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love

In Parenting, Random Thoughts on
January 6, 2019

The ‘Parenting Hack’ that Changed Everything

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). Read more

In Parenting, Random Thoughts on
November 17, 2018

National Adoption Month

How many of you have been touched by adoption?

Perhaps you know people, or maybe, like me, you weren’t officially adopted but rather, raised by someone who wasn’t biologically related. My parents met when I was 3. My Dad has been my dad since then. I never use the word “step dad” because I was so young and he’s the only dad I’ve ever known. Even though I wasn’t ever officially adopted by him, he’s my dad.

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3 Ways I’m Getting Some Me Time This Summer

There are all kinds of challenges being a mom.

Whether you’re a SAHM, have a part time job, full time job, or are self employed, doesn’t matter. The biggest ones for me working full time, are balance and self care.

I have been lucky enough to become accustom to having a whole lot of free time to spend with my kiddos in the summer but this summer will be different. I have full time care for my kids Monday to Friday so I’ll be working a lot. I’m still working though, its not a break. And while my plan is to absolutely make the most of my weekends for family time, I’ve also had the opportunity and forethought to plan some me time.

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In Parenting, Random Thoughts on
January 22, 2018

The First “I Love You”

It was a normal Saturday morning, kids were just getting up and I went for the morning pee. I was on the toilet (door open of course, because with a 6 year old and a 3.5 year old I forfeited peeing privacy a long time ago) and two little arms snaked around my waist and the cutest little voice said “I love you mommy”. Tears sprang to my eyes. Three and a half years. It took my sweet little girl three and a half years to say those words to me and I often wondered if I would ever hear them.

My three-and-a-half-year-old daughter Madeleine has a severe speech and language delay. She has always found ways of communicating with me and telling me what she wants…lots of jibber jabber, half words only I could understand, pointing and physically showing me and her dad. I always spoke to her as if she could understand what I was saying, even though I wasn’t always sure she could. There was just always a wall between us. So, we had her assessed by a speech pathologist. She said it perfectly: ”Madeleine has lots to say, but only she knows what she’s saying”. She recommended we enroll Maddie in an early entrance program that specializes in children with delays, so we did. They began working with her 3 mornings a week.

It’s a long process…her learning words and forming sentences. Her understanding what you’re saying to her or asking her. One that some days can be very frustrating and simple processes turn into full on meltdowns- sometimes for her, sometimes for me. It’s hard seeing friends with kids her age or younger saying and doing things she’s nowhere near. It’s hard when strangers ask her questions and she looks at them blankly and then they look at me like “what’s wrong with her”. On good days I tell myself, “all kids develop differently” and “she will get there”. On bad days I have to fight the mom guilt. The “I did something wrong” and “this is somehow my fault” and “I should have done ____ differently”.

But on that Saturday morning, even though it wasn’t an ideal location, when she looked at me with her big blue eyes and said “I love you mommy” it all became worth it. “I love you too baby girl” I whispered back. And in that moment I knew that we got this and it’s all gonna be ok.

My name is Mara Needham. I am 32 year old stay at home mom to Grayson (6) and Madeleine (3.5) in Peace River, AB. I have been married to my husband Sean for almost 8 years. I have never written a blog of any kind before, but up until I became a mom I wrote commercials for the local radio station. Find me on FacebookTwitter , & Instagram

In Parenting, Random Thoughts on
October 18, 2017

After the Fire – the Community of Grief

On August 22, 2017, my life, and that of my family’s, changed forever. You probably heard about it in the news – the fire in southwest Edmonton that claimed the life of a 5 month old baby and put his mother in life-threatening condition. That baby is my nephew, and his mother is my sister-in-law. As I wrote about on my own blog, I am Hunter’s aunt.

In the days that followed, our family was in a state of disbelief, shock, devastation, grief. When we found out the fire was the result of arson, and that my nephew’s death was a homicide, it made things even more surreal and complex.

I always remember what Mr. Fred Rogers said – “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
I always thought this applied in situations like natural disasters, big public crises. But now I’ve experienced firsthand the community of grief that has surrounded our family. Helpers who have stepped out to try to make it easier. Helpers who have reached out to offer support in any way possible. Helpers who have truly made an impact in our lives during a truly horrific nightmare.

And so, while I grieve, I am also so thankful.

Thankful for the community who rallied around my sister-in-law when she was in the ICU, and we weren’t sure when she would get out. The outpourings of donations for her, the comments and condolences from people we knew, people who lived in her neighbourhood, and perfect strangers. The messages and emails from friends, acquaintances, and strangers asking how they could help. Offers of clothing and household items for her because she had lost everything.

Thankful for the people who really went the extra mile to make a difference. When I put up messages on my local swap page looking for specific baby items, I was overwhelmed by the response. People I had never met in person went out of their way to make phone calls, to pay for shipping, to search for special baby outfits and toys for Hunter so that my sister-in-law could have her special last moments with him, and have things to remember him by. The people who coordinated getting a photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep so that my sister-in-law could have remembrance photos of Hunter when we saw him for the last time.

Thankful for the people who made sure we were taken care of. Groceries and pre-made meals that came to our doorstep when we were trying to balance taking turns at the hospital.

Thankful for the people who were thoughtful enough to reach out and send us cards and flowers expressing their condolences. For the people who sent us messages sharing their own experiences with grief, with losing a child. For the person who had a tree planted in Hunter’s name. For the people who told us “I don’t know what to say”.

Grief is a scary thing. They say that it’s in tough times that you find out who your real friends are. We have been so overwhelmed by friends, acquaintances, and strangers who have reached out during this time. Because it’s often easier to stay away, because you really don’t know what to say, you really don’t know what to do. We truly appreciate the support, the honesty, the presence of this community of grief that has surrounded us.

So if you ever find yourself in a situation where something horrible has happened to someone, and you’re not sure what to do, it’s okay. Reach out. Even if they don’t respond, they will appreciate it. They may be completely overtaken with everything that has become their life, but they will appreciate the time you took to reach out and be part of their community of grief.

Judith is an eco-mom in Edmonton who is passionate about green, toxin-free, healthy living. She shares her journey and experiences on Juicy Green Mom You can follow her on Instagram , Facebook , Twitter and Pinterest.