Parenting: it’s guaranteed to make you sick

When my kids get sick my gut reaction is always the same: a wave of annoyance and then an overwhelming feeling of mom guilt.

Of course, I know what I should be feeling: concern for my child’s health, empathy over their current situation, even a little sadness that they aren’t feeling well.

Instead, though, I seem to always fall short. Take the other night for example. My youngest was in my room having stolen both my phone and my bed. It was a quiet night until I heard it. The sound no parent wants to hear, but can immediately recognize.

The sound of puke hitting the floor.

Instead of being the good mother who runs to be by their child’s side, I find myself muttering ‘for fuck’s sake’ under my breath and cursing our lack of paper towels.

I hate when my kids get sick.  It’s not only the fact that instead of becoming snuggly, tired and sweet my kids become whiny snot monsters wrecking havoc on the household; it’s because they are determined to take me down with them.

My kids are amazing at timing their sneezes to land directly in my face, and they also manage to insist on sleeping their sickness off as close to me as possible just to up the ante.

During this particular sickness, I was fortunate enough to have the stomach flu hit just as we had run out of laundry soap. With a serious concern with the state of both of her ends, I finally attempted to venture out a few days after the start of ‘shitmageddon’ only to have my little one fall asleep in the car. My need for a home that didn’t smell like sewage was overthrown by my daughter’s sheer need for rest.

After a few days of insanity, I found myself desensitized. My little one would find her usual spot in the kitchen (in case you were planning on eating that day), let me know she wasn’t feeling well and then proceed to puke all over herself.

I guess after shitting her pants while sleeping in my bed a little puke on the tile floor was a welcome change.

And now, with a family party on the horizon and plenty to do, she has managed to pass her stomach flu to me. So after days of cleaning up bodily fluids, I now get to experience it first hand. It could be worse though.

She could have given it to my husband.

 

 

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

 

 

 

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.

 

Why having a lazy parent has benefited my kids

Doing less for my kids now will pay off in the future

Most parents find themselves wondering if they are doing enough for their children, but how many question if they are doing too much? After all, our job as parents is to prepare our kids for the future, but are we actually teaching them how to be independent or just becoming their personal slaves?

My husband and I chose to have our kids extremely close together. In the beginning my kid’s ability to be independent was a necessity, but as they grew I realize just how much this skill set has actually benefited my kids. After all, the job of a parent isn’t to do for our children, but rather teach them to do for themselves. Take a look at five ways being a ‘lazy parent’ has helped me raise independent kids.

Dress up-As soon as my kids were able to toddle I encouraged them to dress themselves and rewarded them for doing so. I understand how frustrating it is to watch your  little one struggle to put on a single shoe for five minutes when all you want to do is get out the door, but it will pay off later.

As my children got older, I gave them the freedom to choose their clothing in exchange for them dressing themselves.   They have come up with some questionable outfits, but as long as it is in season and it fits properly, it’s good to go.

Pack up-One of the biggest complaints among parents of school-aged kids is the complete torture of packing lunches. Not only do you have to compete with the Pinterest worthy animal-shaped gluten free lunches posted in the mom groups, but you also have to figure a way to pack a healthy, litter-free, allergen-free lunch your child will actually eat.

You are set up to fail in this scenario.

As soon as my kids were able to eat solids, they started helping me in the kitchen. As soon as my oldest started school, she started making her lunch. She was allowed to choose what went into her lunch as long as there was one veggie or fruit, one treat and a sandwich. Of course I still passively participated in this process, but by making her lunch herself she was far more likely to eat it. #momwin

Clean  up-As a busy mother of three, I see cleaning as less of a chore and more of a necessity. Battling the mess was a daily struggle. I remember I was at a parenting group and we had a guest speaker who spoke about the importance of rest for parents. She encouraged us to clean during the day and make sure to get downtime once we put the kids to bed. As a result from a young age my girls not only watched me clean, they got in on the act. In fact, they would fight over the chance to take a bottle of water and vinegar and wash the cupboards or sweep the floor. As the years progressed, cleaning just became part of our daily routine. Their rooms are expected to stay tidy and they put their own clothes in the laundry room when dirty and in the proper drawers when clean. I know many teenagers who still haven’t mastered this skill.

Make up-The only thing crazier than having three kids under three in our house is the knowledge that one day we will have three teenage daughters living under our roof.

f&*k…

The only way to deal with the tantrums, crying and arguments that are bound to happen in the future, is to take a hands-off approach in the present.  While my kids love to fight, (I have seen some epic blow-outs) unless there are extreme circumstances, I am not getting involved. My kids are learning conflict resolution, tolerance and not to be a tattle tale because I frankly don’t want to spend my day figuring out who took whose toy first.

Sleep up-One of the biggest wins as a parent was finding a punishment that works for my kids and for myself. When my kids misbehave my go-to punishment is almost always the same: early bedtime. This is actually genius because I know that when my kid starts acting out they need extra sleep but they hate the idea of going to bed. This is one punishment that I never feel guilty throwing out and I love following through on. The kid who needs extra sleep gets it and the other kids get more attention for behaving well.

While I may be lazy in my parenting method, I only have my kid’s best interests at heart. If they can grow up to know how to care for themselves, they may even consider moving out one day rather than living in our basement well into their 30’s.

Well, a parent can dream.