This thing that I do

So there’s this thing that I do.

I’ve done it for a few years now.

Not a lot of people know about it…

 

 

I sing. In a choir.

Phew- it feels good to get that out there!

 

Just kidding, it’s not a secret but I thought I might build up the anticipation a bit and get you to keep reading.

I started singing with this group about 5 years ago when I was newly pregnant. I wanted to do something just for me. I wanted it to be social and creative but not crafty. I wanted to exercise my brain and push me out of my comfort zone a bit.

My glee group fills all these needs and more! I’ve continued it ever since and look forward to that time every week.

Also, there are benefits of singing in a group too! Scientific benefits! It releases endorphins and reduces cortisol levels It can also help increase circulation and boost your immune system.

But maybe it’s not for you? That’s fine.

I’m sharing this because I want to encourage you to find your thing. Carve out that time and that space that’s just for you. Something to help you remember your identity outside of Mom.

It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive – we’re just a regular group of women who like to sing together. Believe me – I’m the furthest thing from a professional. I just like it.

But what about you? What do you like? What makes you happy?

What can you add to your life that ‘sparks joy’ as they say.

I promise there are other parents just like you looking for their thing too!

Take a chance and try something new. I’m sure you won’t regret it.

guelph glee

The ladies of Guelph Glee Songbird Pop Choir. Led by the amazing Joni Nehrita

Prenatal Class for Dads

dads class

I know I’ve said this before but I do believe our culture does a disservice to partners.

We don’t give them the tools and information they need to succeed as parents and then act surprised when they don’t know what to do or what to expect.

Well – Jess from Our Mama Village and I are trying to change that!

Let’s set our partners up for success.

Let’s help them be the parents and the partners we know they can be!

This is a prenatal class just for them – casual, interactive, informative. With beer. Delicious craft beer.

We’ll be covering:

  • Building attachment and being involved (even when you’re working full time)
  • keeping your relationship strong with your partner
  • Common changes that happen with your partner and how to support her
  • practical tips on making the transition to parenthood as smooth as possible

Oh, did I mention beer?

Limited tickets available – buy yours  here!

Why Food is the Best Gift for a New Baby

flat lay photography of vegetable salad on plate
Photo by Ella Olsson on Pexels.com

I have to admit – I’m food motivated. Were it not for work or kids, food would be the reason I got out of bed in the morning. My rewards to myself are usually food and I have been known to eat my feelings.

Ok, this is not an examination of my possibly unhealthy relationship with food.

What I’m talking about today is why food is the best gift for new parents.

Well, it’s pretty simple, really. You have to eat.

When you’re nursing and recovering from giving birth you have to eat A LOT.

Also, you have to hold and nurse the baby a lot.

Sometimes it is hard to do both of those things at the same time. We know you’re not going to let the baby suffer so, who does?

You do. That’s right – you will sacrifice proper nutrition and actual meals to make sure your little babe is taken care of.

I get it. I’ve done it too.

But I also know the incredible joy of having a friend or family member drop food off for you – no strings attached. It is so glorious and to me it was always the best gift.

I think bringing food does four things:

  1. It provides you with the calories and nutrients your body desperately needs.
  2. It provides a welcome gift for the family that doesn’t involve more baby ‘stuff’.
  3. It reduces the mental load, at least for that meal on that day.
  4. It shows you that someone is thinking of you and wanted to help care for you.

 

So you want to bring food to a new family? Great! Thank you! Here’s a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Think easy – something to just heat and serve (a casserole) or something good at room temperature (muffins)
  2. Fiber, protein, and fat are your friends. Nursing and postpartum parents need lots of each
  3. Easy to eat. Remember- these parents will likely be eating these meals with one hand so if you’re making pasta – use short noodles like penne and maybe skip the soup.
  4. Include some treats! No one wants to eat salad at 3am when they’re up with the babe.
  5. Recyclable foil containers. You don’t want to lose your expensive glass containers and that family doesn’t want to clean them.

Some of my favourite recipes for new parents are things like muffins, chilli, pasta bakes, and even a nice big container of cut up fruit. I often prepare these for my clients too.

It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive – as a new parent it’s just nice to know someone thought of you and wanted to make your life a little bit better!

 

What to do when you’re sad

If you’re anything like me becoming a parent fundamentally changed the way you react to certain things. Sad stories and scary things that happen to children in the news take on a whole new meaning when you’ve got kids of your own.

Take, for example, the tragedy in Mississauga yesterday or the anniversary of the Parkland shooting. These events now cut close to home in a way they never did before I had my own babies.

So, with that in mind, I’m revisiting a post I made back in June 2018 that I think might be appropriate for today:

 

Watching the news is so hard right now. It’s devastating, it’s sad, and as a parent it cuts into your soul.  It can be difficult to know how to cope with tragedy in the news.

When you are in the vulnerable postpartum period, everything feels heightened. It can be even more challenging to know how to process difficult news. Your hormones are shifting, you may be sleep deprived, and you are trying to figure out what your new normal looks like. So when you read stories of families being torn apart, or people being hurt it can make you think about your own family, and for some moms this can be incredibly overwhelming.

What can you do when the world feels too much?

It makes sense that hearing tragic news can be a huge trigger for new moms. When hearing about tragic news, it is important to know that your mental health is important. Taking care of your mental health during these difficult times will allow you to be the best version of yourself, and that is where true change can really happen. Here are a few suggestions to help you cope:

1. Be honest about how you are feeling. 

Is it triggering something from your past? Do you need to talk to someone about it? Take time to reflect on your feelings and thoughts, and do your best to understand them. Be honest with yourself, and with others.

2. Turn off the TV, and put down your phone.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, take time away from it all. Tell your family you don’t want to talk about it. It’s okay to be protective of yourself and your mental health!

3. Do something good for your body.

Take care of your body! Get outside and release some endorphins, and eat some healthy food. It will reenergize you and help you put things into perspective.

4. Do something good for your soul.

This will look different for everyone. It can be yoga, meditation, or even a nap. Do something that calms your mind and slows your brain down. I tend to be a fan of singing Broadway show tunes at the top of my lungs, but that’s just me…

5. Take a step forward.

Find a small concrete step you can take that makes a difference. Donate money or time to a cause you care about, support other local charities, or write letters to elected officials. Use your energy for positive change in this world.

 

Know that you are not alone in your thoughts and your sadness and if it feels like it’s too much – tell someone. Parents need a village so let’s lean on and support each other and we’ll make it through together.

This one’s for the dads.

two persons holding drinking glasses filled with beer
Photo by Tembela Bohle on Pexels.com

You may have noticed the theme in most of my blog posts has been about the birthing partner. The majority of the prenatal classes, workshops, articles and information tend to focus on moms. This is often for good reason – this person’s body grows a baby and gives birth to it. The mental, physical and emotional changes that take place are nothing short of miraculous.

But partners change too.

I believe our culture does a great disservice to dads. The images you see in popular culture tend to be of hopeless buffoons, absent fathers, or strict authoritarians. There seems to be no middle of the road dad. There aren’t a lot of examples or role models to look to. And if you’re the first dad in your group of friends it can be even more isolating!

As a result, I think sometimes our partners can be unprepared for what happens after baby arrives and where they fit in the relationship.

I think we can do better for our partners. What if we change the way we talk about them? What if, instead of assuming they are incapable, we assume they are equal partners in the care and keeping of the children? What if we give them the information and the tools they need to be a great partner?

With this in mind – Our Mama Village and I have created a prenatal class just for dads! It’s a safe space to ask the questions they’ve always wanted to ask and get the information they need to be the parent and partner they want to be! No judgment.

As a bonus – we’re hosting this event at one of Guelph’s newest breweries (Fixed Gear Brewing Co) and you will have the opportunity to try some of their fine small batch craft beer! It’s beer + babies – what’s better than that? You can get your ticket here

Not local to the Guelph area? Send me a message and we can connect online. I’m always happy to answer questions and support you and your growing family.