When I participate in a race, I don’t ever have any expectations except to cross the finish line, preferably in one piece with no injuries. Everything else is just icing on my sweaty-red-I-feel-like-I-may-have-a-heart-attack face.
But what happened at this race was so much more than icing. It was one of those moments you never forget, and I never will.
It’s June 21st - Father’s Day - and I’m Team Member No. 3 in a triathlon relay at the Toronto Triathlon Festival.
One of the comments I hear most from my close friends is how I’ve managed to achieve balance in my life, which makes me roll my eyes and laugh because, and I'm going to let you in on a little secret here...
Sunday morning. It’s early and I’m out running errands. I’m in my happy place because my kids are old enough that I can now do errands alone which every mother knows is the equivalent to a day at the spa.
I get in line to pay for my items, see this magazine cover, and just like that my serenity is gone.
If your kids are anything like mine...about three days after starting the school year, they are already done with it. They've caught up with their friends, opened all the new school supplies and reality has hit them like a tonne of bricks - they've got ten more months of this.
To combat this a couple of times a week I break out of our routine and greet my kids in a special way they aren’t expecting. It’s done great things for all our moods and sets the tone for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
From a young age my older son was afraid of the water. At a beach or pool he would tentatively walk in, stopping as soon as the water reached his waist, not going any further for fear of getting his face wet. Splash pads were a torturous medieval gauntlet he avoided by running around the outside edges of the pad while trying to figure out where the water would come from next to avoid being splashed.
14 years ago my mom passed away less than a month before Mother’s Day, making that Mother's Day the second worst day of my life. That first year with my mom gone was like a punch to the stomach on every holiday and celebration she missed.
There’s a Tumblr account called Asshole Parents and it’s simply photos upon photos submitted by parents of their kid in meltdown mode because the parent wouldn’t let them do something. Google #AssholeParent and you’ll be inundated with these photos. Kids crying, screaming, flailing, freaking out, tear-stained faces, faces contorted in anger…
New parents are excited about milestones - the first smile, first tooth, first birthday, first steps - but the parents who have been there and done it know some milestones are insidious and once that milestone has been achieved you can't undo it. Like the homemade tattoo you got when you were 19.
Learn from us new parents; these are the milestones you want to put off for as long as humanly possible.
I've lived through enough March Breaks to know we parents sometimes set the bar too high. We get ideas on Pinterest and Facebook and we are determined to make this the BEST MARCH BREAK EVER.
As someone who has now survived (and thrived) through ten March Breaks, take it from me - the kids don't remember the perfectly painted crafts or the carefully planned outings so much as they remember the little moments of laughter and how you let them sleep in a fort made of blankets and cushions - a fort they created on their own.
My mom used to tell me funny stories about my night time walkabouts when I was a kid. Like the time I peed in the garbage can in the kitchen thinking it was a toilet. Or how I once came downstairs at 10pm requesting tomato soup, unaware of the fact that I was sleeping.
With electronics always within arms’ reach it’s sometimes hard to encourage kids to get out and be active.
Adventure walks are just that - a simple and inexpensive way to turn an ordinary walk with your family into a fun way to disconnect from tech and reconnect with nature. The walks can take place anywhere; in your neighbourhood, at a local park, or you can drive to an area with trails and go for a hike.
When my sons were born I recorded everything – first smiles, first foods, first words, first steps. Everything was photographed and written down so I’d never forget.
We do that, us parents. We want to remember everything and to this day I still look back and it makes me smile to see those images and words. It’s the one piece of advice all new parents are given: record everything and take more pictures than you think are necessary because the time flies by faster than you’ll ever realize.