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Parenting Questions, Concerns and Responses, Voice boxing it

Things parents wished others would ask about more often


Today I asked the parents what they wished others would ask them about

These were some of the answers.


• The birth story
• How Dad is coping
• How they can be supported
• Learning about transgender children
• If they’re okay/mental well-being
• Permission before they promise a child something or set a limit with a child
• How their kids are and how they can help or spend time with them.
• If they need help cleaning
• Do you need a break?
• What their kids are learning or what they’re working on at home and how they can support that.
• What their parenting approach is – to respect it and reinforce it


Sometimes people forget about respect, permission, boundaries, sleep, self-care… the list goes on. Sometimes parents get forgotten about, simply because they’re the parent.

Sometimes, all we need is some acknowledgement and validation 💝

Parenting Questions, Concerns and Responses

Weening Nursing To Sleep at 18 Months


Question:

I’m looking for a gentle advice for my almost 18 months old who will only fall asleep nursing. A little history: he is my second baby; and I had a birth injury and needed a long time to heal so we both got used to cosleeping and nursing to sleep, which worked out great at first, but there was a point when I realized what I created 😔. I’ve tried to gently break that habit earlier but it didn’t work and I gave up. I’m considering to just wean at this point because I’m tired of getting up several times at night 🥴😔. He just wants the breast to fall back asleep with (in his mouth). He sleeps in a floor bed in same room as his sister. I don’t believe in cry it out and looking for more of a gentle approach, if there are any. Thank you!

The Judgemental Mom’s Response:

Have you tried just giving him an actual cup of milk at bedtime? Thats how I weened my son off of nursing to sleep at this age. A 360 cup of milk and just rocking him. Which after turned into he was him laying in bed with his milk while I rubbed his tummy or back. Then it was he drinks his milk at, or around, bedtime, then he lays in bed and I rub his tummy. Then it turned into some nights he wouldn’t fall asleep so I would say “okay im going to let you settle down now I love you baby” and he would roll around for 5 minutes and pass out. Or I would sing a song to him over the monitor and he would pass out.

Growths spurts/sleep regressions are still hard on his sleep tho, hes 2.5 now. I dont see anything wrong with rocking him to being sleepy now. Any kiddo needs some extra connection from time to time. Keep in mind at/around 18 months its another big growth spurt so it might be even harder for you.

Take it slow and be easy on yourself and your expectations and remember that theres nothing wrong with co sleeping, nursing, or both!

Voice boxing it

Pelvic Floor Physio Therapy


In a post last spring I talked about the un-talked about struggles women face with their pelvic floor. Ashamed to talk about it, scared, or embaressed.

Over the past 9 months I have been doing pelvic floor physio therapy to improve my condition, pain and discomfort. I have made so much progress, and my physio therapist has been absolutely wonderful. One of the most educated, patient, and understanding specialists I have met. So much so, that as much as I am excited that my physio therapy is coming to an end (because I don’t need it anymore), I feel a little sad that won’t get to have her comforting and understanding presence anymore. Finding a GOOD, well educated, pelvic floor physio therapist is HARD. I was so lucky to have found one on my first time – after hearing so many others responses from women about their own PT in the facebook group Association For Pelvic Organ Prolapse Support (APOPS).

So for anyone residing in the kitchener-waterloo region of Ontario, here is my shout out and HUGE reccomendation to Nimmy Thomas, B.Sc. PT, at S.O.S. Physiotherapy in Elmira, Ontario, for the ongoing support, help, and inspiration as well as HOPE you have returned and given this area of struggles in my life.

May those of you struggling with pelvic pain, prolapse, or discomfort feel comfortable and brave enough to seek help and share your journey. It DOES get better. There’s SO MUCH MORE to pelvic floor strength than kegels alone.

Stay well my friends.

Parenting Questions, Concerns and Responses

What do you do about frequent stealing?


Question:

What do you do about frequent stealing? (Almost 13yrs old – Food, money, objects from other’s homes and stores)

The Judgemental Mom’s Response:

Stealing at this age has more to it than meets the eye. If you dont have the type of relationship that will let him feel comfortable opening up about whats really going, maybe consider a behavioural therapist. At 13, the act of stealing is usually satisfying a feeling or emotional need they are lacking in another area in their life. Whether its miniscule items that just make them feel invincible and “better” than others (because someone or something is actually making them feel like they are lesser than)
Or if its larger, more serious items that are fueling adrenaline and the naturally produced “reward hormone”. At 13, hes old enough to understand things are not just his for the taking, or an “oops oh well”.  This isn’t just “sneaking”. Hes a young teenager. Maybe its actually a cry for help and to get noticed because hes lacking communication skills to talk about whatever else is going on.

Parenting kids, Seriously, Parenting Yourself, Seriously

Adversarial Relationships


(Synopsis from Raising Your Spirited: Chapter 6)

Researchers tell us that when we get caught in an adversarial relationship with our children, we end up with more, not fewer, behavioural issues in the long run. More troubling, we fall out of love with our sons and daughters.

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

When parents let their emotions get to them during situations with their kids (when they are not doing what the parents want), it begins to wear away at the relationship between the parent and child.

It can be frustrating when your child is refusing to get their shoes on, or get out the door or follow your plans for the day. You tell them once, you told them twice, and by the third time you’re screaming through tight lips, and they are returning the disposition because their agendas are different than yours. When parents allow the frustration and heightened emotions to take over them, they end up taking a step back from their relationship because they are trying to control the situation by controlling the child. Often with parents it comes down to putting threats or manipulation on the table, such as, “if you don’t put your shoes on right now, no more TV for the rest of the day!” Or, “if you put your shoes on and get in the car, you can have some juice”.

Oftentimes there’s no acknowledgement of the child’s agenda or feelings. Which in turn heightens the child’s want to push them away, especially in the moment, and disregard the parent’s wishes to do as they wish.

Until children are afraid of their parents, they will match the attitude and responses presented.

It’s not about obedience, its about kids’ feeling respected and heard, and not understanding why their parent’s agenda is more important than their own.

At the end of it, both parent and child are worn down from the intense emotions and situation; feeling emotionally bruised and battered as well as distanced from each other.

Have you ever wondered whether parents who always seem to stay calm, have a secret?

They do. It’s how they view their child.

So how do you change these outcomes in the situations? You have to enter them and exit them with your energy being calm. With your body and mind being peaceful. With calm energy you are focussed on each other; able to listen and enjoy each other’s presence. You can ask your daughter to get in the car and she simply does it. Or if she resists it,

you are able to think quickly enough to squat down on her eye level and commiserate with her about how frustrating it is to discontinue her activity, and then help her find a stopping point.

The two of you remain calm, listen to one another, and work together. The power struggle never occurs. There never has to be a power struggle.

Remember to pay attention to your interpretation of your child’s reactions.

As Author and Doctor Mary Sheedy Kurcinka writes, parents are quick to assume that: she’s manipulating me, he’s testing me, he’s being defiant, he doesn’t like me, she’s being out of control, she’s trying to get away with everything, he intentionally makes me late for work.

We need to realize that children lack the ability to communicate what their heart and mind truly desires. So their body shows it in their actions. They don’t have the reasoning of an adult. We all know an adult would think to themselves, “well I don’t want to be passive aggressive, or even outright aggressive, I should just tell them how I’m feeling” right? Your job as parents to teach them how to do that

I’ve learned that sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.”

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Dr. Kurcinka is an award-winning lecturer and parent educator. She provides private consultations and workshops nationally and internationally for parents and professionals serving Children.

For more information, learning, and material from Dr. Kurcinka, visit http://www.parentchildhelp.com

Just do it yourself

Gender Reveal Game



One of my best friends was expecting a bundle of joy.

It sparked my creativity to put together something super cool for her! Especially because it was right at the beginning of when the pandemic hit and we were all social distancing. I spent quite a few nights racking my brain on how we could do something fun together – but apart. Not to mention, some of the friends that were to be part of the gender reveal party were scattered in various directions, living at least an hour apart.

SO, I started with that and worked from there. When I had everything figured out and put together, it was GENIUS. So why not share it with others out there that could be scratching their heads trying to put something together for their own expecting friend?

Here’s how it went. I put together an opening “poem”, a game guide, and then a bunch of questions. We had 8 people in total (that number included myself – this game may not work well for larger numbers of participants but it could be a good base to work from). Each person got a question, plus a bonus question.

For this game, you have to work backwards off of the end answer to get things to fit together smoothly. The end-point of the game was that my friend was (obviously) either going to have a BOY or a GIRL – so using the “alphabet-number chart code” i.e., A=1, B=2, etc., BOY would have totalled 42 and GIRL would have totalled 46.

Unfortunately I wasn’t going to know the gender until after I had to send out the game to everyone, so added the bonus questions. Each participants bonus question was worth 1 OR 1.5 points depending on the gender. I notified them of at the beginning of the game what it would be worth – which by the way, we played this together on video messaging.

With the questions you can change up how you do the points. You could keep it simple and make each question a certain amount of points (given the amount of people participating and if you know the gender already). I decided to keep it extra interesting so after calculating how many points each question had to be (minus the bonus points), I broke it down so it wasn’t just the question that was giving the points, but amount of letters in the answer to question. I.e., if the answer was a 5 lettered word, that question gave the person 5 points. Necessary? No. Just made everyone think more!

Since there was 8 of us, it worked out really well in terms of being able to do the bonus questions and use them to fill in the answer I wouldn’t know until a few days before the party. (Remember I had to mail them out much sooner than that so I had to make something work.)

All the questions tallied 34 points together (before the bonus questions). If she had had a boy, the bonus questions would have all been worth 1 extra point each (multiply by 8 people), making the total point tally 42. If she had had a girl, the bonus questions would have all been worth 1.5 extra points each (multiply by 8 people), making the total point tally 46.

Everyone kept track of the answer points as we went through the questions out loud together. Each question was worth a different amount of points so that I could achieve the base point total of 34 (which doesn’t divide easily among 8 people). Who ever figured it out first yelled it out over the video chat! It’s a lot of work, and a lot of thinking, and you gotta hope the participants are good with math LOL. But it’s super fun and makes for lots of laughs. Not to mention, it kind of changes up the typical gender reveal games!

Shoot me a message if you tried it and let me know how it worked! Good luck and best wishes to your expecting momma!


Parenting kids, Seriously

Is your instinct to tell kids that they’re okay?


When kids are upset, is it your instinct to tell them that they’re okay?

Whether a child (or anyone really) is physically or emotionally hurt, it is really important for you to recognize how they feel and validate that. Help them label how they’re feeling so they can learn to acknowledge what emotions they are feeling. Acknowledge that it is tough. Walk them through how they’re feeling, what made them feel that way, what happened after, etc.; They need to know that it’s okay not to feel okay – no matter how minor it is. It is up to you as a parent to teach them that.

What happens when kids are told they are feeling something that they actually aren’t?

It hinders their reality of how they’re feeling – in that moment and during future moments to come. As they grow up, they begin to question how they’re feeling. They deny how they’re feeling and push themselves through emotions that sometimes they shouldn’t ignore.

What would you tell an adult who is clearly upset or burning out, but is powering through because they keep telling themselves that they are okay even though they are not?

When you tell kids that they’re okay when they’re not feeling okay, they grow up to tell themselves that they’re okay when they’re not actually – in much bigger situations than just spilling their milk. Emotions and feelings are there for a reason, your body is meant to acknowledge them. Our role as parents is to help them not feel so overwhelmed by emotions and/or at the least, accept them for what they are.
Maybe the next time your little one – or your kids of any age – are upset, try asking them, “Are you okay?” instead of telling them “You are okay.” Let them, tell you, how they feel. Help them recognize what they are feeling. If they’re not sure, help them out by asking them, “Did that scare you?”, “Did you get hurt?”, “Do you feel sad?”.

You can also find an emotions wheel chart for examples here.


Many times kids can also just get overwhelmed with whatever made them feel the way they did, plus the feeling that it caused. You can help them through storytelling. Going through everything that happened and then reminding them how it ended with love and support. I.e., “I know that was scary and you got hurt. When Mommy/Daddy saw/heard I picked you up and held you tight.”

For younger kids, CoComelon has a great clip on YouTube called “The Boo-Boo Song” which shows kids the start-to-finish of a situation in which someone gets hurts and their parents look after them.

So what are the more positive notes about accepting kids’ feelings?

  • They learn to trust their instincts, respecting their bodies natural responses wired intentionally to guide them.
  • They learn to respect their own boundaries, saying “no” when needed.
  • They learn to not bottle up their emotions.
  • They learn to reach out for support and help when needed.
  • They learn to communicate their feelings and needs.
  • They learn its okay not to always feel okay.

What can we say instead?

You might be wondering, well what am I supposed to say anymore if my child fell down, or got up hurt, or is upset? Just so you know, it’s not always easy to rewire or automatic responses. Especially when your intentions never were to dismiss their feelings. No one expects you to wake up the next day and just drop all your other habits that you learned from growing up. For starters, you have to be patient with yourself. If you find it difficult to remember that it’s time to focus on changing somw of your automatic responses, pick one and try to use it throughout the day in any scenario. If you catch yourself saying “it’s/you’re okay”, try to just follow up with the alternative language after. Here are some examples of phrases you can start with.

  • Uh oh
  • I know (in an understanding tone)
  • Did you get hurt?
  • Are you okay?
  • What happened?
  • Can you tell me about it?
  • That was scary
  • I see you’re upset/sad/really excited/angry/scared
  • It’s hard
  • I’m here
  • You fell down/hit your toe/bonked your head/etc.
  • You really want ______, but right now we are going to _______.

Interested in a little extra reading material?

A great, easy book to read and understand that I highly suggest to any parent is “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, & Listen So Kids Will Talk”. Information about this book can be found in my Goodreads widget at the very bottom of this page!

Voice boxing it

For the Love of Parenting


Has anyone felt the struggle and tention in a relationship when you have your first child? It brings a lot of pressure to the table; begs for a lot of understanding from both sides.

Some relationships really struggle – like mine. My husband was left feeling like he couldn’t do much. He started feeling left out because the attention was all on our baby.

Eventually we started trying to be able to make more time for each other but as parents know that’s pretty hard to do. When you do get an hour to yourself we’re often left feeling exhausted and tired. You have to muster up all the remaining energy to give to your partner even knowing that doing so instead of caring for yourself will in turn make the next day harder. Because you know your baby’s going to be up throughout the night.

Tensions rise as do emotions. Reactions are exaggerated by lack of sleep and mental drain.

Often the mom ends up being the one to spend the majority of the time with the baby while the dad is away working throughout the day. So naturally the mom knows things and learns things that take more time for the dad to learn. Naturally the mom will speak up if something’s not being done quite right and then the dad is left feeling like he’s doing things wrong. Which adds to the tension. As the child grows slowly parents get their independence back.

Around the age of 2 the child is probably sleeping a little better, for longer stretches. The family can go out and do things that they couldn’t do when they just had a little baby.
You can stay up at night and have a couple drinks with friends with a monitor nearby to keep an ear on a child sleeping.

You start to ReDiscover who you are now as a parent.

In a lot of families this is when parents can start to reconnect with each other and rebuild their relationship; but in other’s it is when relationships can start to struggle more and the feelings of unresolved issues in the beginning of Parenthood are left festering while emerging Independence is dangled in front of you like a carrot.

Actions and desires can get misinterpreted. It’s hard when as parents you want to do everything that’s best for your child. Most know that a tense relationship between parents is not healthy for a child so the parents push themselves to find balance.

Sometimes though, the end goal makes us lose the feeling of being heard because you’re more focussed on trying to fix things than understand them.

Voice boxing it

The Bittersweetness of Mother’s Day


You know, last mothers day was bitter sweet.

Why?

Because I had had over a year to feel out the motherhood thing. I now know how much love and space your own child takes up in your body, heart, and mind.

Because I had had a miserable time growing up and both my parents were to blame. I went through everything from abuse, neglect, addiction, poverty, bullying, and depression. And to be honest, being a parent has left me with the mind boggling question of how one can do that to their children.

Not to mention once I was able to move on from my crappy beginnings and eventually, ACTUALLY want children of my own, I was faced with pretty slim odds of being able to have one.

2.5 years of trying to conceive, hormone therapy, fertility doctors and 3 miscarriages – we were through the roof when this little embryo decided to snuggle in and put up camp for 9 months.

So, now that I’ve been a mom for a little over a two years now – I never knew that one day (besides the day of my son’s birth) could be so flipping emotional and slightly rollercoaster-y for me.

Mother’s Day for me symbolizes anger, sadness, confusion, happiness, thankfulness and pure joy – especially when getting to see the smile on my boys face.

I’m sure sometimes people may think I/we are just putting on a show, being a little over the top, being fake, or trying to be perfect…

But we aren’t.

I’m just so inlove with being a mom. I have nothing that bothers me about the struggles Jackson has had to face besides that he has had to face them. And I say Jackson, not me, because it wasn’t me having a hard time – it was Jackson.

Yeah I can be a pretty judgy mom. That’s because I can not for the life of me understand how one could consider their child to be too much, annoying, or too much work. How one could roll their eyes at their child. How one could complain about a child’s sleep habits when they’re under the age of ONE.
How one can complain that their baby needs them too much. How anyone could take all this for granted.

Just to it all, HOW.

How can any parent be and feel less than I do now.

(This is excluding PPD and deabilitating medical conditions)

Anyway. I was filled with pure joy and elation watching jackson have a blast last year. It was the best way we could have ever celebrated Mother’s Day.

Forget about all the other stuff for a couple hours and just live in the moment of our little’s giggles and smiles.