A while ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a two-hour workshop with yoga instructor, meditation guide, and energy healer Hillary Pike and musician Darren Austin Hall. The experience was profound for a number of reasons, but most notable was the fact that I wasn't at home negotiating the bedtime routines of my two little girls.
Looking at my living room, I don't know where I could possibly put another toy. My daughters' stuff has taken over our house to the extent that I don't even want to buy any Hanukkah gifts this year. And I love Hanukkah and I love buying presents. Last year I was all about making a big deal out of Hanukkah, but this year? This year I feel like a bit of a Grinch.
From diapers and food, to gadgets and toys, to childcare and extracurriculars, to education—the list goes on as your bank account dwindles. Before having kids, things were much simpler. We could predict our expenses and budget accordingly. These days, there are unexpected expenses around every corner—not to mention we’re really bad at saying "No" when our kids ask for stuff. All of this adds up to an expensive life and some stress around finances.
How often do you come across a theatre production that has musical performances and a storyline geared toward kids, comedy that's written especially for adults, and quality talent the likes of which you'd find on Broadway? The answer: just once a year at Ross Petty' Productions' annual holiday pantomime. This year's show is Cinderella, The Gags to Riches Family Musical!
If I won the lottery tomorrow, after doling out a number of substantial donations to the causes that matter most to me, and sharing the wealth with family and friends, I would . . .
Hire a chef! Someone whose only responsibility would be to feed my family healthy, well balanced, organic, non-GMO, made from scratch food that tastes delicious and everyone would eat, without a fuss. I’d never have to think about meal prep again. Said chef would also be a sommelier who could pour me a perfectly paired glass of wine with every meal—obviously.
I'm in need of a bad news intervention. I read Facebook and Google News like an addict in need of a fix. I can't help myself. I click on headlines that promise a hefty dose of fear and I read what follows insatiably. If only I can stay informed and on top of all the bad news, I’ll be able to rest easy. WRONG!
Filling yourself up with bad news is like filling yourself up with sugar. The more you eat it, the more your body craves it, and the worse you feel as a result. Frankly, all this fear is giving me a stomach ache.
Parenting advice. There's a lot of it out there—speakers and authors telling you what to do, other moms offering up often unsolicited advice, message boards where everyone is free to weigh in, and even your own mother, or mother-in-law, or step-mother, or grandmother, with well-meaning advice . . .
Independence is a big issue around here. My daughter is 4.5 going on 15 and she's starting to exercise her right to independence. From putting together her own outfits and balking at any input I offer, to instructing me to walk ahead of her on the sidewalk so she can do her own thing without me watching—she's trying to figure out how much she's capable of doing on her own.
"It's okay, it's okay Mommy," she'll say. "I can do it by myself. You don't have to help me."
I don't know about you, but I find music to be the best cure for almost everything around here. Kids have a case of the grumps? Turn on the Mini Pop Kids and rock out! Stuck in the car as a family for what seems like an eternity? Pop Sonshine & Broccoli into the CD player and sing like no one is listening! Feeling exhausted but having trouble winding down?
Have you ever stopped to watch your kids just play? It never ceases to amaze me how vivid their little imaginations can be when left to their own devices. Just this afternoon my four-year-old had all of her dolls lined up outside our powder room giving them “manicures” by rubbing soapy water on their hands and faces. At the same time, her 16-month-old sister was snatching up the dolls, plunking them into her toy high chair, and feeding them lunch.
I couldn’t be a prouder Canadian—but I LOVE shopping in the USA. With so much selection and such amazing prices it's hard to resist heading across the border. Even though Canada has many of my American favourites, including Target, they're just not the same. Plus, there are a few stores exclusive to the US that I’ve become quite loyal to since having kids.
Currently, I’m up to my eyeballs in Mommy Camp. I’m trying out the role of get-into-the-sandbox-and-wading-pool-with-my-kids, leave-my-iPhone-in-my-purse, PLAY-at-home mommy. And despite what I previously imagined, I’m actually having a lot of fun. But, every time I sit down at my computer to work…even if just for five minutes…this happens:
Back in the day, I used to be an awesome camp counsellor. I had boundless energy and a cabin full of 8- and 9-year-olds didn't scare me. I dreamed up awesome games to keep them entertained, brushed their knotted hair after swim, held their hands if they were unsure about a new activity, and rubbed their backs and told them bedtime stories. I took on the role of 'mommy for the summer' and I loved it. Back then I was just 18.
Last week as I stood waiting for the bus to bring my 4-year-old daughter home from camp, a terrible accident was taking place in my neighbourhood. I heard the sirens wail and felt in my gut that something was wrong. Reports indicate that a 6-year-old girl was walking across the street as an oncoming van was making a right turn. No charges have been laid, but the investigation is on going.
In late June, I had the opportunity to take my 4-year-old to her very first musical! I love musical theatre and was so excited to see what my daughter's reaction would be to all the bright lights, singing, and dancing. I wanted to find a theatre experience that wouldn't be overwhelming for her. I had thought about taking her to see The Wizard of Oz when it was in Toronto, but I worried it would be too scary.