By Victoria Smith
Stress is on the rise, particularly with women. But, I don’t need to tell you that, do I? Intuitively, we feel overwhelmed. From acting as a perpetual chauffeur to coordinating play dates, or from healthy meal planning to juggling sick days and attempting to work from home, motherhood is stressful. Here’s the deal, though, it can be less stressful when you have the right tools, strategies and mindset in place.
Before we get into five strategies that you can implement immediately, we need to start with mindset. If you think your day is going to be stressful, it will, because that’s how you’ve primed your brain. You’ve given it the signal to find evidence of stress wherever you look. To counter this, what I want you to do is start every day by setting an intention. Believe me, I know that if you wake with the kids, it can be hard to find a moment for that, so a fall back can be to write out your intention and set it next to your alarm clock. What should that intention be? I put it back to you – how would you like your day to go? For example, my daily intention is to show up as an engaged parent, wife and friend, and a Rockstar entrepreneur. Yours could be to a search for gratitude. Or to be mindful. The intention is personal to your needs and desires, but set one and start each day reminding yourself of it. Only then will the following strategies take real effect.
1. Stop comparing yourself to other moms
It is so easy to get into a shame-spiral of how you are performing as a mother when your friends or Insta-community are throwing Pinterest-perfect parties for a two year-old. Or maybe you pick
up your child from daycare only to find out that they’ve bitten another child – of course it would be the most well-behaved child of the seemingly put together momma. We are all on our own motherhood journeys. We all have our own past, our own challenges, and our own beliefs to grapple with. Just because you do things differently doesn’t mean you’re doing them worse. First step if you find yourself in this comparison black hole? Take a social media break. If the comparison is coming from in-person interactions, before each encounter remind yourself that you are doing the best with what you have, and your kids are well-loved. Because at the end of the day, your child won’t care about the perfect party or baked goods or that they were potty trained a year before all the other kids. They’ll remember time spent one-on-one with you, the cuddles and bedtime stories. Presence and love matter most.
One of the things that I struggle with on a daily/weekly/monthly basis is how much evidence of my kid’s childhood really needs to be saved? You only get one shot to collect memorabilia to immortalize your child’s early years… and the pressure is on. I don’t want to screw it up, but…will I still care about their very first scribble when I am 60? If I do, how many pieces of scribble paper do I keep? What about their first onesie, or their first soccer jersey? And what about the first time they wrote their name in all capitals? Or the first time they wrote their name with just the initial capital? Or the first time they wrote their name using cursive? It is a very slippery road I tread here, and I don’t wish to be a future guest on Hoarders. Does anyone else deal with this insane mental battle each time it comes to children’s items?
It feels like a nearly daily debate over whether to chuck or save the latest sub-par colouring page or sneaky little activity that has found its way home in the school envelope (Teachers- I am on to you! You don’t have the heart to throw these things out so you send them ALL home for me to deal with). As soon as I try figuring out whether it deserves saving or not, I begin to think thoughts like; it is definitely not their best work but they wrote “To Mom” in the cutest printing. Or, they made if for me. How much longer will they be making me art? However, they also gave me a rather wrinkled copy of Rubble’s head yesterday… Maybe they won’t notice if I recycle this one? But what if my child’s love language is gifting, and I am just throwing away her love…
If your kids are like mine and just want to be free outside all day then the brand new KIDZSTOCK Children’s Festival at Putting Horse Ranch is for you!
Putting Horse Ranch is hosting their first annual KIDZSTOCK Children’s Festival on June 1st and 2nd.
Families can start the day with a free pancake breakfast, then lay out a blanket on the grass and take in a full day of family friendly entertainment at the KIDZSTOCK stage!
Each month, we play 10 questions with one of the Alberta’s most interesting mamas. This month we hear from Dr. Stephanie Liu who completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary and subsequently completed a Masters of Science in Clinical Nutrition at Columbia University in New York City. Her medical school and residency in Family Medicine were completed at the University of Alberta. Currently, she practices community family medicine and acute care at the University of Alberta Hospital.
Five months ago, she started Lifeofdrmom.com, a website providing families with medically credible parenting and health advice. Dr. Liu is wife to Graeme, an ENT surgeon and mommy to Madi, her sweet and spunky toddler.
1. What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job at the University of Alberta Hospital?
I practice inpatient family medicine at the University of Alberta Hospital and have a community family medicine practice in south west Edmonton. I love both inpatient and community medicine and find them both very rewarding for different reasons. In my community family practice, I am fortunate to develop a long term relationship with my patients over months and years. The physician-patient relationship is so important to ensure that patients can meet their long term health related goals. In inpatient family medicine, it is extremely rewarding to help a patient return home to their friends and family after a critical illness. In both settings, I work with an amazing interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals
Is traveling with a baby hard?
If you’re a new parent, thinking about traveling with a newborn or infant is probably the furthest thing from your mind. Many new parents assume their days of travel will be put on hold when the baby arrives. Obviously, there are many reasons for this, with the major ones being the amount of care and attention a baby needs! Any parent can attest that the sleepless nights, endless diapers and mammoth amount of gear that a baby requires are enough to make taking a holiday to seem like an unattainable dream.
Of course, there are many other reasons why new parents will put travel on hold, and not everyone is in the position to take their baby and fly off to an exotic destination! But for those of you who believe that taking a baby on a trip is too hard, there is hope!
If you are thinking about going on a vacation with your baby, you are likely wondering what the easiest age to travel is. After all, babies change so quickly! Every day, week and month bring many developmental milestones, so to pinpoint the perfect time to travel can make your trip much more relaxed!
So, what is the best age to travel with an infant?
This is not an easy post for me to write, but in light of recent events, I feel compelled to share a part of my story and some of my coping mechanisms…. So here goes. I’ve been described by some people, as a person who has a lot on her plate. They’re not wrong, it is a lot to juggle.Taking care of two young boys, caring for a mother who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and early onset dementia,managing the household and having 2 bigger dogs to contend with, holding down a job ( or sometimes 2 jobs) and having a husband that works in and out of town does have me mentally and physically exhausted at times. My emotions get the best of me.
Some might not put the disgusting childhood illness known as hand foot and mouth disease and mini vacation in the same sentence, but here I am. We live somewhere in between being minimalist and slow living, yet a busy season of life really picked up this past year and I feel like from the beginning of school to now has gone by in a flash. We are busier than we have been over the past year and trying to take things slow has gotten so much harder, not just with the extra activities, but feeling the outside “do it all” pressure from the outside world creeping in as well.
I do often get caught up in the mundaneness of the stay at home mom life. The kids play with the same toys each day, the schedule doesn’t vary too much except for adding random outings here and there in between appointments and preschool, and I find myself checking my Facebook News feed to have nothing change every hour (or 5 times an hour) which is more often than I’d like.
I LOVE the library.
Give me a room full of thrillers, adventures, self-betterment, romance – you can go anywhere in a library! A while back I found out there is a lot more to my little library card than paper books, magazines, movies and cds to take home. I just had to share.
With my FREE EPL card I have access to 9 Libraries across Alberta via the ME Libraries website. Why would that come in handy? Well, for example, I reside in Edmonton BUT have joined the St. Albert library. They have Pre-Loaded Audiobooks – my EPL doesn’t. These come in handy on flights, long drives etc. You just plug in your headphones and voila! Great for kids too. This access can also come in handy if you’re on vacation somewhere in Alberta! You can visit the library, take out a few things and return them before you head home. I’m sure there is a plethora of other ways this comes in handy!
We often hear our kids asking us questions, and the most common is “why”? Because humans are naturally curious.
I come from a culture where most commonly asking your elders “why?” is considered a form of disrespect. The older I got, the more annoying it got. And so i made a solemn vow to find the answers to our traditions and make sure I knew at least a little bit so I could explain it to my kids.
So that’s what we do now; whenever i am asked a question cultural or not i don’t respond with “because, I don’t know, or ask someone else.” I say, “lets figure out the answer together.”
A few weeks ago, my eldest, Pranavi, asked me “how do they make soccer ball?” I had no idea, but we Googled it and found a YouTube video. Did you know that it takes 3 and half hours to hand stitch each football?
We recently shared a blog about Edmonton’s River Valley being the best running spot in Canada.
Now, maybe you don’t run but what about a walk?
I’ve been making a habit of going for a walk with a friend every weekend I can. Alberta is an hiking, walking, running playground. We’ve even got some suggestions for you here.
Here’s why I head outside – with a friend!
- Ummm nature is beautiful.
- Sunshine and fresh air are good for you!
- Exercise! Walking will lower your risk of heart disease and stroke – Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
- I sleep better – probably both the fresh air and the exercise!
- It’s FREE….well, we do usually buy a cup of joe to take with us.
- It is good for my emotional well being. We spend the whole time talking, venting, catching up – it feels like a form of therapy.