I Never Thought I Would Co-Sleep, Then I Had My Daughter

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When I had my boys, just 13 months apart sleep was very very important! Thankfully my boys were born with a love for sleep. Sleeping 12 hours a night at 2 months old, and 4 hour naps. It was bliss. Pure bliss. I love sleep, and I was over the moon excited that my boys did too. It made parenting two babies 13 months apart so much easier. I swear it was the only way I survived 3 years straight of teething, back to back terrible twos, and everything else my boys did!

Fast forward to my daughter. She didn’t get my sleeping gene. I learned this on her very first day. She was awake, wide awake, following noises and such for hours at a time. I never even got a good look at my boys eyes for the first few days, but her… oh she was awake, wide awake. When she was just a month old she could go all day, ALL DAY, with no nap and still be wide awake and happy. She just didn’t need sleep.

From day one she hated sleeping on her own. We thought maybe she was cold and would heat up her bed with a hot water bottle, warm blankets from the dryer, an extra heater in the room. Nothing worked. We tried rocking her to sleep, I would breastfeeding her to sleep, music while she slept, no music, lights on, night light, pitch black, bedtime bath stuff, car rides, putting her in her swing, and anything else we could think of. I re-read every sleeping and parenting book I could.

We managed to get her to sleep for a few hours at a time on her own, but she never slept all night and never on her own.

Fast forward again, my daughter is 2 and half now. And you may have guess she still sucks at sleeping. She can be up all day, playing outside all day with her brothers and cousins, and guess what?! She will still stay up till 11pm! The girl doesn’t like sleep. (I’m starting to wonder if she is even human).

So 2 and half years later and guess what we do? We co-sleep. If you can call it that. We lay with her till she falls asleep, because after 2 and half years this is what works. And no, letting her “cry it out” is not an option. After she is asleep whoever is with her sneaks out and sometimes a miracle happens and she sleeps all night, but 90% of the time she gets up, and I go in there and she’s right back to sleep and we both sleep soundly the rest of the night.

This is what we do because it works for us. This is what we do because it is what our daughter needs us to do. I don’t stop being a mom at night. IF my kids need me, I’m there for them. Do I wish all my kids slept all night on their own, in the their own beds? Yes of course. Does it happen? No. Does life go on? Yes. Will we all survive? Yes. Will this eventually be a thing of the past? Yes.

Sometimes co-sleeping isn’t even a thought, like with my boys, and sometimes co-sleeping is the only way to survive. One day, maybe one day soon, maybe in a year or more, my daughter won’t need me like this. One day she will be able to go to sleep on her own and sleep all night. One day I will miss this. Kids grow up too fast to stress about where I lay my head at night.

Never will I think a parent is crazy when they say they co-sleep. Sometimes its a last ditch effort just so they can function on some what normal level.

~ Michelle

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How To Get ‘Me Time’ When You Are Busy

Before kids ‘Me Time’ was ALL the time! Before kids I could do what I want, when I want. I could take a nap. I could stay up late because I wanted to, not because someone was keeping me up. I could sleep in. I could take a bubble bath. Read a whole book in one day. I could go shopping without running around after anyone. I could do my nails without ruining them in 2 minutes. So many things I could do.

I have my 3 beautiful children. My time is limited. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But still, some ‘me time’ would be nice. Here are my quick and easy ways to try to squeeze in ‘me time’.


1. Take a shower or bath. Especially if you have some new bubble bath or bath bombs or something to use to make it special.

2. Light a candle and enjoy the quiet. Even if for a few minutes. Scented candles are my favourite. Especially the Christmas holiday ones.

3. Grab your music device, iPod, phone, whatever you have, put in earphones and dance. Dance like no one is watching. Dance in your underwear. Just dance and block out the world.

4. Journal. Or color. Or some combination of both. Even for a few minutes. Let your creativity flow. Let your words out. Let your frustration out.

5. Apply a face mask and read while it does its magic. Just make sure your kids are in bed, or not home so you don’t scare them, like I may have done once.

6. Eat a special treat, and don’t for one minute feel bad about it. Enjoy it.

7. Read. You need to have time to read an entire book, or even half, or a chapter. A few minutes can make a difference.

8. Get lost in a tv show. Or a movie if you have more time. Bonus if it is a show the kids can watch, not exactly ‘me time’ alone, but its better than having to stay up all night just to watch something without them.

9. Go for a walk. Or a run if you are up for it. You get alone time, its healthy for you, and it gets you outside in nature. Win win.

10. Make your favourite meal. Comfort food is always a good thing.

11. Do some yoga. Even if you aren’t good at it, give it a try, you may surprise yourself or have something to laugh at.

12. Paint your nails. Probably have to wait for the kids to be in bed, or you could paint your kids nails too in hopes they will sit still as well.

~ Michelle

Relieving My Anxiety For Our Road Trip

I was once brave enough to travel with a 6 month old from Canada to Austria for a week during the Christmas holidays while 2 months pregnant. Ok in all fairness the Grandparents came with me. But my son was such an easy baby, it was almost unreal. He slept all night and simply stayed on his schedule, as if there was no time change. 3pm here was 3pm there. And when we got back, right back to schedule. No issue at all.

Then when my boys were 5 & 6 years old we drove down to Florida. We drove straight through and the trip was wonderful. Again, my kids were so easy to travel with.

Now… Well now I have 3 kids and my youngest, my sweet girl, my girl she hates sleep and hates the car. For whatever crazy reason we thought we would take a road trip to Florida again. 

My anxiety is on high. Honestly I am terrified of this trip! A very small part of me wants to cancel the trip because, well anxiety. Anxiety is evil. But I will not let my anxiety win! I want this to be a wonderful fun family trip! I want this to be a family trip to remember, and not because it turned out like a Stephen King horror movie!


I am trying to relieve my anxiety before and hopefully during this trip. Which is near impossible, but I will try. I have been writing lists. Planning and more planning. Planning so much gives me a false hope of being in charge. I have bought and made my toddler new toys. Bought new movies (THANK YOU in-car dvd player!). And I’m still coming up with activities she can do in the car. I am also doing the same thing for my boys. I am making them a travel binder (I will share that all with you when its done). And I am also making a travel bin for the boys ( will share that when its done as well).

Planning and packing can only take me so far. For other ways I am trying to relieve my anxiety right now is to eat healthy. Junk food may taste good, but it always makes me feel worse after.

Meditation. Well not really, three kids, more like I am taking time to be quiet, to concentrate on my breathing. Counting to 10, 100, or a million, whatever works in the moment. Breathe in the good thoughts, out with the bad. All that. It may sound cheesy, but it works. And if it works, then it is a good thing!

Music. Music can speak to us, move us, energize us, calm us. Music can do so much! I have been working on new playlists. One to relax and calm me, one to energize me, and of course a fun dance party one for the family. My daughter loves music and loves to dance, and it always puts her in a good mood, so music for this trip is a must!

Visualizing. This can work both ways for me. I can visualize the most relaxing trip ever, sitting on the beach, watching and listening to the waves. Or I can let my thoughts wonder and end up picturing all hell breaking loose.

Journalling. I love to journal. Music and writing are my outlet. So I have been journalling a lot and I will for sure be packing my journal with me. Lets just hope I don’t get carsick when I am writing in it.

Sleep. I would say get lots of sleep. Sleep is so important. However, like I have stated my daughter hates sleep. So getting plenty of sleep is out of the question.

Do you have anxiety? How do you help relieve it?

I’m sure as the time comes closer I will need to do these things more often. For now they are working. And that makes me happy. Happy wife, happy life, and all that jazz.

~ Michelle

 

When Someone Told Me My Marriage Would End.

Marriage. Why didn’t anyone tell me it would be like this?! My parents made it look insanely easy, or maybe they were just good at not arguing in front of the kids. Movies clearly lie about relationships, especially Disney. (I’m still waiting for animals to come help me clean the house, not that that has anything to do with marriage, it would just be nice.)


The thing with marriage, is that it is as unique as each person that is involved in it. No two marriages are the same, so its hard for people to actually give advice. When they do give advice it is more of a blanket type advice.

When I met my husband, I didn’t really listen to advice much. I’m not one for being told how to do things. I’m stubborn that way. I figured that we would figure out what worked best for us and go from there. Adjust and change as needed.

I have been with my husband for 11 years now. It is long enough to learn a few things, but clearly not long enough to know everything. We still manage to surprise each other. But what we have learned is what works for us, for the most part. We have learned how to communicate better, thats always something we will be working on. I have also learned that marriage is hard work, but so worth it.

I have also learned that everyone loves to put their two cents in, usually ‘helpful’ advice. What I never expected was when someone told me my marriage would end. To be fair this person did not just simply say something mean in passing, they actually yelled at me and tried to make an argument for their case. It was not because my husband and I were fighting a lot. Not because one of us had an affair. Not because we didn’t love each other. Someone told me my marriage would end because my husband helps around the house!

See in our marriage that was one of the things we figured out that worked for us. We both live in this house, so we both take care of our house. We both wear clothes, so we both do laundry. We both eat, so we both cook and clean the kitchen. I cook dinner, my husband cleans the kitchen. My husband cooks dinner, my husband cleans the kitchen – just kidding, I help!

When my husband and I got married we agreed we were an equal partnership. We help each other out, we support each other, we take care of each other, we lean on each other, we parent together, we make decisions together. We also help each other out around the house.

I’m not going to say my marriage will never fail, I hope it won’t, I don’t think it will, but I know for sure that if it does, it won’t be because my husband had to do dish and wash his own clothes.

My marriage is a partnership. My husband and I work together. And my husband sure as heck does not “babysit”! He parents along side with me! But that is a whole other story and issue. My husband is more than someone who brings home a paycheque. He is my husband and my children’s father. How we make things work, how we live, how we choose to spend our happily ever after is our story to write and enjoy.

Moral of this all, your relationship is your own. Your marriage is your own. For me and my marriage we figured out what worked for us. Marriage is hard enough without outside people trying to rip it apart. So when giving “advice” make sure it is helpful. Just because you think something needs to be said, doesn’t always means the other person actually needs to hear it.

Marriage and parenting. To each their own. Enjoy it as you wish.

~Michelle

Technology vs Responsibility

I get it. Technology is pretty much everything right now. Everything is paperless. Most people carry around a smart phone with a calendar on it. My husband prefers his phone calendar. Me? I love my day-timer and my wall calendar. I love post-its and paper and sharpies and all that. My husband and I for the most part have managed to co-exist with our different ways, very few appointments have been missed.

But thats not really what I want to talk about today. It’s that EVERYTHING is going paperless lately; bills, letters, and now at my children’s school. And I HATE it.


There is no longer any responsibility put on kids to make sure they bring home important notes and paper work. Everything is on the school website or emailed to us. I hate it. I remember both dreading and loving when I got to bring home stuff. I was proud when I remembered something and didn’t lose anything. My kids? They don’t bring anything home now so they don’t get to experience that and learn.

And now my kids school has started an online thing were you have to email when your kid is sick. So no more talking to an actual human. No interaction whatsoever. Yes I am sure this cuts down on the phone calls the school gets during flu season, but still. Maybe it is the stay at home mom in me, but a little human interaction with an adult would be nice.

On top of that, they also started a program online so when you need to send money to school, again the kid is taken out the equation and no responsibility at all is placed on the child, the parent simply pays online. We can’t even send $1 into school with our child for popcorn day.

My children can also do their homework online and send it to their teacher. Again, no responsibility to make sure they bring home the homework, do the homework and then remember it in the morning! No extra responsibility at all.

Yes I see the upside, my kids will never lose an important paper, they won’t forget their homework at school, they won’t forget their homework at home, they won’t lose a field trip form and miss out on it, they won’t take money to school and risk the chance of losing that if they aren’t careful.

But I also see the downside, my kids will never learn simple responsibly because they will never lose an important paper – it will just get emailed to me, they won’t forget their homework at school because its online, they won’t get marks taken off their homework because they left it at home in their morning rush, they won’t miss out on a field trip because they won’t have to bring home the form, and as long as I pay online they won’t have the responsibility to cary around a couple dollars for pizza day which they may or may not lose if they had kept the money in their pocket and went running around playing at school.

Its all part of technology and our world it seems. So many things rely on the internet. I’m not against it, I don’t think machines will rise up one day and kill us all (SkyNet). But I don’t agree with technology taking away responsibility from my kids. Simple things that for a child are big things. Simple things that lead to bigger things.

~ Michelle

Dear Moms, Age Is Just A Number

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When my big guy was in Junior Kindergarten he was 4 years old, like all the other kids in his class. Unlike all the other kids in his class, his mom (me) was only 25 years old at the time.

My age never bothered me, it never determined how good of a mother or how much of a mother I was. But it clearly bothers some people. And now that my kids are back in school, I have to deal with it all over again.

It all happened one fine day when my son was happily playing in the kindergarten school yard. Happy as can be. I was standing watching him, while my other son, who wasn’t old enough yet for school sat at my feet playing with a toy. Another students mom came up to me and asked my age. Feeling no guilt or shame in it, I proudly answered her. Her response, as loud as she could for every parent around to hear, “OH MY GOD! You are one of THOSE parents! OH MY GOD! You are only 25!” She actually put her nose in the air and turned away from me. She has never spoken to me since, despite our children going to school together at the same school and my son is now in Grade 5.

To this day I am still referred to as, “One of THOSE moms” When some of the moms talk at school they will purposely say things like, “Not that you would know about this, you are a young mom”. Unless they are talking about getting the seniors discount, they really should just shut it.

My age has been pointed out to me since the very first time I got pregnant. This is nothing new to me. But happening at school, in front of my kids, thats just not cool.

My age has absolutely no baring on how good of a mother or how much of a mother I am. It doesn’t define me on my journey in motherhood or makes me any less of a mother. It also doesn’t make me unable to understand the importance of motherhood and the ups and downs of it all.

I am every bit a mother as the next lady who gave birth in her mid 30s or 40s. I am every bit a mother the day I gave birth when I was 17, as I am now at 31 years old and 4 kids later.

How do I put this nicely… Dear Mothers who gave birth later in life, stop judging other moms based on their age. It doesn’t matter at what age we joined motherhood, what does matter is that we are all in this motherhood journey together and should be supporting each other and helping each other. We all have the same goal; raise kids that are happy and productive members of society and reach their full awesome potential.

Age is just a number. Age doesn’t matter. Age doesn’t define how good of a mother you are. There is no guarantee that the older you are the better mother you will be. So stop judging others by age. There is no magic age.

I am 31, I given birth to 4 kick ass children aged 14, 10, 9 and 2. And I am a kick ass mother. I am every bit a mother as someone who gave birth at 35, or 45! A mother is a mother is a mother!

So the next time you are out and see a young mom, be nice, don’t judge.

~ Michelle

Planning A Family Trip

Hello New Day.
Hello New Week.
Hello New Adventure.

HelloMonday

This weekend I had lots of plans. Then germs hit the house. You have got to love back to school! So pretty much nothing got done this weekend, unless you count cuddles and naps! Then yes, lots got done.

So now here is Monday morning, I feel it mocking me and daring me to try to accomplish everything I want to do. And all with very little sleep and no coffee! Which basically means I am writing a lot of lists and notes down so I don’t forget anything! Because truth be told, I don’t have a lot of time to sit around being sick, I have so much to do! See in less than a months time we are taking a family trip! Not just any family trip! We are taking a week long trip to FLORIDA! And we are driving! Driving! Driving with my toddler who, to put it nicely, HATES the car! And we only have a week to get there, and back! So it should be very, VERY, interesting!

So I need to start planning what I need to pack, and buy for the trip, and it true me fashion, what I can make for the trip!

This will be the longest car ride for my toddler, and the longest time away from home. So I want it to go as smoothly as possible. Because no one likes a cranky, tired toddler that can scream like a angry screaming banshee on fire.

This isn’t the first time we have made this trip, but it is the first time with my toddler, so it feels like the first time and I am so scared and nervous and I have no idea what to expect. See the last time we did this trip, I only had my two boys, and they were 6 and 5 years old. They could sit in the car the whole time we were able to drive straight down over 24 hours with no meltdowns or issues. Also we had my parents. The adults outnumbered the kids, and it was wonderful!

This trip, it will just be my husband, me and our three kids! The kids outnumber us, and that is kinda scary! Not that they don’t outnumber me on a daily basis, but this is going into unknown territory.

So far I have snacks planned. Lots of snacks. Because growing boys love food, and my toddler loves food. As for anything else? I still working on that! Snacks, food, bathing suits, more snacks!

And did I mention we are leaving in less than a month?! The days of last minute packing and planning and so far behind me, I don’t even remember them! Everything now is plan, plan, plan!

It may seem a bit much, but if I don’t plan like crazy and have a million lists my anxiety will go crazy. Think of it as feeding the beast so it shuts up. Ok, maybe not shuts up, but at least calms it down just a little bit!

Back to planning and writing! And just when I thought our trip to Niagara Falls with all three kids for 2 nights was a big deal…

~ Michelle