2019 – The year mamas need to make time for selfcare

 

I have always chosen to live my life pretty openly to those who have wanted to listen, and one of the major subjects that I feel is not only important to me to be open and honest about but I think is important for helping to slowly eliminate stigmas against is mental health.

I have a long list, a resume if you will, of mental health diseases that I suffer from. Clinical Depression, An Anxiety Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Postpartum Depression. My brain (like many others) is chemically wired in a way that has been a beautiful home for these diseases to flourish and grow.

I have spent the better part of my life coming to terms with my mental health as well as combating it. When you give yourself the proper tools (whatever those may be) to work with, instead of against your mental health disorders, you become this crazy empathetic badass. There have been a couple key moments and thoughts that have helped me in those, why me moments. First, I’ve always believed that everything does happen for a reason, it could be to teach you a lesson, bring you joy and laughter, make you stronger, smarter and wiser, every experience that we face will eventually have an outcome that will add value to your future life. Second, when you have experience with the struggles of mental health you view other individuals with a lens of empathy, and this is a huge part of who I am, I care a lot about other people and their happiness because I know how it feels to feel the opposite and how painful it can be.

Since the birth of my son I have struggled many a times with the feeling of loss of self. It’s a truly horrible feeling to one day truly not recognize any part of you. I would stare into the mirror and see greasy hair, dark circles, dry skin, no bra and saggy boobs, all that comes with new motherhood and then I would try to look deeper and all I would see was a shell of a person caring for a little human. My whole prior existence and 27 years of life felt like it disappeared and shifted into this reality that was so simple and at the same time ever consuming, that completely revolved around my son. There seemed to be no more room or time for me, a person I’ve spent a lot of time, hard work and money (in therapy) to get to know and love.

That’s when it happened, it came in a beautifully wrapped present on my front door step. Post Partum Depression. My husband was just finishing his concrete season, his hours were long and crazy, everything was falling on me, then a family member fell ill and passed suddenly at the same time another diagnosed with terminal cancer. With all of this going on and me very much struggling and holding on by a string, inside that box of PPD was a side gift called Compassion Fatigue.

Caring too much can hurt. When caregivers focus on others without practicing self-care, destructive behaviors can surface. Apathy, isolation, bottled up emotions and substance abuse head a long list of symptoms associated with the secondary traumatic stress disorder now labeled: Compassion Fatigue*

The only thing that can help reverse compassion fatigue is to start taking care of yourself. I need to block out time in my days that are solely focused on me as an individual. What brings me peace, joy and happiness. Working on getting myself back into a more balanced and happy life is important for not only me but my family and those in my life. Eventually if you give too much of yourself you do end up with nothing left, and its scary.

I’ve begun to realize through therapy and some amazingly inspiring super moms that I need work on getting rid of this mom guilt and be able to take time for myself.

This year I am starting it off with a daily drawing challenge. I’m creative and being on maternity leave that has really been lacking in my everyday. Being able to express myself creatively is therapeutic. Follow my Instagram account and join in on this January Drawing challenge to help hold you accountable and take time for yourself everyday or evening if that too brings you joy.

Mama’s lets work on taking care of ourselves first, making time for ourselves as individuals so we can be the best moms, wife’s, girlfriends, friends, and versions that we can be.

* site passage from http://www.compassionfatigue.org

Amadeo’s Baptism

Amadeo’s Baptism

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Photos by the amazing Sarah Rowland from Creations Behind the Lens Photography

There are two reasons that I wanted to post and share with you pictures of my sons Baptism, first is that I love any and all moments that Sarah captures for my family, they are beautiful and stunning and her work must be shared, and second because I wanted to talk about parental choices.

I’m a classic overthinker, I always have been, and the moment that I found out that I was pregnant this overthinker in me somehow doubled in size, and once I gave birth to my son its grew times a million.

I find myself in any and all moments that I have to myself overthinking EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. From the mundane to the really important things, it really doesn’t matter, I’m defiantly dedicating a lot of extra brain power, that I don’t have at the moment ( thanks mommy brain ) to thinking about or researching about any and all things. The decision to Baptize our son was no different.

If you are VERY religious and don’t enjoy reading other peoples views on religion that may not 100% match your views I suggest you bow out on reading this post or just skip ahead and look at the beautiful pictures of my son getting Baptized.

I was Baptized, had my first Holy Communion, and my Reconciliation,so has my husband. We are Catholic but in no way are we practicing Catholics. We go to church to see people get married, unfortunately to give our condolences at funerals and some years go to Christmas Eve midnight mass. I would not describe my husband as a man of “faith” but he goes through the motions and is 100% a man of tradition. In our culture these religious rights of passage are tradition.

I describe myself as a Catholic Atheist, because I am Catholic, I have received all the sacraments, however until the Catholic Church changes a lot of their views and opinions pertaining to pro choice, LGBTQ rights, medicating for mental illness, and the list goes on, I really have no desire to take any part in practicing this religion.

So here’s my personal parenting dilemma and my over thinking starts. On one hand I have very strong views on the Catholic Church and their teachings and I don’t want my child exposed to any sort of hatred towards anyone. Before you say theirs no hatred well in the last two years I’ve had two priests and deacons tell me to stop taking anti depressants that its not right and I should just pray, not to take birth control for my endometriosis pain, hey men how about you stfu about women’s reproductive organs if you don’t have them you have no business giving us your opinion on them, and I’ve had to listen to huge rants about abortion. But I’m not parenting my child on my own, my husband does count and he wants our son to be baptized for tradition.

I know how I want to raise my son, I want him to be a kind human being, to actually live life like the golden rule and most of the ten commandments but I want it to be applied to all people. I want him to be open minded and know that everyone deserves kindness, respect and love.

When we were doing our interview so to speak with the priest that would be baptizing my son he asked us why we were choosing to baptize him and what I said to him is in the end the true reason why we chose to baptize Amadeo. I want to give my child every opportunity available to him in this world. I don’t want to close doors for him because of my beliefs, he may grow up wanting to find solitude and comfort in this religion. I know that I will be doing my idea of parental due diligence of exposing my son to all different cultures and religions in this world but I had to take a step back and just know that this wont hurt or damage him.

My son is at his purest time in his life, without any sin or wrong doing to anyone in this world, to me that is something that I can get behind celebrating with family and loved ones and I know that as a women it will be my responsibility as his mother to help guide him through his life to be the best human he can be moving forward.

Why I’m writing this, is because I always believe in being transparent and honest in my life and I promised myself to carry that into my blogging world for you all to read. This is the truth, that in life and our parenting life there will be choices that we make for our children before they start making their own and as a team with their other parent you have to way the pros and cons. I weighed my pros and cons about getting my son baptized and in the end it wasn’t a pros and cons decision, it was the fact that I truly felt like it wasn’t something I needed to really fight for. I will be saving that for future, for things that I feel very passionate about or that I feel like would hinder my son in different ways, this isn’t one of them.

So on that note, I’m truly sorry if I offended anyone, but its just me being me and me being honest my intent isn’t to hurt anyone.

I feel like I share this at any opportunity and I cant even help it but if you want all of your families moments beautifully captured by a wonderful, warm hearted, talented mama photographer, Sarah Rowland is your gal! Thanks for the beautiful Memories!

In our tradition its customary for the God Parents to come and dress the God Child in their Baptismal gown. Thomas and I chose his sister and brother in law to be Amadeo’s God parents, because they are two people who we know will always be there for him and love no matter what, he is so lucky to have them both in his life. We were so thankful that Sarah came to our home to capture these moments and the love that our son has for his Zia and Uncle Kevin.

 

Amadeo was Baptized in my husbands gown that his God Mother gave to him. She told us that she added all of the blue bows so everyone would know he was a boy.

 

Thomas and I are both  truly blessed with a wonderful boy that has completed our family. To watch him grow before our eyes has been our greatest adventure yet.

God Parents, Zia Anna and Uncle Kevin, Bella and Cameron Amadeo’s cousins and of course his furry brother Luca got in on some family pictures.

 

The takeaway that I have from the ceremony was Amadeo did amazing considering he was starving and it was in the middle of nap time. The Mass was short and sweet, had some confusing but comical moments I guess, but its done and over with and was pretty painless so win, win.

This is the part that I can get behind. We went to have a reception with our family at Sala San Marco, the banquet hall that we were married at, for a sit down meal ( Italian style ) and yummy desserts by the talented Daina Dunker of Daina’s Bake Shop. Beautiful Desserts that taste even better then they look!

 

Thank you to all of our family that came to share this day with us and for your generous gifts for Amadeo, we are so lucky!

 

 

5 Ways to trick your toddler/preschooler out of a tantrum

5 Ways to trick your toddler/preschooler out of a tantrum

child-tantrum

Hey there mama, I see you, struggling to try to keep your head above water because it feels like the tiny human that you’ve created is literally trying to drown you for the better part of each day. Welcome to the wonderful world of parenting a toddler/preschooler!

I want to give some advice from the knowledge that I’ve accumulated during studying Early Childhood Education, as well as working with and witnessing toddlers and preschoolers in the “wild” at daycare over the past 10 years, that can help you overcome or even start preventing these moments from happening on the daily!

The Toddler/Preschool age is between 1-4 years old. These ages are some of my favourite to work with because honestly once you gain more knowledge and experience on how to deal with this age, their actually super easy to trick and miniplate, that sounds kind of bad but obviously for the greater good of a peaceful, fun, and happier life for the whole family or in my case daycare environment.

In previous blog posts I refer to my unborn child and now infant as a “baby body terrorist” or a “baby terrorist” but the 1-4-year old’s I find myself describing them more as adorable little dictators. Literally their sole job and existence is to execute their days exactly how they like, which most of the time wont exactly a line with how you would like your day to run. The sad truth of the matter is that this is a really normal apart of this new developmental stage they are going through, they are starting to try and figure out the world around them, what makes them happy, what makes them sad, what makes them scared, nervous, excited, shy, bashful, surprised, disgusted, confident, interested, satisfied, loved, the list goes on and on and really, we as adults are continuously trying to figure out these things in life as well. But it takes a lot out of them to start doing this, its physically and mentally taxing and how we have our lives set up is usually not the most ideal or supportive environments for them to be able to push the limits, learn explore and figure these things for themselves.

Mix that in with the fact that they LITERALLY are unable to experience empathy on their own, so they truly do not give a fuck about what you’d like them to do or how their actions may be affecting others around them. Empathy is a concept that has to be taught to children, its not something that is learnt behaviour for the most part.

(don’t worry mama’s I’ll get to a blog post of simple ways to teach your children empathy, I gotchyouuuu)

That all being said when a parent comes to me for advice about their toddler/preschoolers challenging behaviours and how to deal or cope with them, I do always start with re assuring them that this is normal, and is a normal stage of development for their child.

(even though it is totally tiring, exhausting and you probably want to just put your kids up for adoption at different points of your day kind of stage, it’s okay mamas you will prevail!)

But I’m here to help you take back a little bit of control. I need to break something to you that I think you need to hear now and remind yourself during a full-blown melt down or tantrum.

YOU ARE MUCH WISER AND SMARTER THEN YOUR TODDLER/PRESCHOOLER.

I know it must not feel that way when you are in the thick of a tantrum that is like world war three but you are. The advantage that these little (adorable) shits have on you is that they can use allllllll of their time and energy to breaking you down. They don’t have bills to pay, they don’t need to be keeping any other humans alive, or even themselves alive for that matter, they don’t need to worry about ANYTHING. If you’ve read this blog post up to here and can relate to what I’ve written, they have already figured this out, they have seen what the limit is to break you and the next time they will push you further and further to get what they want, or what they think they want in these moments. This is exactly how they get you, or win so to speak, because you do have limits to your patience, you are tired and warn down, from being a parent and having so many fucking responsibilities. So, knowing this new information about how you do actually have the upper hand on them because you are on a Sheldon from the big bang theory level smart and they are basically cave men, here’s a couple tricks so you can change the course and tune of the situation BEFORE they even start to try and ware you down.

1. Give them the power and control of the situation.

Obviously, I’m not suggesting actually giving them complete power and control of dangerous situations or un healthy situations but I want you to start re-evaluating why you want them to do certain things. All toddlers/preschoolers want is to be able to do what they want right, but the thing is most of the time when they’ve made up their mind on something, they don’t actually know why they’ve chosen to do so, the most common denominator would be to go against what you want them to do.

Here’s an example of something that is 99.9% of the time a HUGE BATTLE between parent and child happens, and I want to try and give you a new perspective on the situation and how giving them the power and control to do what they want will actually, eventually get them to do EXACTLY what you want them to do in the first place.

Example scenario:

Mom “Anna we are going to the grocery store, lets get dressed and put your winter clothes on now.”

Anna “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”

Fight breaks out with mother and child and child is screaming on the floor.

This scenario is SO popular even Robert Munsch wrote a book about it.

In these types of situations, I want you to stop and ask yourself if you choose to not fight your child on this and them do what they want, what will actually happen, and go to your worst-case scenario. For me it would be that probably twenty old ladies will be judging me that I’m a horrible parent and my child is going to get sick. But lets all collectively take a step back and take another look at this, the child will be in the cold for not that long for any permanent damage to be done to them, you know that your child won’t be getting sick from the temperature but instead from germs so that’s covered, and as for people judging you, fuck em.

I suggest handling the situation like this:

Mom “Anna we are going to the grocery store, lets get dressed and put your winter clothes on now.”

Anna “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”

Mom “It is winter and cold outside, are you sure you don’t want to put on something to keep you warm when we go out?”

(This is a loaded question from mom, you are explaining the season, weather, temperature, and giving them an opportunity to have control and answer yes or no to being warmer as well as you are ever so sneakily just reinforcing that the trip to the grocery store is happening no matter what they chose to wear and you’re okay with that, it doesn’t bother you at allllll.)

Anna “I’m sure I don’t want to put my winter clothes on.” Or it will prob be a simple “yes”

Mom “okay no problem, I’ll put them in the trunk just in case you do get cold when we are out, just let me know and I can help you get dressed if you need it”

Whenever there is a conflict just taking that extra time to get down to their level, giving them a sense of power and control, letting them know you hear their needs and wants, and that you are there to help them if needed, will eventually if not instantly change the course of future getting dressed moments. Your kids don’t actually want to be cold but they can’t grasp the idea of that happening to them in the future because they only truly can live in the now.

2. Be as CONSITANT as humanely possible

Children THRIVE on consistency and predictability. They may not like that every single time that they ask you for a cupcake before dinner is a no but eventually, they will not fight that or completely stop asking because they can already predict the outcome.

The thing is this is where I mentioned they kind of have us in the achilles heal, our parent kryptonite if you will, if they break you or your partners consistency and expectation from them, your up shits creek and to get back on track is realllllllly hard. If you’ve said no to a cupcake before dinner ten times but on the eleventh time you find yourself to tired to fight them and give in …. The twelfth time they are going to make it their mission to do whatever it takes to get that god damn cupcake before dinner.

Figure out with your partner things that you would like to never make exceptions for and stick to them. These may change throughout them growing up and at different stages but just know that if you want your child to get with the program you need to write that program and stick to it.

In the end this is one of the hardest things to actually do, especially if its important for you that your kids like you a lot of the time, but I can say even from a developmental stand point if you set up this foundation up for your children they will in turn feel like you are a safe place, that they know what to expect from you and they can feel 100% confident in you, and that’s really important for them and their overall happiness.

3. Don’t give them punishments but instead logical consequences

Most children even in their older years are truly indifferent to punishments because one of two things will happen. They either are going to put their energy into making your life a living hell and breaking you down so the punishment either doesn’t happen at all, or doesn’t happen the way you originally say it will. Or your child actually wont care at all about doing his or her “time for the crime” and then literally you’ve just wasted your time and efforts because they wont care to challenge you again.

Instead let the logical consequences flow, and when you explain these outcomes to your children don’t do it in a stern voice do it super calm with a smile on your face and happy tune in your voice, it will Jedi mind trick them into having this consequence just being a matter of fact information that you are giving them instead of a punishment that they are going to get defensive about and try to fight you on.
Going back to that original example about the winter clothes. The logical consequence that you will explain to your toddler/preschooler is that they might be cold because its cold outside. So, they now know because you’ve given them that information that when they go outside in -30 weather and they think, oh yea I feel cold my mom said this might happen, and that if I want to feel warm, I can do that by putting my clothes on, my mom brought them in the trunk. The connections will start to happen in their brains on their own. Its really neat to see, like watching your baby discover their hands for the first-time kind of thing. You’ve eliminated a fight and they will be able to “come to that conclusion on their own”. See that, we’re giving them all that power and stuff, cool eh.

4. Learn your child’s basic need cues
This will sound kind of funny because I feel like I’m reinforcing how to take care of a pet animal, but for your child to grow up big, strong, healthy and happy they need:

• Food
• Water
• Air
• Sunlight (vitamin D)
• Exercise
• Sleep

A lot of the time your child I changeling you because they are overwhelmed about something. A lack of any of these basic needs will throw off your child in a different way and most of the time is a HUGE factor in children’s behaviours. When we learn in Early Childhood Education on how to make a successful daily routine in daycare, we need to factor in all of these basic needs as well as the timing in which we give them to the children. Stop the next time you are about to get a dose of crazy from your toddler/preschooler and think about if all of these basic needs have been met properly to set them up for success. Even though they are older and more independent then infants most of the behaviours are still outcomes of these needs not being met at proper times or in proper ways just like an infant would not be able to manage.

5. Make sure you are having fun with your kids

This ones for you, with all the crazy melt downs and tantrums that you will be experiencing the frustration and hatred can be REAL towards your kids. (also, normal and okay you’re not a horrible mom for feeling that way!) maybe start a journal or have a reflection period at night to practice letting go of all the (at times literal) SHIT that has happened that day and hold onto all the amazing moments. In everyday your toddler/preschooler will at least give you one. I think its like a survival instinct that they have built in that when they smell the murder on our breath, they turn to us with the most angelic smile and say how much they love us. Bring those moments into the next morning and the next morning and even though it may take some time eventually those amazing moments are the ones that during the day you start feeling the most! Your child will be experiencing a happier more patient version of yourself and if you start implementing tricks 1-4 eventually (it may take a long time but I promise you sooooo worth it so stick with it and be CONSISTANT MOMS AND DADS) your child will become better behaved and better at responding to you and your requests. Its all in the delivery mama, you can set the tone for illusion against your child, you got this, I just know it.

If you want a giggle or two when it comes to toddler tantrums Erica from @mom.break has created a movement to normalize the tantrum and the videos of her kids and other parent submissions are just pure gold! Go check her out on Instagram as well as her blog https://mombreak.ca/

Sleep Training with Support

antea

Mama’s please don’t hate me but I had a very easy newborn when it came to sleep, well easy in my mind. The picture looked a lot like me being glued to my couch because he would nap in my arms and I would have to hold in my pee for hours. But honestly I loved most of all of those moments with my little one. We got to snuggle, it helped a lot with my stress and anxiety and also made me just rest and relax instead of constantly trying to get something done. He also only had one wake up per night to feed. So if I were to go back a couple months the truth is I wouldn’t change a thing.

Then our son grew, like really big and long, overnight. He no longer fit in his bassinet and we were starting to wrap our heads around the fact that we would very soon need to transition him into his crib. My husband and I were trying to plan on making this transition when he was finished his construction season and we were both at home to be able to support each other.

THEN.LIFE.HAPPENS. I say it like this because I’ve been slowly figuring out that you cant meticulously plan much in motherhood. We had three nights in a row of our son waking up every hour on the hour and it would take us FOREVER to settle him. Gone was the one night wake up ( again sorry moms) since three weeks old, our soon to be four month old who started teething, decided he was going to change his sleep schedule on us before daddy was done work.

After posting about these nights on my Instagram stories I had like ALOT of moms message me saying they still wake up at least three times a night and their kids were 1-3 years old. UMMMMM NOPE. That can’t be my life, for my mental health I NEED to be able to sleep more then that, I cant have this be my new reality for the next three plus years or I will end up in a really dark place. Soooo that being said my husband and I better figure something the fuck out and FAST!

Back it up to when my son was 2 months old, I had originally gotten in contact with Antea through our social medias and then met in person at her organized mommy meet ups. I felt an instant connection and unconditional care and support from her. The advice and conversations we would be having at our mommy meet ups just showed me how much she cares for other women and mothers and truly her purpose in life is to help support us through this beautiful journey, and being a mother of two beautiful boys and a registered nurse her advice was always from a place of love and expertise.

Now fast forward to a couple weeks ago when these three sleepless nights happened, I immediately contacted Antea to talk about sleep training and if she could help.

One of the ways that I’ve enjoyed parenting so far is to try to be as flexible as possible in my schedule and truly just do what I want when I want to. I need groceries and want to go to the mall for a couple of hours, no problem, my husband and I are invited to a party and it might go until 1 am, well we might be a bit tired or hung over but our sons got this,and now I’m realizing that with a newborn its actually much easier to be that way. When your baby starts to get older and is learning new skills that take ALOT of energy, they are going to start sleeping less and be awake for longer periods, and in the beginning its really hard on them. Their little bodies and minds are moving a million miles a minute and without us properly supporting that growth with proper sleep habits and a schedule, we basically unintentionally make a non sleep monster.

If this sounds like your life or if you just have a child that WILL NOT SLEEP WELL , my god you NEED to do research on sleep training.

At first the idea was really hard for me to grasp because I knew that it would take away from my “flexibility” but Antea reassured me that yes, we would need to be CONSISTENT for a while and it would be hard work but with team work being on the same page and completely following her customized sleep plan, eventually when our child had those sleep skills down pact we could live a more flexible life again and do things here and there when we wanted because the next day he could bounce back faster with his skills in tow.

The MAIN reason on why I want to share all this personal mumbo jumbo about my experience with Antea is, yes because I have received a lot of questions so it will be a great place for you to hear about my experience, but I wanted to share what I think is special about working with her in particular and why I believe we were so successful so quickly in sleep training our 4 month old.

I’m an early childhood educator and I truly believe like my profession has taught me  that every child is unique and so is every family situation. Our son has had four months of us uniquely teaching him different bad sleep habits then you and your child, And to be very honest the hardest part about sleep trainer is trying to break all of our (the parents) bad sleep habits because some of them you will want to keep. For example in my perfect mom universe I would have my son sleep alllllll night in this crib till 7 am then I bring him into bed with me and we can cuddle and sleep for a couple more hours till 9. Then we can sometimes sleep some naps in the crib when its coinvent for me and I need to get stuff done and want my arms, but sometimes in my arms for a cuddle or sometimes in his stroller for a shopping outing, but here’s the thing, every action has a reaction with children and I know this. Maybe because I work in childcare I can very clearly understand this, but I know my perfect sleep schedule isn’t at ALL realistic for this age or really any age past the new born stage. Babies and Children thrive in an environment with consistency because it makes them feel safe and secure.

Once I had a really good cry about giving up my bed and couch nap and morning snuggles I was all in baby.

Antea sent us his ideal sleep schedule with times that she knew he would eventually hit and with a schedule of a night time sleep that looks like 7pm-7am and naps to fit his age.

This is what I can only try to convey to you guys properly, but when you start sleep training, timing changes, naps are weird, you will have a cranky child that is learning some hard shit, but the tweaking and constant comfort and reassurance that Antea gave us, truly gave us the confidence to completely stick with it and keep going , teach our son these sleep skills and give him the grace and patience he needed to do so and by the end of the first week he completely matched 7pm-7am and was hitting his nap and awake time targets.

I know every child is different but honestly Antea is my SLEEP ANGEL sent from the SLEEP HEAVENS to save us and teach my son what I am not trained to teach him or to fully understand.

I HGHLY recommend if the sleep is an issue in your home to contact her and just see what can be done, because with some hard work, dedication and consistency you will see how amazing your child truly is.

I’m now able to put my son in his crib awake every single time and he self soothes and is asleep on average within minutes. If he does ever wake up he usually self soothes and again falls back to sleep within minutes as well. He takes proper naps and is in the BEST mood ever when awake. He is truly thriving and I’m incredibly proud of him and us as parents because we were able to, with Antea’s help, give that all to him.

Parenting is HARD.AS.FUCK. and its ten million times harder with parents and a child/children who aren’t  getting the proper sleep needed each day.

Check out Antea’s Mama Coach website on all the details about sleep training as well as give re blog posts a read.

https://linktr.ee/anteathemamacoach

This is some information about sleep services on the Mama Coach website…..

More than Sleep
It is never as simple as “do this and they’ll sleep”.
There are so many factors that need to be accounted for, which is why as Registered Nurses we do a full assessment on your child included in each sleep package.
We look extensively at feeding, development, weight gain, and your child’s circadian rhythm to determine the best way to find sleep.
If there is an underlying feeding issue, finding sleep will be a challenge. Lots of tears and feeding may be compromised. We look at the entire picture and if there is something that needs to be addressed prior to working on sleep, we will help you or find you the health professional to address it, then work on sleep together.
This is a vital step for all families looking for sleep because sleep comes easily when we ensure your child is ready for it.
We understand there are a lot of choices out there for finding sleep for your little one, but we promise we bring so much more than sleep. We bring quality care and support from a Registered Nurse that will help you meet your goals.

In-Home Sleep Services

Newborn Package
Birth to 3 Months
You’re looking for answers on why she is so gassy, why she is spitting up or why each feed is taking over an hour? You put her down and she only sleeps twenty minutes, then you start all over again?

More than Sleep
3 Months to 18 Months
You tell us your expectations, and we will use our extensive knowledge on sleep science, feeding expertise, and Registered Nurse assessment skills to ensure you meet your goals. We make sure your child is ready for sleep prior to starting which is key- any underlying feeding or medical concerns will be addressed first to help make finding sleep so much easier.

More than Sleep
18 Months to 3 years
We are all mamas, and we get it. As Registered Nurses we understand the cognitive and physical development of a toddler and how that impacts sleep. Maybe sleep was going well and now it isn’t or maybe it never has. We can help. We use the science of sleep and the deep understanding on the development of toddlers to help you find sleep for your little one.

More than Sleep
4 Years and Older
If you are struggling with your older child, we understand. Our philosophy on sleep for older children, is that we need to work with them, not on them. They have a voice and deserve to be included. We will empower them to start sleeping independently and develop a positive outlook on sleep.

Which Sleep Method do we Use?
This is a big question.
The answer is… we don’t have just one.
One particular method doesn’t work for all children.
We complete a nursing assessment on each child we work with, as well as a feeding assessment to ensure the least amount of stress for the entire family.
We don’t believe infants should be forced to sleep through the night. This causes too many tears for moms and babes!
Instead we do a feeding assessment on every child, and teaching around the timing and feeds themselves… and you will see amazing outcomes.
A baby that can fall asleep independently and will sleep long stretches, and through the night when they are ready, all while feeding on demand. Naps will fall into place and you will find yourself enjoying parenting.
We are using our years of training as Registered Nurses to bring so much more than sleep.

Ten questions to ask a potential provider

Ten questions to ask a potentional daycare provider picture

You’ve done the research of which type of childcare best suits your family, you’ve found a couple daycare contenders, now what?
I’ve seen and experienced first hand that usually this next step comes with a lot of anxiety for parents. I see that they are wanting to ask me important questions about my program and style of education, food, first aid, policies etc., but once they are in the space its almost like it all goes blank. When I’m giving a tour and summary of the programs we run at my location, I try to give as much information that we believe is important for a parent to make a confident decision to have their child in our program. Realistically its one of the biggest decisions a parent can make, your child will be spending the majority of their early years with these staff and children, you want them to know it will be a right fit for their families.
After you make those appointments to tour and get information of the different programs, make a list of questions you’d like answered and the information that’s important to you.
If you are choosing a licensed center usually information is as easy as looking on their websites and being able to download their policies and procedures. If you are going to visit unlicensed home daycares and are having a hard time getting a good picture of what your child’s day will look like if xyz happens before you meet with the provider, I recommend you go with these questions in tow to help alleviate the stress and anxieties that come with making this decision.
Ten of the most important questions to ask your future child care providers.
1. What type of licensing or accreditation does your center/daycare go through and how often?

Like I mentioned in the last blog, understanding what to look for in a Daycare, if the daycare is licensed it is mandatory that you have access to seeing their up to date licensing inspection reports. If your looking into a homecare provider that isn’t licensed, you will need to ask those questions yourself and trust that the answers given are true. (I would say always trust your gut, mama you will have some sort of a sense after asking some tough questions)

Some questions you should ask a none licensed home daycare:

• What are your daycares policies and procedures?
• What are your group sizes and day to day supervision look like?
• Is everyone that will be in contact with my child, as well as reside in the home, have a criminal background check, if so can I see a copy?
• Do you have an up to date first aid training certificate as well as anyone else who will be caring for my child?
• If my child gets injured what are your practices and procedures on notifying a guardian?
• What are your policies on having children immunized in your care?
• What are the action plans put into place in case of emergency, for inside your home or on an outing? (if your child is anaphylactic you need to ask how that would be handled as well in and outside the home.)
• What is your food prep and storage practices? What do your weekly menus look like? What is your special dietary and allergy arrangements and practices.?
• How are hazardous materials stored in your home and how do you keep them safely away from the children?
• What are your qualifications and education behind working with children?
• What do your daily programming plans look like?
• How do you deal with disciplining children in your care?
• What does nap time look like in your care? What if my child stops napping/ or doesn’t nap?
These are some of the main questions I would recommend asking and having the answers either in paper form or at least verbal. When your looking into a licensed center all of this information again is very easily accessible or is visible within the center or online for you to have, but the ministry of education is making sure this is all being done properly to their standards of the law or the center wouldn’t no longer be open and operating.

2. What is required for the educator’s background checks, and who needs to have them?

Its hard as a parent to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s before you enrol your child in a daycare. One thing you’d want to make sure of is that everyone that will be in daily or even occasional contact with your child has no criminal background especially working with the vulnerable sector. At our center we require all staff as well as students and volunteers to provide an up to date criminal reference check that we keep on file.

3. Are the educator’s CPR/ first aid certified and how often does this need to be updated?

As peace of mind its good to know as a parent that your child is left in the care of someone who will know what to do in case of an emergency. Its one thing to take a first aid and CPR course ten years ago and needing to update your knowledge and stay fresh every two years. CPR and First Aid id hope isn’t being practiced every single day in your center (other then little band aids or a child being sick) so its important to always be up to date and practice what needs to be done to save a child’s life in case of emergency.

4. What is an average educator turnover rate look like at your center?

This question is usually never asked and in my opinion as an educator at a daycare center one of the first questions I would ask. A month down the road if you and your child aren’t going to recognize the staff and have to constantly get used to new people there’s going to be a problem. You won’t feel as secure and at peace with leaving your child constantly with new people as well as your child’s behaviour will most likely be affected from having to get used to and get comfortable with new staff. At my center we are just starting to see more turn over because staff that have worked there over thirty years are now retiring but we have a very low turn over rate in most of our programs. I myself have been there right out of high school!

5. What are the staff to child ratios in the program?

In a licensed center this should be posted and visible for parents to see, however it is good to have the knowledge and be aware. Now with the new ratio laws, ratios actually are different depending on time of day as well, so its always good to know if your dropping your child off at a certain time and its so busy and ratios are not being met, that you need to bring it up to the staff, board, and maybe the ministry of education and a resolution will need to be made.

6. What is the information needed about my child as well as how is it stored and filed?

This can look different at every center. We have enrolment packages we give to parents filled with information as well as a registration form of information that is needed for our license to be in good standing. Things like emergency contact information, their allergies or medication plans, depending on the age of the group a photocopy of the child’s vaccines. This information should also be stored in a locked cupboard that only staff should have access too.

7. What is the cleaning and sanitizing practices, how often are carpets and surface areas cleaned?

Again, this will kind of align with your gut feeling as well as hearing or reading their practices. You can visually see how an area where kids learn is kept. If things are tidy and in place, the children are taught to respect the toys and have responsibilities to tidy their own areas, if you go in and it visually looks clean with no dust, the staff is constantly cleaning and sanitizing.
At my program we have cleaning schedules posted but you can visit almost any time of day and any point and our daycare is clean and sanitary. Its important for learning and helps keeps germs at bay.
8. What are the safety and security policies and procedures?

In a licensed center there should be these policies and procedures easily accessible for you to have but to actually have a conversation about it will make you feel more secure. It’s a crazy world we live in today, just a little over a month ago it was suspected that there was a protentional child obduction attempt in our city and because of the safety practices of the center the child was not released and was safe from harm.

9. What are your disciplinary policies as well as everyday practices?

Depending on your beliefs is how you will feel about the response, but to be honest if you ask this question and the provider answers with “time outs” you may want to reconsider. You should hear words like redirection, we try to not give attention to the behaviours we don’t want them doing, we give praise to the children who are doing what they should, we will give praise to your child as soon as and whenever we see them listening to offer them positive reinforcement and attention… these are better strategies for teaching and working with a child with behaviours.

10. What is your centers philosophy on learning?

For most early learning centers, we are educated backed by science, experiments and years of implementation that children learn through play. There are many different styles so before you pick which centers, you’d like to go visit and potentially enroll your child in, figure out which style matches your family’s belief’s best. Some are very similar but some do focus a lot more on structured education even in the younger years.
Finding a childcare center or home daycare can be stressful just for fact that you will no longer be with your child and are now trusting someone else to add value, love, support, teach them, care for them etc. to your child’s everyday. I know for me whenever I’m anxious about something new research, attaining knowledge and speaking with professionals in that field will always make me feel more at ease. I hope these two blogs will help give you the tools to do your own research and give you the questions to confidently pick the right care for your little ones when you go back to work!

Understanding what to look for in a Daycare

Understanding what to look for in a Daycare:


Non-profit & Profit Centres


Licensed & Non-Licensed providers

 

Since launching My Little Lamb, the number one question that I have received from mothers in my private messages are usually daycare related and where they should send their children for care when they go back to work. I’m always more then happy to have separate conversations about pretty much anything at all times, including giving any advice or knowledge that I can, being a daycare educator, but I was realizing that it would be beneficial to have a post and compiling what I think are the most important things to think about when choosing the right fit childcare for your family as well as what information you should have before making that important decision.

If you’ve read my About Me post you know that I have worked as a nanny, aupair, and over the last 10 years as an educator at the Glebe Parents Daycare. Glebe Parents Daycare is a licensed non-profit center in the Ottawa downtown area. 

http://glebeparentsdaycare.ca/

So, here’s the thing, I never really knew until being asked these questions from parents about where I would recommend their child go to daycare, that most of the parents had no idea what the differences between a non-profit and profit childcare centers or licensed and non-licensed center where.
I think this is probably in my opinion the best place to start. 

A Non-profit center:
Non-profit centers, in provinces and territories in Canada, are eligible for a majority of the funding from the government to be allocated to child care services within their center. This funding might include, capital funding, start-up funding, a per child fee grant, staff salary grants and parent subsidies. In order to receive this funding from the government a center must be run by a board of directors, composed of parents, community members as well as staff. This means that all decisions that are made about where the funding is allocated, the policies and procedures of the daycare and many other decisions are made from different perspectives encompassing the one goal, to offer quality childcare for the children attending. Non-profit centers for the most part also pay their staff a higher livable wage, make sure they have proper benefit packages and a lot of the centers are unionized. For me as a staff its super important because the level of quality care that is provided in an environment that’s paying more then minimum wage and has better benefits you will see as a parent, a lower turn over of staffing. I can say that I’ve been at my center for ten years, and plan on retiring there, as well as most of the senior staff have been working at our center more then 30 years. 

For profit center: 
Private, or profit centers, on the other hand, rely on parent fees to operate. While this in no way determines the care the private operator provides, it does severely limit the program in that in order to remain competitive it must rely on cost reducing measures to maintain even the basics like art supplies, learning materials, repair bills and staff salaries. Most profit centers the decisions are made by a sole owner or investors and in some cases the decisions made are not entirely to benefit the children in the programs but its to maintain the bottom line and remain out of the black. 

A Licensed Childcare center:
Explaining all that a childcare center must abide by as well meet the standards of the Ministry of Education is a lot of information! They are set rules and regulations that must be met at all times, in order for the center to maintain their license. 
I truly recommend to all parents trying to decide between a licensed and non-licensed center to read the checklist of standards that have to be met by a licensed center in Ontario. If you feel that these would be important for you as a parent to have the ministry of education making sure that at least once a year on a un scheduled visit that your child’s providers are meeting these standards then a licensed center or home daycare is the better option for you and your family.

https://www.earlyyears.edu.gov.on.ca/EYPortal/en/ChildCareLicensing/CCEYALicensingStandards/index.htmWhen you scroll down you are able to click on the headings to see all of the standards that need to be met in a licensed center for those specific categories….. examples from the site look like this :

Ratios of Employees to Children and Group Size
7.Age categories
8.Ratios and maximum group sizes, child care centre
8.1Licensed family age groups
9.Home child care group sizes
10.Resource teacher
11.Supervision by adult at all times
11.1Supervision of volunteers and students
Building, Equipment and Playground — Child Care Centres
12.Child care centres in schools
13.Compliance with health and safety standards, Building Code, Fire Code, etc.
14.Approval by director of plans re child care centre
15.Designated spaces
16.Play activity space
17.Play activity rooms
18.Resource area
19.Play materials, equipment and furnishings
(these are just some of the examples from the governments website, again as a parent please do your homework and read up on what is required from licensed centers)
All of the information/scoring from these yearly licensed inspections as well as the license in itself, must be displayed in the center for the parents to see. 
Licensed home daycare centres follow the same regulations and best practices when it comes to safety. A home-based provider can operate as a licensed home daycare contracted by a home child care agency that is licensed by the Ministry. * These providers aren’t required to have the Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE) designation, but they are required to have first aid certification and undergo a criminal record check. (CRC)

Un-licensed home daycare:
An unlicensed home daycare is not required to follow a program plan, a menu plan, nor are they required to post a fire escape plan or to fill out a daily safety log. However, this does not necessarily mean that the provider doesn’t voluntarily do these things. When considering an unlicensed home daycare, it falls to the parent(s) to inquire about the provider’s credentials, certifications and what standards the provider maintains as these things aren’t mandated. That said, many unlicensed home daycare centres provide a safe and nurturing environment for children, with many of the providers having young kids of their own. 
When considering home-based child care, it’s up to parents to do their due diligence, ask the right questions and check references.

For me as a staff at a licensed center I would recommend if you don’t go with a daycare center but a home provider instead because it’s a better fit for your family I would recommend choosing a licensed home daycare because I know how much time and effort goes into making sure that at all times a child’s safety and wellbeing is being met and standards of the ministry are ones that I believe should be met at all times when caring and educating children.

After you and partner way the pros and cons of all of these options and find out which centers look like the best fit I want to give you some questions that I feel as a parent you need to ask a coordinator on a tour of the daycare or a home care provider in an interview.

That blog will be next Monday November 26th,2018, stay tuned because I’ve just left you a lot to not only think about but a lot to research in our city! 
If you have any questions, concerns or even wanting to know my recommendations of some of the centers in the city let me know as well!

I’m thankful for my Social Media “Village”

A big portion of my “Village” is online

I need to start off this blog post giving thanks and credit to my “real life village”. The family and friends that are helping my husband and I raise Amadeo. I know there’s no way I would be managing as well as I am without their support! I have mentioned before and I will keep saying that you should always reach out to your loved ones and support systems and ask for help when you need it.

However, this post isn’t about my “real life village” its about the “village” of women and mothers that I’ve connected with through my socials and this blog.
Most of the time the daily snap shot of a mom on maternity leave or a stay at home mother is one filled with a lot of, to be put simply, loneliness. Monday-Friday most of your partners, Family and friends are at work for at least eight hours and during all of that time its you, your child or children, maybe some pets, and the four walls of your home.

For twenty-seven years I have been so many things that make me, Vanessa Ravalico. I’m a person who thrives on attention, connection and a back and forth with others. I’m creative and like to express my creativity through many different avenues, I’ve designed and sold jewelry, I’m able to be creative everyday in my childcare career, I enjoy renovating and decorating homes, and I love to diy just about anything for any reason. I enjoy being out and about in my free time and go shopping around the city. I absolutely love spending quality time with friends and family. I love going out to restaurants for dinner and attending parties. I love going to work everyday and teaching children and interacting with parents. The bottom line about me is, I’m an extremely social person and need human interaction for my mental health and happiness. You get the picture.


I’ve only been a “mother” for three months or 12 if you include pregnancy (but id like to forget most of mine) either way in the grand scheme of things I’ve only been a mother for like a minute. There are so many things that just come naturally to us or we have read and done research on, maybe even done a class or two, but id like to say it loud and proud here and now, my god its fuckin hard to feel like “JUST A MOM” when I’m so much more and have been sooooo much more most of my life. That need and desire to be me and have my own identify hasn’t just, poof disappeared because I’ve pushed a human out of my vagina. But the sad thing is that it gets push down like wayyyy down to the bottom of the barrel and you have this human that has made you a mother and literally takes over your life and in turn taking over most of who you are and what you do.
I’m not able to go to work everyday, and realistically even if I tired and made the effort to have human interactions in the real world everyday, fuck, I’m most of the time coming off a horrible night’s sleep and or I’m just exhausted from being a new mom. Going out and doing things is important and I do leave the house as much as possible, but its a lot of work going out with a new born and sometimes just the thought of it can be awful and tiring in its self.

My Little Lamb has been launched and live for a little over a month and I started my Instagram and Facebook page accounts at the end of July shortly before I gave birth. I never could have imagined that this amazingly supportive community of women and mothers on social media would be adding so much value, support and happiness to my life as a mother on maternity leave.

If you’ve read my “All About Me” post you already know that I was put on modified bed rest at around 24 weeks. At first the time relaxing, napping, swimming and watching Netflix all day was awesome, but after a couple weeks of that, I was going insane. I decided at the time to start writing about my pregnancy and about knowledge I have pertaining to children through school and my career in childcare, just to get some of my boredom out of me. I had thought that maybe I would publish my writings and start a blog but it was my closets family and friends that really pushed me to make this idea into a reality, saying that I’ve always been a breath of fresh air and I’d be interesting and entertaining to read.

I never have been in anyway a strong writer or particularly strong in the maths or sciences in my life, so to publish my ideas into writing and have people make judgements on that definitely made me nervous. Now after a month of having my posts out there, the feed back and comments I get are sooooo uplifting and positive.


I can’t even begin to express enough how amazing the online community of women and mothers are. There seems to be endless support, constant positivity and I’m connecting with people throughout my whole day. Also, a lot of my online relationships have turned into really amazing relationships in real life.
I have had and will continue to have my fair share of mom shaming, which I have to say has mostly been women or oddly enough men who are over the ages of 65 and I’m pretty sure that if I were to know the extent of their parenting styles back in the day I would be calling children’s aid on them. Literally in the same breath of someone mom shaming me and my parenting they turn around and say something like, “oh I just put my baby in a dresser drawer all day, they turned out fine.” “I drank and smoked throughout my whole pregnancy, they turned out fine.” “I started giving my baby food at 3 months, your child is going to be a picky eater.” Listen Brenda stop fuckin judging me after those comments, or hey why don’t you shut the fuck up Paul, you’ve never even changed a diaper or where in the room when your child was born, I think I’m doing just fine.

But from this online community I have yet to have any sort of negative feedback or mom shaming. (hey I wouldn’t care even if I did) This community has been giving advice when I’ve reached out and asked, and sent me so many messages that me talking about how I feel has helped them relate or seeing comments from women who are experiencing the same thing have had a positive impact on them. See this online adventure has been able to blend my past pre-mommy me into the women that I am now. I would now recommend and want to read a mom blog from every single woman out there, but if its more your thing to just read other moms posts or visit their socials, what I’d like to say to you then is keep reaching out. Keep having these connections and share your struggles, achievements, raw moments with other women throughout your loneliest times and let the responses uplift you and reassure you that your doing so great and you’re by no means alone in this CRAZY, lonely new chapter in your life.
Let’s continue to fill the loneliness with online connections from wonderful women out there in this cyber universe.

From the bottom of my heart thank you for being my online “Village”.
These are some AMAZING women and mamas that I follow on Instagram and love connecting with and I highly recommend checking them out! Each woman brings something beautiful and wonderful to the table and adds value to my new life of motherhood! Some have online blogs but some just have their Instagram blogs, I recommended checking both out!

Instagram:

Roxanne: @Pilgrims.retreat

Roxanne is my amazing MAMA! After my mom and dad got divorced my mom decided go to school and follow her passion for helping people through aesthetics. She has worked in different spas in the city as well was a part owner of her own spa for many years. My mom has been able to create her own perfect serenity in her home to service and take care of her clients well being. Follow her account and I HIGHLY recommend taking some time away from constantly giving yourself to others and let my mom take care of you and help you re-charge!

Ilona: @smythcasting

Ilona is one of my very best girlfriends out of high school was Ilona Smyth! She is the most powerful business women I’ve ever met, she has so much drive, hard work, and dedication behind her company and any project that she touches. She was one of the first mamas I knew and got to see and be apart of her raising the most AMAZING son and brightest boy I’ve ever met. I recommended following her to see and learn all the amazing things that go one in our city revolving movies and television, her exciting travels, and sneaking some peeks into the beautiful life she’s created for her son.

Erica: @ericafox

Erica is a gorgeous mama and friend of mine with an incredible eye for style and has so many amazing suggestions of where to experience fabulous family outings all around our beautiful city of Ottawa. I always love to see how and where she’s going to travel with her gorgeous fam jam, spoiler alert its ALWAYS fabulous!

Erica: @mom.break

Erica is a mama after my own heart. She has two beautiful children and puts her life out there for her followers to view, weather its pretty or not so pretty. She’s figured out that living and sharing her life honestly has brought her great experiences and connections as well. She’s hilarious and shares her struggles with mental health openly and in my opinion there’s no one more valuable then that in a world of pretty filters and staged shoots!

Natalie: @natspencer

Natalie is an Ottawa Photographer who I’ve been following on social media for almost 10 years! I love that Natalie is constantly growing and changing what she’s doing but its always the most beautiful creative content you’ve ever seen! She has a beautiful little family that she shares with the world and even though I’ve never met her in person I feel like I know her and we are friends, that’s how amazing she is on social media!

Mercedes: @thepartyparade

Mercedes and Natalie are sisters and a dynamic duo of all things that are beautiful in my eyes. Mercedes like her sister is mutli-talented and how I met her was on set while she was acting in a lifetime movie. One of my best friends is Ilona Smyth and I used to book back ground for her casting company, Smyth Casting. Not only will you see beautiful inspiring content from Mercedes instagram from her cooking, baking, crafting, paintings, and much more but she puts out the realness of motherhood as a new first-time mom to her beautiful daughter.

Sarah: @wedding_creationsbtl

Sarah is a wonderful women and mother that I’ve been able to work with and discover through starting my blog. She is my go-to girl to document my families most precious and beautiful moments as well as growth as a family. She’s had some natural disaster adversities right before giving birth to her daughter but her hard work and dedication to her art is opening so many doors for her as a creative. If you’d like to document your families with stunning professional affordable photography you need to book a session with her asap!

Rasha: @pearldecor

Rasha was our wedding decorator who transformed our day into the royal wedding of our dreams. Every step of the way this passionate entrepreneur mama bear made me feel like her most important bride. (brides trust me you will want to have someone that makes you feel this way!) We’ve used Rasha’s décor backdrops and décor pieces in our baby shower and hopefully future events as well! Follow her account for everything dreamy and beautiful!

I will Definitely be featuring and recommending more women and mothers who I get inspiration from on social media in the near future so stay tuned! I also often feature accounts that I love on my Instagram stories so check their as well!

No one warned me I would resent my husband like I do

No one warned me I would resent my husband like I do

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The decision to be with my husband for the rest of my life was a mix between luck, love and smarts. Luck because, in this crazy world with billions of people I found someone whom I wanted to spend all of my good and bad days with for the rest of my life and I found that person after only a few trial and errors. Love because, throughout our ten-year relationship I have proven to myself time and time again that I love this man more then anything. Smarts because, in-between all of the luck and love my husband and I consciously decide to work hard for each other and choose one another everyday and some days more then others, it will take a lot of effort and commitment. We both acknowledge that even on those hard days we are worth it and want to be together.
Throughout our relationship we have gone through our fair share of trials and tribulations as a couple and had those epic, id like to call them battles, game of throne style instead of fights (we started dating when we were really young) but through constantly growing individually and with each other in the last couple years we’ve really found our communication groove. Also, side note, Thomas sits in on my therapy sessions whenever I need him to and its really helped with how we react to each others behaviour and how we understand each others needs.

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I had a pretty shitty pregnancy of feeling horrible for a good 7 months straight. Throughout that time my husband was so patient with me, had to pick up the slack of life’s responsibilities that we would normally share, tend to pretty much my every need, completely renovated a new home from top to bottom, and the list goes on and on really. I’m truly blessed to be with someone who loves me so much and puts forward so much effort to make me happy.
During delivery I got to experience a whole new level of love and support from my husband. I was extremely drugged up (which I highly recommend) on dilaudid and fentanyl in my epidural during my labour so maybe it would have been a different experience if I was more verbally abusive during those moments, who knows, but prob not, he was prepared from myself and many nurses for that delivery abuse! But even though I wasn’t feeling the intense pain in those hours of delivery I will never forget the support and team work we had together bringing our child into the world. After delivery you don’t get an epidural for recovery and mine was really rough and just as he showed throughout my pregnancy and delivery he was there to help in anyway he could.
After I delivered my husband had two weeks off to help me recover, bond with our new baby and start to learn how to navigate this new life together. He did those two weeks with grace, patience, love and so much support.
We are coming into month three of Amadeo being in this world and I’m starting to feel a lot of different emotions for my husband. Yes, the love and all that other stuff is very much there, but I can’t help but constantly feel so much resentment, anger, and frustration towards him as of late.

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I feel like this is really important not only for my self to admit and acknowledge but to talk about opening with other women and have men read this as well. The reason being is that us women have truly been through the fucking ringer. We went through 9 months of our bodies changing, hormones raging and then abusing our bodies with birth once again. Then after this beautiful creature pops out of us it’s a whole new (for me much more intense) ball game of our bodies changing, hormones raging and then abusing our bodies with motherhood. I find myself having a constant internal battle of not feeling anything like myself but feeling more me then I ever have. I find myself wishing for my old life when naps and sleep weren’t a luxury, when I showered every day or took a nice uninterrupted bath if I wanted, when I could prep, cook and clean a meal at whatever time I wanted, when I could go a pick something up from the grocery store and it take 15 minutes total, when I worked and felt like I was adding value to someone else’s life, and then the next minute truly loving this new adventure and all of those things from my old life I don’t want any of it back because of this precious boy whom I cant imagine life without. See the thing that I’ve started to realize is when you take away from the equation of thinking and experiencing these things on your own you realize that most if not all women are feeling this way. Most women are finding this crazy new life really fucking hard and easy and beautiful and ugly and wonderful all at the same time just like you!

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Through therapy I’ve learnt stragies to recognize when I’m using my emotional brain or my rational brain.
It doesn’t seem to matter what my husband does lately I find myself building up this hatred and resentment towards him from the littlest things.
I’m home alone all day with Amadeo that has come off an all night with Amadeo, repeat x 5 and by Friday I’m SOOO angry he’s been at work all day, like really angry wanting him to quit and stay at home with me forever. This scenario that I have been experiencing every week is not only from my emotional brain but the change in my hormones and mental health. When I take a second to turn on my rational brain I can recognize that my husband is the hardest working man I’ve ever met. He cares so much for what he does and to provide the life that we and after working a 5:30 to 6:30 straight day in manual labour he comes home and immediately checks on me and our son, he goes and showers and then right away takes him from my arms so I can make dinner and eat it warm and he does that on repeat x5 and by Friday he’s so excited to be able to give me a break during Friday and Saturday night so I can sleep and he can do more at home with me and our son.
It kills me because even though I have this rational brain that sees and recognizes my amazing husband and what he does, I still end up building this resentment towards him.
This is, and is going to be a constant work in progress to work on myself and getting me more leveled once again. Mental health for most women, especially after pregnancy and birth will be a constant up hill battle, but one that is so worth it. I believe in the power of support, therapy, medication when needed, and just constantly recognizing not being ashamed to admit when your struggling and being aware that there are reasons that you are feeling the way you are feeling, and by putting forth that effort to constantly better yourself will yield results for you to be living a more balanced emotional life.
I brought up this topic at a weekly mommy meet up to see if anyone else could relate and all the other women either have gone through feeling like this towards their husbands in the past or are currently feeling this way now as well. Opening up that dialog made me instantly not feel like I’m the crazy Satanic bitch of a wife and know that it’s a normal hormonal reaction and will get better. In the mean time I will constantly be taking steps back to acknowledge how great of a father and man my husband is, and all he pushes himself to do. When I recognize and see the effort he puts forward I will try my best to verbalize how grateful I am of him and how much happiness he brings to my life.
This crazy life I think is best lived when you can be authentic and put forward and acknowledge your faults and seek help to make things better. You don’t need to do the hard things (motherhood so far is the hardest, and best) all by yourself.
I have a tattoo on my left wrist that I got as a constant reminder to myself that no matter what you are experiencing in your life, this too shall pass.
I am in no way a professional counsellor and I am only speaking from my experience and sharing my opinions. If you want to know more information about the therapists I’ve seen or continue to seek, private message me. I do have amazing counsellors and therapists that I can recommend in the Ottawa area whom I trust and have yielded amazing personal results 😊

Photos by Cesoir Photography

Eric Carle Baby Shower

Photos by David @Cesoirstudios 

When Thomas and I were getting married I really wanted to skip the bridal shower. We had already been living together for almost three years and had everything we needed so it was a bit of an added stress trying to figure out logistics of a party between our four families.

Our baby shower on the other hand I was VERY excited to plan and decorate for!

We ended up hosting an Eric Carle themed party with around 100 people at our home for a co-ed BBQ with the help of our parents. Thomas’ mom and dad provided the mains and sides and my mom provided the cake and desserts. It truly was a picture perfect day filled with the spoiling’s of all our favourite people. We are blessed with wonderful loving families and friends who showed up to support us and celebrate the next wonderful chapter in our lives, we can’t thank you enough! Amadeo is the luckiest boy!

I wanted the Dessert table to be the star of the show at our Eric Carle themed shower. We rented the greenery backdrop and dessert table from @Pearldecor (they were our wedding decorators and now decorators for life!) Rasha is a DREAM to work with from start to finish and love and respect her as a creative and fierce entrepreneurial mother of a gorgeous little girl! I highly recommend looking into Pearl Decor for any of your party decorating needs!
This three tiered Very Hungry Caterpillar Cake was Salted Caramel , Vanilla and Chocolate.  Desserts by @dainadunker 

Daina makes such amazing Desserts that we had only two cupcakes and a bit of cake leftover after the shower!I’ve never seen guests enjoying baked goods like these before and we will never order from anywhere else again!! Highly recommend her services and expertize!

Very Hungry Caterpillar cake pops by @Dainadunker
A lot of our paper decorations I ordered off of Oriental Trading, usually I’m all for DIY projects for my parties however being 8 months pregnant this was the way to go!
Favor and Candy Buffet table 

We had a lot of children attend our shower and so I wanted activities and fun things set up for them to do and eat. Along with the take home pineapple cutting boards guests were encouraged to bring home lots of candy as well!

Food!!! We had a cooked pig, BBQ sausage’s and hot dogs, Pulled Pork, and about ten different salads to pair with veggies, chips and fruit! There is never a shortage of food at our parties (after all we are Italian) but there’s even more when our parents are providing and organizing the food!

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The Most important part of our special day was sharing it with the people who mean the world to us and I know will mean the world to our son!

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“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is a story about hope. You like the little caterpillar, will grow up, unfold your wings and fly off into the future.” – Eric Carle