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!
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!
The day is here! The day that your children, if old enough to talk, have probably been going on about incessantly since school started: HALLOWEEN.
This day can cause a lot of stress for parents. There’s just so much excitement, sugar, sensory overload, sugar, late bedtime, sugar, excitement, sugar…. which, for most kids, means eventual overwhelm and meltdown. What I’ve learned in my 5 years as a “Halloween Parent” is that you gotta do you, mama. When I was a new mom there was a post by a mom blogger essentially shaming moms for not trick or treating around their own neighbourhoods…. Obviously that stuck with me because I still remember it. Guess what? Who cares! Forget about what others think you should be doing on Halloween and just do what you think is best for your kid(s) AND your sanity.
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.
How young is too young for a child’s first sleepover? As a mom of a 5 year old I haven’t really had to ask myself this question yet…. We’ve only had sleepovers with family or friends who are so close they might as well be. This Fall my son has started his first year in Scouting. I thought there would be no way that sleepover camp would be a thing in the youngest level, Beavers. Wrong! We are preparing for camp at the end of the month.
My initial thought was NO WAY, my 5 year old will not be going to a weekend long camp one and a half hours away from home. I mean, that’s so far away if he needs me and how will he manage to fall asleep in a cabin full of other kids and, god forbid, what if there is an unsafe person there??? On the other hand, maybe he will have fun and gain some valuable skills and make new friends… But, again, he is so young!
Ah Facebook, I have a love/hate relationship with you. As a Social Media Manager you make me crazy BUT as a person who’s made funny pages priority in my feed, I enjoy you. Why not add some Ha, Ha to your feed between the advertisements and Aunt Jo’s status update on her foot wart.
The next Five to Follow focuses on Twitter. Some people say they don’t get Twitter or that’s it’s “going away”. I still love Twitter for all the things – weather, traffic, news, drama and even humor!
I’m no stranger of not wanting summer to end. Every year I feel this certain kind of dread right around the end of August and refuse to embrace the PSL and cozy plaid until October. Summer is so fleeting in this part of the world (why would I ever want it to be cold?!) and the end of it always signifies the beginning of school. For the past 5 years this has been no huge deal, because I’ve been a mama casually working (mainly) from home. The extension of summer has been easy and blissful. Some years the weather has been nice enough that I could extend the summer vibes until October!