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Working Mama

Free Resource: Fueling Brains

Yesterday the team at Fueling Brains reached out to Alberta Mamas about the platform they’ve launched in Calgary. You can check it out at www.FuelingBrains.com.

It’s an online tool for educators and parents, meant to support early childhood learning of your kids. They’ve been working in the child care space for nearly a decade as Kids U and they’ve put together a toolbox of activities and parenting resources based on the work of their educators and researchers.

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COVID-19 : 7 GUIDELINES FOR PARENTS SHARING CUSTODY

Author: Lorraine Mlambo is an Edmonton based Family Lawyer.

Like a thief in the night, we never saw this coming. The Covid 19 pandemic is the unseen common enemy that has wreaked unprecedented havoc around the world, leaving a trail of disaster, deaths, uncertainty and confusion. This pandemic will undoubtably pose a challenge for parents who are already separated or going through separation.  To help parents through these trying times, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) have issued the following helpful guidelines:

  1. BE HEALTHY.

Comply with all CDC and local and state guidelines and model good behavior for your children with intensive hand washing, wiping down surfaces and other objects that are frequently touched, and maintaining social distancing. This also means BE INFORMED. Stay in touch with the most reliable media sources and avoid the rumor mill on social media.

 

  1. BE MINDFUL.

Be honest about the seriousness of the pandemic but maintain a calm attitude and convey to your children your belief that everything will return to normal in time. Avoid making careless comments in front of the children and exposing them to endless media coverage intended for adults. Don’t leave the news on 24/7, for instance. But, at the same time, encourage your children to ask questions and express their concerns and answer them truthfully at a level that is age appropriate.

  1. BE COMPLIANT WITH COURT ORDERS AND CUSTODY AGREEMENTS.

As much as possible, try to avoid reinventing the wheel despite the unusual circumstances. The custody agreement or court order exists to prevent endless haggling over the details of timesharing. In some jurisdictions there are even standing orders mandating that, if schools are closed, custody agreements should remain in force as though school were still in session.

  1. BE CREATIVE.

At the same time, it would be foolish to expect that nothing will change when people are being advised not to fly and vacation attractions such as amusement parks, museums and entertainment venues are closing all over the US and the world. In addition, some parents will have to work extra hours to help deal with the crisis and other parents may be out of work or working reduced hours for a time. Plans will inevitably have to change. Encourage closeness with the parent who is not going to see the child through shared books, movies, games and FaceTime or Skype.

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In Parenting, Random Thoughts, Working Mama on
March 9, 2020

This Is 40 Patina

I will be 40 this year.

I’ve have heard that some people have a “scary” age. One that they just don’t look forward to and I always thought mine was 40, but now that I’m here – not so much.

In my 20’s I was crazy.

Farm girl gone to the big city, that first taste of freedom and ALL the mistakes. I had no idea who I was, what I wanted to be and absolutely no self esteem. I hung out with the wrong people, and dated the wrong guys, but really, came out on the other side smarter for all of it. I think of these years as my “test drive”

In my 30’s, I was better?

Gone was most of the crazy, I was married for a bit by then, had my kids and life just kinda went on. I started to come into my worth. My friend circle got smaller, but much more valuable. Towards the end of this decade here, I can honestly say I like myself more than I have my whole life.

I work with the younger generation and I hear them lamenting about turning 23, or 27 or whatever it is and I just keep telling them that they’re coming up on the best years of their lives. I tell them, believe in yourself, love yourself, be kind to yourself, life keeps going and really we just get more awesome.

The way I look at it is, I’m a Classic.

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Anxiety Strikes…..Again

My anxiety seemed to be managed and I was doing so well for a long time.

Well, you know how that goes. Life happens. Family issues pop up, especially around the holidays. I got busy and missed a few days of my medication and boom. The insecurities, the irrational thinking, the fear, all come on and it feels like I’m drowning again.

And you would THINK you would notice this in yourself but in my case I didn’t. I had to have a friend give a good swift kick and say – Ok, what’s up – you haven’t been like this in a long time. Then it dawns on me, and I remember missing days. And my Dr. has said that particularly stressful times will make my anxiety “flare up” but there is also the issue of time.

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Hustle is Stupid

I’ve been working as an entrepreneur/mompreneur/freelancer/contractor/business owner whatever you want to call it, for over ten years. I’ve had big clients, tiny clients, and big projects and projects from hell and everything in between. I can say, unequivocally, from my 10 years of trying to make money while raising a family and trying to be a regular human that the “hustle” … is stupid.

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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