the thirties grind

get up, go to work, raise kids, pay bills, sleep. repeat.

Archive for the category “Kids”

Love your fellow Mama

This morning, my daughter had cross country practice. I was surprised when she said she wanted to join the team because (a) she’s not really a runner and (b) it would mean getting up earlier than usual and my girl likes her sleep. The first few practices, she jumped out of bed, got dressed, ate breakfast and skipped down the road to school. Today, however, my early wake-up call was met with a lot of resistance.

With a little encouragement and positive talk, we got her to the practice on time. I’d like to say that this is the case every time we have a struggle in the morning, but it is definitely not. Many, many mornings are spent nagging and negotiating and yelling. I feel depleted and defeated, collapsing into my car to get to work…guilt gnawing at the pit of my stomach all the way there. I imagine my kids going through their day with the same feeling and I wonder if they feel sad and mad at me all day at school.

However, when I see them later on, they are not harboring any ill will or residual angst from the mornings chaos. They meet me with smiles and hugs…we’re all good. And, so it goes. Read more…

This school year I plan to help my children fail.

Next week, my two kiddos head back to school.

tumblr_nfxv2aemDe1qk8j8do8_250I’m completely grateful for the summer we’ve had but, man oh man, are we ready to get back to routine and bedtimes and less…er…togetherness.

This school year I have decided that I want to help set my kids up to be more independent. Not that I don’t want them to need or want my help, but I do want them to be able to do some things on their own. Our mornings are often a nightmare. I wake up with the intention of putting my best foot forward…the intention of not yelling and shouting and losing my f*%cking mind. Things, more often than not, go to shit and I’m left feeling deflated after I drop the kids to school…beating myself up over how I could have done things better. Read more…

Whispers from the Westside: empty preschools

empty-swingset-crop

I’m toying with an idea for a new series on here…one that exposes the effect of real estate speculation on Vancouver’s neighbourhoods.  Namely the Westside, where property prices have increased so dramatically, that most people are completely priced out of the area.  As someone who grew up in Dunbar, which during my childhood was a quite idyllic (lots of kids playing in the parks, people shopping and eating in local establishments, neighbours getting together for block parties), I am consistently taken aback by how much things have changed. Read more…

Palm Springs with kids

Palm Springs

This spring break I was dying to get away.  Funds were limited, however, so I was looking for something that wouldn’t break the bank.  Sunshine and heat were a must, however, so I was looking at desert destinations, where the warm weather is basically a guarantee. Read more…

Why I want to make out with Jennifer Garner

baby bump

I have a love/hate relationship with my body.  Actually, if I’m being honest, I just have a hate relationship with my body.

I remember the moment when I became aware that my body wasn’t perfect.  I think I was probably about eight (my daughter’s age).  I was sitting on the floor and a relative told me to put my legs together so that we could look at the shape of them.  She described how perfect legs have a gap between the ankles and calves, a gap between the calves and knees and (most importantly) a gap between the knees and hips.  I learned about “thigh gap” at eight years old.

I don’t have a gap between my knees and my hips.  Never have.  I was blessed cursed with short, muscular legs and I have always been self-conscious about them.  Sometimes I wonder if I would feel the same way if I never learned about thigh-gap.  It really wasn’t that relative’s fault…I would have learned about my horrid imperfection soon enough.

Flash forward to 20 years later when my body gave birth to my beautiful daughter.  After years of adolescence and early adulthood where I was still criticizing and loathing my body, it was doing the most gorgeous and splendid thing possible…yet, I was still not happy with it or grateful for it.  I felt awful in my postpartum skin.  My baggy tummy, my (enormous!) leaky breasts.  All I could think about was how much work it was going to be to get back to “normal”…and I wasn’t even happy with my normal in the first place.

IMG_20141010_161038Today, I still struggle with body image.  I’m not sure I’d believe any woman who told me that she doesn’t.  How can we not…with all the imagery and messaging that we are inundated with from such a young age – how the hell are we supposed to even accept (never mind love) our bodies.

I often look in the mirror at my still slightly rounded tummy…and judge it.  Judge myself – for not doing more to make it flatter.  Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that sandwich yesterday, maybe I should do another cleanse, maybe I’m not working out enough, maybe there’s something wrong with my hormones…

Maybe I should just. fucking. get. over. it.

Yesterday I watched this clip of Jennifer Garner on the Ellen Show.  Jenn’s got a tummy.  Like me.  Like most moms.  She’s not perfect…and she seems (in that moment, anyway) to be okay with it.  That is a beautiful thing.

I watched this clip and, I’d like to say I had some kind of Oprah “lightbulb” moment.  I didn’t.  I know that I’m still going to look in the mirror from time to time and think “ugh…”  But there’s something about associating your children’s names with your body, the body that brought them into the world.  It makes it a TON harder to hate on it.  So, now, I’m going to do that…when I catch myself looking down at my tummy and thinking it’s not flat enough or toned enough…I’m going to picture my children, who grew inside there.

Yup.  I have a baby bump.  It’s name is Cait and Asher.

Thank you, Garner. Like, big, sloppy, wet kiss thank you.

You are abnormal if you don’t breastfeed your child: Fraser Health

What would I say to the me that was feeling ashamed about her breastfeeding capabilities all those years ago? "You're doing your best, Mama...you're doing your best.

If I could go back in time and talk to myself, a new mother feeling ashamed about her breastfeeding capabilities, what would I say? “You’re doing your best, Mama…you’re doing your best.” It’s really all that matters.

“Breastfeeding is the normal way to feed your baby.” 

This is the statement made in a new “prenatal decision making tool” being implemented by Fraser Health.

I think this is ridiculous.  As someone who struggled with breastfeeding and didn’t necessarily always “enjoy” it, I think it’s disgraceful to shame new moms into this choice.  Yes, breast milk is best for the baby…but so is a happy, mentally healthy, supported mom.

The document appears to be a contract, where the mother is supposed to initial which feeding option she will choose.  Although, aside from breastfeeding, the options of mixed feeding and formula feeding are given, it’s clear what the “right” choice is.

From the time your child is conceived, hell, from before you even decide to become pregnant, the world is judging you as a new mom.  Imagine sitting in the hospital bed after giving birth to your child.  You are both overjoyed and terrified.  Are you good enough to care for this little being in your arms?  Will you be a good mother?  Your mind is exhausted and fragile and needs to be supported and nurtured…not inundated with propaganda meant to scare you into making decisions for your child.

I spent weeks trying to breastfeed my first baby.  I agonized over it…probably to a point where it was unhealthy.  Luckily, I was very supported by my midwife and family and, with painstaking perseverance, I was able to get into a relatively successful breastfeeding routine with my daughter.  However, it was never easy and every time I gave her a bottle of formula a little part of me felt like a failure.  In hindsight, I know this is wrong.

You know what’s really normal?  Wanting to do your best as a mother.  For many, this very well may be breastfeeding.  But if it doesn’t work for you for whatever reason…that is OK.  You are still a good mom.  No matter what Fraser Health says.

Update:  A Fraser Health representative was on CKNW today stating the form will be removed and revisited. The representative apologized to anyone who was offended by the form.

5 kids chores your children should be doing…like NOW!

kids chores

She listens to Disney soundtracks while emptying the dishwasher…it takes a bit longer with all the lip synching and dancing going on but, hey, at least I’m not doing it.

When I was a kid, we had to do chores in order to “earn” privileges like watching our favorite TV show (mine was Different Strokes, for the record), playing with our friends or money to buy penny candies at the local corner store (red hot lips were my go to indulgence).

I don’t know why but, as a parent, I kind of forgot about kids chores.  Then one morning, it hit me…what use is it having these little minions around if I can’t put them to work?  I should be sitting with my feet up watching my floor get mopped, my laundry get folded, my lawn get mowed…

In all seriousness, chores are a great way to create accountability and respect for the home.  When kids see that everyone in the family needs to pitch in to keep the house neat, tidy and running it is a beautiful thing.  Suddenly, they realize that everything doesn’t stay tickety-boo with magic.  It’s hard work…and work ethic is something I learned early and plan to pass on to my kids!

5 kids chores your children can start doing today!

  1. Make their beds – this is easy.  Don’t expect army corners, though.  I often settle for the duvet being neatly placed on the bed and stuffies arranged in some kind of order.
  2. Unload the dishwasher – patience required with this one.  You may need to do it together once or twice and ask that “high up” items be left on a counter for mom or dad to take care of.
  3. Fold or sort laundry – my son loves folding the dish cloths and towels.  You could also have your kids separate clean laundry into piles like “Mom”, “Dad”, “Sibling”, “Me”, “Towels”.  My kids are also responsible for putting away their clean clothes.
  4. Feed pets – mom and dad so often bare the brunt of pet responsibility.  Putting food in a dish and filling a water bowl isn’t rocket science…get the kids to do it.
  5. Water plants – Give them a designated container and show them which plants to water and how much.  Might be a better job for a 7-8 year old.

Do your kids do chores?  What do you find are the best ones?

Why I felt ashamed at my son’s kindergarten orientation

kindergarten

My son is starting Kindergarten in September.  Earlier this month we attended a “Welcome to Kindergarten” event at our local school.  All the children who will potentially be in class with my little boy were in attendance (there will be two kindergarten classes).  As all the children excitedly took their places, the parents looked on from the back of the room.  This wasn’t my first time doing this, as my daughter will be in grade three next year.  However, there was something different for me this time around.  I noticed that, in my mind, I was trying to assess the size and composition of the incoming kindergarten class…and I felt ashamed of myself for doing it.

After all we hear about the state of public education in B.C., there is one thing that I think is not being addressed: how impressions around class size and, in particular, composition affects how parents and children feel about their school and classmates.  As I observed the orientation, I could find myself trying to count how many children might possibly be ESL or developmentally challenged.  What could the composition of my child’s class potentially look like?

What an awful way to look around a room of excited, innocent children.  Our struggling public education system has done this to us.  Just as lack of funding and support is not fair to the children who need extra/added assistance in the classroom, it is also unfair to “typical” learners who are not getting the one-on-one attention that every child needs, craves, and thrives with.  I am ashamed to admit that I was essentially “profiling” a group of five and six year olds.  After everything I have heard in the media, from teachers and from other parents, I have become so frustrated and even paranoid about how much my children’s educational experience will be affected by the lack of adequate funding for our system.

I wish it wasn’t like this.  I wish I could attend my son’s kindergarten orientation and see a wonderfully diverse group of students and know that each of them would be given the very best start possible.  I wish each child who speaks English as a second language would have resources available to help them learn the primary language spoken in their country.  I wish every developmentally challenged child who has the capacity to learn within an integrated system had the proper supports to allow them to do this.  I wish gifted children were able to be challenged in the classroom by their teachers…not once in a while…but every, single day.  Finally, I wish “typical” learners could have the attention they, too, need and deserve.

What is in place right now is simply not enough…and it makes it difficult for me to even get excited about my kid starting school.  That, in itself, is a real shame.

Have you, too become more acutely aware of your child’s class size and composition in light of the recent events in BC Education?  What are your impressions?

A death in the family

rip cuddlesOver the weekend, we had to bury a family member. Read more…

Is my kid racist?

What to do when not so sweet things come out of this sweet mouth...

What to do when not so sweet things come out of this sweet mouth…

Kids say the darndest things…okay, sometimes they are blatantly offensive. Read more…

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