We recently sold our first home. It was one of those experiences that was so bittersweet and emotional. It was the perfect house, in the perfect neighbourhood. It was our first major purchase together. We were childless, but a home suddenly made us feel like a tiny family. It was where we eventually brought our three babies home. Where we celebrated promotions and pregnancies. Where we grieved over the passing of my husband’s father and the injustices of the world. It was the respite at the end of the long day.
A few years ago, when my kiddo was only a toddler, I did it. I left for some me time.
The past year and a half since my 5-month-old nephew was killed when his house was set on fire has been the most difficult I’ve experienced.
Before this, I’d only grieved loved ones who had died from natural causes. The journey of grief is long and difficult. Time helps a bit, of course, but you never know what will trigger a memory, and that pang of emptiness springs up again.
But with Hunter’s death, there’s the whole other side. The criminal injustice side. When 2 individuals were arrested shortly after the fire, there was a sense of relief. Something would be done. Then, charges were dropped. More charges were dropped. Then we were told that the remaining charges against this one individual would likely result in very little jail time, and a few years of probation. The only voice we had was through our Victim Impact Statements, which we waited to read in court. 3 times, the court hearing was postponed from the original date set in July until we finally read them in court in December. This sentencing hearing did not result in a sentence as the judge wanted more time to deliberate, so the outcome wasn’t decided upon until a few days ago.
As a mom in Alberta, and when it comes to the law and your rights or entitlements; and that of your children, ignorance is certainly not bliss. Rather, as Ralph B. Perry, once said:
Ignorance deprives people of freedom because they do not know what alternatives there are. It is impossible to choose to do what one has never heard of.
It is important to educate yourself on what your rights and entitlements are under family law, whether or not you decide to stay in a relationship that is ailing. Knowledge empowers you, and it allows you to make informed decisions.
Forest Bathing, Teepees, and Snow Painting
Winter can be so long, so dark, so blah. It’s easy to be complacent and not want to get yourself and your little ones bundled up to go out into the chilly cold. There are a lot of places now where you can bring your children to play indoors – play centres, the Science Centre, museums, the pool, etc. – but nothing beats time spent outside. Fresh air is good to breathe, and letting little ones run free is a great way for them to burn off energy. For myself, I find that spending time in nature reduces stress, and makes me feel lighter. If you have the budget, you can do anything from skating to skiing, and everyone can go tobogganing. Below are 3 cheap or free ideas of fun stuff you might want to try, forest bathing, teepees, and snow painting.
Before I share my greatest parenting hack –I need to share some experiences I’ve had, that I believe are experienced by many parents.
I have a bookshelf filled with texts from doctors and nurses, parenting experts, sleep consultants, nutrition gurus and everything in between. I have read through all of these books as well as countless blogs, websites, lists, brochures – you name it. For more than a year I read these at all hours of the day and night – and I continue to do so every time I feel a little lost (which happens quite a bit as a new parent).
In the Words of Dr. Harvey Karp “Your babies nine months – or three trimesters – inside you is a time of unbelievable complex development. Never less, it takes a baby an additional three months to “wake up” and become active partners in the relationship. This time between birth and the end of your baby’s third month is what I call your baby’s fourth trimester.”
Congrats mama on your new baby and welcome to the 4th trimester! It has always been so amazing to me how in a matter of minutes a new person is welcomed into the world. That moment when you see their face for the first time really tops the cake for experiences you will go through in your lifetime. The newborn smell… ahhhh, nothing better! I am excited to welcome you into the world of motherhood as a first-time mama or a mama of more!
Holidays are often the times when we finally make the time to get together with friends and family. Unfortunately, this is also one of the busiest times of the year. We are trying to make our house comfortable and festive, provide an abundance of food and drinks, and be great hosts to our guests. Sometimes, we might get stressed out about all these details that we forget the original purpose was to “just” get together with our family and friends.
I admit that I was one of those people that wanted everything to be absolutely perfect for my guests, and I drove myself and my spouse crazy trying to achieve this. (My daughter didn’t know of anything different.) Over the years, I have found some stress free alternatives to the traditional ways of having gatherings. Here are my suggestions: