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Working Mama

In Christmas, Parenting, Random Thoughts, Working Mama on
December 8, 2019

Teacher and Caregiver Gift Ideas

Narrowing down the perfect gift for your child’s teacher, coach, tutor, or babysitter can seem overwhelming. We polled a group of moms and teachers and found out some of the best gifts you can give this holiday season that won’t break the bank. 

  1. A thoughtful note is at the top of everyone’s list. A personalized thank-you note for your kid’s teacher to show appreciation for their hard work is sure to be well received.
  2. A favorite for many is sweet treats! Cookies by George or homemade holiday treats; either way, they won’t last until the end of the day. 
  3. A box of quality chocolates or biscuits. A great option if you know of your caregiver’s preferences or dietary restrictions. 
  4. If you’d like to steer away from sweets, fancy crackers with artisanal jams are a great option. You can even pair this gift with a beautiful handcrafted cutting board. 
  5. A Christmas tree ornament. You can get crafty and decorate one with your child or pick one up at most retailers. 
  6. Gift cards are a sure-fire hit! For the coffee lover Tim Hortons, Starbucks, or McDonald’s all offer gift certificate ages of varying denominations. If you’re unsure, we love giving (and receiving!) gift certificates from Chapters Indigo.
  7. It might be tempting to give a bottle of wine; however, we recommend giving a gift certificate to the liquor store instead. The recipient can choose their favourite alcoholic beverage.
  8. A personalized gift basket filled with lip balm, hand moisturizer, and hand soaps is useful for nearly everyone.
  9. Classroom staples such as whiteboard markers, fine writing pens, a beautiful notepad, or colourful sticky notes make great teacher gifts.
  10. A pair of mittens or a warm scarf are perfect for the teacher who works outdoor duty during lunch and recess. 
  11. An insulated travel mug is perfect for those early morning commutes. If you know the recipient’s tastes, you could add packets of handmade or store-bought hot chocolate. 
  12. A framed handwritten poem from your child to their caregiver. This could be an excerpt from your child’s favorite book or poem your child makes up. You can add a hand-painted and decorated frame to make this an extra special gift.

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Five Funk Defying Podcasts

I spend a bit of time in my car, like most moms. Specifically my drive to and from work are my longer jaunts and the perfect opportunity for inspiration. On the way to work, I have my favourite morning show – specifically Crash and Mars on 102.3 Now Radio. On the way home though, I chose from one of my downloaded podcasts. Sometimes I listen while I work out or cleaning around the house. I use Podbean but a lot of people have great podcasts available through their iTunes.

I thought I would share a few of the favourites I’ve listened to lately. They’ve made me feel inspired, teary eyed and/or are just generally uplifting. I’m including the links to the specific podcasts on Apple but you can always just search by the name to find the exact one.

1. Oprah SuperSoul Conversations – Lady Gaga  Heal Through Kindness

Honestly, I had no idea what she’s been through and her approach to life is inspiring.

2. Oprah SuperSoul Conversations – When You Know Better You Do Better

Who hasn’t done something they regret? But this really makes you feel like it’s ok to forgive yourself.

3. Oprah SuperSoul Conversation – Dr. Brené Brown: The Anatomy of Trust

I am still making my way through this one, just started it the other day but you can’t go wrong with Brené!

I am making my way through quite a few of the SuperSoul Conversations cause I just love me some Oprah.

4. Russell Brand Under the Skin VULNERABILITY AND POWER (WITH BRENÉ BROWN)

Yes, yes I do love Brene Brown. And Russell is pretty cool too!

5. RISE Podcase with Rachel Hollis – Making a Big Decision! 

Honestly, when you get to the end of this podcast you’re like – how was something so simple not common sense? Decisions can be stressful and this breaks it down!

Previously I shared podcasts that inspire me as a mom!

I’m always looking for new ways to be inspired or get out of a funk. Have you listened to anything good lately?

Chris is one of the only mama’s with a “day job”. Mom of 2, a 7 & 9 year old, she works as an admin for a locally owned bake shop. She loves cider, hanging out with good people and writing about her feelings. She currently resides in our Capital City, however she grew up on a farm north east of the city and never forgets her farm girl roots.

 

Family Values and Work

Up until 2 weeks ago, my work was full time. 730 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday, both kids in Daycare. No flexibility, no leaving early, or even really being able to stay home with the kids if they were sick.

PS – this is not a political opinion post. 

This was a change after having an incredibly flexible, work from home or partial work from home job since my daughter was 1. I started this full time gig just before she turned 9.

I loved my work.

I loved the customers, I loved my co-workers and I loved the daily challenges. I respected and grew to care for the people I worked with. BUT there was certainly “culture shock”.

The kids being in daycare, coming home spouting opinions and “Well, Dayhome Lady says…” 9 hours of my day not seeing them. By the time I got home and made supper, it was pretty much shower and to bed. There was one time my son was a bystander of a fight on the bus, a kids head hit into his mouth knocking one tooth out, and he was bleeding. I wasn’t there at the stop for him. Dayhome was. It broke my heart.

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In Parenting, Random Thoughts, Working Mama on
October 24, 2019

When the “Bully” Tables Turn

My daughter has seen her share of bullies and she’s only in Grade 2. From preschool on there’s always been that one child. She has been the child who runs to the teacher immediately so has been a “bully” target because of it. My initial reaction is Mama Bear but almost always secondary I wonder about the child. We know that kids who bully are sometimes modelling behavior they’ve seen or as the Have You Filled a Bucket book says, they have an empty bucket and don’t understand that hurting others won’t fill theirs.

Honestly, I’ve thrown my Judgy Jessie hat on more times than I care to admit when watching said children’s interaction with their parents. Saying to myself, “Ah, now it makes sense”.  Does it though? Do I know the back ground of what’s going on with that family? No, I don’t and I hate judgment. I feel guilty every time I think back to any time I decided to do that to another human being.

Let me tell you why this has suddenly become so clear to me that it’s the wrong thing to do. Because recently, it was MY daughter that was the bully.

And I am sort of ashamed it came to that. I’m not going to get in to great detail but she made some bad choices, along with some other kids that were making bad choices. The only reason I know is because her little bro ended up being involved.

When she finally opened up and let me know what was going on I was in shock. It was like the first time you realize your parents aren’t perfect. MY DAUGHTER? The “tattle tale”, help everyone who’s in trouble, compassionate, smart, funny little girl had made the CHOICE to treat others badly. Needless to say it was a very long conversation. Followed by further conversations with her AMAZING teacher, and at least one apology letter being written.

In the end, I feel like the whole situation was one of the best things that could have happened to our family. They say kids teach you more than you teach them. Truth. I had to hold in my reactions and think a lot about how to make this a teachable time. I also took this as an opportunity to remind her that I’m here to help her get through mistakes like these. She learned from this, showed remorse and even now, weeks later, we discuss it as a cautionary tale.

Cause kids make mistakes. Our kids make them, other kids make them and we make them too. Our job as adults is to help them through, learn as we go and withhold the judgment against other adults who are maybe just doing the best they can.

I know that’s what I am hoping for the next time either of my kids decide to dabble in bad choices. I’d love to say they’ll never do anything like this again, but if I thought that, then this situation would have taught me nothing.

Edmonton's Child

In Health, Parenting, Random Thoughts, Working Mama on
October 18, 2019

The Pressure To Do

The pressure on a mom is unlike anything I believe. There is the old motivational quotes about diamonds being coal that did well under pressure. They turn out to be these beautiful things because so much pressure has been put on them.

I don’t know about you guys, but I think I would settle for a pretty rock found on the beach instead of a diamond. Worn smooth by the ever changing flow.

As women we have come so far. Even from just a hundred years ago. A Beyonce says in the song We Run The World, “we smart enough to make the millions, strong enough to bear the children, then get back to business.” Now I’m not one to argue with the Queen B herself of course, but this is the exact problem.

So much pressure to do it all.

  • We should be great mothers.
  • We should be awesome kick ass business runners.
  • We should be gorgeous.
  • We should have clean homes.
  • We should be patient, kind, loving, understanding and strong.
  • We should be amazing cooks and bakers.
  • We should be top notch crafters.
  • We should be able to mend worn clothing, sibling rivalry and broken hearts

As my teachers say “Stop shoulding on yourself”.

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#MomCrushMonday – Chanelle Walsh

WAHM/D, SAHM/D, Work out of the home or other?

I’m a work from home mama, running my small business, Nora’s Closet – Baby Boutique from home. I make and sell birthday outfits as well as bows for little girls.

 # of Kids? Ages?

One little girl, Nora, who is 17 months.  

What movie makes you cry?

Toy Story 3 – every single time!

Tell us about a mom/dad who inspires you?

My sister, she is such an amazing mama to my two little nephews and I always go to her for advice!

What’s the fondest memory you have of your life as a mom/dad so far? The biggest challenge? 

The fondest memory I have was holding my daughter for the first time. It was just completely life changing!
The biggest challenge hands down has been lack of sleep and adjusting to sleeping way less than before having kids.

Would you rather be able to see 10 minutes into your own future or 10 minutes into the future of anyone but yourself? Why?

Most definitely my own future! I’m always curious what the results of my actions are long term!

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In Random Thoughts, Working Mama on
August 23, 2019

I’m Not Ready For Fall

I know, I know, Pumpkin Spice lattes and the colours on the trees – that’s all well and good.

BUT….

I’m sorry, I’m just going to say it – I’m not ready for Fall. Mostly because it doesn’t feel like my family has had a summer. At work 730-5 pm every weekday so we try to squeeze in keeping the house clean, laundry, dishes and some small adventure on the weekends. The weather has been odd but sure, we’ve had a few glorious days.

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In Lifestyle, Parenting, Working Mama on
July 8, 2019

#MomCrushMonday – Mona Ismaeil

WAHM/D, SAHM/D, Work out of the home or other?  WAHM

# of Kids? Ages? 2 Kids:  I have two kids; Manessa (6 years) and Malik (3 years)

What movie makes you cry? My Sister’s Keeper. It just hit close to home. When it came out, I was struggling with some health issues.  Most often, I tear up in movies that have to do with Parents and their children.

Tell us about a mom/dad who inspires you? 

My own parents for sure! My parents made a very tough decision to leave home; Egypt; to seek a better future for themselves and their children. They learned the language, worked 7 days a week, built their life together one brick at a time.  They were typical immigrants working for the dream.  They raised my sister and I here in this amazing country trying to balance an Eastern culture and Faith in the Western world. They taught us to be proud of who we are, and to remain rooted.  They taught us to work hard, be honest and to do what you can in life then leave the rest up to God.

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The Hats We Hang Up

We’ve all heard the expression of “wearing many hats”.

As a parent, our “hats” grow exponentially – teacher, disciplinarian, many meal maker, friend, therapist, taxi driver, launderer, the OMG It’s Lost Forever Finder Hat 😉 etc.

In order to take on all these new “hats” we often have to hang up some old ones. Sometimes it’s our Career hat. Sometimes it’s hobbies. Like, did you know I have my motorcycle licence? Probably not because I hung up my helmet once the babies came. Sometimes parents manage to juggle all the “hats” they had before – I’m not sure how they magically do that but that’s pretty amazing.

My kids are getting old enough now that a few of the “Mom Hats” don’t come out as often. It has me eyeing a few of the ones I hung up and thinking to myself that perhaps, I could take them off the hangers soon. I could maybe even try on some new ones and see what fits. It’s both freeing and daunting. Like, they won’t need me as much soon. And eventually not at all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in mom mode ALL the time, but I always know if I’m not there someone else is taking care of them. There will be a point where they will be their own people completely, and in turn, well, so will I.

I might need to start looking at Kijiji and get myself some wheels. 😉

Did you hang up any of your “hats” when you became a parent?

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5 Strategies to Reduce the Stress of Motherhood

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.

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