I am just one person in a group. It may not be fair for me to always ask them to accommodate me so that I can bring my daughter, but whether I ask them to change their plans or whether I decline going altogether, there really is no way of winning.

Either way, the dynamics of our group are changing, shifting, and it becomes more clear to me each and every day that I may not fit the way I once used to.

To anyone that has a friend who recently had a baby and you are worried about losing your friendship; my advice to you is simple. Make an effort to go to them.

You don’t have to go out for lunch or make a date. Just ask them when is a good time to go over, sit with them, spend time with them and show them that you are willing to step into their world for a few hours every now and again to maintain your friendship. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate something like this, much more than being invited out.

As sad as it is to say, becoming a new parent will open your eyes to what is important in your life, and the people that you are important to. Some of the friendships you thought would last forever, may be ones that disappear completely.

Co-Existing With Your Baby

Before becoming a mother, I was the kind of person who enjoyed doing things alone. Whether it was going out to eat, going to see a movie, or for a long walk through the woods or along a beach, I wasn’t the kind of person to wait for other people’s schedules to line up with mine. There are a lot of people out there unable to do things alone, that definitely wasn’t me.

Since becoming a mother, there isn’t much I get to do alone.

My daughter and I co-sleep, co-bathe, I eat with her on my lap, there are even days where I wear my fussy girl around our apartment and go to the bathroom with her attached to my chest.

I’ve learned that being a parent means we don’t get time to ourselves, if we’re lucky, we can steal mere moments.

We co-exist with these very clingy, adorable babies. They’re like adorable love and attention seeking leeches, attached to us every moment of the day in one way or the other. When they aren’t attached to us physically, mentally we can’t shake them.

All the time I spend away from my daughter, my mind is completely filled with her.

“Is she okay?” “How is she coping alone with my husband?” “I hope he doesn’t fall sleep with her on his chest, he moves too much.” “Is she happy?” “Has she been crying the whole time I’ve been gone?”

I’m told this is normal for your first. I suppose by your second kid, you just don’t have the energy left to constantly be wrapped around them.

How has co-existing with my beautiful bundle of fussiness been?

Exhausting. I am forgetting what actual sleep is. My body is worn. Every inch of me aches in one way or another. My hormones are on a roller coaster and I find myself praying to whatever deity will listen that she will nap, then when she is sleeping mere inches from me, I can’t help but miss her.

Being a parent is weird, and new, and there is no map to show you the right way to do it.

That being said, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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The Greatest Showman

It was 2:00am and My daughter was letting out these little screams, and kicking the crap out of me (the struggle of co-sleeping) and I was at my wits end. I had recently bought The Greatest Showman from the iTunes Store and figured if I was already up, I might as well put it in. My daughter loves music, so I was hoping it would soothe her and I could roll away from her and stretch out all the kinks she was causing.

I have to say, I am a fan of musicals. I have been since I was a little girl dancing around to The Sound of Music. When you think about it, most Disney movies are musicals, so any movies with music in them when I was a kid, was my thing.

The songs from The Greatest Showman are amazing, and I love them. My daughter loves it too.

A lot.

Like… a lot!

Let’s just say, from the time we have originally watched it, we have probably watched it 20 more times, that is not including the times we put the songs on YouTube for her during the day when she is extremely fussy.

The movie itself is good. I love the music, the storyline, although not entirely accurate to the actual character of P.T. Burnam portrayed by Hugh Jackman, I would much rather watch a musical with this more fictitious version of him than the man who bought a slave, worked her 10-12 hours a day and then when she died, charged people 50 cents to see her autopsy.

My daughter, at only 4 months has become completely enthralled with this musical. It is at the point where if you walk into my house at any given time of the day, you are bound to hear the music from the movie being played in one way or the other.

It’s both a blessing and a curse as my daughter has been overly miserable lately due to teething and this movie seems to keep her so preoccupied, she completely forgets about her discomfort so long as she can hear the songs being played. However, after my 12th or so viewing, the movie has somewhat lost its appeal.

After complaining to my mother, she reminded me of hours of watching a The Sound of Music, dancing through the halls singing the songs and making outfits from my bedding. Sure, I can vaguely recall doing this, but I was maybe 6 or 7. 4 months seems young to get into the musical game. I have tried explaining this to my daughter, but she wails until I abandon negotiations and put on The Greatest Showman.

It’s to the point now where if my daughter wakes in the middle of the night, my immediate response is to mumble-sing This Is Me while rubbing her stomach until she goes back to sleep.

It makes me smile, hysterically and a little bit like a madwoman, to think about all the things we as parents endure just to make our children happy.

Who Am I? My Brain Doesn’t Remember.

The last week and a half have been rough!

My daughter has been taking these tiny little catnaps during the day that last a maximum of 20 minutes and she will only stay asleep if she is on my lap or chest or arm. Not to mention she is absolutely miserable when she is awake.

This teething process is slow moving and torturous for the both of us. Smiles are few and far between, laughter is very tough and go, her cute giggles all too soon transforming into painful wails. Our tummy time is a negotiation zone, activities are constantly cut short and I am counting down the minutes until my mother-in-law comes to stay with us at the end of the month.

It really does take a village.

It may not seem like it does, and a lot of the things I do with my beautiful daughter, I do solo because of my husband’s busy work schedule, but I can feel myself slowly wearing away. The lack of sleep and constantly being on calls means that I am on auto-pilot most of the time.

And mama is ready to get off of autopilot. Mama is ready to sleep, like really sleep, mama is ready to go pee without screaming down the hall “Mama’s coming!”, or to get back to writing.

Guys, I can’t tell you how much I miss writing. For those of you who didn’t know this, before I had this parenting blog, I had a creative one, with all these short stories and poetry, and thoughts. Not to mention, I have several novels partially done that I would love to do anything with.

I feel like since I got pregnant, there are parts of my brain that just don’t work anymore. A big part of my brain that is completely shut down is the creative side. The one that made me have these vivid dreams that I had to write down when I woke up. The part of my brain that would turn any waking moment into a story, where I couldn’t find peace because there were always ideas bouncing around inside my head.

What I would give to get that part of my brain up and running again.

Hopefully when I am better rested, and my mother-in-law is here giving me a hand with all the day to day, I can blow the dust off and get back to functioning a little more like myself.

With all the changes going on to my daughter right now, I find it difficult to get her to want to do anything. Sitting up was high on the agenda of things I was hoping she would accomplish, but right now, all she wants to do it lie down, play with her feet, and babble to herself. Whenever I sit her up, propped up, hoping she will want to get moving, she slumps over and continues sucking on her hands, absolutely no effort being put in.

It is cute, and hilarious, and I think I am just going to sit back a little bit and let her do things at her own pace.

Right now, I know she is in pain, I know she is uncomfortable, and the last thing I want to do is stress her out. I was hoping that her sitting up on her own will make her a little more independent and she will be happier on her own, with her toys and her music. She constantly wants to be moved around, shifted, propped up.

I am just going to have to be okay with being at her every beck and call… as all parents are. For a little while longer. One day I will be looking back and wishing she still needed me this much.

What Day Is It?

As a new mom on maternity leave, I am learning that time is irrelevant. Days are merging, my days sometimes feel like mere hours of weeks, and my weeks feel like they consist of anywhere from 3 days to 10 days.

I felt like yesterday I was working 8 hours a days, heavily pregnant in the blistering sun while I chased a pair of 5 year olds around, bargaining with them, trying to bribe them into spending the heat wave indoors. Then I decided to blink and I was at home, waiting for my daughter to arrive.

The time between working and being a mom lasted forever. It was a month but it honestly felt like 3 or 4. Our summer here in Toronto was heat wave after heat wave. 8 months pregnant, getting clothes on to go out for a walk seemed like too much of a task so I spent the majority of my days indoors, telling myself I would do something but procrastinating the days way binge watching shows on Netflix.

“After this episode I am going to…” was how I started all my sentences in those days… I never kept those little promises I told myself then. Nothing ever came after that episode except maybe another episode… and another…. and another.

I was due on September 20th and my beautiful daughter was born on the 21st of September after an induction. There was no fear when I went into delivery, nothing but anxious anticipation and the constant praying that it would all be over so I could have my little girl in my arms.

The first month of being a mom was a complete blur. It was a war zone of feedings, changings and getting sleep whenever you could. I was sleepwalking through it all. There, but everything oddly seemed as though it could be a dream. I was never 100% sure it wasn’t.

Somehow, my daughter is over 4 months old now.

I woke up this morning and just stared at her. She looked massive beside me on the bed, as though she could easily be 9 months old and I had just slept through it all. I looked at her, and she looked at me and we just smiled at one another all the while thinking “Where has all this time gone? What day is it? What month?”

19 weeks and 4 days old.

Time, for a new mom on maternity leave is completely irrelevant.

You have nowhere to be, your baby doesn’t really have much of a schedule so you are just rolling with the punches. One day, she may sleep in until noon and you tell yourself you are going to get up early to get things done, but honestly, you sleep in too. Because you are exhausted. Parenting is exhausting.

You take sleep where you can get it, some days you don’t change your clothes and live in what you slept in or your underwear, you don’t even brush your teeth until after 2:00 in the afternoon. I have days where I don’t even remember to eat. I will look up a the clock and ask myself if I have eaten that day.

I think this lack of schedule is common for mommies who have their babies moving into winter. Walks are restricted due to the weather, most days are too wet, too cold, too muddy, or just too much of a task to go out. So you spend the days indoors doing the same things over and over again to keep your baby entertained.

So what do you do?

Go out!

Pick a day of the week, every week where you go out. Typically this day for me is Saturdays. Saturday’s I go to my mothers for dinner, but I typically spend the whole day there. It’s a good opportunity for me to hand my daughter around a full household, and I can usually catch a heavy nap which is so rare for me.

Get dressed!

It’s such a small thing, but when you wake up, get into a routine much like you had when you were going to work. Get up, get dressed, maybe put on a little makeup and run a comb through your hair.

Why?

Because it will make you more likely to head out for the day, even if just for small walks, or to run errands. When you are already ready, you’ll be asking yourself “Why not?” If the opportunity to go out comes up.

Stay connected.

In this day and age, it is so easy to go days, even weeks without actually speaking to someone. You have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat. All these things that make it so easy to make yourself feel as though you are talking with people, having these conversations and keeping yourself social.

Guys, I am sorry, but this is all an illusions and it really isn’t enough.

Reach out, text a friend, call someone. It will keep you from feeling lonely and it will also keep your friends at arms reach and open to meeting up with you on those days you feel like you just have to get out of the house and socialize for your sanity.

Do something for yourself.

This is a big one. In the beginning, I was using all my free time when my daughter was napping to do things around the house. I was cooking, or cleaning, or trying to catch up on sleep. It as this endless cycle of giving and I wasn’t getting anything for myself.

It’s okay to do something for yourself, in all honesty, it is better for everyone, including your baby if you do.

Go to the gym, take a long showers, or soak in a hot bath. Curl up and read a good book. Make something. Play some video games.

Find something that makes you happy and you want to do. Something you look forward to, and do it. New parents neglect so much, they neglect their mental health, they neglect their hygiene, they neglect their relationships, their friendships. We bargain away everything that is for ourselves and trade it for things for our babies.

Parents, we can’t do this all the time. We are burning the candles and both ends and before long, there will be nothing left. We can’t be good parents , hell, we can’t be good people when we are trying to do it with nothing left.

Guilt is such a big thing, and we have to stop listening to what other people are telling us we should be doing and just do what we need to do for us.

Society expects parents to work like they don’t have kids, and raise their kids like they don’t work.”

Living your life this way is enough to always make you feel like a failure and like complete crap. Well, the solution is simple. Just don’t do it. Don’t listen to those people, ignore those judgmental glares. Your happiness is the most important thing to your children because they will benefit from it more than they would anything else. You can love your child better when you are happy.

We are somewhere in February and I am trying my best to work on myself. I am trying to figure out what makes me happy and do that more. Honestly, I don’t even remember what makes me happy anymore.

In this world where the cost of everything is constantly climbing and what we earn climbs substantially slower that costs are rising, we fall into this routine of just doing what we have to so we can afford to be happy later. I think along the way, we all forget what actually makes us happy.

I’ve forgotten. My happiness had become as irrelevant as time some ways ago. I couldn’t tell you when even if I wanted to.

Parenting is anything but simple. We are stumbling around trying to do our best, and along the way, I think we forget that we are still people. Not just parents, but people.

I’m constantly flustered and my mind is complete mush, I can barely remember the date or where I need to be, so remembering I am a person with needs is impossible some days.

If you are like me, just know, you are not alone. Reach out, find someone who is in this situations and weather the storm together. You’ll be more likely to find your way out of it, if you aren’t going at it alone.

Filling Up Your Baby’s Day

A lot of people who know I am the mommy of a 4 month old baby think I have all the time in the world during the day to accomplish things for myself. It’s so easy for people who aren’t parents or who haven’t been through it to look at the statistics for what is normal for a 4 month old baby and think “Wow, they are only away for around four or five hours a day, you must have so much time!”

The most important thing to remember is that those are just numbers, ever baby is different. While there are some babies that achieve all their milestones on schedule, stick to the “norm” with weight gain and sleep schedules. My daughter doesn’t sleep as much as I would like during the day.

She tends to be awake now between 3-4 hours in the morning, she takes a nap in the late afternoon/ early evening and will be up from around 5:00pm until 10:30pm where she will take a catnap and be up until 1:00am. What does this mean? It means her sleep schedule is all over the map and those naps take place at times that make it difficult for me to do things I need to get done.

It also means that for a bulk of the day, she is awake and not sleeping.

Having a 4 month old isn’t just naps and feedings. It’s a lot of interaction. Every minute she is awake, her senses crave constant attention. She wants to be in different positions constantly. Lying on her back, on her tummy, sitting while slouching, sitting upright, standing… each position lasting a maximum of 10 minutes before she gets bored and wants another.

When we are not switching up positions we are switching up toys and activities. Although her favourite stuffed chameleon Pascal is constantly nearby, she often wants new textures, new colours, new sounds. It’s a street fair of constant activities, despite the small amount of sleep you got the night before.

Right now, my daughter is obsessed with her new Bright Stars Minnie Mouse themed jumperoo. We got ours from Winners for $79.99 CAD.

She really moves that her bouncing or the spinning of one of the toys activates the music and lights on the Minnie Mouse ears.

It’s also an awesome place to put her so I can take 5-10 minutes to enjoy a coffee or eat something. I am definitely adding it to the list of products that have helped me parent so far.

Our days are filled with story books, activity mats, diaper changes, breastfeeding, walks, jumperoo time. Surprisingly, there isn’t a lot of down time. Her naps are usually on my chest, which limits any time for me to do things in that nap window.

When she is awake we are constantly moving, constantly engaging and trying to get her moving independently, stimulating her mind to grow alongside with her body.

Having a 4 month old is not just letting your baby lie around a sleep. It’s time consuming!

There are so many little things to keep your baby moving, and if you’re like me and going into the winter with a small baby, you are probably going to want to load as up the winter weather will restrict how much time you get to spend outside!

The Wonderful World Of Teething

As a first time mom, there are a lot of things even a lifetime of being around children hadn’t prepared me for. It’s such a different experience, having to deal with a baby of your own for 24 hours straight. You start to really understand why people say being a parent is one of the hardest jobs of all, and it’s one you can’t quit when things aren’t going your way, or you’re not getting the pay and appreciation you deserve.

Every week is a different milestone, maybe even one you didn’t realize was passing by, as you care for these growing little beings.

Everything is developing, their minds are growing and expanding along with their little bodies and they are learning to deal with so many things for the first time. What I would give to have a single day where I could just hear what she was thinking. Maybe then I would understand why she likes to have full conversations with the Tiki masks on her bedroom wall, or what she things the handmade birdhouse is so hilarious.

Growth spurts happen more often than you would have thought. 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and on and on and on. Not to mention rashes, and teething, sleep regression.

Right now my daughter has her first rash. She is a tad fussier but I can’t say for sure if that is the culprit because she is also going through sleep regression and has been teething.

When I had first gotten pregnant, I had a plan in mind. My sister had breastfed my nephew until he was 2 years old. I didn’t think I would do it quite as long, but knew for sure that, if I was able, I wanted to breastfeed my daughter until she reached her first year. This was before I realized that their first teeth would sprout between 4-6 months. Here I was, naive and under the impression that babies would get their first teeth until being closer to that one year mark.

The thought of my little shark actually having teeth in her mouth while I breastfeed is terrifying. She already clamps her gums down as hard as she can on my nipples and refuses to let go as she slowly grinds her gums together. It’s torturous… and that is just with gums. Add teeth to the equation and my husband is bound to come home from work and find my huddled in the corner, rocking myself and I murmur like a madwoman, blood on my shirt.

Yes… it’s a scene from a horror movie. A scene I’m sure is not too far off from my reality.

The teething on its own is something I could handle. She is drooling enough to soak through half a dozen bibs, without the bibs she is soaking through shirts and when she is naked she is extremely slippery. She is fussy, but usually that fussiness makes her sleepy, which works out great for a tired mama getting about 4 hours of sleep a night.

Let’s add sleep regression to the mix, you know… just for fun.

This means that she is extremely fussy from her teething, and her healing rash, and she will not sleep. She just grunts and groans and moans and whines. My sleep has dropped down from that amazingly fulfilling 4 hours of sleep a night, to around 2 and I have to admit, I am more human than I would like to admit and right now I would say I am just as cranky as my daughter.

I would strongly suggest the teething mitt to any mommy that has a teething babe. There are over a dozen different brands that make these. I went into Babies R Us and looked for the one with the brightest colours. She already loves to put her hands in her mouth, but I find that when I am trying to find a product for her, the brighter the colours, the better.

We bought the itzy ritzy mitt for around $12 CAD.

I am someone who strongly believes babies and children shouldn’t be overly medicated. Which is why I refrain from using Advil and Tylenol’s and try and feed my daughter to sleep when she is uncomfortable. This is how my mother raised all five of us and for the most part, we all have amazing immune systems.

Because of that, most of the teething solutions for my daughter are toys she can pop in her mouth.

The other lifesaver these days is her nûby fish teether. The brush like area is perfect for massaging her aching gums.

I got this for around $5 CAD at WINNERS.

For anyone else going through the magical wonders of teething, hang in. Keep your baby busy, because that often distracts from their discomfort.

Got to go, I am being summoned by my own screeching bandicoot.