Instagram Challenge: Not Of My Kids

I love Instagram, but looking at my collection of images on there, it appears I post almost nothing but pictures of my kids. And there are two slight issues I have with that:

For one thing, I read an article recently that made me wonder if maybe I should be a little more aware of my kids’ future privacy concerns when posting images of them online. Granted, their mother writes a blog about parenting, so maybe the pics I post won’t be their main issue… and, as my husband noted when I raised this concern, “Whatever – every generation hates their parents for something.” But still.

For another thing, seeing only pictures of my kids there sort of makes me wonder, where’s the rest of my life? Sometimes being a mom of two young kids makes me feel pretty insulated in my everyday, like I don’t do much other than the usual routine of wake, care, feed, play, care some more, feed some more, and sleep. When a visiting friend asks when it might be a good time to come back and see us again, my response is, “Anytime. We are literally always just doing this,” gesturing to the backyard or the living room or wherever we’re hanging out with the kiddos at that moment. I know I’m lucky that I actually have a great support system of friends and family, but I can’t help sometimes feeling I’m getting into a rut.

So with these two things in mind, I’m setting myself an Instagram Challenge: Not Of My Kids. Every day for 30 days, I’m going to post one image of… something else. Hopefully I don’t get lazy and just take (less than spectacular) pictures of my lunch, though I’m sure that will happen sometimes. I’ll probably also still post pics of my kidlets, because, hey, they’re ridiculously cute, in my completely unbiased opinion.

If anyone feels like also taking up the challenge, please do it with me! I’m going to use #NotOfMyKids for each one, and I’d love to follow along with your pictures, too.

Here’s day 1/30:

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Wait, I Got Judged for THAT!?

We recently took our first plane ride with a toddler. Super fun, right? Yep, until take-off was over. Mistake #1 from my corner was booking a red-eye with two under two… but that’s what happens when sleep-deprived people make crucial decisions. They think they’re booking an 8:30 AM flight. I tried to change it once I realized, but the fees to do so would have been astronomical. (Sidenote: shouldn’t there be some sort of grace policy in most organizations for stupid decisions their customers make during the fourth trimester???)

So yes, I made a big mistake, but apparently, that wasn’t my biggest. We’re on the plane, and our almost two-year-old is getting crazy overtired, but he can’t sleep. So he’s squawking, fussing, crying, shouting no to everything, squirming, kicking – just generally being everybody’s nightmare when they get on a red-eye. Everyone on the plane hates us. There’s a family in the row behind: mom, dad, baby, and adorable four-year old. Our kids were playing in the departure lounge before boarding, and we were all chit-chatting. They were pros at taking plane rides, the four-year-old letting me know with great pride that she had been on nine planes in her life. And when the seat belt sign went off, this family had the routine down. Cozy blanket tucked in, tray table set up with water and snacks, tablet playing cartoons propped in front of her, headphones on – and that little traveller did not move or make a peep for the whole four hours of the plane ride….

…except once to ask her mommy, gesturing to our son, “Why is he so upset?”

To which her mother replied without missing a beat, “Well, I guess some people didn’t think to bring a screen for their kids.”

What?! I thought not having a tablet filled with cartoons for my toddler was one of the mom-things I was doing okay on.  Continue reading

Mom, You Already Have Your “Shit” Together

I hear this phrase from moms a LOT.

“I’ll be there at 2, assuming I have my shit together.”

“Sorry we’re late – we just couldn’t get our shit together this morning.”

“I just need to get my shit together.”

“For once I’d love to have my shit together!”

“Why can’t I ever seem to get my shit together?!?”

etc…

I say this all the time – like, really all the time. I never feel like I have my shit together. There’s always laundry to do, toys all over the floor, dishes that need washed, random piles of crap that need to be put away or organized or moved to another floor of the house or otherwise dealt with but I never seem to have enough time to keep on top of them. Seriously, this is my house today (and more or less what it looks like every day):

dead flowersCopy of dead flowers

There are always two running to-do lists in my phone: one for big-ticket things I’ve been meaning to get done for awhile (submit receipts to my insurance provider, sell that damn dresser we’re not using on Kijiji) and one for more timely things (go to the hardware store, return those library books). I can usually only manage to shave one part of my body in a single shower (is it the armpits today or one half of my legs?), and even though I think about it every single time I’m at the washing machine, I keep forgetting to order a new laundry ball online by the time I get upstairs, because I get distracted pretty quickly. I’d love to be more regular in posting on this blog, but spurts of activity followed by long pauses seem to be more in line with my life. (I know, I know, these are all first world problems.)

But what if I actually already do have my “shit” together?

“Shit” implies something bad, right? Something that should ideally be eliminated (excuse the pun) – neatly, cleanly and regularly removed with the quick touch of a button. So when I think of my lateness, my mess, my schedule, my to-do items, my own daily hygiene, as “shit,” what am I really expecting out of my life? That I won’t ever be late for anything? That I won’t have things to do? That I won’t get tired by the end of the day? That my family and I won’t use dishes, get toys out, make messes… live? It’s unreasonable. Do I think I’m living at Downton Fucking Abbey and someone else will come upstairs and take care of it all? So maybe the first thing I need to do is to try not to think of all this stuff as “shit,” but just as, well, life.

But maybe it’s also time apply some #goodenough logic to the idea of having my shit “together.” Maybe having my shit together just means keeping all these things going to the point where I can make it out of the house to an event at all, even if I’m five (okay, forty-five) minutes late. Maybe it means just having the to-do lists in the first place; at least I know what I need to do. Maybe it means accepting a certain level of mess and clutter in my house that necessarily comes with actually living as a family; we’re nowhere close to being candidates for an episode of Hoarders. Maybe having my shit together means having 50% of what I needed packed in the diaper bag – having absolutely everything would be awesome, but just having my shit together? 50% sounds about right.

We’re all going to have “shit” in life – every day, all day, forever. That’s the nature of human life. We have to feed ourselves, house ourselves, clothe ourselves, and then everyone has their own shit that they add on top of that list. So maybe all I should expect is that I have my shit together – that I’m holding onto it and I know what it is. I’m never going to eliminate it, and really, if it means not living, I wouldn’t want to anyway.

Why It’s Important to Travel With My Kids

Traveling with kids is more difficult than without. Hands down, bar none. I say this based on my own experience: my pre-parent self lived and traveled in Southeast Asia for two years in her mid-twenties, and my now-mama self just finished her first two-week air/road trip with a baby and a toddler.

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free tickets when they’re under two, but you have to hold them on your lap…

In what now seems like my past life, traveling was a breeze and a joy Continue reading

Sometimes I’m Mean-Mean Mommy… But That’s Actually Okay

My mother-in-law always described the dynamic in my husband’s house when he was growing up, as “mean-mean mommy and fun-fun Daddy.” I don’t think I have to do too much explaining about what she meant here. And it often seems true of my household, too. I think it might be common in many homes for Dad to be the “fun” one, and for Mom to be the one who enforces the rules, but I don’t want to make any generalizations, so I can only speak to my own experience. (If anyone else wants to share their own thoughts on this, thereby giving me something to generalize about, as well as making me feel like I’m not alone on this one, please share them!)

Usually, I try to avoid this dynamic, because it feels really sucky to be in. It’s not fun to be the mean role, obviously. But it often seems like it’s just what I’m destined to do: Continue reading

Mom Things I Learn During Yoga #4: Do You, Regardless

 

Today, I took my youngest to Mom and Baby yoga. I second-guessed whether I should go or not, when it was getting close to the time to leave and I felt I wasn’t really “ready” to head out the door. I worried it wouldn’t be “worth” going because I knew he would just have to eat soon after we arrived, and maybe that would take up most of the class.

But we went anyway. Continue reading

Time to Press the Reset Button… Sigh.

Sometimes, I talk such a good game that I fool even myself.

I’ve written on this blog about all sorts of ways that I make myself feel better in times of stress. I’ve written about setting my feelings down beside me and leaving them alone, about allowing things to be #goodenough, and about giving myself a break when I take on unreasonable expectations.

Particularly, I recently wrote about allowing myself to enjoy the infant pace of life that I find myself consigned to with a newborn baby at home. And this has been working, for the most part. I’ve really been enjoying my mat leave.

But last night, Continue reading

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