Category Archives for "Mom Self Care 101"

Apr 20

A Momma’s First Night Away…

Adventures in Motherhood , Business as usual , East Coast Living , Life of a Mompreneur , Mom Boss , Mom friends , Mom Self Care 101 , Navigating Motherhood , Self Care , Solidarity , Truth-telling , Womens' Health

Six hundred and forty-four days…Fragmented sleep. Night wakings. Sickness. Teething. Developmental leaps. More sickness. More teething. And so and so forth.

I can’t recall what a “full night’s sleep” feels like, nor do I remember what I use to do with all my “free time”.

I’m bloody friggin’ tired, and despite feeling like “how the F am I going to keep doing this?”, somehow, I do…even as a new series of shit storms emerge on the horizon. I handle it.

Sure, I’ll admit, some of this exhaustion is self-inflicted. I set impossibly high standards for myself and always choose the non-path, path when embarking on new adventures.

To be real though, striving to create a successful small business while also being a super present and engaged momma to boot has been met with resistance. I can tell ya, these two gigs are in direct opposition to one another A LOT. And burnout happens easy enough when you’re burning the candle at every damn end.

I know I preach a good game on the momma self care front. But there’s also no naivety here about how difficult it is to make time for yourself. I have the occasional bath, with candles and salts. I meditate. I journal. I drink tea. I attend a weekly yoga class. I try to do the things to fill up my cup whenever I can. My self care, like everything else in my life, ebbs and flows.

Lately though, I’ve been craving a complete overhaul of my self-care regimen. A reprieve from it all. An escape from reality, even if just for one night.

On top of this, I’ve also been desperately craving community and connection. Being a momma is lonely work and it’s doubly lonely when you’re running a home-based/e-commerce business.

It’s a beautiful thing when the universe conspires to give you exactly what you need at exactly the right time. It also helps when you’re a “make things happen” kinda person, like I am.

Not only did I feel ready to leave my son for the first time, but I knew it was necessary.

Immediately, I knew where I wanted to go. The ultimate retreat location just 45 minutes from downtown Halifax. Oceanstone Seaside Resort in Indian Harbour, Nova Scotia.

I’d been there once, years ago with some girlfriends and we had such an amazing stay. We still reminisce about it. There may have been a stupidly, scandalous dip in the ocean in November.

Oceanstone has luxury without being pretentious and provides serenity and calm without stifling.

After connecting with Lizzie from Oceanstone (who is completely lovely) and putting feelers out to some of the rad boss moms I know locally, we found our group of six, booked a reservation and fortunately, only had to wait a couple of weeks for our getaway.

It was hard to leave my son. Like the actual act of packing a bag and walking out the door, knowing I wouldn’t be back for 24 hours. I knew he would be more than okay with his dad for the night. I knew the world would not implode but it pained a little all the same.

Once we arrived at Oceanstone, I barely thought about how it was going back home. No guilt. No worry.

I mean, c’mon…when your back door steps right out onto the ocean shore – how do you not get lost in that?

Admittedly, it felt amazingly self-indulgent to be sitting in this beautiful cottage, overlooking the ocean, sipping drinks and connecting and conversing about motherhood and entrepreneurship with five other inspiring business women/mommas.

My blissful ignorance about how things were going back home continued into the evening and into our dinner at Rhubarb (a delightful restaurant that is literally steps away from the cottages). And get this, Rhubarb agreed to stay open just for us because normally they are only open for lunch on Tuesdays this time of the year. How sweet is that, right?! Yay to not having to cook for ourselves!

Oh, and when you come stay at Oceanstone (because you will) and eat at Rhubarb, be sure to order the fish and chickpea salad folks – AMAZING!

Being so wrapped up in the company and conversation of smart and powerful women was just so good for this here momma. It was exactly the perfect distraction and distance I was needing. It also helped to locate and name the common struggles we have as moms and business women. There is an inherent loneliness in this work. That is for certain. At times, it’s crippling and destructive. This is when we must gather and band together because even in the smallest and most unlikely of groups, we will find solace in our many similarities and differences. We will discover that while we are lonely, we are definitely never alone.

Our time together as women is sacred and forever impactful. It can easily be utilized for vent sessions and unloading our demons (a necessary thing sometimes) but we must not take it for granted. After all, its greatest outcome is in cultivating support, advocacy, accountability and friendship. I’m so grateful to these five women for helping me get back to this place and perspective. I’m slowing feeling more grounded in myself again and it is good.

Of course, this sunset also helped. [sigh]

Alas, my temporary lapse in mom worry/separation anxiety ended just as the conversation winded down around midnight and we all parted ways for bed.

Even though I had a giant king bed, all to myself, I wasn’t feeling very optimistic about sleep. This retreat had the promise of sweet slumber that I had been fantasizing about for nearly two years. I would be free and clear of toddler limbs jabbing me in the eye sockets, jugular or ribs. No early 6:00 am wake up. It was a gift that I didn’t want to squander and yet, it felt all wrong. I lay on my back staring at the ceiling. I could hear my heart thumping in my throat and I felt a heavy lump in the pit of my stomach. I turned from one side to the other and then onto my back again. I wasn’t even worried about anything. This was the frustrating part. I just wasn’t accustomed to this sort of alone time. It felt awkward and uncomfortable. I took a deep breath and then another and another, until I heard it…

Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.

The gentle movement of ocean waves just outside my window.

Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. Gawd. Talk about a show stopper. Forget the sound machine folks, this is the real deal!

Once I focused in on those gently crashing waves, I was out like a light in less than 5 minutes.

Being an East Coaster, I have always appreciated the ocean. Her proximity eases my mood and soothes the soul. But this. Yeah, this was something extra special because let’s face it, she totally saved my ass and transformed a senseless threat of insomnia into a really successful and rejuvenating first night away from my child.

And hey, it helps that the beds at Oceanstone Seaside Resort are hella comfy!

And…I woke to this!

I’m completely bias here but I believe any visit to Nova Scotia or any resident of this province, needs to experience Oceanstone Resort. It would make an ideal getaway for any scenario (e.g. babymoon, anniversary or family vacation). Personally, I’m quite partial to the momma’s first night away/women’s retreat myself but hey, you make it whatever it needs to be. Just get here.

Mar 17

Gifts To Get A Rad NEW Baby Momma That Don’t Suck [Postpartum Edition]

Adventures in Motherhood , Gift Ideas , Helpful Lists , Mom friends , Mom Self Care 101 , Navigating Motherhood , Oh Mother Care Kits , Postpartum Care , Self Care

[metaslider id=2096]

Babies get all the good stuff. Serious. I mean, baby things are itty-bitty and thus, friggin’ adorable, yes but that’s besides the point. Where is the love for momma? After all, she’s the one that just grew and gave life to the lil’ fooshnicken, right?! And she’s the one that will carry the weight of care, worry and sacrifice. Okay, yes, Dads are great and important too. But let’s be real. Moms are the superheros here.

I’m all about advocating for the new momma and her needs because reality is, her needs have to and will come in second A LOT, especially in the early months.

So, in honour of new mommas (and all the incredible feats that they have and will have to endure), I’ve compiled a list of fabulous, hand-crafted gift ideas (from Canadian makers) that will make her the star attraction and you, her favourite person.

Made with Local (Dartmouth, NS)

Local Love Box (includes Real Food Bars & Loaded Instant Oats) $30 – 50 + shipping

New Mommas need fuel, and fast.

Made with Local Real Food bars are by far one of my favourite snacks to have on-hand and on-the-go. No weird ingredients here. Their Loaded Oats instant oats are also staple in our household. Breakfast is fast, easy and delicious, which is exactly what you need after having a baby! And even beyond the newborn stage, their oats and bars are super toddler and child friendly!

Food is one of the best gifts you can provide new parents. Order a sampler box of Made with Local Instant Oats and Real Food bars (they have 3 sizes to choose from) and have them delivered to a new momma in your life. Easy Peasy! You will be a hero!

Econica (Ottawa, ON)

Organic Handmade Wrap Shirt $131.49 + shipping

Comfy clothing is a must as a new mom but it’s also great to have comfy clothing that is versatile and can be worn lounging around the house or out and about.

This organic wrap shirt is all kinds of gorgeous. It’s breastfeeding friendly, loose-fitting for c-section mommas and comes in a variety of colours. Also, it’s a very flattering style for any body type, which is great for postpartum when your body is going through many changes and transformations after birth.

Vancity Stitch Co. (Vancouver, BC)

Embroidered Floral Pendant Necklace $30 CAD + shipping

Do people even bring flowers to new moms? I dunno but if this was your line of thinking…Forget the flowers. This lovely little hand embroidered pendant is just the right gift to acknowledge the incredible feat of bringing a little human into the world. There are quite a few colour and style choices in Vancity Stitch Co’s etsy shop so have a little peek around.

MiNiTiPi (Gatineau, ON)

Black & White Bird Nursing Scarf $30 CAD + shipping

Breastfeeding or not, this scarf is so lovely and also, rad. Some women are more comfortable nursing from the get-go, others need time and practice. For me, there definitely was a hot mess phase where the latching was awkward and the milk let down was vigorous and shooting out in all directions. Needless to say, it took some time to perfect. So having a cover that can be used when you’re wanting more privacy in a more public setting can be wonderful. No shame either way.

Oh Mother Care Kits (Dartmouth, NS)

New Momma Care Kit $109 CAD + $9.95 shipping

Unfortunately, it happens easy enough, new moms will completely neglect themselves in their quest to meet their baby’s every need. In many instances, they have to hold their bladders, delay their showers and forgo brushing their teeth. It’s inevitable that self-care takes a pretty severe nose-dive as a new mom. However, some gentle care and attention is necessary and possible.

The Oh Mother New Momma Care Kit contains all the specialty items a new mom needs after giving birth.

Hands down, this is the perfect gift for a new mom (of course, being the curator of these little kits, I have some bias but my customers will confirm the awesomeness of my kits). And the reality is, new moms always have enough baby things. Be the person whose thinks of the new mom herself. She will wholeheartedly appreciate and LOVE that you’re looking out for her.

So, what’s in this genius care package you ask?! Click here to find out.

Replicca Clothing Co. (Hamilton, ON)

Bamboo Jersey Cowl Shirt $75 CAD + shipping

Again, comfy but still stylish clothes are fabulous when you’re a new mom. I LOVE LOVE Replicca Clothing Co. I have a few pieces from them and they are so well-made and are really flattering on many body types, especially curvy ones. Also, there are many fabric colour options. Make sure you order in plenty of time, handmade goodies take a little more time to create, largely because they’re injected with love and care.

Life i design by Nicki Traikos (Unionville, ON)

Coffee Mug $20.76 CAD + shipping

YEP! Let’s debunk this idea that mothers have to be perfect to be great moms. F-bombs will be dropped. It’s inevitable. Also, show your support for her soon-to-develop coffee dependency. Somedays, it’s the only thing keeping you upright.

Thief and Bandit (Halifax, NS)

Hand-printed Floral Leggings $117.74 + shipping

Leggings are a mom’s best friend. Serious. And these are incredibly awesome. That’s it.

607 By Davie and Chiyo (Vancouver, BC)

Name Bar Necklace $51.25 CAD + shipping

I love the idea of getting this for a new mom – with hers and babe’s name engraved. So adorable and yet, not tacky. Because, let’s face it. There is a LOT of tacky, cheesy, cheapo mom jewellery out there and don’t nobody need that. This double name bar necklace is really minimalist and tasteful. Also, it’s made from solid sterling silver, 14K gold fill and 14K rose gold fill for durability and longevity. Quality for the win!

Jessica Makes (Abbotsford, BC)

Hand Embroidery Hoop Art, Punch Today in the Face $75 CAD + shipping

Because there will be days when this messaging is needed. Motherhood is damn hard and some days you really have to rally to get through. This little nugget of hand-embroidered awesomeness speaks to this and inspires a deep, inner gusto to push through.

Mini Street (Edmonton, AB)

It Takes A Village Raglan Long Sleeve T-shirt $42 CAD + shipping

Remind her that she’s not alone. This is everything.

Moon and Sparrow (Montreal, QC)

Custom “Awesome Mom” Portrait $150 CAD + shipping

Custom gifts are so great. They definitely take more consideration and planning but they really up the ante on gift-giving. I love the artwork from Moon and Sparrow (Sandra Dumais, artist/illustrator). So fun and refreshing and something that a new momma will love and appreciate for a long time to come.

Nov 25

Foodie Friday: Chocolate Chip Cookie Self-Care. Because…mom life.

Foodie Friday , Mom Self Care 101 , Recipes , Self Care

foodie-friday-cookies

Let’s cut right to the chase, shall we?! These cookies are my saving grace. They work to help me eat my feelings, because…mom life. And alternatively, they pair well with the “it’s Friday – Hallelujah!” celebration, as well as “Good grief, it’s Monday again” slump.
In other words, they work for a range of occasions and never disappoint.

Baking cookies is a definite self-care activity for me. It takes me out of my head and the result is oh-so-satisfying.

Is it any surprise that my favourite cookie recipe is from Angela Liddon (Oh She Glows)?? Gah, that woman knows how to put a recipe together, which is why it’s so cool that her recipes are featured in my care kits. I totally “fan girl” every time I think of this. Seriously, she made my mompreneur dreams come true when she agreed to this collaboration.

Ok, but back to these cookies. Since I cut white and whole wheat flour out of my diet a few years ago, it’s been hard to find a cookie that delivers the same deliciousness, without a complicated process. I mean, for anyone else who’s gluten-free, baking can be a bit of an ordeal, am I right? I’ve had a lot of fails in the GF baking department.

The great thing about these cookies is that you don’t miss the gluten. There is no wheat flour in these cookies because their base is almonds and rolled oats (both ground to a flour). They are crispy, chewy, packed with flavour and quite easy to put together. I would also say, as far as cookies go, they’re fairly healthy.

img_9158

The OSG blog version of this recipe varies a little bit from the one in her first cookbook (which is the one I make) but ultimately, a similar result. Instead of non-dairy butter spread, I use coconut oil. I think that’s the main difference with the blog version vs. the cookbook one.

They only take about 15 minutes to whip up and 12-14 minutes to bake. I recommend making these and then hiding yourself in the bathroom with a plateful and a glass of wine because they won’t last long in your house.

Here’s the recipe.

Enjoy!

img_9162

want-recipes-delivered-to-inbox

Nov 13

Seven Ways To Reduce Yuletide Burnout And Keep The Crying In The Bathroom To A Minimum.

Adventures in Motherhood , Family Life , Helpful Lists , Mom Self Care 101 , Navigating Motherhood , Self Care , Solidarity , The Holiday Season , Truth-telling

Maybe it’s just me but the holidays are stressful, no?! Especially since becoming a parent. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore this time of the year, at least in theory; magic, miracles, the spirit of giving and everyone sitting around a cozy fire, roasting chestnuts. I mean, c’mon, it’s picturesque. Okay, maybe I’ve watched too many corny, low-budget Christmas specials and does anyone actually roast chestnuts? I don’t even know what that would entail. I could probably google it, but then I’ll have lost twenty minutes of my life down the internet-Wikipedia-YouTube rabbit-hole only to learn about something that barely interests me.

I digress.

I wholeheartedly believe that stress is the theme of the season for me because my idealism about what Christmas is “suppose” to be and my passion for over-the-top grand gestures overrides my sanity, for one, and my need for solitude and simplicity for another. I notoriously take on way too much and all of it is in service of others’ wants, desires and feelings. By the time New Year’s Day rolls around, I’m dead in the water. Exhausted. Irritable. Mildly Depressed. And the worst part is, I’m well aware of these tendencies I have and how it impacts me and yet, I do it anyway. It’s self sabotage.

Maybe if it all felt worth it, that would make it okay?! I dunno. But the holiday imagery I get stuck in my head is never how it goes down. The reality is, the hustle and bustle that is referenced so joyfully in carols only brings about rage, tension and burnout. Of course, there are those surprising, unexpected magic moments that can and do happen, all year round. You know the ones that make you feel all the warm and fuzzies feels and help you to forget all your troubles. And really, don’t we all just want more of these. More happy, cherish-able memories. The thing is, if you’re hustling and bustling to the point of insanity and self-destruction (like I so often do), well…you miss out on the good bits.

So this holiday season, I’m consciously fighting, with every fibre of my being, the incessant urge to hand-craft or painstakingly hunt for every bloody gift I give, spend hours baking glutinous goodies that I can’t eat or obsessing over how to make everyone else’s wishes come true. I mean, I’m no fairy grandmother. I need to do more to make this holiday pleasurable for me. I need to be my own fairy grandmother. Damnit.

Keeping self-care top of mind this Christmas is a big undertaking for me and it will require constant prompting that “good enough is good enough”, especially in terms of the efforts I’m putting out.

Are you with me?! Great!

To help us in getting what we need out of the holidays, I’ve made a list of things (and checked it twice) to help us relax, replenish and fuel up with enough energy to intermittently hustle and bustle (when required). So here it is:

  1. Book a girls night with your momma friends. They are your allies and you need each other. Don’t isolate yourself (which is what I tend to do when my life gets busy). Schedule something casual, low key that inevitably involves wine and food. It might be the first time you’ve all gotten out in a while so keep it simple. In other words, no one should have to wear a push-up bra, heels or apply lash extenders to take in this evening (unless of course that is what everyone is wanting). I am fully in support of a gathering of women that encourages stretchy pants, unkept eyebrows and day “who knows” of unwashed hair. For me, I crave outings with my girlfriends where we can sit comfortably drinking wine and devouring copious amounts of cheese, chocolate and carbs. Inevitably, we spend the time swapping war stories and then gush about how much we love and appreciate each other (this usually comes shortly after the second glass of wine).
  2. Stop pinning on Pinterest. Shut it down ASAP (at least until New Year’s). Trust me. Maybe you’re not a peruser of Pinterest, in which case, you’re good, disregard this item. And, may I just say, congratulations for not getting sucked into this world where best intentions go to die and hundreds of pinned projects congregate, never to be looked at again. Crafty folk, such as myself get sucked into the smoke screen that is diy-ing. “But look how simple this little project is!” and “I can whip that together in no time”. [PIN, PIN, PIN, PIN, PIN]. Speaking from experience, whipping anything together is a falsehood. It’s based on this Mary Poppins view of domesticity and homemaking that is nothing short of bullshit entrapment. Every single time I’ve taken on a Pinterest project, it takes triple the amount of time that I think it will, quadruple the amount of money than if I just went out and bought the thing in the first place and rarely do I look back on the result and think “Geese, I’m so glad I did that!” No. Typically, I’m cursing and rage crafting my way to done. So heed this caution and Pinterest at your own risk.
  3. Schedule a date night/day with your significant other (if you are part of a couple). It doesn’t have to be elaborate or uber romantic, just do something you would enjoy together. Drop the kids off at a sitter (aka grandparents) and take in an afternoon movie, go bowling, take a walk or visit an art gallery. Resist the urge to “shop talk”. I feel like I’ve barely looked at my husband in a week so I know we definitely need this time to connect. And we’re not the only couple that suffers from this. Having children propels your life into chaos, a beautiful, rewarding kind but it’s messy and stressful nonetheless. It’s not always easy to do but when we manage to steal some time alone, we are reminded of why we like each other and this enables us to return to our co-parenting gig with a little more patience and empathy for one another.
  4. Schedule dates nights/days with yourself. Literally get it on the calendar. It might feel ridiculous to do but we all need this “me time” and it’s so easy to overlook it. Don’t burn yourself thinking you can marathon through the holidays without coming up for air. Have a bath, read a book, drink tea, or slather your skin in lotion. Pamper yourself in whatever ways work for you.
  5. Preemptively order yourself a Winter Oh Mother Care Kit to support your holiday self-care or as recovery support for January. When you’re a mom, the holidays are bound to be at least a little bit hectic and stressful no matter what you do to buffer that. It’s just the nature of the season. So plan to take care of yourselves as best you can. Be kind, gentle and forgiving of your humanness.
  6. Say “no” more than you say “yes”. Keep your social calendar sparse. Don’t overcommit yourself to a slew of events. Practice the art of saying “no”, especially to the things that are non-obligatory. It’s incredibly liberating to do so and you will be relieved you did when your plate is overflowing with a thousand little “to-dos” that will inevitably pop up when December 1 hits.
  7. Keep meals and food prep simple (and if applicable, cooperative). We always like to host and gather friends and family to eat epic amounts of food over the holidays. Obviously, this can become extremely daunting and stressful when you have children. But this is where a good ol’ fashion potluck is your friend. Everyone attending contributes something delicious and perhaps complimentary to a main food item (i.e. roasted turkey, beef, ham, etc). I have a tendency of complicating the hell out of food over the holidays. I somehow believe this is the best time to try out new recipes, and elaborate ones at that. And this is how that goes. Every. Friggin. Time. Neglect to look at instructions. Do not account for sitting/soaking/marinade time. [Insert expletive]. Delay 24 hours. [Insert expletive]. Revisit recipe. [Insert expletive]. Realize do not have necessary kitchen gadget. [Insert expletive]. Delay another 48 hours to go out and buy said gadget. [Insert expletive]. Follow recipe closely. Feeling really positive. Somehow overlooked purchase and/or inclusion of one ingredient. [Insert expletive]. Debate whether to throw it all away and start from scratch. Only have enough ingredients to do once. [Insert expletive]. Hope that it will still turn out okay. Feeling positive. Looks delicious upon first emerging from oven/stove/crockpot. Tastes…okay. Vow to never make again. So, elaborate doesn’t work. The best plan of attack for getting you and your family fed over the holidays is to rely on the tried and true. Don’t waiver on this. Batch cook when you can and try to head into the holidays with some freezer meal stock. Also, plan on take out meals because you know you’ll need a few of those to get you through.

I know it’s a challenge Mommas and there’s certainly no shame in locking yourself in the bathroom with a bag of chipits and a bottle of creme de menthe. No judgement here. We all get by in our own ways and you gotta do what works. Sure, it’ll pass and weirdly, you will be sad when it’s over. But please know that you can be selfish and make the holidays a little bit about you. It’s a matter of survival.

lovin-this-list

1 2 3 4