Answering Real Life Parenting Questions: Keeping Calm

q-and-a

Q-What are your thoughts about dropping off your children at daycare? I’ve always believed that it’s important to say goodbye and let them know you’ll be back, instead of just sneaking out and them wondering where you’ve gone (thus developing trust issues etc). However, as of recently, as soon as I mention I’m leaving, she freaks out. If I just sneak away, she’s usually fine. Just curious what your beliefs are on this?

A-I totally get where you’re coming from and have felt the temptation to do this too! This is what I’ve decided:

I think it’s really important to be open and honest with my little people and to let them feel their feelings. After all, they’ll still have a reaction, even if I don’t see it. I’d rather them be upset because I’m leaving and take a few extra minutes to comfort them, then sneak out and leave them confused/upset/scared with no way to express that. I think as parents (especially mums) we are our kids’ safe place (they can freak out and totally lose it on us and we’ll still love them no matter what) so we often see their big, big emotions more than anyone else. And I think their reactions are harder and more uncomfortable for me than they are for anyone else. But, I’m the grown-up so it’s my job to stay calm and cope with both their feelings and mine. I let myself feel the mummy guilt for a moment, have a cry in the car if I need to and move on with my day knowing they will get over it long before I do. I hope this makes sense and is helpful for you.

Q-We’re TTC baby #2, any tips/tricks that you felt helped with the process?

A-My best suggestion is to do whatever you can to help both you and your partner relax and enjoy the process. We tried for months and months and nothing happened until I started taking really good care of myself and learned to calm the fuck down. Unfortunately, for me the stress got worse before it got better and I needed the extra support of counseling to sort through some stuff. But when it got better it got sooooo much better! Wishing you all the best.


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How are You Happy?

Did you see the interview I did with Renae Christine from Rich Mom Business a few months ago?

(if you missed it, sign up below and I’ll send it to you)

After a brief intro about me and Joyful You and some amazing, juicy compliments about the Joyful Parenting workbook she dropped a giant bomb on me…it was a totally huge, totally unexpected question:

“I want to know…how are you happy?”

Einstein QuoteMy first thought: Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? I didn’t rehearse and answer for this! Stop the ride, I want to get off!

My second thought: I’m so glad she caught me on a good day! If this was one of our more difficult days this question would have reduced me to tears and brought up all my “you’re a fraud!” inner critic self-talk.

My third thought: Okay, breathe…you’ve got this. Everything you create and write is about JOY. You’re the best person to answer this question! Just open your mouth and whatever you say will be great. GO!

Funny how I remember all those things happening over the course of probably 1.5 seconds. I’ve re-watched the interview a few times now and I’m certain no one else knew what was going on for me at that moment. So why am I bringing it up now?

I do love the answer I gave, about letting go of perfection, trusting your intuition as a parent and starting over as many times as it takes until you can get back to a place of joy. It just felt a bit…incomplete. Here’s the full answer that I can give you all now (with unlimited time to think and edit!):

acceptanceAs much as my kids drive me bonkers somethings, they are what makes me happy. When I was a very new parent I remember talking to people about struggling with how serious I was. I would literally have to schedule in unstructured play time (because I read in a parenting book how important it was for my baby!) As some time passed the scheduling was less and less necessary and it felt less and less awkward to be silly with my kids, even in front of other people! Now that I’ve been doing this for several years, I can honestly say I’ve been able to let go of that old label I had for myself and let go of caring what other people think of me or even noticing that they may be watching me with my kids. I used to think that joyfulness/optimism/whatever-you-want-to-call-it was a personality trait, you were either born with it or you weren’t. And I was quite sure that I was not. Now I know better. You can absolutely change your outlook, change your focus and change your life. I learned how to be happy from my kids and for my kids.

So the short answer to that question is:

I’m happy because I work at it. Every day I focus on joy and gratitude. I give myself permission to make mistakes, to learn from them and to start over and I give my kids the same permission.


Ready for some more JOY in your life? Enter below for some fabulous FREE gifts from Christine Marion-Jolicoeur at Joyful You!

You’ll get a coupon code for a free copy of the Joyful Memories book + the video of my latest interview, “Work-Life Balance” where I give my 5 best tips for living a balanced, joyful life + the monthly Joyful You newsletter, all sent directly to your inbox.

 

Even-Steven

Joyful parenting is always a balancing act. I’m constantly trying to find balance between having alone time and family time, family time and couple time with my husband and balance between each of my two amazing kids.ClickHandler.ashx

When my little people were very young we talked a lot about keeping things the same-same (our phrase for exactly the same for both of them). I really wanted to make sure they had the same experiences and opportunities and stuff because I thought it would help with sibling rivalry and the mummy-guilt and it did to an extent. So for example, L is my oldest and was my only baby when I went off on maternity leave for the first time. When D was born, I put L into daycare for two days each week so I could have the same kind of alone time and bonding with baby D. I also tried to host similar first birthday parties for both of them and keep similar photo albums. And when I needed a second car seat for D, I bought the same kind that I already had for L, because who would ever want to choose which baby to put into the safer car seat!

Now that they’re getting older, I find myself talking more about things being even-steven between them. I have two very different little people and I’m noticing their two-and-a-half-year age difference even more at this age, so trying to keep things just the same just wasn’t working anymore. Instead, I try to make sure they both have what they need as individuals and that they both get alone time with my husband and me every day to do the things they like best. That means that D might get to read two books before bed, but those books put together are shorter than L’s one and D (as our second little person) doesn’t get much brand new stuff so I don’t hesitate to buy something extra cute even if it’s not on sale. So in the end it’s all basically even-steven.


Ready for some more JOY in your life? Enter below for some fabulous FREE gifts from Christine Marion-Jolicoeur at Joyful You!

You’ll get a coupon code for a free copy of the Joyful Memories book + the video of my latest interview, “Work-Life Balance” where I give my 5 best tips for living a balanced, joyful life + the monthly Joyful You newsletter, all sent directly to your inbox.

 

Another “New Uses for Old Things” Post!

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I’ve mentioned this organic multi-use pad before…I really did use it for everything! I put it on the bathroom floor under a hooded towel for after baby baths, sat the kids on it on the grass in the back yard, used it to cover an old change table we inherited without any padding, under the kids’ heads when they were sick and sleeping (to catch vomit) and under their bums during potty training.
Set up summer toys inside the house in the winter time! This is always a big hit at our house. Dusting off the kids’ tents, tunnels, balls and bubbles in the middle of a snow storm is great fun. If you don’t mind a bit of clean up, you can set up a water table on a vinyl table cloth. Even a bath with swim goggles can be enough to combat a little cabin fever.
Set up summer toys inside the house in the winter time! This is always a big hit at our house. Dusting off the kids’ tents, tunnels, balls and bubbles in the middle of a snow storm is great fun. If you don’t mind a bit of clean up, you can set up a water table on a vinyl table cloth. Even a bath with swim goggles can be enough to combat a little cabin fever.
A tiny elastic band around the straw of a sippy cup keeps it from getting pulled out and spilling all over the floor
A tiny elastic band around the straw of a sippy cup keeps it from getting pulled out and spilling all over the floor
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Kids love anything in a mini size! I bought these coloured shot glasses to help making drinking green smoothies and juice more fun for my kids
Give your old jewelry a new life in your kids' dress up box. Make sure it's clean and safe first! Wood, plastic and acrylic pieces work well. Avoid anything that would have small or sharp bits if broken.
Give your old jewelry a new life in your kids’ dress up box. Make sure it’s clean and safe first! Wood, plastic and acrylic pieces work well. Avoid anything that would have small or sharp bits if broken.

 


Ready for some more JOY in your life? Enter below for some fabulous FREE gifts from Christine Marion-Jolicoeur at Joyful You!

You’ll get a coupon code for a free copy of the Joyful Memories book + the video of my latest interview, “Work-Life Balance” where I give my 5 best tips for living a balanced, joyful life + the monthly Joyful You newsletter, all sent directly to your inbox.

 

Say It Out Loud

One of the biggest changes in my parenting (and my life!) came when I started talking through what I’m doing, why I’m doing it and how I feel. As a parenting tool, saying these things out loud gives my kids the chance to know me and what’s going on in my head, to see me problem solving and to learn to name thoughts and feelings. It also encourages them to come up with their own ideas and solutions without me nagging and sometimes, without me even asking! I can see it working when my kids do it too. I love hearing what’s happening with them and that they remember all of my mottos, mantras and messages. Don’t get me wrong, meltdowns still happen, but they are not such a surprise and it’s much easier to work through them when we’re already used to talking about feelings and choices this way. The amazing extra bonus of this practice is that I’m much more mindful; I am now painfully aware of my self-talk, my feelings and my choices. So, if I hear myself saying something that doesn’t make sense, isn’t kind, or doesn’t fit with my ideas about parenting on purpose, I get the chance to change it.

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Ready for some more JOY in your life? Enter below for some fabulous FREE gifts from Christine Marion-Jolicoeur at Joyful You!

You’ll get a coupon code for a free copy of the Joyful Memories book + the video of my latest interview, “Work-Life Balance” where I give my 5 best tips for living a balanced, joyful life + the monthly Joyful You newsletter, all sent directly to your inbox.