Why being a “bad mom” can be good

Why being a “bad mom” can be good

I’m not a bad mom. Although, sometimes I feel like one based on how I parent. Maybe it’s because I saw the darker side of motherhood after Sienna was born – and I was a mess.  I witnessed my first child go through heart surgery (twice), struggle with nursing to eating solids, and being labelled “failure to thrive”. Everything I had went to finding solutions for my daughter.  So much that I had nothing left for myself. My anxiety was high. My energy was depleted. My patience was paper thin. Working out and getting out didn’t happen much, and my health had seen better days   I was not the “me” I hoped to be.  And wish I had simple tools like this…   I wanted to be an energetic, healthy, and happy mom.  Not tired, irritable, and stressed out. The only way I was going to turn things around was by putting myself FIRST.  Putting myself BEFORE my kids and my husband? Ewww.  Ick.  It felt SO WRONG.  But it was the best thing for all of us. The choices Keith and I make for our family often have our girls top of mind.  However, as much as possible we ask, “is this the best thing for us — their parents — and the foundation of our family?”  If the answer is yes, we proceed.  Often with guilt but knowing deep down it’s the best thing to do for the family. Here’s why feeling like a “bad mom” can actually be good:   I go away WITHOUT my kids multiple times a year (and look forward to it). A few of my nutrition friends and I went to Vancouver for a full week this fall.  No kids,...
Mindset at meals makes all the difference

Mindset at meals makes all the difference

It’s Monday!  Today’s Mommy Mantra is all about mindset at meals.   This morning neither Naomi or Sienna wanted to eat their breakfast, despite me whipping up some curried scrambled eggs that they both love. Yup, they love curry…well, they usually do.   So once it was clear they weren’t touching their breakfast, I packed it up for later and let them head out the door with the nanny.   . I let them leave with NO breakfast.   . It’s an uncomfortable feeling but I know they will be able to eat again shortly.  There’s a reason they wouldn’t touch their eggs and I have to be Ok with that.  Just as we have a good appetite some days, and then not at others - kids have an appetite that fluctuates big time (from meal to meal, and dad to day).     Previously, I would have danced around Sienna, or let her watch videos while sneaking a spoon into her mouth. Or maybe bribed her with dessert. She’s a tiny girl so I had her weight gain on my mind at ALL times. I would see her next to other kids and my anxiety would spike - she was so small and I made it my mission to get her to eat.   . . I had an agenda at every meal.  That was part of our struggle and the source of my stress. I’ve learned and studied a TON over the past few years as it relates to children’s eating/nutrition. Yet, in order to help our kids eat better and make meals enjoyable, one of the...
The hardest decision I’ve ever made

The hardest decision I’ve ever made

This weekend my littlest one Naomi turned a year old.  And what a glorious year it was. Today marks the beginning of her second year, and the end of my maternity leave. So at this very moment I should be packing my lunch and making my first drive back to my full-time job at Microsoft.   I should be jumping back into my Corporate Marketing shoes, ready to propel my career forward at one of the best companies in the world.   A place I’ve worked and loved for the past 7 years.  I should also be kissing my two girls goodbye, then saying hello again to my team at Microsoft Canada. But today I’m not doing any of those things I thought I would. While I was off this year raising my second daughter, Naomi, something unexpected happened.  I may have been sleep deprived and sick of diapers, but I met the happiest woman I’ve ever known. Not only did I have a baby who quite possibly was the happiest (and easiest) child ever born.   She was also the best sleeper. During those marathon naps, I had the chance to dabble in my other love, nutritional consulting.  Despite earning my Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP) designation a few years ago, and my passion for helping people become healthier and happier, nutrition was merely a neglected passion project. It was also a tool that did wonders for my first daughter Sienna (who was underweight, developmentally delayed and a horrible eater).  It also did amazing things for myself (knowing that I had to take care of me in order to take care of Sienna). Three years ago, my first daughter Sienna was born.  She was (and still is of course) a...
Beautiful chaos of mealtimes (and family photos)

Beautiful chaos of mealtimes (and family photos)

This weekend was a little nutty.  We had scheduled a photoshoot for the recent launch of one of the best kid’s menus in Toronto.  Scratch that!  I think it’s THE BEST menu for kid’s in this city (and outside of it). [Full discloser:  I’m a little biased because I am the Nutritionist who helped design that healthy, yet delicious, menu for Piano Piano the Restaurant.  However I’m not the first or the only mom to rave about this new joint or the food.  Just sayin’.  You’ll have to check it out yourself!] Since we wanted to snap a few photos for the menu, we decided to dedicate Saturday afternoon for a family photoshoot. And honestly, it was mayhem.       My kids were being kids - and they were out of control at times. If they weren’t throwing food, they were sitting on it, or shoving it in any place but their mouths.  If you look closely, Naomi has avocado smeared on her dress and broccoli in her hair. Sienna was clean, but insisted on staying in the sink during the entire shoot, while singing “Jingle Bells” into the water facet.  I was sweating trying to keep them composed. All we wanted was that perfect family shot.   Everyone smiling (with clean faces and dresses) and actually looking at the camera.  Ha!  That was the hardest task.   I adore my photographer Nikki McKean for many reasons.  But I particularly love her for reminding me that all the madness happening that afternoon actually WAS the perfect shot.  Because THIS is what life is life with kids. Unpredictable, messy, exhausting…and chaotic. What’s so perfect about parenthood is the imperfection. So I embraced the moment...
Birthday parties for kids: 4 ways I keep it simple

Birthday parties for kids: 4 ways I keep it simple

Kid’s birthday parties can get complicated quickly.  This year I decided to simplify the party planning and save my sanity. After all, I have absolutely no recollection of what it was like to be one year old.   I don’t remember my cake, whether there were balloons or a theme for my first birthday…nor the second or third.  It dawned on me that my girls won’t likely remember a thing either (no matter how much fish oil I give them to boost their brain power).  🙂 Two years ago, I went a little nutty trying to throw my sweet Sienna a memorable first birthday. I ordered a super cute pennant banner from Etsy…   I had a chalkboard memory sign designed, and a custom-made yellow tutu.                                             Plus I spent a few hours trying to master paleo cupcakes that guests would actually eat (then ended up hiring someone to make them look pretty).   And in the end, her “You are my sunshine” themed party came to life.   Time to do it all over again! My second sweet daughter, Naomi, turns one next week and we just celebrated with Keith’s family this weekend.  I realized that pulling together an Instagram-worthy party wasn’t going be so easy with two kiddos vying for my attention.  So I decided to try something different this year and KISS (keep it simple silly). Here are 4 ways I simplified birthday party planning for my kids: Two birthday girls. One party. Sienna and Naomi have birthdays within 6 weeks of each other.  So, instead of throwing 4 separate parties...

An important question to ask yourself tomorrow morning

Another birthday has come and gone.  I would LOVE to tell you that it was the best birthday yet, but I would be lying.    Let me sum up my day here: Keith took the day off to spend time with me (how sweet!) but instead spent the day feeling ill and in bed.   The girls weren’t the best behaved & my birthday dinner at Tabule was a bust (we actually packed it up to eat at home).   I spent the day thinking “I should be in Mexico right now, eating Spanish Rice“.  Everyone was in bed by 9pm so I hung out solo and ate cupcakes.  I know I totally sound like Debbie Downer right now, but I’m just setting the stage for the rest of this post (which is all POSITIVE I promise!) Yes, the day was crappy (and cold) but the gifts made up for it.  Now this is funny because I am *NOT* a gift person.  I would MUCH MUCH rather enjoy a good meal with friends and family, then open any gift.  But this was a gift I really and truly appreciated, including a day at the Ritz Spa (I’ll be booking that faster than you can say “no kids for 8 hours”!).   Every mom needs a ‘day off’ guilt free.   The better part of the gift (yes it gets better!) was this thoughtful journal - Five Minute Journal.     The Five-Minute Journal asks you to spend a few minutes every morning / night reflecting on the day. Part of the reflection involves a gratitude exercise (in the evening) but even more interesting was the morning routine.  It requires you to answer this simple question before you get...