Why I let my kids skip school

While most employers want you to take the day off if you are physically ill, mental health days aren’t always looked at the same way.

With my kids I often encourage them to go to school with a case of the sniffles or a nagging cough. I use the old, ‘tell your teacher if you are feeling sick and they will call me to get you’ schtick knowing full well that they will forget about wanting to stay home once they are surrounded by their friends and the fun of school.

Yet when it comes to mental health I tend to take a different approach. In my opinion and my personal experience, when your mental health is suffering you are not going to be productive or receptive to learning new information.

While weekends may be the ideal time to recharge your batteries, with birthday parties, errands and three busy little girls I find the weekends busier than ever.

Taking time to reconnect

So when I notice one of my kids needing a little boost, I will usually take a day just for the two of us. This past week I noticed a need in my middle daughter. She had been especially crabby after school and I could just tell she was exhausted. The demands of full-day senior kindergarten coupled with after-school activities and a lingering cough had taken her toll and she needed a break.

So when it came time to get ready for school the next morning I gave her a free pass. One of the things my kids like the best about days off, whether it is the weekend or one of their special ‘bonus days’, is the ability to spend their entire day in their pajamas. Even if we go out I will still let them rock a princess nightgown and mismatched bottoms. After all, they are only kids once.Before I know it they will be embarrassed to be seen with me.

Our day off

Our days off usually follow the same sort of formula. We spend part of the day cleaning up the house and striking items off of my to-do list and then we get to do something fun together.

Our latest adventure consisted of cleaning a new to us couch, getting a happy meal (and a very large coffee) and going on the hunt for an out of season winter jacket.

Some days we spend alone at home snuggling on the couch and watching some terrible shows on Netflix. We spend time cuddling, unwinding, and de-stressing.

We get to spend some much needed one-on-one time together and they are able to face the next day of school energized and refreshed.

Mental health breaks benefit everyone

Taking care of my kid’s mental health is a great reminder to also take time for myself. As much as I am needed to take care of my family, if I am not also taking care of myself everything will fall apart. So, as I sip my wine and soak in the tub I am not wasting away my Friday night, but instead taking a great step towards better mental health.


How to get skinny for free (cause I’m a cheap and chubby)

Why do they call it a weight loss journey? To me, a journey implies a fun little trip where you can stop for ice cream along the way. The process of trying to lose weight to me is more of a hike. It involves running shoes, drinking lots of water and it is often much harder than you anticipated to reach your goal.

I am certainly not the first mother who wants to lose the mom jeans and get into skinny pants, but I am trying to reach my goal with a twist.

I want to lose weight without spending any money.

I’m not even talking about avoiding buying protein shakes, skinny pills and exercise equipment. I am talking about not spending any money at all.

Yeah, you can say I am pretty cheap.

Why should I have to spend money in order to withhold delicious carbs from my body and sweat out all my poor choices? All I need is to work my ass off (literally) and get a little creative.

The first thing I did was find a willing gym partner and then take advantage of their kindness. My sweet sister has a membership at Planet Fitness that includes unlimited guests. The first time I accompanied her to the gym I simply showed some ID and from then on out I simply had to give my phone number. Now most people would probably just get their own membership. I really do love the gym and it’s really inexpensive to sign up. They even give free tootsie rolls to the chumps like me who are too cheap to sign up. I love it-but I don’t want to pay for it.

While relying on a partner to lose weight is not always the best way to go, I always have my plan B: YouTube.

I actually love finding good quality workouts online to be able to workout in the privacy of my own home on my own schedule. I am actually working on this seven day ab routine that has made my abs hurt in the best way ever. I also love a good old Tae Bo routine. Especially one like this from back in the day where Billy Blanks sweats his butt off and there is always sexual tension between him and the blonde in the first row who keeps yelling, ‘yes sir’ with a little bit too much enthusiasm.

One of the best free weight loss options for me is to embrace running. Since I am not a natural runner, I need a little help with some good tunes and a good app to help get my butt in gear. I love C25K. I can start off slow and build my way to running a 5 k and looking good while doing it.

While exercise is part of weight loss, what I really need is a personal assistant to slap my kid’s leftover nuggets out of my hands and into the trash. Since I need a free option, My Fitness Pal is the perfect pick. I love how easy it is to find the calories on my favourite foods so I can quickly determine how much ice cream I can eat without having to skip a meal.

Of course, there is more than just fitting into a bathing suit motivating me to trim my waistline. I have three girls looking up to me to learn how to have a healthy balance. As much as this little experiment will teach them about healthy living, I am hoping they can also learn that there are ways to get what you need without spending money unnecessarily and utilizing the resources around you. #cheapandchubby




Mom’s night out



Just because I am a mom doesn’t mean I have stopped being me. It actually took me a long time to work that out. It took years of parenting for me to figure out that while I am a mother, it does not completely define me. I love being with my children and I love being their mother, but before I was a mother I had a whole other life for 28 years and I loved that life as well.

One of the ways that I work towards keeping my life in balance is spending time with good friends. I love having mom friends who would never judge a dirty house or a bad parenting moment because I know they have them too.

A few months ago I got the opportunity to reconnect with some friends that I had not seen in 16 years. When I last saw these friends I was fresh out of college, with a super hot pre-baby body and all the time to hang out in the world. Almost two decades later I have a mom bod, wrinkles and I am piled with responsibilities, children and mom jeans.

I could have of easily said no, or opted out at the last minute. The thought of staying home and soaking in a tub with a glass of wine often trumps any ‘plans’ I may make, yet for some reason I decided I was going, come hell or high water.

And so I found myself knocking on the door of a friend I hadn’t seen in 16 years and yet when she opened it one of the first things she said was, ‘you haven’t changed a bit.’

Well, she may be a wonderful liar, but truth be told, sometimes I need a break from being a mom. Sometimes I need to be around people who don’t want to hear about my kids’ latest ailments and are instead interested in knowing where I would like to travel to or what the next step is in my career. Of course I couldn’t avoid bragging about my kids completely, that would be way too hard for this momster. But I still got a chance to be Melissa for the night, instead of just ‘mommy’.

While the night was fun and I loved a chance to be out late without worrying about my children (I have a wonderful husband) and got to blow off a little steam. In order to be the best mom I can be sometimes I need to get a chance to just be a woman out with her friends. In order to not let the insurmountable responsibilities of parenthood and adulthood overwhelm me I need a chance to once in a while step away from them a remember what life was like at 20 before marriage and children and a mortgage.

And of course by the end of the night I want nothing more to climb into the comfort of my husband and wake up to the sweet faces of my babies, demanding breakfast and attention and their mom.




How to deal with an itchy uterus

It’s a question I hear again and again. It is asked by parents everywhere and often extremely hard to answer:

how do you know when you are done having kids?

I have found the answer.

Despite the fact that I have three very demanding and energetic girls my family has never felt complete. With my youngest approaching five and my husband ‘fixed’ years ago, I know logically my child bearing years are over, but my heart wasn’t all the way there. Luckily, I was able to find the cure-all for an itchy uterus.


The other day I spent some time with one of my nephews. At a couple months old he is now out of the newborn stage (way too sweet and squishy of a stage to solve my itch) and is now a full-fledged baby. As soon as my sis-in-law came through the door I had that baby in my arms.

He was so sweet and cuddly. I could feel my uterus twitching with each contented sigh and sniff of that sweet baby scent. My girls cuddled around him just adding to the problem.

Just as I was ready to confront my husband and demand he get his snip reversed, I realized my girls were overwhelming this poor kid and were one step away from mauling him like they do our cats.


Then the poor guy puked. I can’t blame him but still…

And he needed to be changed. While his mom scooped him up to clean him up it reminded me of the fact that after years of diapers my girls are finally able to wipe their own butts . I am also only recently recovered from years of random poop smeared on walls, floating in the bath and I still find the odd streak in cartoon character underwear.

At this point I think the baby started to sense I was turning  so we both agreed it was grandma’s turn to hold him. It was obvious he was tired and as she began to rock him and he started to fight his sleep it hit me.

Nope. Nope. NOPE.

I can’t do it again. As much as I love my girls and I love babies, I have no desire to fight to get another baby to sleep. The itch in my uterus was cured and the answer was found.

All parents of babies need is a break. They love the chance to have someone else love on their little one so they are able to shower, nap or even just get a break from the overwhelming task of caring for an infant. As a parent of older kids, all I need is a visit with a baby to see just how happy I am to have older kids to love on and enjoy.

And if my uterus starts acting up again I know it’s time to offer up my time to a parent in need of a break.


I sent my vagina to rehab: chapter one-a new hope

I just want to be able to jump on a trampoline. Now, this may seem like a pretty lame goal. Yet as a mother who carried and birthed three children in three years, I officially have the pelvic floor of a senior citizen. Just looking at the trampoline is enough to make me pee.

Just a little.

So when I got a writing assignment to interview a pelvic floor physiotherapist it felt like kismet. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I visited the office of Laura Apps, physiotherapist. Is it all stirrups and pelvic crunches? Does she have special vagina weights?

It was actually a mix of a gym and doctor’s office. Through our talk, I discovered that most women can’t even do a proper kegel! While peeing a little bit is common, it is certainly not something women should have to live with.

In other words, I need to do something about it.

So, I have decided to send my lady bits to rehab. After all, I am not yet 40, I still have many good years ahead of me in that department. I guess it is time to give back to a part of my anatomy that has been battered by three children.

I was able to grasp from my interview is that my first visit will include an internal exam to determine the strength of my pelvic floor.

In other words, it is going to be intense. Not only is she going to see my hoo-ha, but she is going to be all up in my business.

So I need to get prepared. To groom or not to groom? I don’t want her to think I am some old lady but I would also love a little mystery when a near stranger is going to evaluate my undercarriage.

Do people still vajazzle? I mean, she is a nice girl. I want her to feel I put an effort in.

Speaking of putting an effort in. I need to make sure that I start back at the gym and eating healthy so I can tell her I work out and eat healthy.

While I debate my grooming, I do have a secret weapon to help me out. I was sent a V-Sculpt from JoyLux to try and laser my vagina back to health. I have spent the last week staring at the box to try and get my nerve up to open it.

The box promises an enjoyable 10 minutes to improve the collagen in your pelvic floor. So, is this a solo act or do I need a spotter? The phallic shaped object also comes with a conductive gel. Against my better judgment I decided my husband home, but not involved, might be the best way to go.

So after ignoring the box for a week my husband finally forced my hand by charging his new best friend in our kitchen for 12 hours. After much urging, I finally relented to try this thing which looked like the world’s nicest vibrator.

Actually, the first time I used this thing I didn’t turn it on properly and it was basically just a fancy schmanzy vibrating device. Once I figured out that I never turned it on, I actually tried it out. I started in on three, which is considered beginner, and it timed itself for six minutes.

The V Sculpt feels like a load of laundry that has come right out of the dryer and shoved up your lady bits except the laundry is just a little bit hot. It’s not quite comfortable and not quite uncomfortable. It’s basically just a tad hotter than I like at level three, and it goes all the way up to level five.

Of course, a few minutes of heat is worth the payoff of not randomly peeing my pants.