As an urban dweller, I can solidly declare that my BRF (Bitchy Resting Face) is epic. The key is not making eye contact, and fixing your lips into a cranky-Gucci-scowl. Like this:
I wouldn't talk to me. I'm guessing you wouldn't either.
Here's where my urban shield against solicitation, chit-chat, crazies, and crabbies fails—I'm not able to be a human being out in the world. I realized this problem recently, as a pregnant woman on the receiving end of a chilly city filled with BRF.
Case Study 1: A visibly pregnant woman (that's me) happens upon a young mom with a large stroller trying to solo-carry it up two flights of subway stairs. Literally dozens of people walk by, so pregnant woman grabs the bottom and helps this woman get to the top safely with her baby. Not one person stops to help. To be fair, I'm pretty sure they didn't even look. Urban-defences gone wrong.
Case Study 2: A visibly pregnant woman (again, me) mercifully gets a seat on a crowded subway. Two stops later a woman with a small infant in a carrier and an upset toddler gets on. No one on the subway looks up—scowling into their copies of the free daily newspaper. Pregnant woman rises and gives this woman and her two smalluns a chair. Not claiming to be a hero, just the only person who noticed that she needed a seat more than I did.
Case Study 3: A visibly pregnant woman boards a crowded subway (pattern, yes?). No one looks up. Another young woman (standing) let's out a sigh of exasperation and loudly announces to the subway, "There's a pregnant woman on here and no one is going to offer their seat?!" No one's BRF budges an inch. Papers aren't ruffled. We're alone on a crowded subway, this urban vigilante and me.
What's the takeaway? Are urban people bad, rude, selfish, tough, unkind, and without empathy?
In fact, it's the opposite.
The urban creature is often anxious, protective, unsure, and bombarded with thousands of faces throughout their daily commute. The BRF and other urban shields against humanity (newspaper, earbuds, and fake phone conversations) are merely a way to protect one's self.
Do I understand why people do this? Absolutely.
Do I think it's making our cities a good place to be someone who could really use five seated minutes on their transit ride to work (pregnant or otherwise)?
So here's my PSA to anyone living in any city in the world:
I'm not asking you to jump up from your subway chair with each new rider entering the car. I'm asking you to lower your BRF for just one day, and take in the riders around you. Let yourself be vulnerable. Let yourself be a human among other humans.
You might just find yourself standing in the crowd, and smiling.
Attending BlissDom Canada 2013 was a turning point for me in my blogging, shareable content, and social media journey.
BlissDom Canada 2013 was the conference equivalent of taking the red Matrix pill. The experience showed me a brilliant and giving creative community that I didn't even realize existed. These people—the speakers and attendees—are creating the viral and meaningful content that I was reading and sharing every single day. Once you know they exist—and that BlissDom exists—it's something you can’t un-know.
I am currently in my 8th month of pregnancy, and this year's BlissDom Canada conference falls one week before my expected due date with my second child.
This could mean a very exciting year for my fellow BlissDom attendees. Will I start hypnobirthing and J-breathing during the much-anticipated Advanced Media Training workshop? Come to the conference to find out!
In all honesty, giving birth at BlissDom wouldn’t actually be the worst thing I can think of. In fact, there would be more than one upside.
Here are the five reasons I hope this baby arrives during BlissDom Canada 2014:
1) Mabel’s Label’s Maven Julie Cole—a mom of six—will be a speaker at BlissDom this year. I'm feeling confident that she can show me how to squeeze this human out of me in less than thirty minutes, and then return to looking fabulous and starting my own family-friendly empire. BlissDom speakers are truly top-tier.
2) Yummy Mummy Club Founder, Erica Ehm, was found conducting participant interviews with BlissDom attendees throughout the weekend of BlissDom 2013. She brings her own cameraman with great lighting, so my post-birth interview is bound to be the stuff that viral media is made of. (Note to Erica: please allow me to put pants back on before we begin the interview). BlissDom VIPs are accessible, making the "exclusive" feel "inclusive."
That's just SleepCountry Canada President, Christine Magee, and Me hanging out. No big deal.
3) BlissDom organizers and sponsors provide THE BEST food and snacks, which will be perfect for post-labour recovery. With Tim Horton’s running a delectable doughnut station last year, I’m looking forward to a hot mugga something and a carb-n-sugar pick-me-up after the baby comes out. I see they are listed as a sponsor again this year! BlissDom sponsors REALLY bring it. You'll need an empty duffel bag for all of your freebies and brand connections.
4) Labour and delivery photos from brilliant bloggers, like Melissa Gaston and Ali Martell, will be better than any studio shoot! I attended a wonderfully helpful session for blog-photo newbies at BlissDom 2013, and my thumb hasn't been featured in any of my blog photos since. The BlissDom microsessions are hands-on helpful.
5) BlissDom brings together the best storytellers from around the country. I couldn’t ask to have more talented writers on-hand to cover the action with humour, suspense, horror, and touching humanity. If labour does start during this year's conference, then I'm sure to help provide some seriously viral material for some of the country's best content creators. BlissDom attendees are some of the most brilliant creators I've ever met.
While ACTUALLY going into labour at BlissDom is likely more drama than I am hoping for, I would truly be disappointed if this year's conference passed through Mississauga without my having attended. The people, the information, the connections, and the community are unlike any other conference I have ever attended. There is a reason they call it BlissDom.
"Bliss"—hmmmmm, not a bad choice for a girl's name . . .
The word “Mom” should be synonymous with the word “Multitasker.”
So, it’s no surprise that the liquid gold of motherhood, breast milk, is also the ultimate multitasker. Of all the things I am looking forward to about having my second child in just a few weeks, breastfeeding is near the top of the list.
Nutritional benefits aside, I remember some of the fantastic ways that I used breast milk, outside of straightforward feeding. And, when you’ve got a newborn, multitasking is elevated to a new level of importance in your life.
So, how can breast milk help you multitask, Mom?
FOR CLOGGED TEAR DUCTS
The experienced moms in my life explained that a little squirt of breast milk can help gently, and naturally, clear any clogged ducts for baby. Worked well for us when my daughter was teeny!
FOR DIAPER RASH
My daughter never had any problematic diaper rash issues as a newborn. I would often (liberally) apply breast milk to her wee bottom during our “diaper-free” time each afternoon. A milky bum is a happy bum, I suppose.
FOR YOUR OWN SORE NIPPLES
I read a lot of great books when I was pregnant with my first daughter. Lots of these resources suggested using your own breast milk to keep nipples moisturized and crack-free—especially during those exhausting cluster-feeding spurts. Just finish each feeding by expressing a little extra milk and allowing it to air dry on your nipples.
FOR CRADLE CAP
Cradle cap is part of the ugly phase that happens to most babies (yes, yes, they’re all beautiful. Please don’t try and tell me a crusty head is part of that beauty). One of the ways I combatted this extremely common issue was applying expressed breast milk to baby’s scalp at the end of a feeding. Certainly didn’t hurt her, and the cradle cap phase didn’t last very long.
AS A NATURAL PAIN KILLER
It was my family doctor who suggested nursing baby during her immunizations to help provide a natural painkiller. The comfort is great for baby (and not a bad way for mommy to feel better about that first needle, too).
Outside of my own personal experiences with breast milk and its multitasking properties, there are even more ways that you can use this amazing multitasking body fluid:
IT CAN BE DONATED
This blogger describes using breast milk to soothe an insect bite by squirting a little milk on the bite and rubbing it in, thoroughly, to stop itching. A non-invasive option I’m happy to try this time around!
Friend-and-neighbour moms have suggested using breast milk to aid a baby’s stuffy nose. Just squirt a few drops into the congested nostril(s) for lubricating relief.
This one I couldn’t find a source for (other than discussions on chat forums), however, if one is embracing the “Breast milk: I Put That S#!* on Everything” philosophy, then why the hell not…
For teeny teethers, or even if baby is running a temperature, a breast milk “popsicle” is just the thing. You can use a traditional popsicle mold, like the one below from Ikea.
Or, for tinier mouths, you can freeze a soother into the breast milk using a small shot-glass to hold the liquid (remember shot glasses? Nah, me neither). I’m extremely excited to make use of this trick for Baby #2.
Your newfound status as CFO (Chief Fluid Officer) means that you need to multitask in any and every way possible. If that means putting your breast milk on anything and everything that requires intervention, then I say you lean in to that philosophy. It’s a messy job, motherhood—someone has to do it.
New mom? Then you better stop wasting time by doing these things.
Or for quick clean-up inspiration, try these 30 Clutter Control Tips that Take Less Than 30 Minutes.