Mom Friends

I recently sat down at a table full of young moms (and one first time mom-to-be). The dads were all in charge of the kids which meant they were on the couch watching Cocomelon and we were trying to share our “mommy” wisdom with the new mom-to-be. 

Through the conversation I came to the realization that there’s a lot of things moms don’t openly share with each other. I don’t know if it’s fear of not holding up to the social standards for moms, otherwise known as the ‘Instagram Mom’, or that we feel like these less than stellar moments of mom hood are ours and ours alone. 

The truth is, most moms struggle. It’s not always easy to have the full-time responsibility of little humans being dependant on you for everything. We all get frustrated, we all get worn thin and we all lose our patience sometimes. It’s just a part of life. But spending time with other moms helps me realize it isn’t just me who gets burnt out and needs a break more often than I’d like to admit, and it’s not just me who feels like I’m walking a thin line between sanity and insanity during sleep regressions. It happens to the best of us, and we all feel bad about it. 

It’s important to me to take the time to acknowledge this, to know that things won’t always go perfectly. Each day is a new day with Baby T and sometimes all we both need is a little reset. 

So one thing I will always recommend for new moms is get some mom friends who you can have these chats with and bring each other back to your middle grounds. Being a mom doesn’t necessarily get any easier as time goes by but if you have your mom friends by your side you feel a lot more understood and normal. 

Raising A Toddler

There are few things in life that give you equal parts joy and frustration; one of these things is raising a toddler. Baby T is 21 months and has settled into her spunky little personality. Independence is her new favourite activity and most of the time it’s pretty adorable but sometimes it’s a whole new test on patience you didn’t even know you had. 

Temper tantrums are not for the faint of heart and every child is different so dealing with them is different for everybody. I like to think we handle Baby T’s tantrums well but then sometimes they go on and on I start to doubt my abilities (and sanity). We just make sure she’s in a safe space where she can let it out and we stay close by without giving the tantrum the attention she’s looking for. 

We try to let her know that being upset it normal and okay, we all do it we just express it a little differently. Once she’s calmed down we’ll get her some water and give her a little cuddle. Kids are still humans with feelings they just don’t have the vocabulary to express them yet, so they express being upset and frustrated the only way they know how. 

Sleep regressions can also hit hard at this point. It feels like Baby T hasn’t had a normal sleep (by normal I mean going to sleep on her own and sleeping through the night) in over a month. Unfortunately camping once a month through the summer has definitely not helped as she doesn’t go to sleep on her own in the trailer. By the time we build up to sleep training it’s time to go on another trip. 

Sleep training a toddler who can say “no” when you tell her to lie down and go to sleep is one of the most frustrating defeating things I’ve ever done. I can’t even say it’s been successful or that it works because honestly it hasn’t yet. It’s been a lot of sleepless nights, sitting in her room or rocking her until she falls asleep and being so tired we just bring her to bed with us because she falls asleep faster which means we get to too. 

I feel like I had pretty good patience before, even better when she was a newborn, but the patience you have to develop and force yourself to use with a toddler is way more than I even though possible. 

Like I said though, equal parts joy and frustration. The joy we get from Baby T learning a new skill, learning new words and phrases or even just seeing her thriving and smiling far overshadows the frustrations. So even on the days where it feels like I’m on my last thread of sanity she does something that makes me laugh or smile and it’s like hitting the reset button. Every day is different and gets even better than the last, and that’s what raising a toddler is like. 

The Differences Between Pregnancy Number One and Number Two

We’re officially twelve weeks into my second pregnancy (pause for applause). Baby #2 is now the size of a kiwi and according to my baby app is starting to develop reflexes in it’s little fingers and toes. Hopefully with this new week comes some relief from some of the symptoms I’ve been having which is all part of this post listing the differences between my pregnancy with our first baby and this pregnancy. Let’s get started! 

Morning Sickness (Evening Sickness?) 

With Baby #1 I definitely had morning sickness throughout the day. I had some relief from soda crackers and arrowroot cookies, but after a few bouts of throwing up I went to my doctor for the prescription the that helps with this. It was a lifesaver with her, I managed to have somewhat of a normal life for the first three months. 

Baby #2 I started having really bad nausea all day, I started taking the medicine as well but it doesn’t seem to be doing the trick this time around. I’m fine most of the day but right after dinner, no matter what I eat or do I have terrible nausea that forces me to just go to bed early every night (not the worst thing in the world I know), but it’s definitely put a damper on these first few months. 

Energy Levels

It does feel like I have a lot less energy this time around but when you think about it; with Baby #1 I had no obligations other than work and keeping the house tidy. Now I have both of those things on top of taking care of a one and half year old, it’s no wonder I’m more tired. I think Dan is more tired this time too, probably for the same reason dealing with a one and a half year old and his pregnant tired wife. 

Excitement 

With the first baby it’s a totally different ball game as far as excitement. It’s the first time for everything so it’s all so new and exciting. I used to look at the baby apps everyday learning about everything going on inside, we had the nursery planned and registry done within the first few months, and posting the announcement on Instagram was the most exciting thing. 

Of course it’s still exciting knowing that there’s going to be a new baby in the house but I don’t feel like I really enjoyed being pregnant the last time so going into all that again while taking care of Baby #1 is a lot. There’s also more distractions like finishing our new deck, taking our trailer out for summer camping trips and again, making the most of the time we have left with Baby T as an only child. 

There is guilt that comes with not being quite as excited but it’s not that Baby #2 is any less wanted, it’s just so different. It’s also kind of nice because I did pop so early this time around but thanks to Covid Lockdowns (never thought I’d say those words) we haven’t been seeing anyone other than our family and close friends who we told right away anyway. It’s been the easiest secret to keep and it feels like posting about it on Instagram isn’t as big a deal this time. That being said, of course we are posting it because then if anyone does see me they don’t have to be scared to ask if I’m pregnant for fear it’s just the extra covid 20. 

Gender Reveal 

Like I said, we did a big Gender Reveal with Baby #1 and it was great. We popped a balloon over our heads in front of our closest friends and family and pink confetti fluttered down around us. 

For Baby #2 we do still want to find out the gender, I’m way too much of a planner to not know even though I think experiencing both ways would be pretty cool, I just don’t think I can bring myself to do it. I don’t want a big Gender Reveal for this one. Not only because who knows how many people will even be allowed in one room by that time, but also because I like the idea of something more quiet and intimate. 

Baby #1 agrees with me on this wholeheartedly since she screams and cries whenever she sees the video from her cousins gender reveal, she is not a fan of the exciting balloon pop. Or people to be honest. So since I have her vote, we will most likely be doing something small at a dinner with our parents and siblings. I’m thinking something that involves a cake or cupcake mostly because I would just want to eat it after. 

We still haven’t decided whether Dan and I will find out beforehand and surprise our families or if we will wait for the cupcake too. 

It’s Just Different 

Obviously these two pregnancies have been very different physically and emotionally, but we’re still so excited for everything Baby #2 will bring into our lives. We know that Baby #1 will be the best big sister and a huge help to us, or at least she will be after she adjusts to having a new baby. 

Now, next thing on the list is what do you buy for a second baby when you already have so much baby stuff. Once I figure it out for myself I will pass on this helpful information. 

Happy Blogging Anniversary!

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

I officially reached my one year anniversary of blogging! I can’t believe it’s already been a whole year of writing, especially when I think of where I started with this. When I started writing I was struggling a lot mentally and emotionally with having Postpartum OCD and having a hard time transitioning into my role as a new mom. I felt very lost. 

Now one year later I’m in a lot better place and have more of an understanding of what I was going through, I’ve learned some ways to clear my head on the bad days including writing in this very blog. I also feel more confident and secure in myself as a mom even to the point of becoming pregnant with Baby #2! 

Writing about all these experiences was so helpful to me and my hope in writing them was always to try and help other moms who feel the same. Hopefully I did that somewhere along the way. 

Obviously the blog has changed a lot. We went from lots of sporadic posts, to scheduled posts, to just posting whenever I have time and get to sit down and write. Some of my favourite stories and experiences are in this blog like the travel series, the story of finding out we were pregnant for the first time, buying a trailer, and let’s not forget stories from lockdown (and unlockdown, and lockdown, and stay at home order, and go outside again order) in a global pandemic. 

I really honestly appreciate anyone who has read this blog, even one post, and commented or liked. These never go unnoticed (there’s not a lot of them so trust me they’re really never not noticed). When I started this a year ago I really wasn’t sure where I was going with it or how long it would last, but I can honestly say I’m proud of what I’ve built on here and can’t wait to see what another year brings. 

The One Where I Get Pregnant Again

Well, it’s official! We are having Baby Number Two! If you’ve been reading for a while you know I had a lot of apprehension about having another baby (see my blog post When Your First Labour Leaves You Unsure of a Second), but I honestly knew that we definitely wanted a second baby and I had a feeling my apprehensions wouldn’t get any better the longer we waited. So with that said, even though I’m a little nervous, we’re very excited to be adding another little one to our family. 

By the time I post this I will be a few months along since I didn’t want to announce to the internet something we haven’t announce to all of our friends yet but that’s okay, I’ll catch you up. Today (May 25th) I am five weeks and one day so still a bit early. My due date is around January 24th. I definitely knew very early that I was pregnant again. We were obviously trying so I was looking for early signs and it’s hard to describe but even within the first week I knew; the same thing happened with Baby T. I took the pregnancy test as early as I could and got a positive right away. 

So far I have already popped quite a bit, I’m actually thankful we’re in a pandemic and aren’t really seeing people in person because it would be a tough secret to hide. Not going to lie I thought I might be pregnant with twins because I had to undo the top button of my jeans before I could even take a pregnancy test. We’ve already shared the news with our families and a couple of friends and the rest we will wait another month or two before we do the official announcement. 

My favourite pregnancy apps that I used the first time around have been re-added on my phone including Ovia Pregnancy (the best articles and tips) and Pregnancy + (the best size comparison, and visuals of progress in the baby’s growth). According to these apps, Baby T # 2 is about the size of a smartie and has a little tail.  

As far as symptoms, I’ve just been exhausted and have to pee a lot more (including once during the night that I try to ignore but we all know how that goes). I feel like I’m more tired with this pregnancy than I was with Baby T but that could also be because instead of resting at the end of a work day or taking it easy on a day off I’m still taking care of a one and half-year old. Not that I’m complaining, because she’s honestly a good distraction from the tiredness and occasional nausea I’m already developing. She also motivates me to keep moving which is obviously good for you when you’re pregnant. 

I feel like it’s a boy but I also felt the same way with Baby T, I ended up changing my mind about a week before we did find out she was a girl so we will see if I stick with it this time. We would honestly be happy with either a boy or a girl this time around. I would love to be able to use all of Baby T’s clothes again and I would also love to have one of each in the family. We won’t find out until September so we’ve got some time to sit on it for now. 

Some other exciting news is that my sister-in-law is also expecting her first baby and is due in October! Once again I get to have a pregnancy buddy and our little babies will get to be only three months apart. I’m very happy to share my ‘wisdom’ and already-too-small maternity clothes and bras with her and she’s very happy to share her own new wisdom that I didn’t have before.

We’re going to be making some changes around the house including moving Baby T into a bigger bedroom to open up the nursery for the new baby and creating a kids playroom in our basement. Right now the play area is behind our couch which works good for now, but there are some toys in the bigger upstairs bedroom that will need to be moved downstairs to make way for Baby T’s big girl room. I’ll try and share some of the before and after of these changes as they happen and be sure to share some tips and tricks for Baby #2 including things we’ll be  replacing or changing and old things we’re happy to use again. 

I’m so excited to be able to document this pregnancy and the changes that come with going from a family of three (plus dog) to a family of four (still plus dog).

Summertime in Ontario

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

Summer is in full swing now in Ontario which brings a whole new list of fun activities to do. We just finished a huge renovation on our deck in our backyard. The original plan was to keep the structure and redo the deckboards and railings, but upon pulling those things down we discovered we were fortunate the whole deck didn’t crumble down on its own before now. So after having to blow the budget a bit on that project we’re left with a beautiful deck that we can’t wait to make good use of it for the season. 

We’re big fans of smoking meat like pulled pork and ribs, and doing up some good old barbecue food, so one of our plans for the summer is to host some dinner’s for our friends and family in our backyard. 

Another exciting thing we go to do last week was go strawberry picking at a local farm. Baby T of course did lots of sampling and taste testing during the process. She was a very happy girl and we got a ton of strawberries. Needless to say our desserts for that weekend consisted of strawberry themed treats. I did make a delicious apple and strawberry crumble that I found on Pinterest, I will link it here for you as it’s definitely one I’ll be saving for future use. 

There is a small zoo about twenty minutes away from where we live so we went to visit last week as well and ended up getting a seasons pass. We already went back a second time this morning. Baby T loves seeing all the animals but her absolute favourite part is the ‘birdies’ which is a big collection of colourful budgies. She will stand there and stare at them for hours. 

Of course we’re doing things at home too like filling up the paddling pool on a regular basis and eating most of our lunches and dinners outside on the over-budget deck. Last year I also mentioned that we bought a trailer so we have already gone camping for a weekend and have booked places to go once a month from now until September. On our last trip my husband kept saying, “I know you didn’t always like camping but thank you so much for liking it now”. I really do though. It’s easy to pack up the trailer and it’s a very simple relaxing vacation which is what I always prefer. 

That’s all the updates I have for now. I hope your summers are off to a great start too! Kids are just finishing up school so I’m sure there’s lots of planning and activities to be done. They deserve a break after this long year, and so do their teachers! 

Little Humans with Big Personalities

Photo by Max Vakhtbovych on Pexels.com

Something I think we all look for as our babies grow up is the physical similarities to people in our families. Baby T came out looking exactly like her daddy at the start, but as she’s gotten bigger I see a little bit of her Nanny, some of her Papa, she even makes one face that reminds of my Uncle. She doesn’t too often look like me and I still have my fingers crossed that her hair will go curly like mine, but one thing I find we’re pretty similar on is her fiery little personality. 

I recently said to my husband that most of the time she’s a happy, caring, loving and fun little girl but man oh man can she turn on the sass when she wants to. She will make it very clear when she doesn’t want to do or eat something and look down her nose at anything green and ‘healthy looking’. As soon as I said this, I realized she is me. I get that some of these qualities are a lot cuter on a one and a half year old than a  twenty eight year old but I swear I do it all politely. 

As the days have gone by I’ve seen more and more similarities; she takes a long time to wake up in the morning, she’s very shy and will be quiet for the first twenty minutes or so around new people, and she doesn’t like dirt and grass on her or her clothes. One day, one of our couch cushions was not in its usual spot so she went up to it, straightened it and continued on her merry little way. She loves books, music, dancing and quiet time to watch a show. 

Watching her settle so well into her big personality is something that I hold near and dear to my heart. The similarities help me to understand her and her needs a bit more, and give her the space and patience that she needs to work things out for herself. I don’t know why she does half the stuff she does but she’s always very determined to do whatever it is so we just let her go at it. 

One day when she’s older and knows more words, I’m sure my lovely stubborn personality will shine through even more and I’d like to hope that I’ll continue to give her the same space and patience that she needs. Whether that’s a cuddle on the couch watching her favourite show, dancing in the kitchen together or straightening all the cushions in the house, I’ll be there for her. 

The Last Few Weeks

I know it’s been a while since I’ve had any posts on here. It was a mix of not really knowing what to write and also enjoying doing some other things during my downtime like reading some good books and bingeing a good tv show (Anne With An “E” on Netflix – if you grew up in Canada you know exactly what this is). We are still in lockdown in case you’re wondering, apparently it will also be extended again but thankfully the weather is starting to get nicer so more time can be spent outside.

The weather is one thing that’s been keeping spirits high in our house, another is making our own little stay at home plans for weeknights. Each week my husband and I go through the calendar and on nights where there isn’t a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game (he’s a big fan) we plan something for us to do after Baby T goes to bed. Friday’s have been charcuterie and movie night and it’s my personal favourite. There’s also video game night to play Mario on the Nintendo Switch and card game night which has mostly consisted of me beating him at cribbage. 

Having little things to look forward to each week mixed in with work, laundry and vacuuming has definitely made things better and brighter around here. Baby T (she’s basically Toddler T now, she’s getting so grown up) has expanded her vocabulary and keeps us smiling and laughing. She’s definitely my daughter and has her moments of stubbornness and sassiness but thankfully I know that kind of personality quite well. 

It’s been a very quiet few weeks but being able to step back from busy schedules and enjoy time together as a family has been so nice. We’re hopeful that we will be able to have somewhat of a normal summer and make good use of our camping trailer that we got at the end of last year. We will find out soon enough but in the meantime I will continue to look forward to our charcuterie and movie nights every Friday. Nothing fights off pandemic fatigue like good wine and old cheese. 

A Favourite Quote

I’m currently sitting back out on our deck enjoying the sunshine and 13 degree weather that is melting the snowfall we had two days ago. If that isn’t crazy Canuck weather I don’t know what is. Anyway, our topic of the day is positivity during the ongoing pandemic. 

If you’ve seen the news, you know that where I live in Ontario, Canada, we’ve been put through the ringer lately. Honestly, that’s kind of putting it lightly. Since I’m working outside the home it’s hard not to hear the constant updates and new restrictions to the ‘Stay At Home’ order which is just a fancy new way of saying you’re still in lock down. 

Some restrictions make sense, while others do not at all. Regardless of what my opinion is on the goings-on, it all has a severely negative impact on people’s mental health. I’m always looking for ways to stay more positive. I recently came across a quote that I wanted to share, because it really makes you stop and think in this situation. 

“The more we concentrate on what we had before, the more we suffer. The quicker that we accept the new circumstances the quicker our joy returns to us along with the opportunity to make good use of the new circumstances.”

I don’t know about you, but when I heard that it led to some deep thought and self analyzing. There were a couple of things I came to terms with through this. One is that I keep thinking back to the way life was before, which for the majority of people was pretty great and most likely taken for granted (I know in my case it was at times). While it’s nice to reminisce, thinking back longingly to the point that it’s making me feel worse and worse about the current circumstances doesn’t help the situation. 

Yes things are very different now, and the sad reality is that it could be years still before things start to resemble what they were like before. That doesn’t mean that things have to be all bad for the foreseeable future. There’s still lots of great things to enjoy now. The more we think about the way things were before the more we suffer. 

Another thing I thought about was where the quote came from. This wasn’t from someone talking about the pandemic, it was from someone who years ago was imprisoned unjustly. Someone thought of this while they were sitting in a prison cell. I started comparing circumstances. My house is a cozy comfortable home, with a soft warm bed to sleep in, food in the fridge and I share it with my husband and Baby T. It’s far from any prison. 

I know that self-care and putting yourself first attitude is fairly popular nowadays, but sometimes self-care is realizing that other people have worse situations than you do and trying to help people who you know are also having problems. If I can put my energy into helping someone else with their problems, I quickly forget mine. Sometimes it means going out of my way to do things that maybe aren’t so important to me, but they’re important to someone else. 

Anyway, those are my deep thoughts for the day. If you have a quote or something that’s helped you during the pandemic leave a comment below! 

Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – One Year Later

As you probably know already, I started this blog shortly after I was diagnosed with Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in March 2020. It has definitely been a year of learning and growing since then and I thought it might be helpful to reflect and see how things have changed. 

Obviously when I first wrote about Postpartum OCD back in Spring of 2020, the hardest thing to overcome was the intrusive thoughts. After finishing some counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as recommended by my family doctor, I found the way to tackle these disturbing thoughts. 

If this is something you’re struggling with, definitely reach out to your doctor and get some help for yourself. I’m living proof that it does work! My intrusive thoughts started getting fewer and farther between since doing these treatments. Now I can even say I rarely have them, if ever. 

Of course as a mom you can always imagine the worst thing happening to your child in the moment, like them tripping and hitting their head off the corner of something (which DID happen to Baby T the other day and she joined the goose egg club), but not having the really scary disturbing thoughts I’ve mentioned before is such a weight off my shoulders. 

As far as the obsessive compulsive tendencies like cleaning rituals and routines that I mentally cannot deviate from, I would say these kinds of things are definitely worse than they were before having Baby T. Most moms who end up having Postpartum OCD have had obsessive compulsive tendencies before having their babies, but they can get a lot worse even for the long term afterwards. 

Returning to work in the middle of the pandemic was and still is a big struggle sometimes, especially working in a financial institution where we see different people all day and have to handle cash and cheques. I find me sanitizing my hands and work station three times more than everyone else around me. Thankfully though, I’ve been open about this struggle with the ladies I work with and they’re very understanding and respectful even though sometimes I know I go overboard. 

Routines that I don’t deviate from are part of my entire day. There’s a specific list and order of things I do every morning (take thyroid medication, check my phone, get Baby T ready for breakfast, make the bed, get ready for work or for a day at home) and every night (nighttime face moisturizer, dimmed lamp in our bedroom, vitamins, essential oil diffuser, read a book, go to sleep). If the bed is not made up just so and the laundry isn’t folded neatly and perfectly it just doesn’t sit right with me. Just ask my husband Dan. 

Even though sometimes the OCD cleaning can get a bit daunting and overwhelming, I still feel like I’m in better shape than where I started a year ago. 

I tried to google “how long does postpartum OCD last” and I didn’t really get an exact answer. Some say that the OCD tendencies can last long after postpartum so I suppose I’m in that category.  On the plus side I do feel that over the past year I’ve learned a lot about postpartum mental health and myself and have definitely grown from my experience. Now I take everything one day at a time knowing that I have the support and tools I need to help me along the way. 

A Little Update

I’ve actually been at a loss for words lately. The third lockdown has hit harder than the first two and last weekend was one of the lowest times I think I’ve ever had. I don’t want to get in to details because I’ve barely told people in my real life about it, I certainly wouldn’t blab about it on the internet, but thank goodness for my husband, my own parents and my in-laws (and Baby T of course), who all helped me get through it. 

Since then, I’ve taken a step back from the pressure I normally put on myself. Some of that pressure came from writing two blog posts a week. This whole thing started as more of an electronic journal than anything, and while I still enjoy it, I found that a lot of my posts didn’t have a lot of heart in them. I was writing them to write something not because I wanted to write them. As a way of coming back from where I was last weekend, I’ve obviously cut back a lot on that pressure and while I might be able to get back to that kind of schedule again eventually, right now I need to get back to what I was doing in the first place and writing meaningful things that I know makes me feel better, when I’m ready to write them.  

The motivation to write more will come back I’m sure, but lately instead I’ve been spending a lot of time reading, catching up on Netflix shows, going outside and giving myself time to not over think. There’s a lot of negativity in the world and it can definitely start getting to you, sometimes it feels hard to see a way out of the situation we’re all in right now. 

Hitting the reset button on everything can be refreshing and remembering that if a day starts in a bad place it doesn’t have to stay there. Just keep taking more steps forward and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. 

Building Confidence as A Mom

Something I’ve always struggled with is being a confident mom; confident in my choices as a parent and my abilities to give her a good upbringing. There’s days where it feels like everything I’m doing is wrong and doubt all the decisions I’m making, doubt whether I’m good enough to even be her mom. I definitely thought motherhood would come naturally and that I would fit right into the role but that’s not always the case. 

Is It Even Possible to Be a Confident Mom? 

I’d like to hope it is. There are some days where the confidence is definitely flowing, I can kind of feel invincible like if anything tries to mess with me and Baby T, I would definitely win. The day goes by quickly with lots of laughs and smiles and no friction or pushback. These are the perfect mom days and they do come around, sometimes they stick around for a little while. 

But of course with all kids things change and there are phases (I wrote a whole post about phases that you can find here). Whether it’s Baby T having a rough time sleeping or having new teeth coming in, or me feeling the pressure at work and not meeting my own expectations as a mom, wife or for running a household, there’s time when the confidence slips away and that can hit pretty hard sometimes. 

What To Do When Relapsing? 

I think of these times as a relapse. It’s something I’ve felt before and obviously come out of okay in the end. It feels like a bit of a slump and if I kind of let myself spiral enough it’ll be a few days of just feeling a bit lost and alone. 

I give myself time to checkout. My husband, Dan, is really good with spending his own one on one time with Baby T and giving me a break when I need it. He can usually tell when I’m a little off and tries to help out a little extra during those times even if I can’t explain to him exactly what I’m feeling. 

Whether he takes Baby T for a bit, or if it’s a busy day for both of us and I wait until she’s gone to bed for the night, I force myself to shut off from my phone, chores and even writing this blog and do something that helps me clear my head. Lately, that’s been bringing out my inner nerdy self and playing some video games on the Nintendo Switch, reading a book, or watching a show. 

Taking the time to do this helps me to reset, let go of the low self-esteem I’m holding onto, forget about the things I’ve been obsessing over that I feel like I’m doing wrong. Of course treating myself to a nice glass of wine and a sweet treat to relax always helps as well. 

Another thing I do is spend more quality one-on-one time with Baby T and reconnect with her. I let her take the lead with this and choose what we do, because we all know that me planning fun activities and her refusing to do them is not the kind of progress we’re looking for. It’s perfect now the weather is getting nicer in Ontario, she loves to go outside and wandering around our neighbourhood and backyard. 

I try to leave my phone somewhere out of reach so I don’t get distracted (this sounds familiar, I might have stolen it from my blog post about Making the Most of My Time With My One Year Old, practice makes perfect I guess). I’ll put some of our favourite music on instead and just enjoy our time together. 

Instagram Is Not the Be-All and End-All of Motherhood Standards

I’ve talked recently about making sure that the content I take in on Instagram and other social medias is positive and upbuilding. The moms that I follow (outside of people who are actually my friends) are all moms who are open and honest, even more open and honest than I am if that’s even possible. 

An example is Sarah Landry, or The Birds Papaya. I recently came across her profile (after doing my post on My Favourite Influencers) and right away appreciated her candid content. I think the first week I followed her she talked about having a clogged duct and mastitis and I completely felt her pain because I’ve been there, done that about a dozen times. 

There are people out there on social media that can make me feel like I’m not alone in my struggles, like I’m not the only mom with low self-esteem  and those are the people I actually enjoy following on social media. Sometimes though, I’ll be scrolling through the popular page and come across those posts that tell you what you should and shouldn’t do as a mom, these are the ones that really get to me. 

Here’s an example, I saw one of those new trendy Reels saying that when you’re watching your child try to figure something out, give them time to figure it out on their own. I thought, fair enough that’s a valid point. But then it said that when they do figure out not to make a big deal about it or clap for them. Excuse me, if I want to be my daughters in-house hype woman I am going to do that, thank you. I’ll clap when she sneezes if that’s what makes her smile. 

In my opinion, things like that just aren’t worth posting or paying any attention to. It doesn’t matter what the person’s credentials are in child psychology, I’m still going to ignore you and raise my child the way I see fit. Sorry, rant over. 

I try not to let things like that get to me and sometimes just taking a break from Instagram as a whole and the mindless scrolling through the popular page is the best thing I can do to get out of the slump of low-confidence. 

We Get Through It

At the end of the day, no matter how I’m feeling in my abilities as a mom, I am still a mom. I care for a beautiful baby girl day in and day out and it’s bound to be a rollercoaster. In the moments when I’m least confident, I just try to do the next right thing, get out of the slump and get through it. And I always do. 

Saving Money as a New Mom

I found that when I was pregnant and trying to make sure I had all the newborn supplies just perfect and ready for Baby T, that I got extremely overwhelmed with not only all of the options but also how much they cost. Having a baby is expensive! But there are a few things I learned for saving money and stress along the way.

First was that the most important thing you can give a newborn is love and attention. All they really, truIy need in those first weeks is to be held and fed whether that’s breastfeeding or formula. The only absolutely essential purchases were diapers, wipes and pjs (for Baby T and for myself). 

Second, I saw all over Pinterest and Instagram the fanciest most expensive strollers and baby cushions you can buy and of course it would’ve been nice to have an unlimited budget and get those things. But the stroller we chose (and were gifted, thank you to my in-laws if you’re reading this) that was half the price works just as well and the $20 cushion we bought off of Amazon, which I can’t seem to find again to link, was only used a handful of times and worked great. 

Third, we were fortunate enough that we were gifted a lot of clothing. As tempting as it was to just go crazy and buy more, I found that having just the right amount was perfect. Baby T spent most of her time in pjs anyway. I didn’t have to buy any clothing for her until about three months and even then it was a couple of pairs of pants. It meant doing laundry a little bit more often, but hey, at that beginning I wasn’t doing the laundry anyway so it worked out great!

Finally, we also got some things handed down to us or lent to us including a swing, a bouncer chair and a mini travel bassinet. Not everything we had for Baby T was brand new or in perfect condition but it all worked great and did the job. She grew out of things so quickly too it really wasn’t worth it to buy certain things brand new. 

We had all the basic essentials that we needed for bring her home, but we also figured out along the way some things that we were going to need and some things we needed more of (diaper change pad liners; I will link them here and you can thank me later). In the first three weeks after bringing Baby T home, I think we had Amazon delivering things to our door once or twice a day. Amazon had the best price for everything we realized we needed afterwards.

The fact is, Baby T was, well, a baby, which meant she spat up all over things, pooped through things onto other things. She also really didn’t care what she was being pushed around in or chilling in, or wearing as long as it was safe and comfortable. As worried as I was about having everything ready and perfect for her when she came home, we got by just fine with our essentials and figured everything else out along the way. 

#Adulting

I remember being a teenager (or younger) and seeing people who were my age now (around thirty) and thinking they were so cool and must have their lives all together. I couldn’t wait to be that age. Now that I am that age, it makes me laugh because I definitely am not ‘so cool’ and don’t have my life all together. I think the people who have it all together are the happy older couples you see casually walking down the street enjoying their retirement. That kind of work free, empty-nester, get to spoil the grandkids then give them back and go on nice long trips with no responsibilities life is the kind of life I think we’re all working towards. . 

With that being said, there are a few things I have start doing recently that have made me feel extra adult-y, if that’s even a word. A lot of them have to do with sleep which is something I feel like a lot of adults struggle with. I went through a stretch of time where I was waking up four or five times a night and not even from Baby T! I thought maybe this was my life now, just never sleeping but somehow still getting up in the morning and functioning like a normal person, which is actually what most moms do every single day. But I started doing a few things different, I’m not sure if one of them fixed the problem or a combination of all three but my sleep has improved so much! 

The first thing I did was invest in a new pillow. I consider myself a fairly frugal person, I like to look for good deals when I’m shopping but there are certain things I feel like are a good thing to spend money on and I have officially added a pillow to that list. I would always buy a cheap $20 pillow and not think too much about it, a pillow is just a pillow after all. But I started waking up every morning with a really bad neck ache, you know, like an adult. I finally decided to invest in a good pillow from Amazon that had good support for side and back sleepers. I am not even lying when I tell you this, the very next morning my morning neck ache was gone. Even still, this pillow is amazing. I will link it for you here incase you’re interested, I am not sponsored by the pillow company although if they want to send me more free pillows for recommending them I wouldn’t complain. 

Another thing I purchased that I did actually look for a good deal on was a pair of silk sleeping masks. I just bought them from Amazon, I think they were about $10 for a pair, but I just wanted to try them out to see if they would work. Since I’ve had them I’ve used them every single night. I didn’t realize how bright our bedroom still was during the night and early morning. There’s a little blue light on the tv when it’s turned off, the green light from the baby monitor (that turns red when she’s crying, so red means bad) and we only had blinds on our windows so even the earliest morning light was coming in. Having the sleeping mask obviously blocks this all out and I think it forces me to keep my eyes closed so I’m not just looking around the room when I’m trying to go back to sleep. We have also, since then, put up some curtains in our room which has helped my husband to sleep better as well. 

The last sleep related thing I’ve done is start using an oil diffuser every night. I’m not a huge believer in everything everyone says about essential oils but I do think certain ones can help in certain situations. I put two drops of lavender oil and three drops of eucalyptus and it does help me to wind down for the night. If the room is filled with those smells it’s like I know it’s time for bed now. I got my diffuser and oils both for free from my mom because she bought some new ones and was kind enough to share her old one and I’ve been using them pretty much every night since then. 

My last adult-y thing I started doing is probably something I should have started a long time ago. I have started to make sure that I moisturize my face, legs and arms a lot more than I used to. A few years ago I started breaking out with a really bad angry red rash on my eyelids and neck. I went to the dermatologist and doctor and we could never find out exactly what it was so I kind of experimented with a few things to figure it out. I though maybe it was the moisturizer I was using on my face so I switched that out and I had also read that it could be cause from extreme dry skin. So not only did I buy a new face moisturizer, I also bought a nighttime one with different ingredients and I religiously use them both everyday. I’m happy to tell you that my face has not broken out since I started doing that and usually the dry winter was when it would happen the worst, and I’ve still been in the clear. I also found my legs would be so dry but I was usually too lazy or rushed to worry about putting moisturizer on them. The only time I would think of it was before bed but if you’ve ever put the wrong kind of moisturizer on your legs and then climbed into bed you know sometimes it just feels weird. I bought an inexpensive bottle of good moisturizer that was quick drying that I just throw on my arms and legs after I shower so I don’t even have to think about it for the rest of the day, and my skin has thanked me for it. 

In conclusion, I may not have it all together like thirteen year old me thought, but I think I’m starting to get the hang of the adulting thing especially since I’m quite proud of these new discoveries in my life. Like I said with the changes I made to my sleep routines, I can’t say whether it was one specific thing that really made the difference or a combination of all three. Either way, I still obsess over my new pillow. I think when I start raving about my new vacuum to all my friends I’ll really hit full adult status. 

Picky Eating Runs in the Family

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If you were to ask my parents if I was a picky eater growing up they would laugh and say I was the pickiest eater in the world. While that’s no longer true (I have learned to explore lots of new delicious foods), I have learned that picky eating most definitely runs in the family. Baby T started eating solids at about 6 months. She was pretty open at first to trying different things but she quickly discovered what she liked and didn’t like. Once that started, she was even more hesitant to even start trying new things. She ate a lot of sweet potato and avocado and not much else. 

After a couple of months of this I start to get stressed and frustrated about her not eating anything new, I would try so many different recipes and purée pretty much anything in sight until my husband finally convinced me that buying store-bought baby food was not the end of the world. I gave in and found that there are a lot of good varieties so at least then she started eating some different foods disguised with the foods she liked. 

Fast forward a few more months to where she’s starting to eat proper meals and I am telling you this girl is stubborn. She could be so hungry and still would not even look at a piece of meat (don’t worry we don’t make her go hungry I’m just saying, this is how much she detests what we try to give her). Her favourite meals, of which there are three at the moment, are a cheese quesadilla, a peanut butter sandwich and yogurt mixed with defrosted frozen blueberries. I’ve found little secret ways of making these at least a bit more nutritious like sneaking little pieces of meat into the quesadilla or using high fat and high protein greek yogurt for the yogurt and berries. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, there’s a fourth meal she likes that’s extra nutritious and easy to make; chickpea pasta. It’s full of protein and she eats it right up… half of the time. 

She does at least love snacks, so like I said she’s not going hungry. She’s a fan of pretty much any fruit she can get her hands on and cucumbers, crackers and humus. Funnily enough she also doesn’t mind tuna which to me seems like such a weird thing for her to like considering chicken breast disgusts her. But when the time is right, for her, she will eat tuna with a little bit of lemon and pepper sprinkled on or when it’s in my sandwich and she just wants to eat what I’m eating. Also pizza, but again, mostly when it’s mine.

In the span of a few paragraphs I have honestly listed all the foods Baby T is willing to eat. I know that my picky eating lasted about 20 years of my life so I can’t say I don’t understand where she’s coming from. Still, we have started to put some of what we’re eating on her plate first with some sort of snack that she likes to give her the chance to try something new, then if she doesn’t at least we gave it our best shot. If you have a picky eater and have found ways to sneak things like meat and veggies into their diet please tell me all your secrets! 

Spilling the Tea on Mom Feelings…

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When we planned on having a baby, I had this vision in my head of what it would look like. I knew there would be a major lack of sleep and days where the baby would just cry and cry, I thought I had an idea of how hard it could be while also knowing it would make my life so much better and brighter. 

The latter half has always been true. Baby T brightens my world every day when she smiles her big toothy grin at me, the endless snuggles at the beginning when she was a newborn were all I ever wanted and she has turned into such an affectionate cuddly girl even as she’s gotten older. 

There are times though where I feel like being a good mom doesn’t necessarily come naturally. I find myself thinking that maybe I wasn’t meant to be a mom, or maybe feeling like I shouldn’t have ever had kids because I feel like I am not as happy as I imagine other moms are. It’s not that I want to feel that way, it nearly brings me to tears every time and makes me feel guilty. 

I don’t know if I can even blame it on social media, I would say I follow moms who are pretty open about the ups and the downs. I think I just assumed I would always be happy as a mom even through the hard times but that’s just not the case. It doesn’t mean I don’t love Baby T or that I regret having her, I can’t even imagine a life without her now. 

I guess it’s just a realization that being a mom is actually even harder than I thought it would be. It’s not impossible to feel lonely even though you’re barely ever alone. The spontaneous and easy going life you led before is over, now you have to actually plan ahead and make sure you pack enough supplies for whatever you’re doing. Time ‘alone’, like going to the gym or to the spa, needs to be carefully planned and timed with babysitters and nap schedules. 

Even when you do have that time, you spent all of it worrying and thinking about them. It’s commonly said that having kids is like having your heart walk around outside your body open to the world that you just want to keep safe from everything. 

These are all things I have been feeling for a while and just couldn’t put into words. Usually it’s after I feel like it wasn’t a good enough or fun enough day for either of us. But every morning we wake up, she gives me the same big toothy grin and says ‘hi’ in the sweetest little voice as I walk in the room. Regardless of how I feel like I’m failing, she doesn’t seem to notice. She hugs me just as tight on the good days as the bad, and gives just as many kisses. 

Even though it’s hard to shake these feelings, she proves to me everyday that she loves me no matter what and makes me feel like there’s no one else in the world who could do a better job of being her mom. I guess I just need to keep letting her remind me of that and learn to accept it as the truth for myself.

Making the Most of My Time With My One Year Old

People always say to cherish each moment with your kids because they grow up so fast but some days that’s a little harder to do than others. I have mentioned before it can get a little boring day in and day out with Baby T, that goes for both of us. If she’s playing quietly I’ll sometimes look at my phone and start on a scrolling spree on Instagram or Pinterest, not that I’m saying that’s a terrible thing, but I have found the more often that I try to be engaged with her the faster and happier the day is. 

Some days, I just leave my phone on a shelf somewhere out of reach for both Baby T and leave the ringer on so that if someone does try to contact me I hear it, but that way I don’t just have my phone in my hand for me to scroll through aimlessly. 

Another thing I have found is that we both get frustrated if I try to plan a fun activity for us to try and she doesn’t like it and it doesn’t go as planned. So even though sometimes we do try some different activities like baking, colouring or playing with play-doh, we don’t make as big a thing about it. It’s usually not planned the night before and built up to be this big fun thing, it just happens. It puts less pressure on me to plan a day of activities, and less pressure on her to love what we do. Our days flow more organically that way which is kind of how we roll. 

I will say that Baby T’s Nanny who babysits a couple of days a week does play a day full of activities and she loves it. She’s a baby with many sides to her so it’s really cool to see how she interacts differently with different people and have a special relationship with each one. 

Finally, when Baby T was born we tried really hard not to let her watch any screens. We didn’t want her to be attached to them and also believed that it was too much stimulation for her little brain. We planned on not letting her watch shows until she was one a half years old; that lasted about ten months. Now, Baby T and I will sometimes just sit on the couch cuddling watching Frozen 2 or Lady and The Tramp and I don’t feel bad about it. When she’s done watching she’ll happily get up and go play again but sometimes we just need that quiet time together to just relax. 

It is hard to cherish each moment when every day at home feels the same, especially during a pandemic, but these are some ways I have found to make the most of the time I get to spend with Baby T. 

Blog Challenge: A Book I Loved

I skipped a few on the Blog Challenge and jumped right to this one. I’ve been a bit of a serial reader lately and have been through a lot of books, but most recently I read The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. 

It’s a story of a family in the 70s who pack up and move to Alaska with no money and no outdoors skills. The father it a Vietnam War Veteran and Prisoner of War who has PTSD and because it’s in the 60s there’s not any awareness of the mental affects those things can have on a person. He takes his anger out on his wife and when they move to Alaska they realize that there is more danger in their cabin during the winter months than there is outside. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, my husband bought it for me for our anniversary because he thought the fact that they were moving to the last frontier sounded pretty cool and he had seen it was on a lot of the top book lists. It’s probably one of the longest books I’ve read in a long time so between working and taking care of Baby T it took me some time to finish it. 

Even though it was long, it kept me intrigued the whole time. It made my jaw drop, it made me laugh and it made me cry my eyes out multiple times which is something a book hasn’t made me do in a long time (despite reading a lot of good books lately).  

My husband kept looking at me saying, “I’m sorry I bought you such a sad book”, but I told him that means it’s a good book when it makes you feel something. I also added that as long as it has a happy ending everything will be okay. 

I won’t spoil it for you whether it does have a happy ending or not, but I would definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a roller coaster read that gives you all the feels. 

The Perfect Getaway

We just recently got back from a week away, the perfect week away I would say. We booked our favourite cottage in Calabogie, Ontario back in November before there were any talks of a second lockdown. We planned to go with two of our closest couple friends, one of whom has a baby boy who is only a week and five days older than Baby T. 

As the date got closer for us to leave, it was very touch and go whether we would be able to still go on the trip. With the lockdown, there were no short term rentals allowed and also you weren’t allowed to see anyone outside of your household. Thankfully, the week before we were leaving, the region that the cottage is in was put into green zone (meaning short term rentals were allowed again, and gatherings of up to ten people) and our region was put into orange zone (which also allows gatherings of up to ten people) so we were good to go! 

The cottage is on Black Donald Lake which is just over a five hour drive away for us. I was very nervous about how Baby T would do on the drive but she was amazing! She didn’t sleep as long as I was hoping but she was perfectly content to sit in her carseat and watch Frozen 2 and Cocomelon the whole way there.

The cottage itself is amazing. We’ve been there a number of times now and walking in the front door felt like walking into our second home. There are so many memories from there before having kids and we were so excited to make new memories with the kids this time around. 

After being away from people for so long it did take Baby T some time to adjust to a full house and having another baby around, but eventually she was fine venturing off on her own and giving her little friend some bigs hugs and kisses (we gotta watch out for this girl in the future). 

Most days included a walk outside and some tobogganing, day drinking for the adults only of course, and snow man building. I’ll share a picture of the fire the other two girls built in the snow that made for the perfect afternoon outside with some warmth and whiskey sipping looking out over the frozen lake.

The babies were on the exact same schedule so nap time allowed for some Mario 3D World playing, board games or even time for us adults to catch up on our sleep and rest. After bedtime, if we had energy left after a full day with the kids, we would play ping pong in the basement just like old times. 

All in all it was a beautiful relaxing week with friends that was much needed after the long couple of months we’ve all had. It was nice to spend all day everyday with no masks on, no one else around us and barely even thinking about Covid; a little piece of normalcy that will get us through the next few months again. 

Closing Out Lockdown Number 2

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We have just come to the end of our second lockdown; our region has been moved into “Orange” phase which means we can see up to ten people indoors and stores and restaurants are allowed to reopen. 

It’s very exciting because as much as I had high hopes of staying positive for this lockdown, it was harder to do that this time around. The first lockdown we played card games or something in the evening, this time we spent most of our evenings binge watching tv shows (like the ones in my last post) and I have to admit I played more Nintendo Switch video games than I would like to admit. We just tried to do whatever we could to pass the time. 

Now, moving forward we will get to see some of our close friends and family again. I worry a lot about how all this will have an affect on Baby T psychologically, the fact the she can’t socialize with other kids the same way or go to group activities, so I’m happy she’ll at least get to see some people again.There’s no way to really tell right now, we just do the best we can with what we have and hope it’ll get better soon. Comment below if you’re a mom also stressing about this everyday. 

I also wanted to mention that there will be no posts next week, I am taking a week off of work and including a week off of posting in that. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some fun new content written to share with you when I get back! I’ve got some good ones in the works, or at least I think they’re good ones. You’ll have to tell me! 

Enjoy your day wherever you are and I’ll see you all back here on March 2nd! 

Lockdown Binge-Worthy TV Shows

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One habit I think a lot of us picked during lockdown is watching more TV and there are some specific shows that I found were binge-worthy in the evenings after Baby T goes to bed. 

First is The Mandalorian on Disney+, I know there’s a lot of controversy right now over Gina Carano being fired by the network (it’s trending right now) and I have to say her character was one of my favourites, but I’ve been a huge Star Wars fan my whole life. It’s one of the things my brother and I still bond over. None of my friends are into it at all, but that doesn’t bother me too much. The first season of The Mandalorian was slow, but the second season was so much better. It was fast-paced and exciting, and without giving away any spoilers (I somehow managed to avoid all spoilers even though I waited until all the episodes were out before watching), the ending would make any true Star Wars fan wipe a little tear from their eye. 

Second is along the same sci-fi lines; Star Trek Discovery. In Canada, I watched this on CTV sci-fi and I am fully caught up to the end of season three. Again, Star Trek is a huge part of my childhood, even though I didn’t like it at the time my brother would make us watch it every day after school. Now I think back on those days with fond memories and a love for Star Trek that is probably more nostalgia than anything else. Discovery is one of the newest series of the Star Trek genre and it of course has amazing graphics and intricate storylines that keep you on the edge of your seat. It definitely makes the basis of my love for Star Trek more deep seated than fond childhood memories. 

Third would have to be Superstore on Netflix. My husband discovered this one and we’ve been watching it every night to wind down before bed. We’re huge fans of The Office and Parks and Recreation which are very similar. It’s created by Justin Spitzer who was also a producer and writer on The Office so it has very similar humour in it and even some of the characters remind you of The Office characters. Definitely worth the watch if you need a good laugh!

My final pick would be WandaVision on Disney+. Not every episode is out yet so you can’t binge it all, but if you haven’t watched it yet I would definitely binge the first six episodes that are out. I’m a fan of the Marvel series and I wouldn’t say Wanda was one of my favourite characters but boy this series surprised me! It really doesn’t make sense for the first couple of episode but then slowly and surely it all comes together and now I can’t wait for each new episode! 

We all have a lot more free time on our hands even as parents, you might as well fill that time watching some really great new shows! 

My Favourite Influencers

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Social media has the ability to either make or break our days but we always have the choice of what we look at on Instagram, YouTube or Blogs that we’re following. I have always tried to make sure that the people I follow on these platforms have a positive impact on my mindset and I regularly go through and remove people who’s content isn’t doing that anymore. Sometimes that means taking a break from it as a whole which can be really refreshing, but whenever I come back there are some that I always enjoy following even years down the road. I’ll list a few of them and include their names in the platforms they have as well as why they’re my favourites. 

Lydia Elise Millen

Lydia is a blogger, YouTuber and Instagrammer in the UK. I’ve been following her for a few years now and even though we have nothing in common I find her content very enjoyable to watch. She’s very posh and buys brands that I could never afford but she still seems very down to earth. 

Her and her husband live in the countryside with their Bengal Cat and new Dachshund pup and their house (at least on YouTube) looks gorgeous and her decor style is right up my alley. Again, a lot of what she buys is not in my budget, but I’ve been able to get some more affordable options that are inspired by her choices. A little shout out to her husband Ali Gordon as well who does amazing creative content with Reels, definitely worth a follow as well! She also has a blog which I haven’t gotten to read a lot, but the posts that I have read are very well written. She’s a very positive and lighthearted person and that’s why I continue to enjoy her social media.

Instagram – @lydiamillen 

YouTube – @Lydia Elise Millen 

Blog – lydiaelisemillen.com

Victoria Magrath (In The Frow)

Victoria is very similar to Lydia Millen but more fashion focused. She is also in the UK and has the cutest little dachshund named Boe. Her style is very vibrant and colourful which is not really my style and again very out of my price range, but she pulls it off beautifully. She’s a very positive upbeat person and very creative with her content. Her Reels on Instagram is what caught my interest the most, I know Reels are fairly new but she has already mastered the art of them.

She has a big educational background in fashion marketing and it really shines through in her content and her name is actually very clever (I didn’t know what it meant until one of her recent Q&As on her Insta Stories). Frow is apparently a fashion world term for front row (at a fashion show), so In The Frow is definitely suitable for her social media platforms. Her blogs are also very enjoyable to read, she’s got a very conversational way of writing that I hope to master one day. 

Instagram – @inthefrow

YouTube – @Inthefrow

Blog – inthefrow.com

Shawn Johnson 

Most of the world knows Shawn Johnson as the USA Olympic Athlete, and now she’s a mom to a beautiful baby girl with baby number two on the way. I started following her when I was pregnant with Baby T and she was pregnant with her baby Drew. She gave birth a few months before me and the YouTube videos that her and her husband put out were so helpful with so many things. 

I think the nice thing about following her is that we’re about the same age and we’re in the same stage as life so the information and tips that she shares are very relatable and helpful. She’s not afraid to show you the good, the bad and the ugly and I think we all need someone like that on our feeds. She also just beat Covid-19 while being pregnant which is pretty bad ass. 

Instagram – @shawnjohnson

YouTube – @The East Family

Heidi Somers (Buffbunny)

I’ve been following Heidi since back in my gym crazy days. My husband and I used to go 4 nights a week together to the gym and I would spend a lot of my free time looking up new workouts to try and learning from people like Heidi who have been doing it a lot longer than I had (this was before Baby T). Not only does she write great workout programs (some of which are free), she also started a clothing brand in her house which has now grown to a thriving business called Buffbunny Collection. They make, hands down, the best leggings I’ve ever purchased. 

Not only is she a killer Boss Lady, she also seems very sweet and positive in all of her content. She’s always smiling and joking around which makes her YouTube channel very easy to watch. She’s also from Alaska originally so when she goes to visit her family the footage on her videos is breathtaking! I wouldn’t say I have a lot in common with her anymore since I don’t go to the gym as much but she’s still one of my favourites to follow and her latest free workout program is a goodie!

Instagram – @buffbunny/@buffbunnycollection

YouTube – @Heidi Somers 

Website – buffbunny.com

6 Things Every Mom Needs to Hear

Since becoming a mom, I have realized that it is a lot more of a roller coaster than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I knew that it wasn’t going to be perfect sunshine and butterflies all the time, but the lows can be lower than I thought they could go. At times I feel like this is just a me thing, or because of the Postpartum OCD but I really don’t think it is, it’s just more of an unspoken thing because it’s hard as a mom to admit that you’re struggling. There’s so much pressure to be a fun, happy mom and to make everything look easy and the pressure is was makes you feel even worse when you feel like you’re failing to hit the targets. 

On the low days, there’s a list of things that goes through my head of what I would tell a friend who was feeling the same way, things that I feel like I need to reaffirm in myself or be reassured of by someone else. They’re thoughts and feelings that I have that I feel guilty of having, but really shouldn’t because they don’t mean I’m a bad mom or that I don’t love my baby. So for anyone who needs it, here’s a few things every mom needs to hear: 

  1. It’s okay that you need a break. It’s okay that you feel like you want to pack a weekend bag and go sit in a hotel room by yourself for two days and turn your phone off, binge watch movies or play video games all weekend so you can reset. Even if you don’t get to actually do this, it’s okay that it’s what you dream of doing. That doesn’t make you a bad mom. 
  2. It’s okay to have a cry on a bad day even if it’s in front of your baby. It’s not going to mess them up, it doesn’t mean you’re a helpless mother. As long as you’re both in a safe space and you can take a minute to have a cry while still smiling and loving your baby, it’s totally okay. That doesn’t make you a bad mom. 
  3. It’s okay that you still have passions and hobbies that you want to do, and that you get annoyed if your baby doesn’t nap or doesn’t nap long enough for you to have time to do these things. We all need time to unwind, as mothers sometimes we don’t get that time when we need it most, and it’s okay to be a little annoyed about it. Just set it aside, take a deep breath and save it for later. 
  4. It’s okay that you double guess everything you’re doing with your baby and think maybe they’re not having as much fun with you, or that they’ll never eat anything you make them because they’re a pickier eater than you are. They’ll eat if they’re hungry, just keep offering them things. It’s okay if all they want for dinner is snacks and a fruit pack. And you’re their mother which automatically defaults you as their favourite person in the whole world.
  5. It’s okay that the thought of having another baby makes you want to hide and cry because you feel like as much as you love your first baby you’re just not cut out to be a mom and that some days you really wish you didn’t have the responsibility of even one, let alone two, babies because it can drain you so much sometimes. And that the thought of being pregnant again feels more like a chore than a beautiful miracle. This doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby (or that you won’t love additional babies should you choose to have them) and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom. 
  6. It’s okay that you worry all the time about your baby, not just with their health but also about how they’ll be when they’re older. It’s okay that you see the little spark of defiance and stubbornness in a one year old and all you can see is a rebellious, angsty teenager who fights with you on everything. Or that you see the things other babies their age are doing and worry because they’re not doing that yet. Every baby is different. 

These are six of the things I try to convince myself are true on a bad day. If you’re also having a bad day and reading this, take it to heart, you’re not alone in your struggle through motherhood. 

Travel Series: Myrtle Beach

My parents started going to Myrtle Beach when I was in high school. I went with them for two or three years and then after I got married I didn’t go with them for about five years. Once we could afford to take a couple of trips a year we decided to go with them every other year and in the time that I missed it felt like it hadn’t changed at all. It is still one of my favourite places to go back to over and over again. 

With that said, I’m a creature of habit, so for me going to the same places, eating at the same restaurants and sitting at the same spot on the beach year after year is a dream come true (I get it from my Dad). 

We always stay at the Anderson Ocean Club with my parents when we go, it’s right on the ocean and close to the best shopping and restaurants. There’s not a lot of nightlife but the beach is where we spend most of our days and the mixture of sun and fresh air usually makes me ready for bed at 9:00 pm anyway. 

It’s probably the most relaxing and unwinding vacation you can take. The people we go with, including my parents, are very laid back and easy going. Everyone makes their way to the beach on their own time schedule (the husbands golf most mornings and make their way down in the afternoons) and if everyone feels like eating at the same place they go together, if they don’t, they go separately and no one is worried. When I think of Myrtle Beach I think of sitting on a beach chair, music playing, staring out at the ocean and thinking of absolutely nothing at all. 

A big part of our trip is the restaurants, and to me, it’s some of the best food I’ve ever had. My husband and I have found a couple of low-key places that we love, like the burgers at River City Cafe and the giant margaritas and burritos at Banditos Cantina, both within walking distance of our hotel. We always visit Carrabbas, Gordon Biersch and Greg Norman’s (I know a couple of those are chain restaurants but they’re not ones that we have in Canada so to us they’re a Myrtle Beach specialty). One year, one of the couples that go every year took us to Margaritas Mexican Restaurant which looks like an 80’s diner from the outside but we were assured it was home to some really good authentic Mexican food. It was amazing Mexican food and amazing gold tequila and true to its name amazing margaritas. 

It might not seem like the most special or exciting place in the world, but everything seems to slow down when we’re there and isn’t a break like that something we all need sometimes? To me it’s good beaches, good food and drinks, amazing people and one of my favourite places. 

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Blog Challenge: A Book I Loved

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We’re back! I had a lovely little break which I will talk about more in Thursday’s post, but for now here’s another Blog Challenge Post!

I skipped a few on the Blog Challenge and jumped right to this one. I’ve been a bit of a serial reader lately and have been through a lot of books, but most recently I read The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. 

It’s a story of a family in the 70s who pack up and move to Alaska with no money and no outdoors skills. The father it a Vietnam War Veteran and Prisoner of War who has PTSD and because it’s in the 60s there’s not any awareness of the mental affects those things can have on a person. He takes his anger out on his wife and when they move to Alaska they realize that there is more danger in their cabin during the winter months than there is outside. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, my husband bought it for me for our anniversary because he thought the fact that they were moving to the last frontier sounded pretty cool and he had seen it was on a lot of the top book lists. It’s probably one of the longest books I’ve read in a long time so between working and taking care of Baby T it took me some time to finish it. 

Even though it was long, it kept me intrigued the whole time. It made my jaw drop, it made me laugh and it made me cry my eyes out multiple times which is something a book hasn’t made me do in a long time (despite reading a lot of good books lately).  

My husband kept looking at me saying, “I’m sorry I bought you such a sad book”, but I told him that means it’s a good book when it makes you feel something. I also added that as long as it has a happy ending everything will be okay. 

I won’t spoil it for you whether it does have a happy ending or not, but I would definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a roller coaster read that gives you all the feels.