Red Lipstick Days

red-lipstickI was at a women’s networking session recently and the speaker was talking about how her grandmother always wore red lipstick to give her words power. On the way home from the event I was so in love with this idea that I stopped and bought myself some red lip gloss (the lipstick was a bit much for me…I may not be ready for full on red lipstick yet, but it’s a big step up from my regular lip balm!). After the excitement of the night wore off a bit, I had a moment of sadness that I never had a feisty grandmother who taught me life lessons and passed on family mottos, mantras and messages like this one. And then, I got over it and I got excited again. I realized that even though I didn’t have a grandmother like this I can still be a mum like this.

I’ve since included L and D in the fun and explained to them that, “Mummy wears red lipstick to help me remember that what I say matters.” I encourage them to think before they speak and to remember that their words affect the people around them.

I’ve noticed a big difference in how much I pay attention to my words when I have it on. It helps me show up and be seen and heard. And that’s always a good thing.

You Won’t “Enjoy Every Moment” of Being a New Mum and That’s Okay

“Oh, this stage is the best! Enjoy every moment, the time passes so quickly!”

By now you’ve probably heard this a hundred different times in a hundred different ways from well-meaning family, friends and even strangers in the grocery store. Comments like these used to make my head spin and start the feelings of inadequacy + mummy guilt bubbling up in my stomach. I would think of all the things I didn’t particularly enjoy about being a new mum, all the things I may have done wrong and all the little things I’d already forgotten about/didn’t get a picture of. I think this kind of talk about babies and motherhood doesn’t do new parents any favours. Because, guess what? the world doesn’t suddenly slow down and become safe, softly back-lit and calm so babies always look like this…Photoshoot @ 1 month #1 and mums feel totally comfortable and confident all the time. There are times when you will feel like this… motherand there will be moments you can’t wait to finish and forget about. Memory is a funny thing, so I don’t think that the people who tell you to “enjoy every moment” are intentionally trying to put extra pressure on new parents, they probably just have the luxury of having forgotten lots and lots and lots of the unpleasant bits over the years.

I love to see parents out there supporting each other and being real about the challenges of raising little people. I feel like I didn’t let myself see/experience a lot of the little rewarding parts of being a new mum when I was so busy trying to make every moment perfect and memorable. Maybe that’s why I’m so excited about being a contributor in the New Mama Welcome Pack!

So let’s get real here. The truth is there are lots of hard moments…

Remembering to take care of yourself and give yourself time to heal physically and emotionally after birth is hard. Nursing is so, amazing and its also so, so hard. Dealing with everyone’s advice and opinions is hard. Admitting that you can’t do it all by yourself and asking for help is really hard. Making a million decision every day for someone you just met is super hard. And sleep (or rather, lack of sleep) is probably the hardest thing of all, because it makes everything else that much harder! At the beginning it can feel like you’re stuck in survival mode with no time or energy for anything else, but that’s totally normal and that’s totally okay. You’re doing the very best you can and it’s enough.

So here are some words of wisdom from this mummy who has been there and still remembers…

Please be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself, your partner and your baby. Remember you are doing an amazing job and no one will ever love that little baby like you do. Decide and then focus on what is important to you and your new little family. And each day, try to find just one thing, one smile or one moment that brings you joy. If you get the chance to write it down or take a picture, great. If not, no worries, there’s another beautiful, joyful parenting moment on it’s way to you right now.

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BlogHop

Being a first-time mama is an amazing experience. The New Mama Welcome Pack blog hop is a celebration of this life changing event!

Follow the links below to discover more unmissable advice, stories and essential tips from 50 bloggers around the world.

And if you’re a new mama who wants to rock motherhood without guilt, overwhelm or losing yourself, check out the New Mama Welcome Pack here.

New Mama Welcome Pack / Lotte Lane / Dreaming Aloud / Zhendria / Birthing in Conscious Choice / Natalie Garay / Knecht Ruprecht / Lise Meijer / Naomi Goodlet / A Lifestyle By Design / Story of Mum / Like a Bird / Holistic Mama / Birth Geek / Joyful Parenting / Stroller Packing / My Healthy Beginning / Mums and More / Kate Beddow – Growing Spirits / Ellen Nightingale / Stacie Whitney / Maternity Leavers / Photography for Busy Parents / Close Enough To Kiss / Atelier Susana Tavares / Offbeat Family / Katie m. Berggren ~ Painting Motherhood / Winship Wellness Blog / Liberate From Weight / Jessica Cary / Art + Craft / Raising Playful Tots / Peaceful Mothering / Play Activities / Lauren Nenna / Nurture You / The Adventure Mama / Be Wise Be Healthy / b.a.d.momGoodmom / Doula in Your Pocket / Making Mom Strong / Adrienn Csoknyay / Joyful Parents / Alison Hummel / Simple Solutions for Photos / Lynne Newman / Euphoric Birth / Mumpreneur Mentor / A Walk in the Clouds / Parenting on the Fence / MiaMily

5 Joyful Parenting Life Hacks

According to Wikipedia, “Life hacking refers to any productivity trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method to increase productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life; in other words, anything that solves an everyday problem of a person in a clever or non-obvious way.” Here are a few of my favourite life hacks for making parenting a little more joyful.

Put Vitamin D drops on multivitamins instead of trying to get them into little people's mouths when they're all wiggly.

I put Vitamin D drops right on multivitamins instead of trying to get them into little people’s mouths when they’re all wiggly and can’t stand to wait for the little drop to fall on their tongue.

 

I'm pretty sure these are meant for infants, but my kids love them too. I make sure I always have two in my purse for snacks when we're out. They drink them up like a juice box, except healthier and more filling.

I’m pretty sure these are meant for infants, but my kids love them too. I make sure I always have two in my purse for snacks when we’re out. They drink them up like a juice box, except healthier and more filling.

These stackable sectioned containers make it easier to make a whole week's worth of school lunches on Sunday afternoon so we don't have to worry about doing it every single day.

These stackable sectioned containers make it easier to make a whole week’s worth of school lunches on Sunday afternoon so we don’t have to worry about doing it every single day.

Both of my little people still use their lovey every night. The best decision we ever made was buying four for each of them. That way, when one was in the wash or left at grandma's house we always had a spare. And we still have them all years and years later.

Both of my little people still use their lovey every night. The best decision we ever made was buying four for each of them. That way, when one was in the wash or left at grandma’s house we always have a spare. And we still have them all years and years later.

GroClocks are amazing! They help little people who can't tell time stay in bed (or at least in their bedroom) until wake up time. It's like a regular alarm clock except no noise or music. When it's time to get up the blue star turns into a yellow sunshine. Genius! P.S. both my kids came up with the cutest names "lallow sunshine" and "woo hoo star" for wake up time.

GroClocks are an amazing invention! They help little people who can’t tell time stay in bed (or at least in their bedroom) until wake up time. It’s like a regular alarm clock except there’s no noise or music. When it’s time to get up the blue star turns into a yellow sunshine. Genius! Both my kids came up with the cutest names “lallow sunshine” and “woo hoo star” to let us know when it was time to start the day.

 

 

 

Please, don’t be perfect!

I spent a long time trying to learn “the rules” of life and then trying to follow them. I thought being perfect would make things easier and make people like me more. So, I got really good at order, control and compartmentalization. In the end, this just made me very serious and very anxious, because it turns out life, and especially life with kids, is messy and there are no rules. Surprise!

perfectionAs a grown up person, I can see that there was a time when I was a little person that I decided that I don’t matter. I told myself that often, too often. I talked myself out of things I really wanted, didn’t speak up for myself and I let other people take advantage of my niceness. I guess trying to be perfect was my way of trying to matter and trying to find a place where I fit. Like so many things right now, I’m working really hard to change this. I like to say that I’m a recovering perfectionist.

While I’m doing all this work and trying to make myself better (amazing even) for myself, I love knowing that for a little while at least, I matter most in the world to my two little people and they don’t give a **** if I’m perfect or not. In fact, they like it a whole lot better when I’m not.

So…to my little people, please make your own choices, do what makes you happy, make mistakes, learn lots and then tell me all about it. Be fearless, have fun and have adventures. There will be consequences, there will be pain and there will be so much joy! Own your choices. If things don’t go well fix it as best you can (a hug and an apology go a long way). Forgive yourself, find the lesson in it and move on. Please, don’t be perfect!

Bath Time Fun!

Just a quick little post today. A fun list of things we do to keep bath time exciting for our little people who sometimes don’t want to stop playing to start their bedtime routines:

il_fullxfull.2453825151. Draw on their skin with washable markers and let them wash it all off. Don’t do faces unless you’re sure they’re 100% washable! There are endless possibilities with this one…I’ve drawn back on the clothes they just took off, explained body systems while drawing on the circulatory system/skeletal system/internal organs/etc and filled up their bellies with pictures of the food they ate for dinner and of course. If you’re not sure what to draw your kids will have lots of ideas.

2. Add food colouring to the water or make ice with food colouring in it and the cubes will colour the water as they melt. This is also a fun lesson in how to make certain colours by mixing others. My kids asked for brown the other day….eeeew.

3. Wrap up bath tub toys in wash cloths and take turns singing happy birthday to each other.

4. Make up elaborate stories about how their bath tub toys got dirty and have your little ones give the toys a bath while you wash them. We’ve had stories about a baking disaster while making muffins, glitter and glue everywhere from making crafts, getting muddy from jumping in puddles…the sillier the better!

5. Bring plastic cups, bowls and utensils from the kitchen into the bath and make fun recipes with water and bubbles.

6. Buy special bath tub crayons so they can draw and colour all over the walls and tub.

7. Blow bubbles with bubble solution + a bubble wand.

8. Put some water in the tub and run the shower at the same time. We call it a bower. I’m still not sure why they love it so much, I’m just glad they do.

Now, if you have any suggestions about how to get the kids out of the tub, please leave them in the comments below!