Sunday, February 5, 2017

I'm going to miss them "needing" me

Yesterday my 6 & 5 year old played Monopoly Junior by themselves. I sat next to them and read a book while they played. Stopping a couple times to remind 5 that 6 was correct about the rules but otherwise they handled it themselves. 6 read the Chance cards, perfectly. They both counted their money flawlessly.

Jennifer, a local mom, yoga teacher,  & fitness guru over at BitchinHousewife, told a few of us one night that her girl had just read a whole book, without needing her help. It made her sad, and she talked about how she felt like her little girl didn't "need" her anymore. This morning I looked at the picture I took of them playing that game again and her words came rushing to me. This was my realization. This is the beginning of them not needing me. Before I know it, they'll be in their rooms doing homework and I won't see them until supper time. They will come and go, letting me know where of course, but without needing me to take them. They'll be going to sleep overs, out with friends, playing games together and with friends but they won't need me.

Will they ask me to play? Will they ask me for help with their homework? A question about what their reading or tell me stories about their day so I know a little bit of what's going on? There's a point where I'm going to need them more than they need me anymore and the thought scares the pants off me. I'm going to need to know what they're doing, how they're feeling, what's going on in their lives and I can only hope they'll let me in.

Right now they're playing together, nicely, with their toys and it's allowing me the time to put my thoughts down. I'm always grateful for this time when they don't need something from me and the times are happening more and more but I hadn't thought about the other side of this. It's like this little war inside myself - yes, you're doing a good job, they don't need you ALL the time, but Noooooooo, I'm going to miss them needing me. I keep thinking kids always need their parents, in one way or another but I'm glad this stuff doesn't happen over night. We get eased into it more, or less, and I know there will be times in the future they won't want to need me, but I hope that never stops them from knowing I'm always, always here.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Change in Me

Over the summer I noticed something about myself. I was having trouble sleeping, and being consumed with concern about things that I really hadn't previously. I have always been an anxious person. I will always need to check my route to a new place ahead of time, figure out the best route and time it will take - that's just me but this was different.

One example that sticks out is leaving my kids at an afternoon camp. It was in a community league so there was a ledge which during a party would be an open window for the bar, sticking out a bit from the wall. I sat at the door and actually pictured my son, who was bouncing a ball towards it, running into it and hurting himself very badly. Which didn't happen BUT the whole 2 hours I was gone, I couldn't get it out of my head. I kept thinking, I'm going to be half way across the city at a meeting and they are going to call me, but I won't get there fast enough. It's awful. Right now you're thinking, ya she's crazy. I get it, and I started to think maybe I was.

Small things like these, worries that probably wouldn't happen were keeping me up at night, making me cranky all day and keeping me from being the mom I wanted to be. I finally went to the doctor for my regular check up and mentioned how I was feeling. She asked me a few questions, suggested where I could go should I need someone to talk to asap but in the meantime she would put in for me to see an actual psychologist. I left wondering again, if this type of thing happens to other people so I talked to a few moms I know. People I trusted and they had either been through something similar or knew people who had. I felt better but didn't really know where to start while I waited for this apt.

In the meantime I had been offered the opportunity to take part in a media food & fitness challenge. The 21 day challenge from Fresh Fit foods included food, working out at World Health Edmonton and not drinking alcohol or coffee. Of course at the time, it hadn't dawned on me that my pot of coffee a day habit might be contributing to my anxiety, and because I wanted to fully honour the challenge I weaned myself off coffee completely over the 2 weeks prior. Then began eating regular, healthy meals, snacking and working out 3-5 times a week.

I can tell you this. I was looking for weight loss, maybe some toning, but I did not expect my parenting, my emotions to be affected by the challenge. Without the coffee to add to the anxiety, adding on the endorphin producing work-outs and quite frankly, I'm not going to lie, that hour to myself almost every day - it was life changing. I am absolutely certain the eating contributed as well because suddenly I was eating protein at every meal AND boat loads of fruits & veggies. I'm not a doctor, I'm no scientist but I tell you, for me personally - I changed.

After the 3 weeks was up, I finally had that psychologist apt. I went in and pretty much told him I had considered cancelling because I just felt a million times better. We talked about what I was doing and he said that would have been exactly what he would have suggested we try first before medication. He still says I am diagnosed with depression and anxiety, which someday may require medication, but for now he thinks what I am doing is managing it just fine. He said if I'm doing these things and see a decline in how I feel, that's when we need to worry.

I felt better, looked better and was a better mom but I knew I had to keep going. Plus I have been doing my best to keep with the food rules I learned, indulging once in a while, and I have a membership now so I can still try to keep up my work outs too. Do I still have anxiety sometimes? Absolutely! But when it's something completely outside of my control it doesn't consume me - I can breathe and put it aside, refocus myself. Do I sometimes still lose my cool on my kids? Heck ya I do, but not half as often. I still don't drink coffee either. I'll indulge in a hot chocolate or decaf skinny vanilla bean late but I will never drink more than one a day, I'll never get back to a pot a day.

I'm sharing this because maybe somewhere out there there is someone like me who doesn't know where to start to feel better. I didn't think exercise was an answer, or eating right, or even that coffee was a factor in my anxiety. And for some people perhaps none of this will work but it's still nice to know you're not alone.

***note: this post was not endorsed, sponsored or collaborated on with World Health or Fresh Fit Foods and is completely my opinion/expression of my experience. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Jealousy, Envy and Other Useless Feelings.....

I have this thing where I can be very envious of others. Only people who know me really well know this about me and it's one of my greatest faults. I work really hard to keep it in check and have to give myself a bit of a pep talk when confronted with things that make me jealous or feeling threatened. They probably don't seem to be the same thing to most people but to me - one leads to the other.

They say it takes a few weeks for practice to become habit, I believe this to be true because my little pep talks are starting to come quicker, easier and the useless feelings are passing. Who has time to feel those things anyway? It's so much better - for you, selfishly wonderful, - to simply breathe, acknowledge how awesome whatever it is that's happening to be great for them. It's grand, it's great - just like all the grand and great things that we have to be grateful for in our own lives.

It's different for other people. They have different lives and you can learn things from watching others and trying to emulate the good things - trying on things that fit. Much of my recent insight has come from getting to know someone who is the complete polar opposite of me in this respect - one of the most chill people I've ever met and things she says sticks with me. She's one of those people I watch and learn from.

I'm a Scorpio - jealousy, envy and competitiveness is second nature in me. My nature isn't easily conquered and probably never will be completely, but I'm trying. In the same way that a parent who demonstrates dealing with feelings of frustration and anger teaches their child by example I hope my kids see this too. It's so easy to be sucked into that vortex of resentment and negativity but pushing that away is better. It's less toxic, and leaves room for more love, more positivity and more gratefulness. Our energy is better spent trying to set a good example of gratitude, helpfulness and excitement for others. I don't want my daughter or my son to grow up thinking that negativity is the first place to go. I'm a work in progress but keeping that in mind helps me keep trying to be better.



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Playground Review - Grizzly Bear Lodge Playground


Today I had the pleasure of attending the grand opening of the Grizzly Bear Lodge Playground, right behind the Kinsmen with a few friends. My kids are 4 & 2, the youngest being a boy, the elder a girl. I’m one of those paranoid moms who cannot just sit unless my little people are in plain sight, especially on a day like today when the park was hopping. Plus. my little man seems to want to go as far from wherever his sister is playing so that's always fun! :)

After chatting with my friends a bit and getting their take, here are my thoughts. 

Positive
1. The view. This could not be more spectacular. I am a farm girl and all the open space, and tree's surrounding this park really speak to that part of me. You can't beat seeing the street car go across the bridge or the Leg rising up above our beautiful city scape. 











2. There's just so much to do! Huge slides plus 5 different mini area's for playing in different ways, there is just no way for a little person to get bored. Nooks, cranny's, slides, wood chips, sand, picnic tables. It caters to all ages plus, they get hot and go cool off in the spray park that's just a few steps away.




3. The sheer amount of land/room around this park. Today it was super duper busy and we still found the perfect place, in the shade for a nice little picnic. And with that room comes no traffic. No worries about the kids running out on the street and dealing with any cars driving by. BONUS!
Challenges
1. The only challenge I had with this particular park goes back to positive point 2. There is just so much going on! There is a little hill in the middle of everything that I could see being the perfect perch for a mom who wants to keep an eye on the smaller ones but other than that because of the sheer size and how much there is to do, keeping them in eye sight is tough. The good thing though is that they have quite a few benches around each area so as long as your prepared to move around you can still take a few minutes to chill on a seat while they play in each area. I've been to this park before on a day where it isn't as busy and it's definitely easier to manage to keep an eye on them. Honestly, if my kids were just a touch older, this wouldn't even really be a challenge...or maybe if I wasn't such a helicopter mom. :)

Even with the construction on Walterdale hill, having to take Queen Elizabeth Park road, this is one of my favourite parks to take the kids to. Granted, I have not been to them all but my daughter was asking all the way home when we can go back to the "Bear Park" again. Both of them consider Queen Elizabeth Park road a roller coaster and say "Weeeeeee" the whole way down.

A really great day had by all and now they nap. Tuckered out Littles who enjoyed some sunshine and fun with friends. You just can't beat that.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sometimes, I wish I was a mind reader....

Have you ever noticed other parents looking at you and you just wish you knew what they were thinking? Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones who doesn't actually care what other people think and good on ya....I wish. I always tell myself it doesn't matter. I just need to do what's best for my children and that's that. But when I put them in a corner in a grocery store, or use a slightly raised "mom voice" because they are misbehaving at an event or even just remove them completely from a situation kicking and screaming while onlookers flash this or that look, I have to wonder. I do wonder, I can't help myself.

Are they thinking;

"wow, she must be an awful parent - look how bad her kids are?"
"I cannot believe she's embarrassing her children that way by doing a time out in public! Honestly!"
"Man that kid can scream, no respect at all. My children will never act like that"
"Making her kids leave? That's not going to teach them anything"

Judge, judge, blame, accuse.

It's all in my head, and it makes me question my parenting. Am I not consistent enough cause I'm so busy? Do I not pay enough attention to my kids? Why don't I ever see any other children act like mine? What am I doing wrong!!??!!

Bottom line is that I'm doing the best I can. I'm not nice all the time. I lose my patience, raise my voice, and I see them on a daily basis using the same tone I use or getting frustrated. There's no manual on parenting, every kid is different and I read any advice I come across on being a better parent.

Sometimes, I wonder what would happen if I could really read their thoughts. Would it be as bad as I think? Worse? Or is there some commiseration that would take place? The odd time I do see a child misbehaving, if eye contact is made with mom or dad, I try my darnedest to project -  "Been there, you're OK, you can do this".

I really hope it comes across.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Funday Sunday

Today was a great day. I feel a little guilty because normally we take the kids to some sports lessons in the morning on Sunday's but Daddy's been working on the project. Didn't want to take him away and it can't be done solo because one is parented - so what to do with the 4yr old while I'm in with the 2yr old. Next weekend we will go, today we hit the Callingwood Farmers Market. Little man got to ride - he gets in WAY too much trouble as soon as his feet hit the ground.

They had their grand opening a few weekends ago but the weather wasn't great so it was a doover weekend. I knew there would be the regular wonderful vendors plus other fun! The kids hit the bounce house, they each got a sparkle tattoo, balloons from the Balloon Fairies, but their favourite part was the petting zoo. Kids + Animals = FUN!



I do love a fun day Sunday.

:)


Saturday, May 10, 2014

The will is strong in this one...wait these two.

I have friends who have very strong willed girls and one of them had a birthday today so I found this little ditty on the interweb and shared it with her on her FB status. She loved it and it says so much in just a few words.

I'm not a nice mom. I don't use soft words, I use the mom look and sometimes - I'm going to say it - I yell. Raising kids makes you see yourself - like really see yourself. They emulate you and while I know a lot of my daughters strength of will and downright bossiness is what she see's in me, it's not all bad. I'm sure if I look really closely I'll see her being like me in the good ways. I'm trying to yell less. I really am and I've been doing ok but I'm not perfect and I make mistakes.

It's funny because for all her strength of will my son is the independent one. He wants to do everything himself while my daughter, who is older, still lets me pick out her clothes. Her strong will shows in things like sharing, or her single mindedness in finding a toy she hasn't played with in forever, so I have no idea where it might be. Her imagination too - she's always a teacher, or a queen, or a ruler of some kind.

My son, as I mentioned, has to do everything himself and just plain doesn't like listening. If he's not supposed to do it - he will - and I know kids are like that. He actually asks to be put in time out's....we're still trying those - he's only 2 so he'll get it at some point right. Reasoning with a two year old is likened to what I can imagine a scientist trying to explain strong theory to me. Blank looks all around. BUT he puts his shoes on himself, his jacket, he always wants to help or for me to teach him something. Such amazing characteristics in a little person.

A friend once told me that the important part of parenting "spirited" children is to teach them, protect them and nurture them without breaking them. I'm so grateful to her for that advice because her voice literally pops up in my head every day. As an aside, you can check out other pearls of wisdom from April at thismomsgotsomethingtosay.com.

So there lies the balance. Parenting without breaking them, loving them while still teaching them that certain things are wrong, or hurtful or could hurt them. Trying to balance is like trying to find the fountain of youth me thinks. We can only do the best we can - keep on truckin mama's.