I remember it very clearly, it was my sons 100th meltdown of the evening (or it felt like it anyways) and I was exhausted. He needed more from me than I had energy to give him. He was clearly reaching out…he needed his mom. My tank was empty. We put the kids to bed and I sat down on the couch and just stared out in front of me. My mind was racing; there was still dishes from dinner to do, lunches to make for the next day, laundry piled on the couch and I wanted to order groceries to save myself a trip to the store. Not to mention thinking of the to-do list I still had left at work. There was just so much to do.
We all have grand illusions on what it is like after a baby comes home. Your baby is content and on a schedule like you read in the books (depending on what book you read), your home is maintained the same way with the addition of a couple of baby related items, and all the extra baby tasks are split evenly between your spouse and yourself. If you already had your baby, you will realize this was all a dream that did not come true. Reality is not at all like this.
Often when talking to friends, the topic of splitting duties come up. Friends usually start to complain about how their spouse is not pulling their weight around the house and they wished their spouse would do more. The last thing I would hear from this conversation was how “unfair” it was.
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!
Let’s chat about mom birthdays.
Today is actually my birthday. Last night I was chatting with my husband and comparing birthdays as a mom to the whole New Year’s Eve phenomenon. The more you hype the event up, the worse the disappointment can be in the end. You can’t get overly optimistic about a birthday when you are a mother, because, let’s be honest, it isn’t really YOUR day anymore. There are still little mouths to be fed, laundry to be folded, a work day to get through and of course, the most difficult part of the day- bedtime. There is hardly any time around those events in which to schedule birthday activities. I laugh when friends ask me what we are doing for my birthday. Nothing! The answer is survival- just like every other day with three kids.
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.
There’s a tribe for you.
By Kinia Romanowska
People will tell you that a year on maternity leave goes by quickly.
You may have scoffed at the idea, like I did. Especially when you’re sleep-deprived and have not had a shower in a few days!
But time does fly, and it’s never too early to envision a perfect return to work after baby. Did you know that fewer than 4% of new mothers indicated that taking maternity leave had positively impacted their career?
It doesn’t have to be that way. Taking the time to think about what you want is one of the first steps to plan a more positive transition.
Have you considered putting ink to paper and planning what that would look like?
One of our contributors shares her inner thoughts about change along the journey of life, motherhood and new beginnings.
Who am I? I am a mother. I am still a mother. Am I still an entrepreneur? Do I still get be a dietitian? What about an aesthetician? I have loved having all of these labels. But now there is loss. A deep loss. A loss of a company, a team, loss of the school we started at and almost the loss of everything, including my family. It feels like I lost my village. And I’m not through it yet. So am I OK? I think so, but I don’t know how to reply.
By mom Elizabeth Tadman-Kickham
I didn’t always dream about becoming a mom. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to welcome my baby to the world, but I was also terrified to spend a year at home, alone with her. I knew I would learn how to take care of her, hold her properly, change her diapers, feed her around the clock, but I didn’t know how well I would adapt to my new life at home.
Petrified of being lonely and going stir crazy, I stepped out of my comfort zone while on maternity leave and completely surprised myself. I’d be lying if I said every minute at home has been blissful but here are a few things I learned that have made the year an overall success.
August is halfway done which means Farmers Markets (and maybe even your own garden!) are bursting with fresh, delicious produce. But what should you do with all these veggies once you bring them home? We’ve made the easiest salad using all market ingredients with a dressing so easy we guarantee you already have everything you need in your pantry. Not only is this recipe easy, it keeps in the fridge for a while making it the perfect make-ahead meal for BBQ’s, work lunches, and picnics in the park.