Each month, we play 10 questions with one of Alberta’s most interesting mamas. This month we hear from maternal support practitioner Sarah Wallace. Sarah is a mama to four kids between the ages of three and eight, and since battling postpartum depression, has become passionate about helping other moms navigate the fourth trimester. Currently, she serves the areas of Edmonton, Leduc, and surrounding communities. Connect with Sarah on instagram @sarahwallacedoula, or by visiting her website sarahwallacedoula.com
1. You’ve been very open about your own struggles with postpartum depression. What made you decide to share this experience with others?
When I was first going through postpartum depression, I felt so much shame about it. I didn’t actually realize that I had postpartum depression and just thought I was failing at being a mom. Hearing other’s stories led me to make an appointment where I got diagnosed and that was a game changer for me. I wasn’t failing as a mom – I just needed some help! I share my story in hopes that another parent who is suffering will see that they are not alone and will reach out for help. I also share it because I want to take some of that stigma away so that those struggling don’t feel so much shame for needing some help.
2. Why were you inspired to offer both birth doula support and postpartum doula support?
I have been supporting families for a long time now. Through my work with Momstown as well as my own personal experience, I saw how a positive postpartum experience can really set a family up to succeed. After I had my 2nd and 3rd sons, I found myself floundering and struggling through because I didn’t know how to ask for help and my support network wasn’t always able to help when I did. I knew that I wanted to help families get through the hard bits in the postpartum so that they could feel more confident. I love birth work and seeing folks birth their babies into this world, but there is something special about the relief a new parent feels when you come in and ease some of their burdens for a few hours.
I mean I guess if you have a child prodigy that can sing and dance like Michael Jackson or play the piano like Beethoven or crush through wood planks like Chuck Norris – awesome. The talent show is for your child. But these words scared me. My kid isn’t talented.
And before you get all Sesame Street on me telling me every child has their own talents blah blah blah -hear me out. I know my kid is talented just not in a “I will be the next America’s Got Talent star” kind of way. And I remember how mean kids can be.
And then he drops this bomb on us…
It’s an original song. About Bulbasaur the least appreciated Pokemon.
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.
We don’t know about you but we are SO excited for the snow to melt and the reno’s to begin! But we really don’t even have to wait do we? Lots can be done inside while it’s chilly outside!
With big names like Bryan Baeumler hosts of HGTV’s Bryan Inc., plus, with more than 225 exhibitors and a slew of exciting new features, there’s real advice and real inspiration at the Edmonton Renovation Show!
The 2019 Edmonton Renovation Show runs:
Friday, January 25th, 2019 – 12PM – 9PM
Saturday, January 26th, 2019 – 10AM – 9PM
Sunday, January 27th, 2019 10AM – 6PM
Buy your tickets online here or enter to win passes below in our GIVEAWAY! Did you know, Kids 12 & under are free!
Thanks to the Renovation Show we have a four pack of tickets to giveaway! Tickets can be picked up at the show box office and the draw will be Monday, January 21st.
We have been really trying to encourage experience gifts (see a great list of ideas for Experience Gifts here) and this Christmas the Grandparents knocked it out of the park. One set of Grandparents got the kids an Alberta’s History Annual Pass which allows us to visit numerous museums and historical sites across the province. Over the break we already used it twice (once for the Royal Alberta Museum and once for the Royal Tyrrell Museum) making it already pay for itself and it’s only the first month! You can learn more about these passes and buy your own here. It is only $120 for a family pass so if you plan on exploring the province this summer we highly recommend this pass.
The other set of Grandparents found another great gift idea. Subscription boxes. You remember how excited you used to get when mail came? Well these boxes make that happen every month! This year Grandma found Kiwi Co. and signed the boys up for a Kiwi Box (5-8 years old) and a Tinker Box (9-16+). We have received two boxes so far and I am so impressed with the quality.
I love pretty much everything about Christmas. Nothing makes me happier than cranking the tunes, drinking hot chocolate and watching pretty lights dance their lovely dance.
Classics are my fave and my kids have actually latched on to those as well. The new songs from Sia are super fun too though so I asked my kids their favourites and voila we’ve got a dancy, fun way to get in the holiday spirit. Pop on this playlist while baking, decorating or even making supper and groove along with your kiddos!
No matter what you make, bake, cook, or blend there is always someone at the table that is less than impressed with what is for supper. And for some reason it is always supper at our house that is the struggle. The boys go through phases of picky eating and being more adventurous it seems which also throws me for a loop. One day they just want plain noodles and chicken fingers and the next they are shocking you and eating a plate of fish (after 10 years of me coaxing, offering, trying, fighting, bribing… you get the idea) and liking it.
So I’ve come up with some tips and tricks that have helped me throughout the years. These may not work for every family but they have definitely helped ours. I’d love to hear your thoughts on meal times and how you make them more manageable too!
I used to go BIG for birthdays. That is actually one of the things Box Social Event Planning did when I started the business. We planned parties for parents that wanted that “Pinterest” party but didn’t have time. We would do such elaborate parties that one time we brought 8 foot trees into a play place to create a perfect Woodland Theme.
But then I stopped. Because I didn’t understand why I was throwing all this time and energy into one day for a little human that wouldn’t even remember it. I still love scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram and seeing beautiful, well curated parties but it just doesn’t work for our family anymore.
I wanted my kids to still have memorable birthdays though. Not something that just blipped by. And then we got the Birthday Banner.
I am not sure when it started but it has become a tradition in our house to hang the Birthday Banner. I remember picking it up at Target (sigh I miss Target even though the Canadian one wasn’t as good as the American one) and hanging it up for one of my kids’ birthdays. It was a September birthday and it was a very busy time for our family between school starting (being married to a teacher in September is not fun) and a busy event schedule for myself. So we threw up the banner and sang Happy Birthday to my youngest around Eggo Waffles topped with whipped cream from a can. Then I brought it out for the next one. Now a few years later it is something my kids love waking up to. It is made out of felt and gets hung in the same spot every time. Sometimes it gets fancy 3M hooks, other times it is held up by green painters tape.
But it is always there.
It took me a while but I have realized that the kids do not care about all the decorations, the cake, the late night party planning. They don’t care whether they have Pinterest worthy handmade cupcakes or a cake bought on the way home from work with a generic “Happy Birthday” on it. They want you to be there. To be present. To sing “Happy Birthday” and watch them blow the candles out not be worried about all the other stuff.
So from now on that is my goal. To be present. And hang the banner every birthday.
Deanne Ferguson is the owner of Box Social Event Planning. When she is not planning fun, family, friendly events she is finding the yummiest food for the Edmonton Home and Garden Show Food Stage. She loves her #cocktailsMonday dates with her husband and chasing around her two boys. You can find her at @DeanneFerguson on Instagram and @BoxSocialYEG on Twitter.
I don’t when Corn Mazes became a thing but we are so glad they did! It seems like over the past couple of years Corn Mazes have been popping up everywhere. You can’t go through the Fall season without visiting one with the kids so we’ve compiled a list of our favourite ones across the province!
At the centre of my childhood were simple experiences rich with texture and wrought with meaning.It wasn’t until I was an adult that I was able to appreciate the beauty in the simple togetherness my mom wove into the fabric of our family.Our family didn’t have a lot of money so my mom got creative.I find myself using many of her ideas with my own children and I enjoy coming up with my own.Time is the precious gift our children want above all.Here are some of my favorite memory makers!I would love to hear about yours.