My daughter’s 2nd birthday is just around the corner. Like all parents I am in disbelief of how fast time has flown by! The thought of her birthday has caused me to reflect on my life and analyze how things are going. In particular I find that I have been obsessing about my physical appearance and my lack of motivation to lose the left over baby-weight that has stuck with me after childbirth.
Before my daughter was born I would have considered myself a fairly active person. My previous job was labour intensive so that helped– working in a greenhouse you sweat in both the summer and in the winter when you’re layered up looking after plants! When I became pregnant everyone told me things would change and they did. Like all pregnant women my body spread out to make way for this little person and I gained weight. Now I find myself in what I like to call Mommy Limbo: I’m not thrilled with how I look but I’m not interested in spending my free time at the gym either. In fact, I would rather be doing anything else. These days I find it especially tough at home because my husband who lost his sympathy pregnancy weight the moment our daughter was born is now preparing for a Mud Hero race and getting even more fit.
So I came to the realization that it’s time to start an active living plan, and stop complaining. No more pity parties! Part of the active plan is tricky-instead of trying to figure out how to lose weight fast (like many celebrities) I have to be realistic. I can’t ignore pop culture but I can certainly look at celebs who lose weight in what feels like a matter of minutes and understand that they have a lot of help. Of course Beyoncé can cleanse she has personal trainers and chefs! Sure Gisele can hit the VS runway 6 weeks after having her baby, working out is part of the job! It’s not right that we constantly compare ourselves to glamorous people even though it seems to be unavoidable in our technology driven world. So I decided to focus on the goals that are attainable. I mean I love Reese Witherspoon as much as the next person but instead of focussing on how to lose weight fast like she did, I could just copy her haircut.
I want our daughter to grow up in a home that places value on people for their merits and that starts with her dad and I reinforcing good habits. I want her to know that it’s important to respect people and that we need to discuss what we see in the media about size, celebs and the obsession with what is deemed “attractive”. I don’t want my daughter to think that all I do is spend hours googling, “how to lose belly fat”, or “how to lose weight fast” or fidgeting in front of the mirror worrying about what other people think of my size.
I am hoping is that this starts a new conversation-not just amongst moms but with everyone who is struggling with body issues. No more of this fat shaming. No more unrealistic diet plans. I am going to stop crying in front of the closet full of clothes that don’t fit anymore and set realistic goals that include building self esteem and being comfortable with whatever number is on the tag of my pants. That crying girl in front of the closet – that’s the old me. I became a new person the moment Sadie came into this world and I want to live up to her expectations. Let’s see how it goes, it’s another year to feel healthier and to celebrate every milestone, no matter how big or small.
No more tears in front of this closet!
As I start to change the way I look at the world I wonder if other new parents are going through the same things, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as the end of the day you feel good. So I’m curious, what have you done lately that inspired a more active lifestyle or helped with losing weight after pregnancy? I would love to hear your tips and suggestions!
About the Author
Ainsley Gelder was welcomed into the Mabel community back in 2012 – ready for a new job and pregnant the Team welcomed her (and her bump) with loving arms and now they can’t get rid of her! You may recognize her voice from communicating with her through the Customer Service Department, she’s here to answer questions or to chat about labels and loves to laugh. Ainsley is crazy for a good DIY Project on Pinterest and spending time with her family, she especially loves spending time reading books with her toddler and having dance parties in the living room.
You can find her on Twitter @ainsleyisdancin
Back into a bedtime routine for school!
It’s time to head back to school soon and while school supplies are being bought and labelled there is one thing that is often overlooked when preparing for back to school.
And that’s our child’s sleep.
It’s important for your child to be well-rested during the school year to promote:
Stronger Cognitive Ability
- It can be hard to learn and remember new things when tired. A well-rested child has an easier time heightening skills that are needed in school such as, attention, memory and decision-making.
Better Mood and Temperament
- We all know what our mood is like when we haven’t had enough sleep. It’s no different for our children who actually need more sleep than we do. Let’s face it children will not bring home any student awards without sleep. Logging in more sleep at night will mean more pleasant behaviour and their teachers will thank you for it.
Stable Immune System
- The better rested your child is, the stronger their immune system will be to fight off colds and viruses that spread across the classrooms during the school year. Ick! Boost your kids’ sleep and you’ll boost your kids’ health.
There are steps you can take and ones to avoid when starting to get your family back on sleep track before the school year starts.
What to Include:
Bring Back Their Age Appropriate Bedtime
- During the summer months routines tend to be thrown out the window so it’s important that once school begins you make sure that your child starts going to bed early again. Appropriate bedtimes for toddlers and school-aged children are between 7 and 8pm.
- Tip! You need to reset your child’s internal clock in your back to elementary school routine and you can start doing this at least 2 weeks before school actually starts. During the week and even on the weekends have your child go to bed and wake up at the same time they will once school begins to prevent insomnia in children.
Reinstate the Calming Bedtime Routine
- Doing similar activities before your child goes to bed each night will really help cue them that sleep is coming next making for a more relaxing and calming bedtime routine for everyone. Reading kids books instead of watching TV is a great way to do this.
- Tip! Give your child a 10-15 minute warning before getting ready for bed so they are prepared and know what to expect.
Communicate Their Sleep Needs
- Discuss the importance of sleep with your child. Ask them why they need sleep, how much sleep do they think they need, how do they feel when they are tired, and how do they feel when they get a good night of sleep. Opening this sleep training communication helps them understand why you are making the necessary changes to their routines and helps to build a healthy relationship between sleep and your child.
What to Avoid:
Staying Plugged In
- Remember to remove over stimulating activities during the bedtime routine and turn off the TV and computers. The bright lights from the screen can turn our sleep switch off by slowing down the release of melatonin.
- Tip! At least 60 minutes before bedtime turn off tech. It’s a great tip for you too mom and dad.
Consuming too Much Caffeine
- Watch your child’s caffeine intake throughout the day. Avoid soda, chocolate and iced tea in late afternoon and at dinnertime.
Scheduling Too Many Activities
- Be careful not to overschedule your child’s activities. If evenings are tough and rushed then opt for a weekend class, where your child will feel more rested taking it and you won’t be rushed to get there.
- Tip! It’s okay to have one day off. Choose one day on the weekend to be your family’s day off and protect that downtime. Hang out with the kids and have some quality bonding time. They need a day to relax and so do you.
Following these steps can help make an easier transition back into elementary school and better nights and mornings for the entire family. And maybe this year they might just bring home a few student awards.
About the Author
Alanna McGinn is a mother of three (1 + twins!), Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site, and Representative and Director for the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants (IACSC). When she’s not on route to the bus stop or tripping over fire trucks and tea sets, she’s working with families to overcome their sleep challenges. Follow Alanna on Facebook and Twitter for daily sleep tips and advice.
For the last 2.5 years, Daddy-o has been a FIFO (Fly In, Fly Out) Father. His current client requires that he be onsite during the week so as such, he arrives home on Friday nights, then leaves again on Sunday evenings. I have not written about it because I was advised not to go public that I was ‘alone’ during the week. But since I don’t feel “vulnerable”, if someone wants to break into my house based on the fact that there is no man around, they will have to get through Mama Bear first. Yeah, good luck with that.
Most of the time, I have these beauties all to myself!
So there is no ‘man of the house’ around during the week. Although an initial adjustment, we have worked with our situation quite well. Since my youngest is now five-years-old, ‘flying solo’ in the parenting department is much easier than it would have been a few years ago.
Making this arrangement work can be a bit of a trick. These are the lessons I have learned:
The FIFO parent:
- Daddy-o was very excited to tell me about all the new and exciting things he could do now that he didn’t have the usual parent responsibilities. He got to exercise and get fit. He would tell me about his morning 1 km swims and how his post-work training sessions were going. Although happy for him, I would find myself feeling a little glum. All I could think was “and here I am, happy to get 30-seconds a day to move my bowels without interruption”.
- Daddy-o was also excited to tell me about all the cool things he was watching on Netflix. He’s all caught up on “Lost” and watches all the amazing shows I only know about because of Twitter. The last TV show I watched was the season finale of “Seinfeld” in the mid-90s.
- Occasionally on a Saturday, Daddy-o would turn to me and say “Wow – is the house always this noisy?” Yes. Yes, it is.
Lesson for the FIFO:
Keep on doing what you’re doing. Enjoy this time while you have it. Perhaps keeping a little bit of it to yourself is not a bad idea. It’s OK to share – but not too much or too often. Don’t go overboard relaying how much “me time” is happening.
Stay at Home Parents:
- I know too well the temptation of handing off the kids when Daddy-o walks through the door on a Friday. He walks in and you kind of want to say, “Here you go! They’re all yours and I’m OUTTA here”. But here’s the thing – FIFOs don’t actually WANT to be away from their families. They are doing this for work. It is a sacrifice for them too and they don’t need to feel punished for it. Inevitably, the kids will feel like they are a burden on you during the week and that you only want your spouse home so that he can relieve you of that burden. That’s no fun for anyone.
It’s a tricky situation for everyone, but manageable if you have the right attitude and remember that everyone is doing the best they can for the family.
Do you have a FIFO parent in your family? Are you a FIFO? How has your family managed the transition?
About the Author:
Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.