Let Them Go- A Pep Talk for Parents

It’s the first day of the first week of September. Which, in many places, means kids have gone back to school for the first time this fall. For others, this is their first day of school ever.  Or their first day of high school, first day of college, first day of university or tech school.

In our house, this is the FIRST time in 17 years I have only one kid in secondary school. We are now  a household of 3 graduated kids. That really did come faster than I imagined it 20 years ago. The days are so so SO long when the kids are in school but the years start to fly by when they all hit junior high.

We are also rookie parents of a college kid.  Our 3rd born, the one who just graduated in June, is starting school in BC today. We are so excited for her and her journey. EXCITED, not nervous, not stressed, not sad, not lamenting the years that have flown by….just excited.

Listen moms(and dads), I get it. These precious ones are your babies. You nurtured them and held them when they were sick. But the day they were born you KNEW you’d have to let them go at some point.  You knew it because you’ve lived it yourself. No one wants to be their mama’s baby forever.  No one wants to be coddled and hovered over for life.  Our babies were born to live. And living means they HAVE to grow.

None of us are really living if we’re not growing.

So ya, I get it, your little muffin let go of your fingers today and ran straight through the doors of that brick and concrete building today and a part of you thinks you’re not ready. But you were BORN READY.  You can do this.

We had a couple of weeks to say goodbye to our daughter who we knew was going to drive herself through 3 provinces to a new city, new surroundings and new school.  But I wasn’t really prepared for the shock, sometimes horror that people shared with us when we told them our 18 year old daughter was going to drive by herself in her little car.  People couldn’t wrap their heads around how we could ” let her” do that.

Pardon me if I’m a little confused but didn’t we just invest 18 years of teaching, molding, encouraging and preparing her to do just that? We have always taught our kids to be self-confident; able to trouble shoot and make wise decisions. I’m so happy each of our 4 kids have oodles of confidence. We have done a lot of things wrong but we have managed to get that right. It didn’t occur to us that she couldn’t. It didn’t occur to her that she couldn’t. Was she nervous? A little. But she was mostly excited. On Friday, a few hours before I knew she needed to get to sleep so she was fresh on Saturday morning, I quietly asked her if she was scared to drive that whole way (1600km) by herself? She said she wasn’t. She said she just really wanted to get going. So I didn’t press the issue. If I would have- If I would have said ” it’s going to be scary”  or “you’ve never driven in the mountains- I don’t know if you can handle it” ….I would have been planting within her the seed of doubt. And we all know that one tiny seed of doubt will triple in size before you get your feet off the ground.

 

She drove herself. The first day was hard- she said mostly because it was so boring. The second day, the one we were all a little worried about, was easier because it was all new. All new, all beautiful, all exciting. She had to stay focused. She stopped when she needed to and let us know where she was. She paid attention to signs, didn’t fall  into the trap of speeding like so many others were. She let them pass her, drove what was comfortable for her and got to her destination before sunset. That was the goal. Yes, she did admit the last 3 hours were hard as the highway was difficult. But you know what? She did it!  My dad said that was the best thing for her. It’s the true pioneer spirit of our forefathers. You go, you do what you have to do and you don’t worry about the details.

Speaking of my dad, he was 15 when he left home. Took a bus and then a train to the far north to work hard, hard long days.  Very little to eat. He was FIFTEEN. No cell phones. No phone to call home. He wrote letters to his mom. He was homesick. He was so young. And it made him into a self-reliant, self-confident, trouble-shooting, capable, reliable adult.

I feel often that we as parents are holding our kids back from their natural, God-given abilities. They are meant to grow and thrive. When a baby begins to walk, they don’t worry about falling down…they keep going. When they are pre-schoolers who want to read they inquire and pretend until they begin to learn and develop a life-long skill of reading language. How marvelous and miraculous is that? It’s really amazing!

When we walk our little ones to the gate of the school on the first day, we willingly let them go into a classroom FULL OF STRANGERS for hours and hours every day and week! Guys! Think about this! We have been doing hard things as parents for all the years since that first pregnancy test came back positive! WE have been letting go.

We as parents are hard-wired to let go. It may not always be easy.  The first drive with a rookie driver is a little bit of white-knuckling, hold your tongue, try not to scream tension.But then, 3 weeks later we are sitting there on our phone scrolling through FB memes because our kid has this and we’re just a passenger.

Moms….let go. Have a coffee with a friend, go to the bookstore, go to the fabric store. Clean out that closet you don’t want the kids to see so they won’t know all the stuff of theirs you’re throwing out. Just go do something. Your kids are okay. They’re doing what they were born to do.  They’re living.

Mama birds don’t mess around- the baby birds get pushed right out of the nest and they’ll fall or they’ll fly. But they were born to fly so they will fly.

Your kids were born to run, to grow, to learn to live.  You’ve done your part. Now let them go.

Happy first day of school everyone.  I just blogged for the first time in 18 months. So basically….I’m winning on this first Tuesday of September.

 

 

How Moms Do Christmas

Love is in the details.  At least, this is what most moms believe.  We are the ones who will stay up until 3 a.m. Christmas morning baking fresh buns just so that our family has something homemade for Christmas Day. No one asked us. And no one would likely miss it if we didn’t do it. But we love our families and want them to have the best so we forfeit sleep…often.

At Christmas, I often reminisce about my childhood Christmases in Grandma’s house or at home with my mom and sisters. We didn’t have a lot and the focus was never on the gifts. My mom and grandma and aunts were all good hostesses who believed in presentation and homemade happiness.

The trays of goodies were constantly being refilled with shortbread cookies, mincemeat tarts, fruit cake, fudge, butter tarts and bowls of nuts were everywhere.  Mom made homemade eggnog with a pinch of nutmeg on top and we would drink them out of the fancy glasses .  Grandma had the carols of Christmas loudly playing in the living room as she whistled along in the kitchen making Christmas pudding, pies by the dozens, stuffing that stuck to your ribs and tons of baked goods.  She always had an apron on and the laughter, chatter, togetherness was what we all came to expect upon entering her domain. tables.jpg

When I was in my teens, my mom had very little money and we didn’t ever expect to get a lot for gifts. Mom was always practical but sought to make each gift special and individual to each of us.  One year I got a fuzzy zip up house coat. Looking back, it wasn’t anything special or extravagant but it was something I wouldn’t have asked for, but needed and loved anyway.  There was a digital alarm clock another year and a new purse later on. Mom always stuffed our stockings with essentials like razors, new toothbrushes, Christmas socks, maybe  some cheap jewelry or hair clips and always a Christmas orange .

There have been years when we have over-given to our kids. Probably not the smartest thing. In the financially good years we have given snowboards, a violin ,guitar and electronics.  On the meager years everyone got a new toque or scarf and a $20 gift card to their favourite store. Sometimes it’s feast or famine around here and we just roll with it. But at the heart of every gift, I want my kids to know I think of them, love them and care about the things they care about. I want Christmas to be restful, fun, joyful and peaceful. We buy a puzzle or two every December to work on through the holidays. I bake everyone’s favourite cookies and the years I’ve missed doing that— well, let’s just say, they don’t let me forget it.

Most of us don’t remember every gift we’ve ever received from our parents. That usually means we’ve been blessed over the years with more than we have needed. But we always remember how Christmas makes us feel- loved, cared for and part of a bigger family unit. This is always my goal- I want my kids to look forward to Christmas as a reprieve from the stress of life and an oasis of joy.  So I choose gifts with meaning or thought and I listen to the requests of what they want to eat, the games they hope to play, the people they love to see, the gatherings they hope they’ll be able to attend- this is the heart of a family Christmas.

In 10 years or 20 years, I don’t care if my kids still have the guitar or the snowboard or the toque.  What I hope is that they have a memory of the time Mom made their favourite cookies and played Just Dance 4 with them.

 

The Fix is in

It finally arrived. My little surprise package of Stitch Fix goodies arrived on my doorstep last week. I was super excited to open it up and see what my stylist had selected for me. If you’re not familiar with Stitch Fix, click here to read my earlier blog about this nifty subscription wardrobe service.

I tried hard to keep my expectations low, since my stylist – Taryn – doesn’t really know me yet. I told myself to keep an open mind and be willing to try new things.

I received four pieces of clothing and one necklace. Here’s the lowdown on each piece:

  • Kut from the Kloth black shift dress – I asked my stylist for something a little dressy, that would be appropriate for an anniversary dinner and could transition into the holidays. This black dress with lace on the shoulders is loose fitting, which I’m not used to, but is really pretty, classic and totally versatile. It was $98, a little pricier than I was hoping, but after modelling it for the fam, I decided it was a keeper. (Wow…sorry about the messy closet!)

    Kut from the Kloth Antonella dress, $98
    Kut from the Kloth Antonella dress, $98
  • Annetta metal lace necklace – I have to say I LOVE this piece. It really is a great accessory to the plain black dress. It is definitely something I would never have picked out on my own. I am excited to wear it with a number of different things. It is priced at $34.
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  • 41Hawthorne Potina Draped Cardigan – this sweater was really cute. The stripes on the inside were very unexpected and playful. It was great quality – you could tell just by the feel. It was priced at $68 and because it was a little too big, I decided to return it.IMG_0695
  • Mavi Skinny Jean – putting these jeans on, they felt like butter. Honestly, SO comfortable…they had just the right amount of stretch. However, after wearing them around the house for a bit, I could tell they were going to become that annoying pair of jeans that you’re forever pulling up. They were $98, and I just couldn’t justify spending that on a pair of jeans that just didn’t fit perfectly.IMG_0689
  • Alice Blue floral print blouse – pictured above – was super sweet. I hesitated on flowers for fall, but because it’s black and is a great layering piece, I decided to keep it. I am a sucker for florals!! I love the cute V-shaped neckline and it can be worn loosely tucked in or out. Great casual piece that can be dressed up or down. It is priced at $44.

So, in the end, I kept three out of five pieces, which means I didn’t qualify for the 25% off my entire order. But my $20 styling fee was deducted from my total purchase. With the discount, I paid $167.44.

I have to say that I was impressed with Fix #1. Taryn did a really great job at picking things out for me. I actually really liked everything she sent, and the returns were mostly for size. I think we’re on to something!

Something else I really like about Stitch Fix is the styling cards you receive with your clothes The cards give you ideas on how to style your new pieces, to dress them up or down. It is really helpful, especially for those who don’t know what goes with what.

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I will continue with Stitch Fix up until the holidays, and then maybe take a break after that. I like the idea of using the service 4 times a year when the season changes. All in all, I’d say I’m hooked!

P.S. I’m working on my closet!!

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Ok Moms, I’m ready for a fashion “fix”

I finally did it! After chatting with a friend about how much she enjoys the subscription wardrobe service Stitch Fix, I decided I needed to give it a try.

I think this may just be the thing many busy moms are looking for – the desire to ditch the yoga pants, look cute and stylish and never have to leave your own home! It’s been a while, but I do remember what it was like to shop with babies and toddlers. 😉

Stitch Fix is a San Fransisco-based company which has been gaining popularity in the U.S. but, sadly, is not available yet in Canada.

Courtesy: Stitch Fix
Courtesy: Stitch Fix

With cooler weather just around the corner (I hope), I am excited to pull out jeans, sweaters, boots and scarves. Fall seems like a great time to give my wardrobe a little “fixing” up.

All of my friends know I love to shop…I’ve even been known to lose a toenail in the process of hunting down some good deals. So, I’m not sure if Stitch Fix will be a hit or a miss for me.

Here’s how it works:

For $20 a month, an online stylist will hand select 5 pieces of clothing for you based on the Stitch Fix profile you fill out. (Take your time, this is very important – give yourself 20 minutes). You let them know your sizes, preferred colors, and your overall style whether it be casual chic, preppy, Bohemian chic, classic, romantic or edgy. (They provide pictures of each style, so it’s easy to figure this part out)

For each Fix you can specify the colors and type of clothing you are looking for and if you are planning to wear them to an upcoming party or special occasion. You can choose whether to receive just clothes, or also add in accessories, coats and purses. Stitch Fix encourages you to join Pinterest and create a board of all the looks you love and also make that part of your profile. The more your stylist gets to know what you like, the better your Fixes should be. And, you can schedule your shipment to arrive whenever you like – you may choose to do it monthly, quarterly, etc.

I really don’t think Stitch Fix is the place for deals, so if that is what you are looking for, you may be disappointed. The average price of items in a Stitch Fix box is $55-65. If you keep one item, the $20 styling fee is deducted from the price. If you keep all 5 items, you receive 25% off your entire order. And, if you don’t keep any of the items, you simply return them by dropping them in the mail, but you will lose your $20.

Courtesy: The Stitch Fix Blog
Courtesy: The Stitch Fix Blog

The concept really intrigues me and I’m curious to know if someone can actually pick out things that fit and that I will love based on an on-line profile and so called “algorithm”.  This whole idea of “fashion technology” and customization is fascinating to me – is it the way of the future? Does it beat endlessly searching on your own for the right size and color? Or,  trying to track down the elusive sales clerk to unlock the fitting room door?  Well, I am ready to find out.

Reviews of Stitch Fix are mixed.  Many women enjoy the personalized service and the ability to try things on in the comfort of their own home. After using it for a while, they seem to develop a real rapport with their stylist. Other users complain the on-line stylists don’t listen to the feedback they provide and they can find the same stuff elsewhere for less money.

So, I have signed up and am currently awaiting my Fix. I will let you know when the box arrives at my door. Gotta say, I’m kind of excited!

In the meantime, let me know what you think about the idea of a subscription wardrobe service. Have you used Stitch Fix or another online styling tool? Do you think it’s a waste of money or a brilliant idea?

Every Mom Has Back To School Memories

A few days ago I was in our local Dollarama and noticed two pretty girls and their mom in the school supplies aisle. The girls were giggling and excited as they picked out colourful notebooks and pretty pencils. The mom had a look of peace and joy.  Probably because summer is nearly over and the kids will be back into a routine! But I suspect she’s also enjoying her children’s delight at the small things.

Even if you hated school or detested homework, you likely are a mom who has some fond memories of the first days of school.  Did you sharpen all your pencils the night before the first day and place them in your new pencil case? Maybe your mom was like mine and she would painstakingly whittle a spot at the end of each pencil and pencil crayon to reveal bare wood and then carefully print your name. What year was it when Laurentian finally got the hint and put a white blank space for names on their pencils? I think it was the 90s~ this generation of kids probably doesn’t understand the special-ness of having your mom’s printing on every pencil…carved in by her own hand.

The smell of fresh sharpened pencils.

The feel of a new scribbler~that’s what we called our notebooks. And who doesn’t still love the 4-pack of colourful Hilroy notebooks? Every year I wonder what I could use them for….I just can’t resist buying a set.

And glue. Oh how I loved the smell of paste glue. Long before glue sticks were a thing and white school glue was only what teachers had, we had paste glue with its own unique odour.  I can almost smell it now.

And then there was LePage’s Brown Liquid glue with the rubber tipped applicator…what a mess! But oh how fun….I loved gluing everything.

The first day of school is magical, isn’t it? New clothes, new shoes, new books, new pencils and erasers. You don’t have any baggage from the year before; it got left behind in the summer heat, pool parties and backyard fires.

The first day is full of new faces, familiar friends, happy teachers(if you were lucky, they stayed that way till June) and the promise of learning something new.

For me, the first day was scary and stressful as a shy, introverted child. But my love of books, especially math pages and spelling tests , was enough to get me over that hurdle and push me out the door.

Bus rides and singalongs, playground games and swinging high, construction paper and creative collages~ school was a special, expressive, and growing time.

So every year, the week before school starts, I still get butterflies, I still walk the back to school supply aisles of the local department stores even though we rarely have to buy most of what is there( 2 of my 4 kids are graduated and the other 2 are in high school).  I love to see the sheer delight on the faces of 6 and 7 year olds as they walk proudly down the street with their new backpacks and lunch bags……

ooooo! Lunch kit! My most special one was a red plaid metal box!

*sigh*  Good memories.  Now tell me yours. What do you remember? What were the special moments , sights and smells that made you love this magical time of year? Do you live vicariously through your own kids when picking out new notebooks and running shoes? I want to hear from you and then I will post some of my favourite stories for the first week of school in September!

Surviving a move with teens and tweens

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Have you noticed the for sale signs going up in your neighborhood? It’s spring, and that means moving season.

In fact, it was exactly three years ago this week that we packed up and moved from Canada to The Woodlands, Texas. All of us, especially the kids, had mixed emotions about our big move. But, I really had no idea how difficult the transition was going to be.

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It all hit home the day my middle daughter had a complete meltdown walking home from school. We’d been here just a few weeks and the weather was already a sweltering 95 degrees (35 C). She dropped her backpack on the sidewalk, tore at the neck of her sweat-soaked shirt and shouted through tears, “I want to move back to Canada…where the weather is perfect!” Hahahaha…tell that to most Canadians!!

I hadn’t realized just how lonely she was feeling at school. She was missing her friends back home and didn’t feel like part of her new class. When all the kids were exchanging yearbooks, she didn’t have one. And, she wasn’t pictured in any of the year end slideshows. To a kid, that stuff matters.

It was a long, hot summer. Where was everybody?? No bikes, no soccer balls, no laughing children in the cul-de-sac. I finally figured out they were all seeking refuge in their air-conditioned homes!!

As my youngest happily cooled off in our backyard pool, my oldest started having mysterious stomach pains. Initially, I thought she’d come down with a stomach bug from the water park, but when it persisted for weeks, I finally took her to the doctor. There was no “official” diagnosis, but the doctor suggested she might be having anxiety related to the move, the loss of her social network and fear of starting a new school in the fall. Everything that was familiar to her…was gone.

She spent hours texting, Facetiming and Skyping friends back home, and I worried that maybe it was too much. Wasn’t it time to move on? For a while, it seemed like she was focusing on her old friends at the expense of making new ones. Was it a good idea for her to go back and visit, or bring her friends here? We tried everything, but only with time…and patience, did she find her new normal. I’m happy to say she still has close connections with her old friends thanks to social media.

It took a full year for The Woodlands to begin to feel like home and now we love it here. But seeing the for sale signs reminds me of all the change – good and bad – a family must go through when relocating. I’ve compiled a list of what I hope are helpful tips to ease the transition:

  • Talk to your children, stressing the positives of the move and the new location. It’s important to be honest with them, and acknowledge their fears, but always try to remain upbeat about the new experience. Your kids will feed off of your emotions.
  • Pre-move visit – it helps for kids to see where they are moving. Let them check out the neighborhood, local parks, etc. so they can visualize themselves in their new surroundings. Involve them in the house-hunting process, just be careful they don’t get their heart set on a house in case the real estate deal falls through.
  • Phone a friend – if possible, try to connect with other moms who are already living there. For me, the advice I received from the wife of my husband’s co-worker was invaluable. I find you will always get the “real deal” from other moms.
  • The internet is your friend – use it to research schools, doctors, dentists, dance studios, swim clubs, or hockey teams. It can sometimes be hard to find a doctor or pediatrician accepting new patients, so get on those lists early. Same goes for pre-schools and private schools. Once there, go for a visit and talk to the staff to make sure what you read on the internet is true.
  • Get documents in order – most schools require birth certificates (now you need the long-form version), vaccination records, transcripts and report cards. You may also need your marriage certificate and marriage license. It’s so much easier to gather this stuff ahead of time, rather than trying to track it down during the middle of packing and un-packing.
  • Be prepared for tutoring – moving to a different province, state or even school district may come with different standards and curriculum expectations. And that’s ok. Be open to any extra support or tutoring the school may recommend. It doesn’t mean your child is “behind”, it just means they are behind where this particular school district wants them to be.
  • Talk to your kids’ teachers ahead of time. Let them know a little about your child’s personality, and what he/she may need during those first few weeks. Also, ask if there is a “buddy” who could be paired with your child to show them around the school. My daughter is still good friends with the class ambassador who be-friended her on the first day.
  • Sign up for kids’ activities sooner, rather than later – getting kids involved early on can minimize their feelings of loss and loneliness. It’s a great place for them to meet new friends and gets them back to doing what they love
  • Be the host – it’s likely that for the first few months, you may have to be the host of play dates, outings and eventually sleepovers. You might even offer to host a neighbourhood or class party. No one knows your child, so what better way to break the ice?
  • Join something fun – give yourself permission to join a gym, book club, take dance lessons or volunteer. Try to get out and mingle. Not everyone handles change well and moving can be a trigger for depression; it’s important to stay active and engaged with others. After all, you need friends too!
  • Don’t feel guilty — expect that your kids will complain, but don’t let them make you feel guilty for “ruining their life.” They are kids, they will adjust, and it will be harder for teens than young ones. I honestly believe that moving teaches kids some great life skills – how to make friends, be easy-going and adapt to all of the curve balls life is going to throw at them.
  • Relationship TLC – moving is busy and stressful. The extent of conversation with your spouse may be limited to “Did the cable guy come yet?” and the ever so innocent…”Wow, those boxes aren’t unpacked yet??” Make time to just set all the moving stuff aside, pour yourselves a glass of wine and talk. If you can sneak a night out, then go for it, especially once you find a great babysitter.

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What a huge learning curve we all went through during that first year. Of course, there were so many great memories too – seeing my first magnolia tree, having our first Blue Bell ice cream (before the listeria outbreak, of course!) and meeting great neighbours who’ve become dear friends.

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Getting used to “y’all” took a little time. I’m still having trouble with “all y’all’s” as a plural possessive?! We drank a lot of “sweet tea” that summer and I quickly got up to speed on Tex Mex lingo. Now if I go to a potluck, I know what pico and queso are!

When moving, it’s so easy to focus on what you don’t have anymore, but in the end, you have all you need ~ each other!

Please comment below if you’d like to share your moving experience, or if you have any other advice for moms who are getting ready for this big transition.

I’d like to thank my friend and real estate agent Wendy Kelman for contributing to this post.

All The {GOOD} Moms Are Doing It

I am a product of the seventies. In fact, I’m so proud of the fact that I was born in the seventies when the devil-may-care attitude of parenting was triumphed above all others. Why? Because we were free. Freedom reigned in the seventies. Freedom to be, to live, to dwell, to drink, to eat, to act in whatever way we wanted. Without judgment or shame.

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Mommy shaming is so 2013, don’t ya think?  Social media has brought all of our mothering faults screaming to the forefront–to the point where we could all say we are *THE* worst mother ever. Don’t you feel that way?

When I grew up a birthday party consisted of the four food groups: Kool Aid(usually purple so that our face was stained for days), hot dogs(of no known meat origin), angel food cake(out of a box) with pink fluffy frosting and pop rocks. THAT was the epitome of birthday party success! No party bags for guests, no carefully crafted decorations or reserved party spaces. No, we ran and giggled and maybe played PintheTailontheDONKEY with REAL tacks!

*sigh*……the seventies were awesome.

No car seats. No seat belts. No helicopter parenting. No rules. Just a lot of love and joy.

I’ve done a lot of things in my parenting career that would likely have me jailed and my kids taken away. I’m not using hyperbole here. I’m dead serious. And I love my kids. I actually think I’m a GOOD mother. I have four kids who range from 14 to 20 and they’re all healthy and happy(well, as happy as teenagers can be at any given moment). But I did some stuff that, at the time, was what I felt was right in the moment but it would have been held to scrutiny and judgment. And I didn’t feel reckless or careless with my kids’ lives.

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But here we are in an age when it seems quite appropriate and expected to shame other parents into being as awesome as we are. Because clearly, *WE* are perfect and *THEY* are not so therefore *WE* must enlighten them to the error of their ways……or something like that.

Recently in our news there was a story of a mom in Winnipeg who was being charged with child abandonment for leaving her 6 year old home alone for 90 minutes. We can debate the appropriate age where children can be left alone for days but in every single case, the ONLY person who will be the best judge is the mom. Yes, there are moms who use poor judgment. Yes, there are bad moms. But you know what? The bad moms of the world likely measure up to less than 1% of all of the mothers who are just trying their best. They’re good moms.

I was babysitting at the age of 11. According to new laws that would be illegal. I was IN THE CARE OF SMALL CHILDREN at eleven years of age. Let that sink in.

My mom was a single mom. She would get someone to stay with us if she was going to be out for several hours the first year we moved into the city. She really didn’t need to. We were all quite capable and self sufficient. But in 1980, in **SCARY** Regina, SK she felt it necessary. We were 7, 9 and 10 years old. And for an hour or two we would have been fine. And we were.

My mom had to retrain herself and went to school in 1982.  She would take the bus everyday and we would walk to school. We would walk home at lunch and after school. ALONE. We cooked, cleaned, did our homework. ALONE. And we lived. Imagine that?! We lived. And we’re fine.

My mom would have been put in jail now.

The car seats we had when my babies were born were pretty basic. Two positions- up and down. Not much for adjusting the seat belts and no 3 point installation system. You didn’t need a book. Or a degree. Or a stop off at the local car seat inspection clinic. You put your baby in, and drove away.  If you post a pic on FB or Twitter now, of your baby in a car seat, there is more than a 78% chance that at least one  of your *mommy friends* will comment on how the harness is secured. It will be too tight, too loose, incorrect all together or they will be inboxing you suggesting you remove the photo in case social services is called. You know I’m right – remember the cute baby singing in her car seat and HALF THE COMMENTS were about her car seat being incorrectly installed???!!!

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I’m thankful for raising my babies in the FB free world where I actually nursed my babies IN A MOVING VEHICLE! *GASP*!

Don’t worry moms, your secrets are safe with me.

I know you leave your sleeping baby in the car while you go to the ATM.  I know you lock the doors and are well aware of the temperature inside and out.

I know you’re walking down the street to collect your wayward dog while your toddler plays in the living room. Unsupervised. I know.

I know you just spent 45 minutes weeding the garden while your preschoolers played with playdough, inside, in the kitchen, where there are knives and scary things. I know.

I know you’re having a bath while you’re reading this. And the door is closed. While your 3 preschoolers are watching a movie. I know.

I know that you’ve left a 3 year old unattended in the bath while you ran to make sure supper wasn’t burning. I know.

I know you’re considering leaving your 10 year old home with the 6 and 4 year old so you can run to the store. I know.

I know you’ve let too many kids jump on the trampoline while you watched one more episode of Downton Abbey before supper. I know.

I know that you’ve fed your kids Cheese Whiz and Cheetos and COKE all in the same day.  I know.

I know you’ve put ginger ale in your baby’s bottle because the puking all night is more than you can take and you just needed a break. I know.

I know you gave your baby Motrin last night even though she didn’t have a fever because you don’t know what else to do. I know.

I know you’re a good mom and you cry every day because you’re trying to do the right thing but someone always seems to be showing you up.

Stop.  Look at your kids. Do you love them? Do they love you? Do you make their favourite meal whenever you can just to see them smile? Do you sacrifice sleep and health and cleanliness just to keep the family ball rolling? You’re a good mom. And you’re in good company. Because *ALL* the good moms are doing it too.