Archive for April, 2012

Five Ways to be a Happier Mom

Someone asked me the other day; If you had to name five things you do every day that keep you sane as a Mom, what would they be? Wow, good question! I fought the urge to answer with the expected, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet and (for emergencies) Double Distilled. This really was a good question; I figured it deserved a real answer.

The first thing I do is that I get up one hour before the rest of the house. Yes, that means I get up at the insane time of 5am. I don’t make lunches or get things ready for the day…I drink coffee and chat online with my sister, I write or catch up on reading. This is MY time and it leads to many less moments throughout the day where I am screaming in my head for five minutes of peace and quiet.

The second thing I do is eliminate the need to think. I park in the same area of the parking lot at work, the grocery store, the mall; I never have to think about where I parked. I clip my keys to my purse when not in use, eliminating the frantic search when we are already running behind. I buy toilet paper every week whether we need it or not, we never run out and I never have to think “do we need toilet paper?” The more things I can do to live life by rote, the better!

Number three; I shut the door. When the kids were very little I used to keep their rooms for them, when they got a little older I would help them keep their rooms. When they became old enough to do it themselves without help, I shut the doors. Looking at the chaos of their untidiness makes me crazy and the nagging at them to improve their housekeeping skills makes it even worse. A very bizarre side effect of this tactic – the less you care, the more they do.

The fourth thing is that I shut the door. Yes I know that was number three, same rule, different door. I shut my door. By this I mean that I make a point of making my life not all about my kids and being a mom. I make it about my adult relationships too. I enjoy time with my friends, I enjoy time with my husband. I nurture those relationships and it makes me a better Mom, more fulfilled, more full of patience, more supported with a richer life that I can pass along to my kids.

My fifth and favourite thing is to reconnect the family every day. For us this means eating together. We share our day, argue and help each other find solutions to problems. We laugh, cry and occasionally hurl insults and peas, but we are together. This is when we keep each other in the loop, celebrate our successes and encourage one another to reach for our goals. Something else we do is to express our gratitude; we don’t skip a day or a person.

So while I might joke that the most effective coping strategy I have is a dark room and a glass of red, it really is not entirely accurate. Oh, there are days that drive me to that place and you can be certain that I have everything I need to get me right again but that’s not really how we do it, is it? The truth is that being a parent is the hardest job on the planet. It is also the only job that you can screw up every day and not get fired from. You can’t quit either, you have to do the best you can which means you have to keep those tactics in place that make you the very best at the job in front of you. For me that means less sleep, a closet full of toilet paper, hinge oil, escape and the occasional food fight.

Now I’m going to pass this question on to you…What are the five most important things you do every day that keep you sane as a parent?

You can also find Michelle at her blog The Space Between Raindrops, sharing wisdom, gratitude and humour.

Wear Your Helmet: Make it a No-Brainer

Recent events in our home have prompted me to address a post this week about brain injuries. The air is warming up and kids are jumping on everything with wheels; bikes, skateboards, scooters, long-boards, tricycles and big wheels. I did a quick count at one point on our street this past weekend and I counted the following observance; 14 kids busy on some mode of wheeled transport, 14 kids who had increased their risk of personal injury by 100%. 1 of those 14 children was sporting a helmet. ONE!

There was also one child sitting on the curb wishing he could be wheeling around on something. That child was my son. He has been banned from all risky activity for a minimum of three weeks. He has a concussion and the doctor has benched him. Benched him because his brain is injured just like a sprained ankle or a broken leg, it needs time to heal and another blow before it has recovered could put an end to more than skateboarding.

He is suffering from headaches, poor sleep, bad dreams, nausea, mood swings, increased frustration and disappointment. He missed playing in his year end hockey tournament, has been removed from gym class participation, missed move-a-thon at school and has another 2 weeks of sitting on the curb.

If his accident had been predictable, if there had been a way to protect him from the injury you can bet I would have made sure he was equipped. Unfortunately you cannot predict an out of control burpee, a street hockey slap-shot, clumsy, bizarre or ‘how the heck did that happen?” or a compilation of the above that resulted in a whopper of an injury.

I grew up like most parents today, with parents and doctors who believed that kids bounce before they break. I fear however that far too many of us did get dropped on our heads and have suffered long term damage. Think I’m kidding? Want proof? The proof is in all of those kids riding around helmetless today. With all of the advancements in medical technology with all the research, understanding and awareness parent after parent allows their children to free wheel around without a second thought. Take a look at your kids, are they wearing helmets? Why not?

I want to challenge you to make this the year of the ‘No Brainer’ – enforce the rule. Be the parent asking where the helmets are. Ask your own kids, ask the neighbour’s kids, ask the neighbours kid’s parents. Take your kid’s wheels away when they break the rule. I dare you to be the Mom or Dad that sucks.

Put up with the complaints, the whining and the tears. Be cognizant of the dangers your kids are having too much fun to give a second thought to. Accidents happen in a second, without warning and are usually avoidable or at the very least the damage can be minimized.

Your kids only get one brain, use yours to protect it. I promise you will be grateful when they crash, that you did. They will get over the big meeny bit.

***coolness tip*** it restores you coolness factor if you are wearing your helmet because you were told to not because you chose to. Moms, Dads …yell out HELMET! for all the kids to hear so they know your kid is wearing a lid not by choice. Who cares how you get them to put one on as long as they do it. Oh and if you get the chance, lead by example.

For some great information on helmets and how to use them properly visit Safe Kids Canada.

You can also find Michelle at her blog The Space Between Raindrops, sharing wisdom, gratitude and humour.

Stop the World! I want to get off!

Not forever, Just for two hours. Just long enough to catch a movie or go out to dinner to a restaurant where ‘red’ is a beverage not the colour of this week’s toy. Two hours to be in my kitchen baking a pie or trying one of the 8,000 recipes I’ve been collecting would be divine.

No?

I’ll settle for ninety minutes. That is plenty of time to read a magazine at the coffee shop, take a bath or start my next craft project. With ninety minutes I could put some really good thoughts to paper, or even begin organizing my pictures.

No dice?

Sixty minutes then. I can grab a catnap or research that vacation we want to take. Sixty minutes is enough time to catch up with my sister. Sixty minutes is just enough time to clean out my email and reconnect with my social network.

Still no!

Okay, how about 30 minutes? Long enough to colour my hair or paint my toe nails a funky fresh colour for spring, that would be sweet. Maybe fit in some time on the elliptical or watch the episode of Whitney I missed driving my daughter to her boyfriend’s house. How about that?

No, huh?

10 minutes then, just long enough to finish a cup of coffee while it’s hot or crack the spine on that novel that has been collecting dust on the bedside table. Before I do that I should probably finish the last chapter from the book I managed to start 6 months ago, that will take 10 minutes.

Really? No?

Can we just slow the ride down a bit then? I’ll settle for that. That will have to do. I could hit the drive through, send a text, brush my hair, take the stairs, write a grocery list, send a picture to my sister so that she knows I’m still alive. I could dust that book or Google the trailers for movies so I understand what people are buzzing about.

Seriously…we can’t even slow it down?

Throw me a chocolate bar, that will have to do. I’ll eat it in the car while I wait for my daughter to come out of work. I promise to eat it fast and hide the evidence so that my kids don’t find out that I squeezed 45 seconds of ‘me’ time into my day.

That’s my go to when life gets way to busy and way too about making everyone else’s world go around.

What is your ’45 second break from reality’? I could use some new ones, all those chocolate bars are catching up with me!

You can also find Michelle at her blog The Space Between Raindrops, sharing wisdom, gratitude and humour.


 

Candace also blogs for
the Yummy Mummy Club!