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.
Eye health has always been a huge priority in my family. My mom, as a young adult, was diagnosed with an eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. Over the last 20 some years her vision has progressively declined and she is now legally blind. There is no cure for this, but thankfully clinical trials are ongoing. Advances and new discoveries over the years in all areas of eye health have made early detection of serious eye diseases possible. Regular eye exams by a licensed Optometrist are essential for everyone, regardless of family history.
Beyond Traditional Therapies For One And All
Being an athlete myself for most of my life, loving science and math for as long as I can remember, and growing up in a family that did whatever it takes no matter what has definitely contributed to my strong advocacy for Breanna’s treatments and how I view her future. Luckily I married a man who is on the same page as me. From our experience with receiving Breanna’s diagnosis, there isn’t someone who takes you on to the next step. It’s like you and your child are held over the edge of a deep body of water and both dropped in at the same time. You’re left to save yourself and your child without extra measures while trying to get to safety. I feel that my past and passion for learning has at least partially helped set us up for success. It also helps when you meet people along the way who are similar in tenacity and it makes research time far more efficient!
Last week I got excited. I was thinking about my health, and honestly, I tried on a pair of jeans that fit nicely not two months ago. They now wouldn’t go over my hips. This wasn’t a matter of washing machine shrinkage and the timing of New Years was purely coincidence – promise. It had more to do with the brie and crackers I was consuming, pretty much daily.
Something had to give and unfortunately, it wasn’t going to be my jeans.
Every year, some of us set the same New Years Resolution to be in better shape, take better care of our health, or (gulp) lose 20 pounds. I have been one of those people for many years. I start off the year strong and very ambitious, only to give up after a month (if I am lucky.)
Illustrated and designed in Banff, these 52 Cards will motivate and push you to create sustainable healthy habits in your everyday life. Just in time for the holiday season, these cards are the perfect stocking stuffer for teachers, families, friends or co-workers.
The meal time struggle is real.
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.
Essential Oils; how I went from non-believer to believer!
By Pauline Halina
Nowadays, it seems like everyone and their dog are on social media trying to sell you something. It’s hard to get away from it, literally every time I login in to Instagram, I see posts ranging from skincare lines to vitamins to jewelry to hair products, you name it! Let’s be real, someone you know has approached you about this “great new product that will change your life.”
In general, I avoid pills. I have my whole life.
Vitamins fine, but I even avoid taking Tylenol for a headache until it’s really bad. I have no grand health conscious reason behind not taking pills other than fear. I have to admit that I’m a bit of a control freak and I worry about how medications will affect me. Beyond that, my family history predisposes me to addiction so that makes me nervous as well.