Tuesday, September 29, 2015

National Coffee Day

I sure hope you have taken the time to appreciate this special day. If not, you still have the afternoon! Remember: life is too short to drink bad coffee - check out a local roaster.
Here in Calgary, Phil & Sebastian is a MUST.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Choosing Your Life

So I am dropping my daughter off at school one morning and I run into another mom dropping her child off too. (She’s an extremely hardworking woman who runs a busy dayhome and choses to be very active in her children’s activities. I honestly don’t know how she does it – she’s pretty amazing). This particular morning, she wants to chat but I can’t because I am rushing off to a barre class I have signed up for.

This mom means nothing purposefully critical in her comment, but she tells me “It must be so nice to have time for yourself to go and work out”. She’s basically referring to the fact that I am not working outside the home; that my only child is in school for 6 hours; and I am ‘getting’ to work out.

Yes, I AM ABSOLUTELY lucky. I consider myself blessed for so many reasons - this one included. However, here are a few of my other thoughts around it:

1.     We have different priorities. I don’t consider working out to be an option – my health is too high a priority. Even when I was working full time, I managed to fit it in somehow. Sometimes that meant waking up early to walk on the treadmill; sometimes that meant forgoing activities I wanted to do at night so I could fit in a workout; sometimes that meant doing a workout video from home; etc. (Nevermind the fact that I don’t always WANT to work out)!

2.     In a couple years, this mom will also be in a position where both her children are in full time school. She too will have the same 6 hours kid-free. But am I lucky because I have fertility issues and was unable to have another child???

3.     I know that many families need the dual income. I get that, and I can appreciate that - we did too! But it was necessary because of the lifestyle we chose. We like eating out, traveling and buying certain things. I can own that. IF we didn’t do those things, I probably wouldn’t have needed to work, but that lifestyle was our choice. I realize that I am lucky that at this point in my life I don’t ‘have to’ work, but you also don’t know the sacrifices that led up to that. 

4.     Does she realize that part of the ‘agreement’ that my husband have is that he works long hours and I do basically everything else? I know in her situation that her husband is very involved and although she runs the dayhome, he is very hands on with everything else. I certainly don’t have that. Should you feel bad for me because of this? Of course not. It’s what we chose to do and what works for us. 

5.     This mom has chosen to run a dayhome so that she can be with her kids. I think that’s awesome – if that’s what you want. I personally needed time away from being a mom, which was also a factor in my decision to do the type of work I did after my daughter was born.

I could go on and on, but my simple point is this: We all live our lives differently and much of it is by choice. It’s true that we all have differing levels of “luck” in our lives and life isn’t always fair, but a very large part of it is made up of our choices. These choices are compromised of what we consider to be our priorities.

Some people may place more value on adventure, choosing to travel or to take risks, while others may place more value on financial security. Some people may place more value on family, choosing to spend all their free time together, while others may place an equally high value on friends and career. Some people may place more value on order and organization, knowing that their peace of mind is tied to a orderly home, where some people chose to be more spontaneous and creative, and are not bothered by household chaos.

Perhaps it’s my own internal struggle with guilt about not working outside the home that made me feel so strongly about this interaction (I will talk more about this later) but I do think that it’s important to realize that we all live our lives differently LARGELY by choices we make based upon our priorities and what we value.  

That married couple with kids may look really lucky to the mom of three young children who are driving her crazy, but that couple may have suffered with infertility and longs to have that family. That other family who is living overseas and making a LOT of money may seem to have a luxurious lifestyle, but they may be suffering from intense loneliness, being away from friends and family.

For me, the takeaway here is a reminder to myself to always be checking in with my own priorities, especially when bigger decisions are to be made. You don’t owe ANYONE an explanation as to why you live the way you do (unless you’re a criminal!) and you shouldn’t feel guilty about your own abundance.

What are you choosing? 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Introverts in the Classroom

I came across a really good article on ideas.ted.com regarding introverted children in the classroom. My own daughter is definitely an introvert, and I know she struggles with things like participating in class, and even with the class environment itself. The article discusses how typical schools are really geared towards extroverts, and ways in which schools could adapt to the fact that 1/3 of the population are actually introverted.  

Here's a section from the article, but I would encourage you to read the whole thing...I think we all can benefit - educators especially and even parents of extroverts.

"I’d like to challenge teachers to rethink what they mean by class participation and start thinking of it as classroom engagement instead. Participation ends up rewarding quantity, so you get kids raising their hands for the sake of talking, and that’s not really in anybody’s interest. But engagement recognizes that there are a lot of different ways to engage with the material and with your peers. If you think more broadly about it, a student who’s a good listener or who gives one really great, reflective comment is just as valued as the one who’s always raising their hand."

The full article can be found here: http://ideas.ted.com/how-to-teach-a-young-introvert/?utm_campaign=social&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_content=ideas-blog&utm_term=education


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

And Just Like That, It Happened...

The first lice notice at my daughters school this year. F-Me.

Lice is a HUGE paranoia for moi. Yeah, I know it is for everyone but some people can handle bugs better than others. These particular bugs really bug me (sorry, had to).

I hope this doesn’t jinx me, but I have had two *known* close calls when one of my daughter’s friends had it – same kid both times. And both times she managed to avoid it. I want to briefly share what we have done to (so far successfully) AVOID this thing. It certainly doesn’t mean my daughter will never get it but it sure as hell is worth trying since homeschooling isn’t a fantastic option. (Even though it had been seriously considered).

Ok, you need to start with a conversation about NOT SHARING CLOTHING ITEMS and not putting heads together with others when playing or working in school. I straight out told my daughter why she should avoid it – in a ‘less scary’ way than my brain understands it. Then, I make a concoction of a blend of essential oils and spray the shit out of her hair (tied back in a braid or ponytail), backpacks, jackets and sweaters. I realize that she may ‘smell fresh’ when she goes to school, but that is OK with me! (You can always buy some random ‘lice deterrent’ which I have seen at Shoppers Drug Mart (for example) or Beaners). 

I think it’s important to check your child every week anyway. A good friend of mine had a very unfortunate experience at her child’s dayhome where her daughter picked up the damn lice 3 times because the kid’s parents (the kid with the lice) didn’t deal with it properly. Come on people – you need to deal with this properly!!!

Because of my anxiety around this, I literally made a list of how I would deal with lice if it ever happened. I have everything at home and I wrote down names of friends, family and random people I could call to come and check to see I had done a proper treatment of it. I even found a lady with LiceSquad who comes to your house to check for the bugs (and if necessary) do a treatment. I had her come twice in one week after one of the close calls mentioned above. Each visit was about $120. Well worth it my friends. Well worth it. And all she did was confirm none of us had it. 

I just pray that it's one thing we never EVER have to actually deal with, and that I don't pass my own anxiety about it onto my daughter (although I may already have). After all, one can't start day drinking every time she see's her daughter itch a scratch near her head. Or can "one"? 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Just Who Do You Think You Are???

Seriously. Who do you think you are? Have you given that much thought lately? Well I have – and the results are kind of scary. Who I am is: Not worthy enough, qualified enough, smart enough, thin enough, pretty enough, organized enough, and not enough as a mom…So really what IS enough??

It seems that I have given so much of my own power away. My Power! Away! And to whom have I given it you might ask? Well that’s a good question. I don’t know for certain, but I think it’s basically gone to popular culture; to people I don’t know (even strangers on the street); but also to people I love and care about. I have always been a hard-core people pleaser. I want you to like me. But it’s silly because as a hard-core people pleaser, it kind of means that you have a bunch of personalities and whimsical opinions based upon whose company you are in the presence of at any given moment. So when I ask myself the question “who do I think I am”, I am sadly not 100% sure. Maybe that’s why it seems like I have always had such a hard time really defining my own passion. What am I really about? What do I stand for? What are my values? What do I truly like? What am I good at? And more importantly, who would I be if I didn’t care what others thought? I want to know.

I recently picked up Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly”. It’s awesome. For those of you who are not familiar with her work, this book is about her research on Shame and about having the courage to be Vulnerable. The book is filled with wisdom but can be summarized by this idea: “Vulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me, but the first thing I look for in you”. Wow. Having the courage to be vulnerable means SHOWING UP. It means exposing the parts of yourself that you are uncomfortable with OR parts of yourself that popular culture states you SHOULD be uncomfortable with. Ouch! Brown notes twelve ‘shame categories’ that are a primary trigger for women. See how these categories resonate with you:

·      Appearance and body image
·      Money and work
·      Motherhood
·      Family
·      Parenting
·      Mental and physical health
·      Addiction
·      Sex
·      Aging
·      Religion
·      Surviving trauma
·      Being stereotyped or labeled

For as long as I have this blog, I have always been very conscious about what I wrote. Putting the written word down for the world to (possibly) see is a little scary: It’s exposure - it's VULNERABILITY - since a lot of the content is personal. And I just don't do 'vulnerable' very well (remember; I want you to like to me). So I again ask myself the question “who do you think you are?” as it relates to my blog. I am not a nutritionist; didn’t earn a Red Seal; don’t have an English degree; “ONLY” have one child (therefore I am no parenting expert, am I??); on and on. So what business do I have writing a blog? Also, I am just not sure that I have anything particularly unique to say or post that someone out there isn’t already doing. Does the world really need ANOTHER revised recipe for a muffin or granola?? Does the world really need another blog? Probably not…

But here's the thing...I get some pleasure from writing and at least for the time being, I am not quite ready to shut my blog down. So for now I plan to use the blog as a bit of my own vulnerability work. We’ll see where it goes.

So; Who do you think you are, Stacy? (loaded question) I shall start here: I think I am creative; funny; good with people; silly; fit; a (health) foodie; interested in Spanish language and culture; the best mom I can be to Maya; the best wife I can be to my husband. Let’s start there.

Oh, and go read Brene Brown’s book. You’ll be glad you did.

Tips for Managing Stress & Anxiety (plus a smoothie recipe!)

Read my latest blog post on You Ate:  https://youate.com/tips/september-stress-autumn-anxiety/ And my smoothie recipe!