Keep it Simple

We’ve all heard our parents or maybe our grandparents tell us about the good ole days. A time when things were simpler and people more friendly. Perhaps as teenagers, like I know I did, we rolled our eyes at them and thought crazy ole people, don’t they see how far we’ve come? The advancements that have made our lives better, faster and more efficient? Maybe we still rolled our eyes at them in our 20’s, because look at all the amazing things that have even happened just in the last two decades. Internet, email, touch screen, smart phones, smart TV’s, Hybrid cars, medical advancements in treatments, surgical advancements, social media, and all the like. The ability to access and publish information quickly to a large portion of people. And now as a parent and only since then do I see things in a different light. All of these things have their benefits for sure, but I think there is something to be said for keeping it simple, less is more, and simple pleasures, especially when it comes to the pressure these things place on us.

I’m talking about the pressure to know things, to be informed, to share, to do the “right” things, wear the “right” things, say the “right” things and be with the “right” people. Again all of these can be good sometimes too, like knowing what your buying, or what options are available, but with all things, too much of a good thing can be bad. I’m sure we could all write a blog about how too much TV or Video games is bad, but today I want to focus in on a different issue I see that keeps recurring.

With internet and social media, parents have access to information like never before. Parenting sites, blogs, pages, support groups and research information is everywhere. We are constantly bombarded with articles, letters and posts on parenting.  Again good in moderation, but how do all those articles we read and posts we see about parenting make us feel?

More and more often I am reading encouraging blogs about not worrying if your not a perfect parent or a perfect mom. Articles about enjoying the simple things in life, or letting your kids have more independence and saying no to attachment parenting. And the scary part….. we need to read those articles, we need to be reminded to not be so hard on ourselves. So that got me thinking…. Why do we need to be told these things?

It would seem that sometime in the last two decades something happened to the standards of parenting. Socially have we expected too much, set the bar too high, and made it our business to be in everyone else’s business? Parents are scrutinized and measured up to some kind of standard set by “THEM”. And when we don’t measure up we feel guilty. It seems now that as parents we are taking a stand and saying no to this. More and more I’m reading about being a good mom is being true to yourself and trying your best. How not to be so hard on yourself if there’s toys everywhere and your home does not look like the IKEA catalouge. A reminder that our kids wont remember the clothes we wore, or the color we dyed our hair, but the times we sat on the couch and read them a bedtime story. Those articles truly encourage and inspire me. They remind me that if we really do try our best, show respect and don’t be so quick to judge, that we don’t have anything to be guilty about, except for being human. And maybe that is what we are realizing…. that we are just that Human. We make mistakes and that’s okay. Reading these things makes me hopeful that we have not lost touch with a simpler time, and that maybe we can continue to make our world a better place for our own children’s children.

Gone are the days when Mom gave you $0.25 to go see a double feature at the theatre downtown with your brother on a Saturday and told you to not to come back till supper (True recollection from my Father-in-Law) but is organizing every minute of the day being with your child and then trying to cook, clean, dress and look perfect better? I think we are desperately searching for a happy medium right now, and we are looking for other parents who feel the same way. I know I’m not the only one out there as I have found friends who share this view. Right now I believe we are in the process of trying to learn from the past and grow in the future taking the good things from both. I think we now recognize the benefits of encouraging independence but know the importance of guidelines. I want my children to be aware that people watch everything they do and say but to also not be trapped by this. I wonder what the world is going to be like for my children in two more decades, a thought I never worried about till now. Will it truly be a better place?  Only time will tell.

This mom is going to try putting her guilt and judgement out with the trash, and set realistic expectations. Live by example and not worry if my floors are sticky. I can clean them tomorrow. I will also not try to stress about those 10lbs and remember that my kids care more about hugs then my love handles. As long as I stay healthy and keep my kids feed and healthy, clothed and happy, then the rest can follow. We need to start with the simple things which are the most important. Love, food, shelter and grow from there.

My mom who inspires me always gave me a gift for mother’s day and I think it is a really good reminder…. GOOD MOMS HAVE STICKY FLOORS, DIRTY OVENS AND HAPPY KIDS. My dad who cares about my happiness with all his heart gave me another gift that says: In this house we do real, we do loud really well. we do sorry. we do fun. we do mistakes, we do second chances. we do hugs, we do family. we do love…… So my parents really get it. They know what its like. And these pictures and sayings are out there to purchase, so that tells me deep down our whole society believes it too and we want to bring it back to the forefront. We want to live it daily and for that I am glad.

Cheers to all the moms and dads out there who are trying to keep it real and simple. Be proud, Do your best, Learn from your mistakes and let your kids be kids, so in turn they can do the same.

 

Big Thank you Hug.

I just want to take a moment to thank you for joining me this past week as I celebrated World Doula Week on my Blog. I hope you enjoyed my posts this week and I want to thank you for your support of my new role and my journey to being a Super-Doula. LOL. Sorry for the pun. I am just excited to be a Birth Doula and will continue to search for ways to make my services better and personalized. The joy that comes from seeing a mom and dad become parents for the first time is truly beautiful.

I am fortunate enough to have more then a few births coming up in the next few months, and I can’t wait to stand by each of them and offer words of support and encouragement or to simply hold their hand, no matter what time of day it is. Being a Doula isn’t a job for me, it’s a gift I’ve been given that I want to share. Every birth I attend is a privilege and I am humbled and honored to be a part of it.

I want to say a big thank you to my past clients and to my future clients, but there is one person who deserves the biggest thank you hug more then anyone else, for without him, I could not do any of this. As I write, I am brought to tears….. You see I have the most amazing husband, and with out HIS support, I could not do this at all. Thank you Dean for your loving care, your hours of childcare, your ears that are tired of hearing about all things baby, and still sending me out the door saying “don’t worry just go, Good luck and have fun. ”  Even though this journey for me is just beginning I feel his support stronger then any other, like we are on the same page and I truly don’t have to worry. This is where I am meant to be and he knows it to. Thank you so much! I love you Dean.

PS…. Dean you were my Doula, my support and my rock at each of my Births. Without you by my side I would not have been able to do it. You gave me strength and you believed in me. Every women should be so lucky.

XOXO

Imprinting

“All the lines that held me to my life were sliced apart in swift cuts, like clipping the strings to a bunch of balloons. Everything that made me who I was…….. disconnected from me in that second – snip, snip, snip – and floated up into space.

I was not left drifting. A new string held me where I was.

Not one string, but a million. Not strings, but steel cables. A million steel cables all tying me to one thing – to the very center of the universe.

I could see that now – how the universe swirled around this one point. I’d never seen the symmetry of the universe before, but now it was plain.

The gravity of the earth no longer tied me to the place where I stood.

It was the baby girl……………….”

Stephanie Meyer – Breaking Dawn

Eight years ago today, my life changed forever. An event occurred that would affect every thought, every decision, and every choice I made. It changed how I saw myself, my husband, my parents and even my friends. It changed the way I LOVED.  As I look back over the last eight years I realize that that there is nothing on this world like the love of a mother. Eight years ago today I looked into the beautiful blue eyes of my first born baby girl and the role of Mom was bestowed on me.  Never again would my world be the same, for I was a Mother now.

There are many sayings and quotes out there that show a Mom’s love. A favorite of mine is “No one else will know the strength of my love for you. After all, you’re the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside.” Beautiful. But as I lie awake in bed this morning remembering the day of Deanna’s birth like it was yesterday, I thought, hey there is someone I know who has described what happens to a Mom when she looks into the eyes of her newborn baby, and for all you Twilight fans, you know what I mean when I say Imprinting!

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but as I read the passage from Stephanie Meyer’s book this morning, I did not think of the first time I saw my future husband or even the first time he told me he loved me, granted those are significant events, but I thought of each of my children when I held them for the first time. They changed my universe. They changed what mattered in life, they helped me see the big picture better. As a Parent one thing seems to matter above all else, seeing your children truly happy. To have them safe and healthy and for them to know they are loved. The similarities to what Stephanine Meyer called Imprinting in her series seems familiar now. I understand where the idea came from, for she is a mom too. She understands the special love a parent has when they see their child for the first time. This is something only a parent can understand. A beautiful, Innocent, Powerful, Life changing love.

I think I appreciate my own parents more now that I am a Mom. Now I know where the care and concern comes from, and how they love each of us. I understand their hopes and dreams for us and why they are so happy when we are happy.  I see how they made sacrifices for us, and worked hard for us, and taught us important lessons that would benefit our adult lives. Now I want to do the same for my children, to share with them and teach them the things in life that will bring them happiness. Not money or wealth, but things like honesty, respect and loyalty. That’s the kind of Mom I want to be.  When I was a teenager, I never dreamed that the role of a Mom would mean these things. It’s so  much more then just having a baby of your own to look after hey? The role of Mom means you think about yourself less and catch yourself thinking about your children and their future more than anything else.  Each decision you make now not only effects you, but it effects them as well. It truly is a huge responsibility.

I definitely “Imprinted” on each of my children when I saw them the first time, when the title of Mom was given to me, but I think it takes time to actually become a Mom. It is something that you constantly work at. Eight years ago I was given that title, but it’s only in the last few years that I finally feel like I’ve started to become the Mom I want to be. Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved my children and understood what truly mattered, but it has only been recently that I really took that role and quote “Jumped in with both feet”. Now I look at my own sacrifices differently. I see things in a different light and I really appreciate my time with my children more then I every have. I truly want to share in their joy and fun, and teach them those life lessons. It may have taken me almost 5 years to start figuring all this out, but I am glad I’m not 5 years too late.

Today I remember Deanna’s birth with pride and joy. She is a beautiful, smart and wonderful child. I am so glad she was the child that made me a Mom. I am glad that I am becoming the Mom I want to be while she is still young. I am so happy and proud of my little girl, the girl who changed my life, the very center of the universe. Happy 8th Birthday to my first born. I love you, Dad loves you and we pray for your happiness today and always.  May you always remember we are here for you, our hearts belong to you, for you have made an “imprint” on them that will last an eternity. Smile, Laugh, Love. Have a wonderful day Bunny. You are our sweetheart.

Love Mom. Love Dad.

 

Miracle of Life

This past weekend I stepped into a role that I never dreamed I would do, and I have never felt more honored in my life. This weekend for the first time, as a Doula, I shared in the incredible miracle of life and witnessed two beautiful babies come into this world. There is nothing more amazing than seeing the strength and courage of a women as she goes through the sacrifices and challenges of birth to bring her baby to this world.  I’ve seen some really wonderful things in my life, but there truly is nothing more beautiful then watching a laboring women sleep and rest in-between her contractions. There is peace on her face that I have never seen before. I felt so extremely honored to share in such a personal and sacred moment.

If there was any doubt in my mind before about being a Doula, it has been completely blasted away. My goal as a Doula is to help empower women in their birth experience. To help them trust themselves and find their confidence. I believe I did some of that this weekend, but more than that, each time I felt like I was protector of the memory of childbirth. I was the keeper of the journey for each mother and father as they became parents, and I could help them remember and understand their own birth experience later.

I worked hard to be who and what each of those families needed, to see the need and then fill it no matter how big or small it was. I was able to provide some comfort as they went through their labors, and yes I cried with joy when I saw those babies for the first time.  My heart was overjoyed as I witness a family being born for the first time and I was humbled when I was able to hold each of those precious babies. I am so thankful to those families who let me be a part of the birth of their children and  I am looking forward to seeing them again as a family.

When I got home last night, I thanked my husband for his constant support, I cuddled my own little baby whom I just birthed myself a short time ago, and I kissed each of my girls goodnight. It truly is a miracle that we can give life to another, that we can create such a beautiful thing and find the courage to raise a child.  I think about my own birth experience and I know that no matter what, my kids were worth everything and much much more.  My heart grew bigger with love for each of my children, and now I get to witness the same thing in others.  I feel very encouraged after this weekend that this is where I am meant to be, that if its meant to be it will work out and that God still has big plans for me. This could be the beginning of a truly beautiful thing.

My Turn

I’m not writing this post to invoke sympathy from friends or family, or to pour out my woes and feel sorry for myself, but as an observation to how life plays out.  Those sayings about what you put out  there comes back to you and karma and such, I think there is some truth in them. I have tried to live my life with those thoughts in mind. Treat others the way you wish to be treated, trying not to burn bridges, don’t judge someone unless you’ve “walked a mile” in their shoes, remember there are always two sides to every story etc, etc and so on. And I think I have done an okay job, I am not perfect, but I always try to make an effort.

Well tonight, yet again, I am sitting at home alone, listening to my girls (who are suppose to be sleeping) arguing about what book to read next and to my very tired baby “complain” about being put in his bed so I can get a few minutes for me.  Now neither of these things are terrible, reading in bed is okay really, and it’s not like Conner is screaming his head off, but after another day by myself  looking after the kids, these noises sound like nails on a chalkboard.  Today again I am a Harvest widow. My husband has been out in the field all day and just informed me that he’ll eat his supper when he’s done, so I don’t need to bring him anything. Yesterday after supper I took all the kids for a quick drive to see him, just to get out of the house and have a break. I know my fellow moms would understand when I say at the end of the day it can be hard not to snap when one of your kids calls…. Mommy! By 8pm that word sends shivers down my spine sometimes, and I have to remind myself, “it’s just because I’m tired and it’s been a long day. I really do love that word” : ) My friend told me once there was a FB post about how bedtime should be at the beginning of day when mommy’s patience hasn’t been used up yet. How true is that hey? I am capable of handling it though. I’ve proven that to myself in the last four months, but it’s certainly nice to have some help. I’ve got tonnes of support that I can call on anytime I need too, so it’s really not as bad as it may seem here. PS the house if quiet now. All three kids sleeping like angels.

So I bet your wondering where this is going. Well it seems like ever since we had our baby boy in the spring,  I have been running this show alone. I know that’s not how it is, but with Dean in the field from morning till after dark and a new baby and two other kids, it gets overwhelming sometimes. It’s better now that Conner is older, he’s still demanding, but before I know it he’ll be running around too. In my husband’s defense, it’s just the timing of everything. Spring, and Fall are a farmers bread and butter. For as long as I’ve known him this is  how its always been, the daily schedule at harvest, but I haven’t been home full time till now to notice how much I miss him when he’s gone all day and then all evening. It’s hard doing the parenting thing all by myself, and then I realize…….. huh this must be how HE felt.

You see when we were first married, I had a business and I had started dancing very regularly. Then we had a baby and I continued to run the flower shop, pursue my dance passion, be a mom and wife. Since dean farmed and he was busy at parts of the year, we naturally fell into the stay-at-home dad routine. And it worked, it really did, he loved his little girl, we managed alright, but I was gone a lot. Eventually I would sell the store and work a bit less, but by then I was part of a professional dance troupe and had started teaching classes. Then Caitlin came along and I worked part time after she was born. I was fortunate to bring her to work with me, and  I still danced in the evening, often leaving Dean with one or more kids. I don’t ever remember him complaining once all those years, he never protested, he always just helped make it work. What an amazing man! Well I realized last summer, that it just wasn’t working for us anymore. Caitlin cried when I went to work and I was so tired that driving to dance and teaching was exhausting. It was time to start subtracting. It was MY TURN to be the stay-at-home parent.  I knew I made the right choice when we had an incredible summer and then God confirmed that I was right where I should be when we found out we were expecting again.  So after all those years of me being the one who worked all day and then having evening commitments, it flipped around, and now it’s my turn to take over the role my husband did so well for many years.

And even if I feel like complaining, I will try not to, he never did and I will just remind myself, that now it’s my turn. Karma’s a bitch right? , but in this case I’m actually thankful cause she kicked me right to where I should be, and probably where I should’ve been a long time ago.  When the kids are older, there will be time again for me to dance and work (if i want), but right now they need me here, Dean needs me here, I need me here. I’ll be thankful also that I am part of a family fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mom. For I know there are others who do not have that luxury.

Rock-a-bye-baby

If I was a morning coffee drinker, today would be the morning I pour myself an extra cup of Joe.

It’s easy to see how important your role as a parent is at 3 O’clock in the morning, in the rocking chair, with a sick child. Yes I have a baby with a cold. And he got it from my daughter, who is also coughing a bit still and asked to snuggle. She settled for a hug and a tuck-me-in, as I was feeding the baby. Poor girl, poor baby, poor me. I understant how important it is to hold a sick child in the night, I still remember cuddling with my mom in the middle of the night with a fever as a young girl, but it is also hard to not feel frustrated for yourself too hey? I thought to my self at 2am and then again at 3am…. why is it still so early? I still have the whole night to get through. And then it was 5am, okay so I got 2hours sleep, feed the baby again, go back to sleep, and then Caitlin is at my bed at 6:30am asking for a drink. Well I’ve got to go to the bathroom, Caitlin settles for some water, and I make my self a hot honey/lemon drink.

I feel a bit like a robot, and the worst part is, I haven’t had the cold yet. I can feel it coming. I know the best thing for a cold is rest, so maybe with a stroke of luck the girls can play outside this afternoon and I can have a nap. My hubby is head deep in Harvest, and will be trying to fix his combine today. So I’m on my own for now,  But I’ll survive.  I’m going to finish my warm drink, cover Conner with a blanket, find the humidifier, and see if I can snuggle up to my hubby for another hour or so, before today really begins.