{FAMILY} Why I Finally Decided To Embrace My Curly Hair

When I sat in the hairdresser’s chair this morning and told her that I wanted to go big – she squealed excitedly. “I’ve been hoping you would say that, I’m so excited that I finally get to play with your hair!”

As she fluffed and snipped my dry afro, she continued to express her excitement…

“I can tell you’re a bit of a control freak. You want to control each and every curl, keep them in line and in order. I’m so excited to hear that you’re finally letting lose – isn’t that liberating?”

And in that moment, I realized she was right.

Since my teen years, my hair has gone through some pretty dramatic changes, but whether it was short and curly, or long and straight, it was always controlled. I either doused it in curl product to twirl each piece of hair into place, or I flat-ironed my blunt cut to achieve a smooth, well-aligned ‘do. Never, in all of these years, had I let my ‘fro flow.

In life, as with my hair, I have always been a control freak. I’ve hovered over my children, wanting to control their every move – scheduling every minute of their day. My parenting insecurities have been buried in my constant craving for control. As I get older – and as my children get older, I’m realizing that they need space to grow. They need to learn from their own experiences, and have their own opinions. I still believe in schedules, rules and routines, but I am also starting to see that too much control is restrictive.

It’s time to stop twirling every curl. It’s time to embrace the fact that I’m going to have bad hair days, and that I can’t always control whether or not the tough times are going to happen.

I’ve finally decided that it’s time to let my hair down, and loosen the reins.

And it feels good.

 

Curly Hair

{FAMILY} Daylight Savings Is All About The Feelings

While daylight savings time may provide us with an added hour of evening sun in the Summer months, it certainly doesn’t save my sanity.

For as long as I can remember, the twice-a-year tradition has sparked the same old controversial conversation: do we get to sleep in, or do we have to wake up earlier once the clocks have changed? And this question has usually led to a long-winded tongue twister about feelings.

“OK, so if we set the clocks forward, then it feels like it’s 6am, but really it’s 7am.”

“No, no, no, it’s feels like we’re getting up earlier, not sleeping in…”

“Wait, ok so the one in October, feels like we’re sleeping in?”

daylight savings

I just want more sleep.

The queries drive my husband nuts, and make my head spin. I just want to know if I’m going to get an extra hour of sleep!

When you’re a parent, earning an extra hour of sleep is more of a win than actually winning the lottery. Sleep is sacred – and seldom.

So when the universe doles us a bad hand, and our calculations conclude that not only are we “losing an hour of sleep”, but our children are going to lose their minds trying to make sense of the extra daylight at bedtime – responding like a wild pack of blood-hungry zombies, of course we’re going to experience all sorts of feelings.

When it comes to the bi-annual tradition of time change, I know I’m not the only mama who changes the clocks with her fingers crossed, hoping that this is the one that will save my sanity and grant me that extra 60 minutes of sleep.

Unfortunately, this is not the blessed time. Because when my kids wake me up bright and early at 6:30am tomorrow morning, it will feel like 5:30am.

I’m off to “Spring forward” to a week’s worth of sleepless nights and my sanity will not be spared.

{FOOD} Talking To Your Kids About Meat

There are certain conversations that parents dread having with their children – where babies come from, or the truth behind certain mythical characters – but there is one topic that is less commonly discussed amongst parents that can be equally as awkward: talking to your kids about meat and where it comes from.

Kids Meat

I remember when my firstborn made the correlation. When she was about 5 years old, I had served chicken for dinner. When she asked me what we were having and I told her, she paused. I could see the wheels turning as she thought about it for a moment. “Mommy,” she said slowly, “do you mean chicken, like, the animal chicken?” I swallowed hard and took a deep breath as I began to explain.

“Well, you see honey, some of the food we eat comes from animals…” She looked at me nonchalantly and replied, “…you mean like how milk comes from cows?” I paused for a moment, and then replied, “Yes, exactly like that.”

Too afraid to go into more detail, I left it at that, and she seemed satisfied with my response. I had chickened out about telling her the truth behind her chicken dinner. I decided the truth could wait.

I of course had to have the more detailed conversation with her later, and it wasn’t as painful as I had expected. I explained it as gruesome-less as possible, in more of a scientific manner, and she took it…well…let’s just say there was a week or so where she decided she didn’t want to eat meat. But after awhile she enjoyed her meat-packed meals once more and it became a non-issue.

An interesting study was recently conducted by some doctors in Australia on how farm animal production is discussed in Australian households and how children learn about the origins of meat. The findings included interesting stats, such as:

– Parents preferred to initiate conversations with children about meat production before they were 5 years of age.

– Urban parents were more likely than rural parents to reveal that they were conflicted about eating meat, and would be more empathetic to children who chose to stop eating meat.

– Rural parents were more likely than urban parents to feel that children should eat what they are given and that talking about meat is not a major issue.

– Both groups felt that it was important that children should know where their food comes from.

The study also uncovered some differences in how women and men talk about and manage their children’s attitudes towards meat, finding that: “Female carers were more likely to agree that their children could make their own decision about whether or not to eat meat, and be more understanding if they stopped eating meat.”

I guess my family is an exception to the norm. My children were a bit older than 5 when they were exposed to the whole truth about meat, and although we are an urban family, meat is kind of mandatory (if my kids think I’m going to custom-make vegetarian options, they’re nuts). Unlike the study’s findings, I think my husband would be more sensitive to our children’s decisions about whether or not they want to eat meat. Although, I’m the cook in the house  (mama does after all run the grill). When it comes to meals in my house, my meat tooth wins. My kids will just have to deal until they can makes their meals on their own.

I wanna know: have you had the meat conversation with your kids yet?

{FAMILY} Why You Should Make Every Day Your New Year’s Eve

It’s no secret that I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Regardless of the highs and lows that I may have experienced over the past year, I refuse to look back at the choices I’ve made (or didn’t make) and compile a list of self-deprecating ‘should have’s and ‘wish I could’s for the New Year.

Everything is a learning experience contributing to my personal growth, and I enter each year without a list of regrets. Instead, I like to take a moment to quietly reflect on my accomplishments, milestones, and laughable moments of the past year, and then push forward with a clean slate.

New Year

For me, the start of each year is the first (blank) page of a brand new notebook, not the next chapter of a book whose ending has already been written.

Only I can determine what comes next, and my interests and intentions are ever-evolving. Goals are set and achieved continually throughout the year, regardless of the flip of a calendar page. Instead, each new day is an opportunity to make new goals – to aspire to be a better me.

Can you imagine if every day were New Year’s Eve? 

What if each night, you took some time to reflect on the past, celebrate the present, and resolve for an even better tomorrow? If you planned to do better – be better, each and every day instead of once a year?

I’m not just excited for a new year, I’m excited for a new tomorrow.

New Year

Cheers to a new year, and to 365 brand new tomorrows!

{FAMILY} I Voted Today (For The First Time EVER)

I’m a mom of three in my late 30’s, and today was the first time I have ever voted in a federal election.

Before you wag your fingers, unfollow me, and respond to this post with negative comments, hear me out.

I had never voted before because I didn’t want to make an uninformed decision. I knew that my vote counted, and I didn’t want my uneducated eenie meenie miney mo pick to be the one that swayed the results. I didn’t want to vote for someone because my parents were voting that way, or because the paid TV ads told me to, or because I wanted to vote against someone else. I wanted to make an informed decision, and to vote based on my own beliefs.

I’m not going to lie, it was commentary on social media, conversations with friends and family, and debates in the media that motivated me to take the leap into voter-land. I read up on the issues, and tried my best to gain a basic understanding of each perspective. I took online tests to see where my opinions aligned with various parties, and I visited the webpages of each of the candidates in my riding to learn more about them.

There is still so much to learn, and I’m in no way a fully knowledgeable political savant, but I feel comfortable with my decision, and hope that my choice to exercise my right to vote will make all the difference this year. I’m also proud to be able to share the experience with my children, and to be able to explain to them the importance of exercising our right to vote as Canadian citizens.

For those of you who, like me, are voting for the first time today, but are too embarrassed to admit it – here are some quick tips to make the voting process a bit easier for you:

Know where you have to go to place your vote. I had assumed that I would be able to vote at my children’s school (one of the official local voting stations). Unfortunately, I was redirected to another location to cast my vote, as my residential address was in another catchment area.

Bring your official “voter information card” (and 2 pieces of ID). I didn’t know where my voter card was (to be honest, I likely tossed it into the recycling bin when it arrived without even noticing what it was). I was still able to vote, but it would have been an easier process if I had referred to the information on the card, and had arrived at the polling station with my card in hand.

Know the names of the candidates in your electoral district. It’s important to know the names of the candidates in your district because you will be voting for them, not by the names of the political parties.

Now head to the polls, and happy voting!

{FAMILY} 8 Things That Made Me “The Worst Mom EVER” (Today)

Along with having an 8-year-old daughter comes an elevated level of sass. As she tries to navigate through her pre- pre-teen years and all of the emotions that accompany this fragile age, her strong will and desire for independence are unparalleled, and her emotional ebbs and flows completely a mystery to us as parents.

And as the cherry on top – she is idolized by her 5-year-old brother, whose stubbornness and desire for attention are equally as prominent. The two siblings have created the ultimate duo – rivalling each other some days, and other days teaming up to battle the wicked force that is “mom”.

And always on the sidelines is my littlest. Forever wanting to keep up with her older siblings, she mimics everything they do or say – duplicating and elevating her siblings’ frustrations towards their “unfair mom”.

If they are playing together nicely, I am the enemy who “ruins all the fun”, and if they are battling each other, no matter whose side I support, I become the “meanest mom” for not supporting the other. I’ve learned to accept the fact that I just can’t win – that I’m going to be known as the “worst mom EVER” for everything that I do. And I’m ok with that, because I know that one day it will pass. Right?

worst mom ever

That time when they made ninja outfits – so they could spy on me and ninja kick me.

In the meantime, here are just some of the things that I’ve done today that have earned me the title of “worst mom EVER” in the eyes of my children:

1) I asked them to get dressed for school. -> my 5-year-old son:”MOM! You ALWAYS ruin all the fun. You’re the MEANEST.”

2) I gave my 8-year-old daughter a little pat on the back when I dropped her off at school (respectfully honouring her wishes for me to stop kissing her in front of her friends) -> met with incessant eye rolls, and a loud “PSSHHT Bye MOM.”

3) I offered my youngest her favourite soother when she was acting fussy. -> she threw it at my face and yelled “NO!” and then begged for her “soo-soo” as if it hadn’t just been offered.

4) I offered to put a freshly-made blueberry muffin in my daughter’s lunch for her recess snack. -> met with “MOM! I don’t even LIKE muffins.” (funny, she did last week…)

5) I wouldn’t let my daughter skip her ballet class after school to go on a play date, but offered for her to have one the following day. -> “ugh MOM! I don’t even LIKE ballet. You’re ruining my LIFE by not letting me have a play date.”

6) My two oldest were fighting over which show to watch after school, so I suggested that we turn off the TV and do something else. -> suddenly on the same side: “Mom, you’re the WORST! Why can’t we just watch a show and relax after a busy day at school?”

7) I suggested that my son wear a rain jacket to his soccer practice so that he doesn’t get soaked. -> “I will NEVER. That’s the worst idea EVER.”

8) When asked what we were having for dinner, I responded “I’m going to bar-b-que some steaks and make rice and broccoli.” -> all 3 children “YUCK! That’s not my favourite. Gross.” (littlest just chimed in with “No, no, no” while shaking her head).

Don’t get me wrong, these comments and objections weren’t said without reprimand.

I can remember being in my children’s shoes, and I know that it is a passing phase of self-discovery and desired independence. But, seriously. Whose kids are these?

 

{FAMILY} How I Got My Groove Back After Baby

Bringing a new baby into the world can be a beautiful, life-changing, monumental occasion – whether it’s the first, or the third time around. But the thing about having a baby is that it can also be all-consuming. Recovery from childbirth, adjusting to new routines, and surviving an insurmountable lack of sleep amongst the chaos that comes with caring for a new little human being can be overwhelming.

Your life gets turned upside down, and before you know it, a year has flashed before your eyes and you feel like you have nothing to show for it but the bags under your eyes and the remnant mama’s bits of what used to be your slammin’ bod.

But there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, and for me, that dim little shimmer of light that sat so far in the distance has finally come to fruition, and I’m ready to let that bright light shine.

working mom

With my previous children, I had always had the comfort of  job security when I was ready to return to work. But the third time around was different for me because I chose to work for myself. I didn’t know if the work would come when I was ready to work, and that terrified me.

Because of my fear of the unknown, I didn’t really ever stop working when baby #3 arrived. From the week she was born I was working on side projects, attending networking events and submitting proposals, eager to develop a small roster of potential clientele for when I was ready to dive back into the working world.

All the while, I didn’t let myself stress too much about what the future might or might not bring. I made sure to take time out to enjoy the little things – like the week I spent with my family soaking up this amazing view, completely unplugged.

working mom

But probably the most important thing that I did to get myself out of the post-newborn funk – my secret sauce to getting my groove back, was taking some time out for myself – to remind myself of who I am (and have always been) on the inside. To remember that I’m more than “just a mom”.

And as I explored my interests, took some time to reflect, and allowed myself to live a little outside of my comfort zone, opportunities began to unfold around me, and my dreams began to become my reality.

I’ve just returned to my adult ballet classes (after over a year and a half off). I’m still writing my newspaper column (one of my life-long dreams), and have recently completed some other pieces for print publications, and I’ve taken on some fantastic new clients through my business.

I feel like I’m back to being me – being BEE. I’ve finally got my groove back.

View post on imgur.com

Kindergarten Orientation (Round 2)

Karma bit me in the ass when I took my son (my second born) to his Kindergarten orientation today.

In a haze of mom-ster arrogance, I had muttered to a friend that I hoped that my son wouldn’t be placed in a class full of first-time moms to school-aged kids. I poked fun at how hard it is the first time around for the children (and the moms) – how tears would be shed, and how I wanted to be grouped together with other “seasoned” parents who would opt to drop-and-go on day one of school.

Karma’s a bitch (and so was I).

I showed up with my coffee in hand (and baby in stroller), and strolled into the library with my head held high. I observed the new families in the room and reminisced about how nervous I had been when it was my first time. But I felt confident that this year would be easy breezy – I was just going through the motions. You know, for my son.

When the time came for the children to leave us in the library while they toured the Kindergarten classroom, disaster struck with a vengeance.

My son suddenly grasped onto my leg with a deathgrip and wailed “I don’t want to goooo” while my littlest simultaneously decided to wriggle and squeal in my arms. All of the other children – all newbies to the school scene, pleasantly obliged and walked hand-in-hand in pairs down the hallway. After several failed attempts at negotiations with my boy (including but not limited to: acts of bribery, stern commands, minor threats, loving coaxes and many many deep breaths), I followed the line of children – stroller, and wailing boy in tow.

As I stood by the door of the Kindergarten classroom, holding my distraught son in one arm and my overtired, cranky one-year-old in the other, I looked on as the other children sang along to songs, coloured pictures and enjoyed circle time.

I side-glanced to the outer perimeter of the classroom, where I noticed two teachers scribbling notes – observing each child and their reactions to this new environment. One of the teachers glanced in my direction, flashed a crooked, sympathetic smile at me, and scribbled some notes on her pad – presumably documenting my son’s behaviour.

I was officially that parent.

After about 20 minutes, I managed to sneak out of the room, leaving my son to his own devices. And of course, when they were finished (and the teacher observers had left), he met me with a glimmer of excitement in his eyes – grabbing me by the hand, eager to show me what he had done.

Today I learned that having three kids doesn’t make me more experienced as a parent. It doesn’t make mothering any harder (or easier) because each child and each experience is new and completely different.

When school officially starts in September, I will not judge the new moms. Instead, I hope to be just like them.

Kindergarten Orientation

Tooth Fairy Torture

Last night my daughter lost her 7th tooth. As I flashed my best grin and cheered her on with enthusiasm while she recounted her valiant efforts to pull her wiggly tooth from its roots, my thoughts went straight to my late-evening plans, and how they were officially ruined.

I remember writing about how I would never succumb to the over-the-top Tooth Fairy antics. Boy was I wrong. The problem is, as much as I would love to drop a quarter under my daughter’s pillow and call it a job well done, friends talk. And there’s nothing more depressing than seeing your sweet little firstborn teary eyed because her best friend’s Tooth Fairy left her a pony and made real-life magic happen right in her bedroom. Ok, I may be exaggerating a little, but seriously, the things that my daughter hears about from her friends at school leave me pulling my hair out as I try to live up to unrealistic expectations.

When she lost her first tooth, she received $5 in her Tooth Fairy pillow, and that was it. She was ecstatic. By the loss of her second tooth, rumours had been swirling that if you left a cup of water by your bed, the Tooth Fairy would change its colour to coincide with the fairy’s colours. Fine, coloured water, done. For the lost teeth that have followed, the antics had evolved to leaving questionnaires for the Tooth Fairy to complete, water for changing colours, a tooth in a special pillow, and a drawing for the Tooth Fairy to take back to fairyland with her.  It’s just too much!

Tooth Fairy

The stress that comes with entering a sleeping child’s room to replace a tooth with a coin is enough to make my head spin, but mom knows no fear like trying to complete a full questionnaire (in whimsical scripture might I add, cause gosh forbid the Fairy has similar writing to mommy’s), dropping food colouring into a shot glass full of water, and leaving money tucked into a pin-sized hole, all while trying not to startle your little one awake.

The worst part of all? Trying to stay awake while you wait for your nocturnal child to fall into a deep enough sleep to complete the list of daunting tasks. Tooth Fairy visits are complete torture. I just pray that the next tooth waits for a few months so I can afford the time and money it takes to make magic happen once more.

 

 

 

Mommy’s Grounded

When I was 7 years old I wrote my first book. I remember carefully cutting out a piece of cardboard from an old cereal box, and folding it in half to create the book cover. I then wrapped it with an old piece of burgundy velvet because I loved the rich colour and the way it tickled my fingers when I touched its soft surface. The book was called “The Adventures of Garbanzo” and I’m sure I still have it somewhere tucked away in a box.

Throughout my life I kept handwritten journals, filling their pages with daily thoughts, dreams and poetry. After a brief writing hiatus, I started this blog in July of 2011 to revive my love for writing and provide myself with a creative outlet. This blog has led to so many amazing, life-changing opportunities and I’m grateful every day for the supportive online community that I have become a part of over the years. I have become an influential mom blogger, a published writer, and a self-employed business owner all thanks to my leap into the blogosphere.

Writing has always been a passion of mine, and next week, one of my writing dreams will become a reality. I’m so excited to share with you all that I will be writing my own weekly parenting column for one of Vancouver’s largest newspapers – 24 Hours Vancouver.

Each Parenting 24 Hours VancouverFriday, I will be sharing opinions, confessions and anecdotes related to parenting hot topics. You can expect an against-the-grain, honest (with a touch of sarcastic humour) take on some of the things that are frequently talked about in the world of parenting. I can’t wait to start this journey with a fresh voice and and a  new platform to share my stories.

I’ve decided to call my column Mommy’s Grounded – the meaning can be read as grounded as in ‘in trouble’ or ‘punished’, or ‘well-balanced’ and ‘sensible’, depending on the reader’s interpretation.

Parenting 24 Hours VancouverOn occasion I’ll be reaching out to my parenting network for opinions on story ideas and hot topics (because it’s not all about me!). If you’re interested in joining in on the conversation, follow my Facebook Page.

Thank you to all of my readers who have followed my journey so far, and stay tuned for many more adventures as I embark on this new endeavour.