What makes you an awesome parent?

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I got treated to a coffee date with one of my dearest girlfriends Saturday. After speaking to her Friday and letting her in on my need for a break she asked me on a date so we could chat and catch up. Since our move last summer I haven’t really been able to see my friends on a regular basis – we’ve all got a ton going on and with this new distance between us it’s a little difficult to get together as much as before. So, this was an extra special treat. Naturally, the conversation came full circle and we ended up talking about our kiddos (break right?). I told her about my blog and how I write about how damn hard parenting is sometimes and she stopped me dead in my tracks by asking me what makes me an awesome parent.

Well shit, do you know that I really didn’t know how to answer her? I just looked at her dumbfounded and in that moment I realized that I don’t give myself enough credit for the parts of motherhood that I’m actually pretty good at.

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I don’t have it all figured out- nope, not even close but I am doing the absolute best I can. There are days that I consciously ignore my kids saggy diaper butt to avoid another diaper change meltdown. There are also days where she watches more T.V than is recommended and we don’t delve into book reading, creative activities or momtastic activities like foot painting or glitter gluing.

There are days that my brain, heart and body are just tired and you know what, I think that’s okay… sometimes.

There are bad days and there are good days and on those good days I’ll tickle my little girl until she laughs so hard she cries. Those days are the ones where I let her explore, make messes and let her just be her – in all her messy glory. Those days actually happen more often than they don’t. So, maybe I’m being a little too hard on myself.

After much thought and reflection this weekend I came up with a random list of reasons why I’m an awesome mum to Margs. I think “us” Mums/Dads are far too hard on ourselves and often fail to see and acknowledge what a good job we do most of the time. We are good enough – we just have to stop, take a deep breath and appreciate it more often, don’t we?

Let’s have at it, shall we?

/ I am an awesome Mum because I’ve created and maintain a safe physical and emotional space for Margs

/ I am an awesome Mum because I love Margs unconditionally and always put her first

/ I am an awesome Mum because (despite my type A personality) I’m allowing Margs to “fall” so she can teach herself to get right back up again (both figuratively and literally)

My friend reminded me to stop and pat myself on the back every now and again so now I’m going to do the same for you – some days we just need that extra shove to put it all in perspective.

Now, I absolutely, categorically insist that you share why YOU are an AWESOME parent too!

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Highs & Lows – Week of February 6th

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This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the links to any of the products mentioned below.


I’m so so excited that it is finally Friday – it’s been a rough week anxiety wise and I’m really looking forward to having Mer around to give me a small break this weekend. I think I might head to a local coffee shop tomorrow and treat myself to a cappuccino and a much needed emotional/physical break from my role as mom. I feel awful that I’m so desperately craving a break from my kid but it’s just been such a rough week (sleep training, teething, general fussiness coupled with my own anxiety issues) that I just need some time to sit and just be me and not mom for a few hours.

Highs

[1] Margs slept in her pack and play 4 nights this week. This is HUGE since we couldn’t even put her down anywhere but our bed without having her wake up screaming. She hasn’t slept through the night yet but the physical separation means that Mer and I are finally sleeping in the same bed again. We’ll take it – even if it means getting up 2-3 times per night to help soothe her back to sleep. Eventually, we hope she’ll be able to self soothe. But, for now we’re celebrating this small victory.

[2] My meal prep on Sunday has made dinners this week an absolute breeze. I prepped a cottage pie, baked fried chicken, pork chops in a white wine mushroom sauce, Mediterranean chicken, rice with lentils, broccoli rab & green beans. Dinner has been basically been heat and serve – there’s no mess to clean and it makes our evening routine with Margs much more relaxed an easy to manage. Is anyone interested in the recipes? If so, I’d be more than willing to post them on the blog. Just let me know!

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[3] We celebrated Margs’ 14th month birthday this week. It’s truly amazing to watch her grow. It seems like she’s changing by the minute. She’s currently walking, talking and exploring like it’s nobodies business. She continues to amaze me every single day.

Lows

[1] I’m feeling rather isolated most days which isn’t good for my anxiety because it gives me far too much time to think and feed the spiral. I should try and immerse myself in our small community and start going to play groups with Margs again or find another activity we can join that will give us both the opportunity to socialize but winter in the Canadian north sucks guys – it makes going out so difficult.

[2] I’m over winter. I’m nursing a very sore shoulder thanks to having to chip 2 inches of ice from our driveway. I used to love winter but now it’s just hard. The cold, the unpredictable weather, the crazy amounts of baby gear needed to keep Margs warm and safe. Some days it’s just easier to avoid heading out at altogether. It’s pretty but totally not practical.

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[3] I’m struggling with my own sleep patterns. I’ve never been a great sleeper but recently it’s been increasingly difficult to fall asleep at night. I’m sure our horrible sleep situation wasn’t helping. There are far too many nights where I find myself awake binge watching Netflix hoping I’ll doze off. Some nights that means no sleep until 3-4 am.

[4] I’m still trying to find an allergist to have Margs tested. I’m so incredibly frustrated that one, not one clinic has called me back and that two, we might have to wait up to 2 years to find out if she is in fact allergic to blueberries because the wait list is that long. Socialized health care really sucks sometimes. In the meantime, we’ve got an epi-pen and we’re avoiding blueberries. I’m just worried there are other allergies we don’t know about.

So there you have it, my highs and lows for this week!

What are your highs and lows for this fine week of February 6th?

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I’m not the fun parent and I’m okay with that

When Margs was approximately 6 months old it became really clear that Mer was becoming her “fun parent”. At first, my big green monster reared its ugly head and I got really jealous and resentful that my precious little girl (that I gestated horizontally for so so long) appeared to show a clear preference for her father. I cried, a lot. Seriously, far more times than I’m even comfortable admitting at this point. Selfishly, I believed that she’d somehow know what sacrifice I’d made to get her here safely and prefer me by default (totally minimizing Mer’s suffering- because he suffered too. My grief was so very selfish and I plan to write about that one day). Clearly, she loves me dearly but as she gets older and develops more autonomy it’s pretty clear Mer is still the fun parent.

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And you know what guys, I’m totally okay with that.

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As Mer and I navigate this parenting thing we’re realizing pretty quickly that our roles are very different. Mer is the fun parent while I’m the authority figure setting boundaries and creating consistency and routines in her life.

Why? I’m with her the majority of the time since I’m her primary care giver because we decided that Mer would work full time (makes sense financially) and I’d stay at home with her until she’s at least school aged.

If Mer were the stay at home parent I imagine the roles would be reversed. Her “preference” by consequence has no bearing on whether one of us is genuinely more “fun” than the other but rather by our different “presence” in her life.

Mer’s experiences with Margs are far  far different than mine. He spends 10-12 hours per day outside our home fixing and geeking out over complicated computer problems. During this time I’m parenting a strong willed little one who most recently became extremely mobile, curious and creative so I’m often trying to make sure she doesn’t manage to evade me and walk over to the kitchen, pull out the trash and feed that shit to our dog.

When he arrives home in the evening he’s had the time to “miss” her in ways that I’ve really never experienced since he gets a physical detachment from her every single work day. Naturally, she’s super excited to see her dad who is most likely more excited to see her than she’ll ever know – and you know what, it shows in the way they interact. That excitement builds and the house immediately fills with loud baby giggles and squeals. Squeals and giggles that I have to work really really really hard to achieve during the day since for the most part I’m chasing her around saying things like “no, don’t touch that”, “be careful that’s gonna make you boo boo”, “don’t put –insert disgusting thing here– in your mouth” and “woah, slow down so mommy can catch up”.

Not being the fun parent means that I’ve got a huge responsibility – it’s  my job to create rules and boundaries around here that will hopefully create a sense of independence and self-responsibility in my little girl. By virtue of me being her primary caregiver, I’m responsible for shaping this tiny human into a kind and gentle soul who I hope grows up to do great things and find enormous happiness on her journey into adulthood. This is not to say that Mer is completely removed from this experience – we’re very much on the same page when it comes to our parenting style but, he takes a more passive role because he’s just not here enough to follow through on any of it. Sure, he steps up big time on the weekend where his fun parent role temporarily takes the back burner while I’m out running errands and he’s home alone with her but the majority of the time I’m just not her fun parent.

And, I’m totally okay with it.

I’m honored to have the privilege of not being the fun parent. I’m grateful to be responsible for her physical and emotional growth. I’m indebted to the universe for giving me the chance to parent this amazingly clever, darling and determined little girl who I love beyond words.

Not being the fun parent is actually pretty damn wonderful.

Is there a fun parent in your household?

 

 

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A newish direction for This Tiny Blue House

Good morning! I hope you are all well!!!

I’m super excited to share that I’ve got a guest post being published over at Ditch The Stuff later today. Hailey kindly asked me to share some of my ideas about minimalism and family life and was generous enough to offer me space on her blog to discuss how we navigate minimalism as a family. So, if you’ve got a minute and want to have a read please feel free to head on over!

Thank you, thank you thank you for sharing kind words, experiences and advice with me last Tuesday when I opened up about our scary weekend with Margs and some anxiety I was dealing with after visiting our pediatrician. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your support.  I am so honored to have such wonderful people following my journey and taking the time to share their experiences with me. I am so incredibly blessed. In related news, Margs has successfully slept alone in her pack and play a few nights in a row. We’re doing a modified sleep training program and it seems to be working (fingers crossed).

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Have you fine folks noticed that there are now ads running on This Tiny Blue House?

Yup. I’ve decided to take a stab at monetizing my piece of internet real estate and I want to share some of the reasons I’ve decided to take TTBH in that direction today.

Quite honestly, I never imagined that I would have committed to blogging long term – I’m still not sure I can say that I’m 100% in for the long haul but for the time being I’m  having an amazing experience writing and interacting with you fine folks.

The idea of monetizing was actually the furthest thing from my mind. I didn’t really understand what monetization really meant (I’m still by no means an expert – at all) but knew that some bloggers out there make a little extra cash from their blogs. After an interesting conversation with Mer and receiving an email explaining some of the ins and outs of making a little extra dollars with your blog I decided that it was something I’d like to explore. (Who wouldn’t want a little extra dough right?)

 First things first, I want to get this off my chest

  • I do not anticipate making more than a couple of dollars on my blog
  • I do not plan to change how I interact with you fine folks
  • I do not plan to change my blog niche (minimalism, parenting, frugal living and simplicity is my thing)
  • I do not plan to peddle things that I do not 1000% believe in because of my own personal beliefs when it comes to relationships with “things”.

What does this mean for this space?

  • I’ll continue to write about topics that interest me. Namely, parenting, motherhood, pregnancy loss, minimalism and simple living. Having said that I might include an affiliate link within those posts from time to time to give you a heads up about products that I enjoy using on a day to day basis.
  • I’ll continue to write from the heart and be transparent with you.  If I’m ever offered an opportunity for post sponsorship (big gigantic if here) I’ll be 100% honest with you. If I’m doing a product review of an item that I feel might be useful in my life and it’s a dud – you bet I’m going to tell you all about why it sucked.
  • I’d like to discuss blog monetization openly and honestly with you guys. I might explore a monthly post highlighting any sources of revenue this blog generated in the previous month to open up a dialogue about how money is earned in the blog world. I’m viewing this as a little bit of an experiment because I’m not entirely convinced that earning money from your blog is as easy as it’s made out to be. I just don’t buy it.

Why I decided to jump in and monetize

  • Money: Clearly, if I can make a little bit of extra cash by writing I’d be silly to turn it down. At this point I’d be over the moon if TTBH could earn me enough to buy diapers for Margs once a month.
  • Curiosity: I did some research because I’m a geek that way and it seems there are just so many bloggers with monetized sites that I became curious as to whether running advertisements and affiliate links would generate any income at all. I’m really looking forward to sharing that information with you folks because it seems there’s a lot of secrecy when it comes to earning money from blogs- or how to earn it. It was very difficult to get any concrete numbers and precise details and you know how much I love numbers!

See you  back here Wednesday with some thoughts on how I’m officially not the fun parent in this house.

Is your blog monetized?  If so, what pushed your to pursue that avenue?

If not, is it something you’d consider exploring at some point?

That time my kid refused to sleep & some thoughts about digital citizenship

Friday! My gosh, how is it already Friday?

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This last week has been a blur – a sleepless blur. I’m somehow convinced that after boasting to our pediatrician that Margs sleeps through the night (albeit in our bed) karma decided to teach me the very important lesson that bragging isn’t cool by having my kid decide that suddenly she wants to be nocturnal.

She’s been up consistently from midnight to 4 am, 3 nights in a row. I’m surviving on short naps and coffee. Hopefully this “phase” (teething possibly?) will pass soon and we’ll be back to business as usual.

Speaking of Margs, I got an email this week asking me why I don’t post full frontal shots of my little girl . Great question since I don’t think I’ve ever directly broached the subject.

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Profile cuteness.

I thought the question was interesting and it sparked an interesting conversation between Mer and I about our own positions on digital citizenship and where we stand with regards to sharing our lives on the internet – or, how much we’re willing to share with the Internets.

Hey, did I ever tell you I was a teacher? I taught math to a bunch of 10 and 11th graders but also got the privilege to teach a class about digital citizenship when I decided to head back to school and get a graduate degree in education and technology. Basically, I  taught kids about responsible internet use in a society where technology is a fundamental part of day to day life. Fun fact,most 10th graders in this area believe that facebook is for old people! – jaw dropping right? That folks is how quickly technology changes.

With that said, digital citizenship is really an important part of our lives. Mer works in medical technology and since I blog and have an online presence albeit a very small one, we’re very cautious about what we put out there with regards to our little girl because ultimately we both feel like posting photos of her isn’t our right. She has no agency in this situation and until she can make those decisions for herself we’re just not comfortable with sharing photos that are any more revealing than the one above. That photo is probably the closest to seeing a full frontal as it’ll get.

I’m just not comfortable with sharing more than that folks and I hope you understand.  I’m just a believer that she’s entitled to a certain level of personal privacy and that as her mum it is my job to protect her privacy until she’s able to tell me “mom I want to be on the blog”. That day may or may not come and I’m cool with that.

So there you have it. The internet can be a beautiful place where you can share ideas and interact with awesome people who have so many brilliant things to share but it can also be a scary place especially when there are children involved and for the time being we’re opting to keep our little off of it as much as possible.

Where do you stand on sharing kiddo pictures? I’m interested to hear different opinions!

 

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