A resurrection?

Hi all! It’s been a busy summer with the move and just general summer fun with our family and friends. Things are slightly winding down so I’d like to start posting again with a small goal of 1-2 posts a week.

In the past I’ve posted not only about our lives but also some of my parenting ‘wisdom’.

If there’s a parenting topic you’d like to see a post on, let me know!

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Co-sleeping – my lifesaver

Good morning everyone! Today I wanted to write about co-sleeping, aka how I survived baby Lucy.

Before having kids, I was one of those people who insisted my baby would sleep in a crib in her own room. The funny part is, nobody corrected me or suggested it may not go that way. My mom and I went shopping and bought a lovely crib and dresser set. I set up my nursery, it was perfect.

Can you guess how many times that crib has been slept in? Zero. Yep, never. Lucy will be three in July and Odette is 7 months, and the most action that crib has seen is keeping a baby contained so I could shower.

So what changed? How did I go from a person who was sure my baby would sleep in her crib to a person who slept with my baby in the spare room every night for well over a year? There’s two main explanations; anxiety and exhaustion.

I had a surprising amount of anxiety with both of my babies as newborns. I’m that person who is constantly making sure they are still breathing. I never would have slept if I couldn’t hear them or feel them breathing next to me. So having them right next to me alleviated a lot of that. I felt more at ease and therefore we all slept better. H

Exhaustion was really the biggest factor. Lucy ate around the clock every 2 hours for more than a year. She like to take her time as well, which meant night feedings felt like forever. I can’t imagine what it would have been like if I had to physically get up out of bed to nurse her every two hours. At least having her in bed with me meant I had less work and a better chance of falling asleep easily.

Odette is a much better sleeper. She will wake to nurse and be back to bed very quickly. She doesn’t require as much snuggle as Lucy did and actually pulls away from me in the night. But I still enjoy co-sleeping with her for as long as she will let me. I love hearing her breathe and I know all to well how fast time passes and they grow up.

Co-sleeping is of course a very contentious topic. Doctors suggest in no uncertain terms that babies should sleep in a crib flat on their back. Many articles make it seem like you’re child is sure to die if you don’t follow the strict sleep rules laid out these days. What this leads to in my mind is exhausted parents…which in turn leads to things like falling asleep while nursing your baby, in a way that’s maybe not safe. In my mind, if you plan to co-sleep you’ve at least come up with a safe way to do it. If you don’t end up co-sleeping that’s cool, but you’ll at least be prepared if it goes that way.

My set up currently is a crib side-car on our bed. Now honestly it’s rare that Odette actually ends up on the crib mattress, but it prevents the chance of her falling out of bed, and just gives us all a bit more space. It works well for us and I’ll take all of the snuggles I can get.

Do your research and decide what is the best set up for you, but know that if you do choose to co-sleep, you’re not alone.

Almost there…

As most of you know, my silence these days is caused by the joy of moving. Now, moving usually is something that doesn’t bother me, Dave and I have done it numerous times in the seven years we’ve been together. Moving with two kids is a whole new experience. It’s pretty much hell.

Take all of the stuff you have, then multiply it by 2.5 and that’s how much extra stuff kids bring along, at minimum. Then try actually packing their stuff. Toddlers won’t have it. They NEED every single stuffy and toy, even if it’s one they haven’t touched in 2 months. That piece of paper you threw out? Que meltdown, toddlers remember every piece of paper!

Thankfully during this moving process we had my mom and our neighbours to help us out with the kids. My toddler spent the entire last week with grandma and grandpa. The baby gave me a hard time as she wasn’t feeling well, but she spent quite a bit of time snuggling the neighbours.

We still need to get moved in, we had 10 days between closing dates. So until next week we are living in limbo at my parents house. Lucky for us I have great parents, so it’s a week of good food and good company.

Almost there, and it’s a good thing I love the new house because I am never moving again!

Perception vs Reality

Subtitle: Stop being a judgmental A-hole.

I’ve been wanting to write this particular blog for a long time but have repeatedly struggled with a few aspects of it. The biggest struggle has been whether or not it would cause some friction in friendships and my community. But then I realized if that happens, those people are part of the problem I’m going to write about. So, here we go.

Perception versus reality. It’s been evident for a long time in this town that people would prefer to just let their perception of you cloud their ability to actually get to know you. At one point this even deterred us from buying vehicles we like, because we knew that it would cause people to talk. Then we made the wise decision to say screw it, if people talk we don’t need them anyway. So, in light of some recent comments that have been made in our community, I’m going to clear things up.

Perception: we have two BMW vehicles, so we must be rich, pompous a-holes.

Reality: Thanks to BMW being smart, their styling hasn’t changed much, making it hard to tell how old a vehicle is. My suv is 8 years old, my husband’s car is 6 years old. Both were purchased used and combined cost less than a lot of the brand new vehicles people we know have purchased. In fact, my Kia I had cost almost as much as my husband’s BMW.

Perception: we own two properties, so again, we must be rich.

Reality: firstly, we no longer own two properties. After 6.5 years of owning a townhouse, we got tired of the never ending problems with keeping it tenanted. Secondly, that property was a crummy townhouse in a not very nice area that I purchased myself prior to meeting my husband. I purchased it after years in a controlling and abusive relationship, to prove to myself that I would be just fine no matter what. It was cheap, rightfully so, most of the surrounding properties were drug addicts and the condo management was awful. I lived in it for a year and a half and then rented it out… Making barely enough money to cover its costs.

Perception: I have a house cleaner, so I’m either too rich or too lazy to clean

Reality: well, I am a bit lazy and hate cleaning, however as I’ve said many times over, this literally saved my relationship. When Lucy was born we had a lot going on in life in addition to a new baby. I also was dealing with major anxiety issues. The rage induced by the simplest things was indescribable, and threatened to ruin my relationship with my husband. He pushed to have a house cleaner come and honestly, I’m glad he did. It allowed us less stress and more ability to focus on other things. We’ve budgeted since then to include this, however once we move I will no longer afford it.

Perception: my husband makes a lot of money

Reality: people often think this because he’s an engineer and I’m able to stay home. He does make a good wage, but realistically it’s not all that different than what the miners make (and he has 4 years of difficult university he had to pay for to get his wage). We budget well for me to stay home. We rarely go on vacation. We’ve actually never been anywhere warm or tropical together. We don’t have cable TV. I buy most of my clothes second hand, same with clothes for the girls. We literally have coats and other items that are 10 years old. We sacrifice luxuries so our kids can have me at home.

There’s a lot of other things I could say, but those are the most common misconceptions about us. The most frustrating thing is the people who make snide remarks about us are often the same people spouting off about teaching kindness and inclusion. They’ve never even bothered to get to know us, they’ve just judged us. This is partly why we made a decision to leave. Four years here and I feel, in many ways, like we were never going to be truly accepted within the community. It’s exhausting feeling like you have to try so damn hard for people to look past their perception of your life and actually get to know the reality. What is our reality? We are just a normal little family who budget and sacrifice. We have big hearts and care about the people around us, and if people took the time to get to know us they’d know that we are very loyal and giving friends.

So next time you feel like judging, try getting to know the people first. Not every BMW owner is a dick.

Tips for a successful post partum

I have quite a few friends and relatives that are having their first babies now. I love talking pregnancy and babies, so many friends know they can come to me with questions and get honest answers based on my experiences. I was thinking today about the post partum experience (the fourth trimester is real!) and how often new moms are overwhelmed and under supported. I want to share with all of you some of my tips to a successful post partum.

1. Save money. Not only are you probably going on mat leave and going down to 55% of your wage, but also some of best post partum investments called for creative budgeting. Oh, and somehow Amazon purchases sky rocket when you’re up at strange hours feeding a baby.

2. Have a Midwife. This isn’t possible for everyone, especially if you are high risk,but having a Midwife is a great support system for 6 weeks post partum. They have immense knowledge, are great lactation support and come to your house for the first few appointments. Trust me, that last part is a life saver. The last thing you’ll feel like doing is hauling your baby into the doctors office.

3. Hire a housekeeper. I suggest this to literally everyone I know with small children. It is worth stretching the budget for, trust me! I didn’t do this until my first baby was almost 6 months old and I wish I had done it sooner. I swear it also saved my relationship. Once a week I have someone come for 2 hours. She changes the bedding, washes the floors, cleans the kitchen and the bathrooms. The amount she can accomplish in 2 hours is far more than you can. She isn’t interrupted by a crying baby or hungry toddler every 5 minutes.

4. Meal prep. How you do this is up to you. I personally don’t like cooking very much, so my preferred method post partum is to get one of those meal delivery services (hello fresh, good food, chefs plate, etc). Again, it’s a bit of extra money, but the food comes pretty much prepped for you, and my favourite part is the mental load it reduces. No more thinking about what to make! It’s there for you. Also, see if your grocery store has online ordering!

5. Babywearing. This is a must. Do your research and try a few different types of carriers. I have a Boba SSC that I love for long walks, but around the house I really loved the huggaloops stretchy wrap. Babywearing is a seriously magical thing. Seemingly inconsolable babies fall asleep while being worn, and you now have two hands to cook, tidy, or, you know, enjoy not having a tiny human screaming at you.

6. Research sleep options. Seriously, do it. Everyone and their brother are going to beat it into you that babies are only safe sleeping on their back in a crib or bassinet. That might work for you and your baby, but chances are high that it might not. I strongly recommend looking into safe co-sleeping options and guidelines. I’ve co-slept with both of mine, it was the only way any of us got enough sleep to function.

7. Establish your supports, both personal and professional. Discuss with friends and family what you need from them. Also know where you can go for breastfeeding support (lactation consultant, local support groups online and in person), find baby groups where you can go and talk to other moms in the same life stage. Use the knowledge and wisdom of other women in your life (like me! I love talking to women about pregnancy and motherhood!).

I’m positive I could come up with a million other things, but these were major ones that made a world of difference for me. Having a baby is equal parts exhausting and amazing. There are so many phases and stages, both difficult and rewarding. Trust yourself and know that if your baby is fed and clothed, you’re doing fine! Go easy on yourself mommas, you’ve got this.

SOLD! via Facebook?

Yes! The house sale is official (well, as of Monday when our lawyer receives the waiver from our buyers), and we are seriously excited! But it also got me thinking, will the internet gradually take over how we sell things?

I’ve bought and sold many things via Facebook. The classifieds on Facebook are vast and so user friendly. With the housing market being hot up here, and there being a shortage of housing… I looked at our options and decided to first list the house on Facebook. Why the heck not? What’s the worst that could happen, it doesn’t sell and I need to get an agent? But if it does sell, then I would be saving us over 10k in commission. Yeah, ten thousand dollars. I’m willing to try for that kind of savings.

And lo and behold, it was a success. The first weekend we had 3 different people look at it, and it just so happened that someone I know was looking for a house and saw the ad.

Now, I’m not saying everyone should do this. I’ve bought and sold a few times now, both using an agent and privately, so I’m pretty comfortable with the process. I’m also a stay at home parent so I have a bit more flexibility in my schedule to show a house to people, and I have a great lawyer who I trust to handle the transaction properly. That being said, if you have time on your side, it’s worth a shot!

It is very interesting to see the way the world has changed in my lifetime, from scouring newspaper ads and garage sales to being able to sell something as large and expensive as a house on a social media website. What’s in store for the next 30+ years?

Birth stories

When someone like This West Coast Mommy asks for people to submit their stories, I often wonder what kind of mix she gets. My experience in mommy groups has often been that the people with long labours, or more traumatic stories will talk, while the people with ‘easy’ labours tend to stay quiet because we are often bombarded with choruses of ‘oh you’re so lucky’ and then they go on to essentially one up how awful theirs was. Same goes for post partum sex stories, toddler stories, basically, anything regarding parenting. You get told all of the worst stories and very few of the good stories. Is it any wonder why so many people are terrified of having children?

With both of my kiddos I had really good births. I come from a long line of women who handle pregnancy and birth children like it’s nobody’s business, and I’ve been lucky enough to carry this ‘gene’ as well.

For the purpose of this I’ll talk about Odette since she is my most recent labour. Aside from some stress caused by genetic testing at the beginning, my pregnancy was uneventful and birth was much the same. I used a Midwife again, but chose to birth in the hospital since my husband isn’t comfortable with the idea of a home birth. Also, the hospital is only a few blocks away, and very small, so it’s not stressful getting there.

I always make sure I let the midwife know that my family births well, and births quick, and since this was my second the midwives instructed me to call them as soon as I think it’s the real deal. My due date came and went but I wasn’t concerned since my first was 10 days late, and everything was going just fine. I had some contractions in the evenings but nothing lasted. Then at 5 days past my due date, I woke up just before 4am with a contraction. I was pretty sure it was the real deal but waited for a few more before waking my husband up and telling him he wasn’t going to work that day. I went downstairs and let a few more contractions pass before calling my Midwife and my doula to let them know. At about 5am I sent my husband over to wake my neighbours up and got my toddler ready to head over (I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I have the best neighbours ever, this is just one example why!). I also sent a text to a friend who is an OB nurse to see if she was on shift, and told her we would be on the way soon.

When my Midwife arrived she checked me right away and I was 5cm dilated. My contractions were quite strong and close (1 min long, 5-10 minutes apart) so I made the choice that we may as well head over to the hospital. I let my doula know to meet us there, and my friend was on shift so they were ready for us.

Now, just because I labour fast doesn’t mean that it’s easy. My contractions come strong and quick right out of the gate, so it’s pretty intense. There isn’t a lot of time in between to rest. This time I chose to spend my labour on my hands and knees on the hospital bed. My doula coached me through the contractions and my friend stayed in the room to coach as well, despite being near the end of her shift. My water still hadn’t broke and I remember my friend saying ‘as soon as that breaks the baby will come quick! And she was right. Once my water broke, within) 18 mins I was fully dilated and then 20 minutes later, at 7:54am, my baby was born. I had no drugs and spent a lot of time yelling’ I can’t do this!’ but with the help my birthing team I made it through. In total my labour from first contraction to birth was just over 4 hours.

Baby was 8lb 9oz but was nice to me and didn’t cause any tearing. We did skin to skin right away, and she latched on to the breast easily. She was happy and healthy and we headed back home before lunch. Honestly, I felt better after birthing her than I had in the final weeks of pregnancy.

So there you have it folks, not every birth story has to be a bad one! Good ones so exist 🙂