Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Walking Through Difficult Times

We all walk through difficult and stressful times in our lives.  No one makes it through unscathed.  Recently, my husband and I learned that our pregnancy was ending is miscarriage.  We are both heartbroken.  This will be our second miscarriage.  We were so excited for our new little one and the thought that we won't get to meet this sweet baby fills me with sadness.  Unfortunately, there is no way around grief.  You have to walk through it.  I have learned a few things that help me make it through painful times and I thought I would share them with you.

Share your pain with your support network.  Whenever I am going through something difficult, I feel a strange responsibility to shield those around me from my pain so that I don't make them feel uncomfortable.  I don't know why this is my knee-jerk response, but I so badly want everything to be okay, so I pretend that it is.  I try not to let my pain spill over into areas of my life that other people see.  It really isn't the healthiest response.  While I recognize that I don't feel comfortable (nor should I) sharing my pain with everyone around me, I do have a handful of people who are in my support network.  These people are more than willing to share the burden of my pain.  These are the people who love me no matter what and who are willing to sit with the discomfort in order to help me wade through my heartbreak.  So I share.  I call them when I can't carry on my brave face and I start to crumble.  They listen, give me love and slowly help me pick up the pieces.

Set boundaries.  Setting boundaries is a lifelong skill that I am quite certain I will never fully master.  It is challenging to set boundaries at the best of times, let alone when we are feeling raw and broken.  The unfortunate fact of life is that there are people who always seem to overstep, ask for too much or can't recognize when they need to give space.  When you are hurting you need to grant yourself the time and the space to walk through your grief.  This might mean taking some responsibilities off your plate for a while, stepping away from activities or people whom you find draining, or simply building protected time into your schedule so that you can process in the way that works best for you.

Ask for what you need.  This can be hard to do, especially when we are used to being able to meet our needs on our own.  When we are hurting, the people around us want to help.  Sometimes they don't know how to do that.  It is perfectly okay to ask for what you need, especially when someone offers to help.  It can be as simple as just having someone listen or give you a hug.  It can also be asking someone to watch your children for an hour while you take a moment to yourself.  Everyone deals with challenges in different ways so it can be beneficial to clearly state what you need when someone is trying to help. 

If you don't have a good support network in place, please seek help through your medical provider or through a support group.  You shouldn't have to walk through painful times alone.  We are built for community, especially during times of need.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Time Out For Mom

I have a difficult time leaving my children.  I always have.  My anxiety goes through the roof, even when they are in safe hands.  We struggled for years to get pregnant.  When we had our first daughter, she was in medical distress and had to be transferred to a different hospital in a city that was an hour and a half away.  That hospital had no room for me and being fresh off of an emergency c-section, I was not allowed to follow for 36 hours.  Those were the longest 36 hours of my life.  I think that once I finally got my baby in my arms, I simply never wanted to let go.  I had nightmares for months about being separated from her.

I think a lot of my anxiety has stemmed from the events following her birth.  I am also a worrier by nature, so I often have to step back and remind myself that worrying doesn't do anything productive.  At any rate, I struggle to feel safe being away from my kids.

This has been fine and well for a long time.  Our kids had fallen into a nice evening routine.  I was feeling like I was getting ample alone time during my nights.  Recently, our oldest daughter has been struggling with her sleep and our alone time in the evenings has been greatly diminished or non-existent.  Coupled with her being overtired and feeling defiant, my frustration grew quickly and I finally became overwhelmed.  Saturday night, I found myself losing my temper and having to hand bedtime duties over to my husband before my I completely boiled over.  When he finally got our daughter down to sleep, I tearfully told him that I needed a break.

I was tired of spending my days trying to help my kids sort through emotions, while feeling spent and overtired.  I was tired of spending my nights trying to calm my older daughter while feeling anything but calm.  He agreed and suggested I take the time to recharge.

The next afternoon I decided to go to a nearby city.  I almost chickened out.  I nearly turned around.  I phoned home and my husband assured me all was well.  I took a few deep breaths and kept driving.  I eventually made it to the city.  I looked at pretty decor, drank coffee and browsed through stores.  I bought my next planner (Eeek!  I love planners!).  My afternoon was quiet.  No one asked me for anything.  I didn't have to help anyone calm down or share or find a productive way to channel anger.  I relaxed and thought only of trivial things.  I enjoyed my coffee while it was hot.  Best of all, no one followed me into the bathroom.  (If this seems strange, I apologize.  My kids make it their personal mission to be in the bathroom with me at all times.  If I manage to close and lock the door, they sit outside and talk to me the whole time.)

It was a lovely break.  It was a needed break.  When I came home, I was refreshed.  My daughter had another difficult bedtime that night, but I didn't get frustrated.  I felt better able to help her through it because I was no longer depleted.

Take the time, Mama.  Everyone needs a break now and then.  It can be difficult to find a way to make it work, but it is vital.  Sometimes you only need an hour.  Other times you need a whole afternoon.  Take what you need to stay healthy.   As the old adage goes, 'you can't pour from an empty cup'.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Capsule Wardrobe- Trying a New Method

We have had an active Spring and our May is going to be filled with a bunch of fun events.  This means that we spend less time at home.  I strongly identify as an introvert, so spending time away from home is stressful for me.  I begin to feel overwhelmed by many aspects of my life.  This includes simple things, like my closet.

When I have a full schedule, the last thing I want to think about is clothes.  I have found capsule wardrobes to be extremely helpful for this, but it wasn't really working out for me this time.  I chose all my items and had them in my closet.  It wasn't a large capsule wardrobe, but it felt suffocating.  I toyed with the idea of a uniform but I am not sure I could make that work.

Like many people, I know what I like to wear.  If you have been following my wardrobes for a while you know that I often repeat the same items over and over.   Certain clothes make it into every single wardrobe.  I took those items out of my closet and separated them from the rest.  I am going to call this my core capsule.

My core capsule consists of 10 items.  3 pairs of pants and 7 tops.  I wear these items constantly and that isn't going to change any time soon.

Apparently I like to wear black and grey.

I have decided that instead of designing entire capsule wardrobes, I will simply choose pieces to add to my core capsule every month.  This will help me choose items that make sense depending on the weather and what my life is demanding of me that month.  It will also keep my capsule wardrobe feeling fresh and fun.  I will simply shop my closet every month.

I have added 13 items to my core capsule this month, for a total of 23 items.  2 of those items are not pictured, as I just ordered them from an ethical clothing company.  I will share my thoughts on those items after I have had a chance to wear them.  My May capsule will encompass Mother's Day, Playschool graduation, my daughter's birthday, my Grandma's 80th birthday and my cousin's wedding.  (Plus all the regular life in between!)  

My May capsule items include my coral blazer, my black jumpsuit, striped sundress, 2 Harry Potter t-shirts, floral off-the-shoulder top, black nursing top, raspberry nursing sweater, blue tank top, cropped jeans and pink jeans.  It is a nice amount of colour to go along with my neutral core wardrobe.

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Thursday, 25 April 2019


I had picked out my Spring Capsule, but life got busy (as it does) and I never wrote the post.  In the meantime, I started to wonder how much of it I really wanted to keep and wear.  The physical stuff in my home is feeling overwhelming to me again.  This happens from time to time.  The less that was once the right amount to keep becomes too much.  In addition, my children receive gifts so the number of items in my home does increase.

I feel as though I need to declutter once again.  In regards to my clothes, I feel drawn to the idea of a uniform with the odd extra piece thrown in.  My clothes (although not significant in number) are feeling stifling and like I own too much.

I hope to keep some record of my decluttering here and the progress that I make with my wardrobe.  There will be no Spring reveal in the meantime as I sort things out.

Happy Spring!

Friday, 5 April 2019

Teaching and Modeling Contentment

I have a 4 (almost 5) year old who has begun to notice the differences between our lives and the lives of those around us.  She has started to notice when people have larger houses than us or different/better toys.  Every once in a while she will wistfully say "I wish we had a house/car/toy like that".

I have worked very hard in the last few years to learn how to practice gratitude for where we are in our life.  I have never really been into comparing the things I have with the things that others have and neither has my husband.  Keeping up with others hasn't been our priority.   Our financial and personal goals have outweighed the want to have all the fancy/expensive items.  We simply can't have both and we choose to stick to our goals.

In the past, however, I would shop when I was feeling stressed or down.  I love clothes and home decor and this is where I normally would spend my money.  I did a no-spend year and forced myself to learn better self-care techniques so that I wasn't spending money every time I felt unhappy.

One of the self-care techniques that has been powerful is gratitude.  Taking the time to think of all that I have to be thankful for can really help me to stop the urge to spend money.  I have to remind myself that the clothes I have are perfectly good and don't need to be replaced.  I am content to use what I own.

When my daughter mentions something that she wishes she had, I stop and remind her of all that we do have.  We have many people in our lives who have larger or newer homes than ours.  When my daughter "wishes" for a bigger house I remind her that our house does all the things that we need it to do.  Our house keeps us safe and warm.  It protects us from the elements.  It doesn't have to be fancy or new to do those things.  Most importantly, our house contains our family and that really is the most important thing.  When reminded of all the things our house does for us, my daughter usually responds with "Yeah, I love our house".

Envy is a normal human emotion, but we can teach our children how to grateful for what they have.  I don't feel guilty for not "giving everything" to my children.  My children need their needs met and love.  My husband and I do those things for them.  Everything else is icing on the cake.  Our goal is to raise children who understand that things do not create happiness.  Contentment leads to a much more peaceful life.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Simple Spring- How to Store Your Winter Items

Spring has officially hit and it has been wonderful!  This weekend I finally got brave and swapped out our winter outerwear for our spring outerwear.  It feels so good to welcome the new season.  I have a few simple tips to help you store away your winter items so that they are ready to go for the next winter season.

  • Wash Everything  This isn't my favourite thing to do but it really makes life easier when you have to get out your winter clothes.  I throw items into the washing machine so that they are clean when I put them into storage.  I wipe down our boots, skates and helmets that can't go in the washing machine.
  • Repair items that need it.  I like to do my repairs before I put everything away.  Sew on buttons, fix zippers, or find someone who can do those things for you.  It will make life easier to have those items ready to go the next time you need them.
  • Go through items and decide what to keep.  I have kids so they outgrow their clothes rather quickly.  I set aside any items that we are saving and then create a separate give away/donation pile.  I also go through my own items and decide what to keep or give away.  
  • Store items in an organized fashion.  We are fortunate to have a closet downstairs that houses all of our off season items.  If you have to use tubs or boxes make sure you label them so that they are easy to find when you need them again.

Monday, 18 March 2019

3 Simple Homemaking Habits That Change Everything.

I really struggled keeping a routine in Miss. Em's first year of life.  She wasn't sleeping through the night routinely, her naps seemed to change every few weeks and I was just doing my best to roll with everything.  Miss. Em is now 14 months old and her schedule is much more predictable.  I knew it was time to get back into routine.  I chose 3 things that don't take much time, but make my life exponentially easier.

1. We make our beds.  This seems trivial but it improves the whole look of the bedrooms.  It instantly makes the room look neat and organized.  You accomplish your first task at the beginning of the day and it motivates you to continue on completing your work. 

2.  We do dishes after every meal.  I used to only do dishes once a day.  This meant that I stood in front of the sink for no less than 45 minutes and then had to dry all the dishes.  My kids were cranky with me for taking so much time and I felt annoyed that I had to wash dishes for so long.  I now do the dishes after every single meal.  It takes me no more than 15 minutes to clean everything up.  My kids are happy that I am not spending a large chunk of time in the kitchen and it feels quick to me.  The other upside is that our kitchen generally looks clean and organized.

3.  I do one load of laundry every day.  I throw in a load of clothes in the morning, transfer them to the dryer in the afternoon and fold them while I watch a show in the evening.  My laundry stays caught up and it feels effortless.  If we get sick or are away, we don't have a huge backlog of laundry to return to.

If you wanted to choose the item that has the biggest impact, I would say that doing dishes after every single meal is the routine that gives us the biggest payoff.  It leads to other benefits, such as ample counter space for meal prep, clean dishes available for meal prep and it contributes to the overall feeling of cleanliness in our home.

What routines make your life feel easier?  I would love to hear all about them!