Work/life/Family balance…. Does it really exist?

I know it’s been some time since I last posted, but that’s reflective of how nutty life has been around our home. Summertime may mean that the kids are off school, but for the family it’s our busy season. Between family events, birthdays, work, and daycare arrangements I struggle to find time for myself. And even just writing that I feel guilty for “lamenting” about not having time for myself. Sadly I believe this is a typical mom (even dads too) response, and I am coming to the understanding that it’s that feeling that is holding me back more than anything else.
This weekend I am volunteering (as any of you who follow my twitter or facebook feeds are WELL aware) for an amazing prorgam, Aloha Toront o. I’m going to be “away” from my family (and work) for 3 days.
BUT my family is all set, and is being super supportive. That’s why I can do this. The work/family/life balance is (IMO) nearly impossible without support. My work is even supporting me for this by having Volunteer days available that allow me to have this work day to do this.

It’s still going to be an ongoing battle, but at least now I have a slightly better understanding; this struggle for balance starts with my own hang-ups.


Struggling lunch mom

It’s now been nearly a month since my son has gone back to school, and I have discovered how horrible I am at coming up with creative, yummy, gluten, dairy and but free lunches. I find this hands down the hardest part of school. Making sure he gets lunch that he’ll eat, that’s not too “weird”, but that’s healthy
too. Oh, and Pizza days? How I loath thee.. No way to heat up lunches, and no Gluten+Dairy free options means feeling the mom guilt.
So I find myself scrounging for new ways to present the few veggies my son will eat and rotating between pretzel sticks and chips. And trying to ignore the guilt each time a lunch comes back almost untouched.

Kids in Training…. or is that Training for kids?

As some of you know I have become a bit of a yoga junkie. It has been a journey and a half but it’s a regular source of inspiration for me.

My wonderful, creative, outgoing, and seriously anxious son has also been on a journey this year. Part of this has been an amazing therapy group that teach relaxation and breathing as calming techniques. Now I was happy just being a mom who happened to do yoga to help ground me through my trials and tribulations; and then one day it happened.. R was having a meltdown, over what I can’t remember anymore, but I was sitting with him and watched him clench his whole body rigid with anger. I heard my Yogis (Denise,Melissa &Che) say in my head, “squeeze into a little ball, tight, tight, tight…and then release”. LIGHT BULB! I modeled and talked R through a few rock hug and squeeze and watched the anger dissipate. He was able to talk to me, tell me what was really really bothering him. What, to us parents seemed like a randomly small statement, had thrown his world upside down. He climbed onto my lap and as we rocked back and forth my Ugi (Yoga) Breath kicked in. Our rocking fell into time with our breathing and we were both able to let it all go and just breath. Truly we were able to “Breath to Calm Down”, which is the mantra in our family.

This amazing moment sparked something in me that said, if something this simple can help R then I wonder if a yoga class designed for kids like him would be beneficial. And that started this next phase in my journey.

After many conversations with wonderful people and resources I decided to take the plunge and become a kids yoga instructor so that I could run a class for these wonderful kids. Just as I made that decision a friend passed along information that a kids training modual was going to be held at a PYC in my town. Well talk about fate ;) Two days of intensive training on teaching children yoga, and I loved every second of it. My amazing husband even “gave up” fathers day so that I could do this!

Now I’ve had a taste, and I want more. I left that weekend so inspired to teach kids yoga. Every day I think how can I use this desire and knowledge and start helping the wonderful kids like my Son R. I am going to continue with my training in January with The Clarity Center and get my full Yoga Alliance Certification to teach Children Yoga.

But between now and then? You’ll likely find me breathing like a bunny with R, doing Lions breath with my wee daughter; going to yoga class daily and listening to a lot of Raffi.

“Nothing can replace the influence of unconditional love in the life of a child.” ~ Mister Rogers


Paddle in the water

Last night was the first practice of the 2012 Dragon-boat season, and I was in the boat. BLISS. When I discovered I was pregnant with my daughter last year I was sad that I would have to sit out a season, but promised myself that I was going to work hard once she was born to get into great shape for the 2012 season. After 11 weeks of bed rest, a C-section, the winter and a diagnosis of Postpartum depression I wasn’t sure if I actually was going to get into the boat this year.

I have written about my journey through the 21daychallenge at my Yoga centre. It was a huge help in motivating my mind and body into an active state. When I received an email earlier this week from the Dragon-boat Team Captain saying they needed a sub for yesterday I was super excited to go. Wait, I had a 6am yoga class booked for Wednesday morning… If this had been me from the end of March I would have cancelled the Yoga and tried to get through the paddling. BUT I DIDN’T! That is correct folks, I did my 6am Hot Flow Yoga class and then 12 hours later was on the water with 15 other women paddling our hearts out in a Dragon-Boat.

Now I would be lying if I said I wasn’t exhausted, sore, and sitting here with a hot pack on my shoulders. But for the first time in months, more months that I am ready to admit, I smiled with simple joy on my drive home yesterday. I had completed a goal I had set for myself before my daughter was born. I did it with power, peace of heart, pleasure, and my whole self. IT WAS AWESOME!!


21 day challenge aka Yoga overload

What on earth have I signed myself up for? I mean seriously, 21 days straight of yoga style classes. I am determined to prove the non believers wrong. I can do this….right? Some how I will find a way to fit this into my jam-packed family centered life. This is part of my recovery from PPD, time for myself without the kids. Just as I was trying to figure out how to make myself take some “self” time when I saw a tweet about The Clarity Centres 21 day Challenge, 21 days for $21. This was a price I couldn’t refuse, so I signed up and started bright and early (6am class) the Tuesday morning after Easter. I learned last Saturday how busy the Centre is when I arrived for a 10:30am class and it was full. The girl at the front counter was very nice and helped me sign up for another class later that day. I have now signed up for all of my classes for the rest of the challenge on-line, lesson learned.

Now its Day15 and I have done a variety of classes, but have found one or two instructors that I LOVE.  But my body? the struggles of having an EDS (Hypermobile) body has reared up and as of yesterday the pain is requiring meds to manage. BOO! I will not give up! I have a chiropractor appointment booked for today and I hope that helps re-align my troubled hips, SI and Ribs (front and back).

I have to say I am happy that I have lasted this long without a EDS Flare up. This condition is something I deal with daily and every morning I wake up I am happy if the pain in at a manageable level. Have I had a pain-free morning?  Not that I can remember, and I’ve learned to live with it. Its part of my life and part of what makes me me. My Daughter and I participated in the MS Walk last Saturday and it made me realize how lucky I am. Its been years since I’ve been in a wheelchair and longer since I’ve had surgery. Now there are no guarantees either won’t happen again, but I’m doing my damnedest to avoid it; and this 21 day challenge is part of it.

Easter without the Candy?

So how, you ask, does one celebrate Easter without any dairy,gluten,soy and peanuts? Actually this candy filled holiday is much easier than Halloween as the thrill for my son is in the hunt. Hunting down those plastic eggs, outsmarting the crafty bunny is the best part of the whole day.

I am very lucky to live in a town that has 2 “alternative” markets, Whole Foods & The Organic Garage, which carry a large variety of GF (gluten-free), DF (dairy free) and peanut free products. This Easter though I wanted to do something a little different then a candy filled eggs. I read a number of blogs which had some great ideas, reached out to the Twitterverse and was given some more. I had grand plans, I was going to make this egg hunt the best ever. Then suddenly it was Saturday and I hadn’t purchased anything yet.  Not only that but we had a family hike and lunch planned for Sunday morning. So mad dash to the dollar store, pit stop at Toys R Us and then I had everything I needed. 2 packages of plastic dinosaurs, a ceramic dinosaur figure paint set, some dinosaur puzzles..notice a theme here? :) For those of you who know my son, don’t worry the mandatory WWE action figure was there, as was a new Playmobile knight figure.  It wasn’t the elaborate treasure hunt I had pictured in my head, but as it turned out it was just perfect for my Son. He hunted, searched, found and reveled in the process barely noticing the candies in the plastic eggs. Maybe next year I’ll have it together enough to do the full treasure hunt.

Babies, Boobs and Bras. Part 1

(first published as a guest blogger for the Mommy Monologues by )

Before I got pregnant with my son I was a curvy 36F and happy with my figure. Then the pregnancy hormones took over or should I say my boobs took over. I very quickly went up to an H cup, which at that time (6yrs ago) was the largest breastfeeding bra I could get. Sadly this was only my first trimester so the boobs just kept growing. That first trimester was the toughest. With the boobs getting bigger and no tummy it just looked like I was putting on weight, and as a curvy woman already, that wasn’t something I wasn’t comfortable with. But lets get back to the boobs :) not only did they get huge (well I thought they were huge) but they became solid, full, and SORE! I kept being told that I needed to get away from the under wire bras in order to ensure milk flow, but I couldn’t find anything in my cup size without it. I had one bra. It was a nursing bra with huge straps and was utilitarian white cotton, talk about how to make you not feel pretty. Needless to say I lived in that bra, almost wore it right out before my son was even born. By the end of the pregnancy I was too large a cup size to even fit into that H cup, but thankfully my belly held the girls up most of the time for me. Once my son was born then came the hell of trying to breast feed. OK, so what do you do if your breasts are larger that 2 handfuls? How do you hold you breast to your baby for proper latching while holding them? It was a trick that I never sorted out. Having flat nipples meant that my poor boy was trying to latch onto a flat board, and even with a nipple shield (yet another thing I would have to hold onto my breast) it was just impractical for me. I am in awe of the busty moms who manage this juggle.

2 years after my son was born I had gone down to a 38H and stayed there for about 1.5 years. Yes I said went down to a H cup. Some women loose much more cup size after their baby’s finish breast feeding, but mine never did. In fact over the next few years I went up to a J up, which is where I was when we found out we were finally pregnant again. This time I was prepared! (or so I thought) I had found a speciality mom’s shop in the city (Toronto) that carried large cup sizes in Nursing bras. But halfway through my first trimester my boobs were so full and sore I made an emergency trip to La Senza on my lunch break and had to grab some soft cupped bras, settling for a 40DDD to compensate. Now I know it’s not right, I knew the fit wasn’t right, but I needed a soft cup bra without dishing out over $100 knowing i was just going to get bigger. And bigger I did get. Sadly when I went to visit the mommy store they did carry a nursing bra in my size (38K) it was ugly. Huge white thing that came almost up to my neck and made me think i was wearing granny panties on my boobs. Not to mention that to undo the bra to breast feed was next to impossible for me as I have very little fine motor skills left in my hands after multiple surgeries. But considering it was only my second trimester I bore down and bought it ($100+ later) and tried to be OK with it. Once again the boobs just kept getting bigger, and heavier, and fuller….. so that by the time my daughter was born I couldn’t even hold one comfortably in my hands. This time i was thankful that no milk came in for me, I just was not up to fighting my boobs to try and get my daughter to feed. Which was a little heartbreaking as she really seemed to want to. But now 7 months later she is a happy bottle baby and my boobs? Well last i checked I am still a J cup, only now a 34 band size.

Watch this space for me next post. It will be all about the hell of trying to get clothing to fit. (ugh)!

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