Puppies Don’t Train You To Become A Parent

Now that I’m a parent – OMG. I’m a freakin’ parent. – I’ve come to realize truths about parenthood that people don’t want to tell others about having kids.

For instance, childbirth isn’t something you forget. You are at your absolute most vulnerable to get that greasy human out of your contracting body. It’s not pleasant for anyone, producing everything from blood and feces to amniotic fluid and the most unattractive expressions and unforgettable displays of agony. Sure, it’s a process that welcomes your sticky spawn into the world, but no amount of doulas or breathing exercises will prepare you for the experience of giving birth, or the shock of what happens after giving birth. So if you’re dreaming of a simply magical delivery, there is no such thing.

Another thing that people say to others when it comes to preparing for a child is, “Get a puppy. Then you’ll really know what parenting is like.”

To this I call BS! Of course, there are similarities to owning a tiny dog and owning a tiny human, like having to clean up their urine and bowel movements and listen to their cries the first weeks after you bring them home. But the differences are plenty, and lie within those similarities. First of all, the cries of a new puppy eventually stop after a few nights, and you can even leave them in their very own crate to cry during this phase of sleeplessness. For babies, the crying lasts forever, and leaving them in their crib for hours on end is not an option…unless you’re wanting the neighbours to call Children’s Aid on your neglectful ass.

While both puppies and babies will puke and ruin everything from your rug to your favourite shirt, puppy vomits are few and far between. A baby can vomit every damn day, or in the case of my twins, after every feeding…for nine damn months.

It’s only in the toddler years that I’ve realized that this is the phase that people are talking about when they compare dogs to children. While it can never truly be the same experience for the level of care and attention it takes for two pups versus two thirty-pound people, these are just a few of the ways that I can totally see what people are talking about.

  • We have to train them on everything, from talking to proper toilet behaviour. Much like we train a dog to speak and do its business outside, we have to teach our children to speak actual real words and explain to them the basics of using a potty.
  • They both beg for food, like little fat and starving monsters. Whether it’s a puppy or a toddler, it doesn’t matter, they’ll both be on your heels, following your every move and crying for a bite of your toast. While you may feel compelled to kick them both off your lap, keep that move reserved for when you’re in the privacy of your own home.
  • When you leave the house – or bedroom, come nap/bedtime – they cry. Since both can’t communicate with you or understand the reason why you’re abandoning them, they just feel sad and confused and require tons of comforting. And while it pains you to leave them, you also know that you have to toughen them up so they don’t develop separation anxiety and live with you until they’re thirty.
  • They both require a lot of entertainment. Like, a lot. Toddlers have evolved past the point of silent, sleeping lumps and now have endless energy that must be spent on playing with toys. This is not unlike a puppy. Whether you’re tossing a ball around or chasing them, toddlers and pups are one in the same when it comes to the demands of playtime.
  • Giving medicine to them can be a challenge. You can either opt for holding them down or sneaking it into their food, but we all have to get creative when our little pups or people pups are sick.
  • Eating food off of the floor is not above them. Seriously. It doesn’t matter if there is hair or dirt on it, they’ll eat that two-day old strawberry they found under the couch.
  • Traveling with them is a nightmare. The packing prep and space they take up in your car is one thing, but both toddlers and puppies also feel the need to take road poops. So. Not. Fun.
  • When they do something good, you have to reward them. With toddlers, you have to get excited, clap your hands, and toss them a cookie with each new word they learn, with each pee-pee on the potty they take, and every moment they decide to share a toy or piece of their food with their sibling. For pups, you must also get excited, clap your hands, and toss them a cookie as they learn to progress as a dog.

With these examples that adequately paint a picture of what raising toddlers can be like when compared to raising puppies, I can also say that puppies are nothing like toddlers.

Toddlers can be opinionated, picky eaters, and getting cuddles out of them can be a challenge. For us, we have to roar like a lion to encourage Chloe to give us a hug. Pffft. We’ve fully resorted to scare tactics in order to feel the love. Puppies, on the other hand, always want to snuggle. They will also eat whatever you put in front of them, which means nothing you buy at the grocery store will go to waste.

Puppies can’t say no, they can go hours being left at home alone, and they don’t cost nearly as much to raise.

Puppies can also walk themselves without having to be carried to places like the car or down the street, so long as they have a leash. And while toddlers can also wear leashes, it’s a far less acceptable method of toddler-wrangling.

That being said, we are not above the leash technique. So if anyone knows how we can kick this dog analogy up a notch by recommending a good twin leash, by all means, send me the link.

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I’m At A Loss

If you’re a regular follower of my mommy blog, you’ll probably be thinking, “Where the hell is she? Why hasn’t she posted? And like, why hasn’t her content been that great?”

First of all, back off. My life is busy, m’kay!?

I know I’d be confused if I were you. I have a little voice among mommy bloggers worldwide, and to be honest, I’m struggling to find my “angle”.

Do I want to talk about products for moms? Not really. Do I want to provide tips and tricks to new parents? Nah, I’m equally unqualified for this gig. Do I want to complain about all the things that every mom likes to complain about online every. damn. day? Kinda, but only when I really need to vent.

I’d love to go back to basics and really just use this space as a place to journal the day-to-day of my life as a mom. Boring, I know, but cathartic.

Some people have talked to me about how they enjoy the honesty, the rawness, and the humour behind my posts, and since that’s the positive feedback I’ve been receiving, that’s what I’d like to focus on. Screw affiliate marketing, product plugging, and helpful tips that mom can share with each other. While those have the most potential to be shared, turn profitable, and “go viral”. It’s not me. It’s fake, and a load of bologna. To be honest, I’m not sure who I am and what I even want anymore.

Pfft, priorities. Being a mom has really plugged up my upward grind.

My background is in marketing, but do I want to continue down that path? I’m not quite sure. Frankly, I find the marketing world to be full of bullshit and I’m becoming a tad jaded towards it all. While I love the idea of making money from it, I find the pressure of executing it to be an extra layer of stress to add my my already overloaded pot of nerves.

It’s a life that I’m slowly discovering that I no longer want and so, I am now on a path to try and discover what I do want. All I really know is that I’m a mother with a drive to succeed, but that’s not all I am.

Right now my absence from this site has primarily been because I just haven’t got the time or energy to crank out a blog, given the fact that I spend my days at the computer writing articles for an entertainment website. It’s not exactly fulfilling, but it pays the bills (most of the time).

All that to say, when I want to focus on my own project, I just can’t bring myself to the keyboard once my article quota has been fulfilled.

The second reason I’ve been absent has been because I just don’t know what I want to write about or share. I have many ideas for blog posts, and my day is definitely not without an entertaining story to tell, but I’m lacking a direction.

I feel like a bird without a nest and I’ve totally been having a bit of an identity crisis.

What do I like? What do I even want to do? Who am I, really?

*Cue Zoolander duck face, staring inquisitively into a pool of water*

Quite honestly, I feel like I’m drowning in the unknown.

To compensate, I’ve been attending events and get-togethers around the city – meeting with moms and professionals alike – to try and find a shred of inspiration to put me on a life path.

I’ve never really been one to ask for help, but that’s exactly what I’m looking for right now. I need to read all the things, hear all the advice, and be given a few words of wisdom to take the next step from marketer to mom boss.

As a mom (and a perfectionist), asking for help is something that does not come easy for me. What I’d love to know from… anyone, is if you’ve ever struggled to find your thing, if being a parent has ever thrown you off your path (if you have kids), and what steps you took to figure out what you want out of life (or if being a parent completely derailed you from it).

I’m the mom who wholeheartedly believes that she can “have it all”; family and career.

I just need a little push in the right direction, because I just can’t seem to muster the navigation on my own.

My Love/Hate Relationship With Grocery Shopping

If there’s anything that moms love more than a complete lack of responsibilities in any given day, it’s the opportunity to escape the nest, fly solo, and hit up their favourite grocery store!

While I totally get that there are many, many other things that moms would prefer to do other than mentally calculate the family’s expenses, diet, and meals while navigating the endless aisles – think: spa day, wine & dine with friends, sip a hot coffee without a chorus of children babbles and destruction prevention – grocery shopping is the closest form of realistic escape that we can hope for.

I, like many other moms, love it when I can hop in the SUV, blast my own tunes, and take the five minute drive down the road to the local supermarket. If I’m feeling extra ambitious and free, I’ll go out of my way and skip provinces to my fave store, Farm Boy. Not only do I usually save a bit of money here, the store is so gorgeously designed that I feel like I’m in a trendy farmer’s market or in a completely new country! It’s just blissful.

However, this positive relationship I have with the places where the food lives is one that is quickly changing from Yeehaw! to blaw.

Like any new relationship, grocery shopping began with excitement, opportunity, and the donning of rose-coloured glasses. I believed it was what I wanted, what I needed. Looking back, it has become the relationship that I dread. The one I wish I could ghost away from.

As the girls get older, eat more, and become more demanding and picky with the grub they ingest, I find doing groceries to be more of a headache than the luxurious escape from the chaos it used to be.

Mostly, I’ve become extremely jaded by the prices of food. Like, I feel like an old man looking back at the days where a bag of flour cost a nickel and milk was delivered for 25 cents a week. I used to love filling the cart with items for the family, but now I’m cynical about the thrice a week chore.

Is it just me, or do food costs get jacked up every few weeks? It may be small, but it’s happening. I swear!

Aside from the rising price of food, the girls waste more than they ingest, which is a whole other issue. This means that every time I serve them a meal, I’m praying it all ends up in their face instead of on the floor, because every time I see the scrambled eggs splat or the cut up chicken wedged between the high chair and their butt cheeks, I’m mentally adding up how much they’ve wasted.

“Well, let’s see. Breakfast cost me $1.03, lunch was $0.94, and dinner…*sigh* there goes $3.12.” Adding all of this wasted food up at the end of the week fills me with despair.

The food items that really grinds my gears are dairy products – milk, cheese, butter, yogurt. These prices are outrageous! We go through these items SO FAST in our home, that this monthly budget alone could exceed our phone and Internet bills!

And don’t even get me started on toilet paper. Christ.

I think that the worst thing about shopping for your family is the desire to actually feed your loved ones healthy food. And if that’s a priority, be sure to budget an extra $50 per grocery run, because if you want to be healthy, it’s gonna cost you an arm and a leg.

Our closest grocery store is the most expensive one I’ve ever been to, and yet we still buy 80% of our food there. Why? The only thing I can say is that it’s super convenient. AND THAT’S HOW THEY GETCHA. We go for the roast chickens and stay for their organic aisles, but we bitch under our breath at how much our bills are every. damn. time.

Something has to change!

On that note, there is a new grocery store in Ottawa I’m pretty drawn to called called Nu Grocery and I would LOVE to check it out. Its entire concept is built around having zero packaging for all of their products. So all you do is show up with containers, fill ’em, and pay for the food you want. It’s basically a concept that reduces our carbon footprint or whatevs, but I’m super intrigued as to whether or not prices would be lower, too. I would love to fill my mason jar full of butter and pay a fraction of the cost!

But that trek is for another day, one filled with extra time, extra money, and extra tupperware. All of which are the things I cannot spare.

 

Hot, Bothered, & Barely Sleeping

Lately I’ve been going through something at home that’s forced me to sleep in the living room a number of times. While the title of this post may lead to thoughts of, “Oh, is there trouble in paradise?” that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, this has nothing to do with my better half, and it even surprisingly doesn’t have anything to do with the twins! It’s about something that has been brewing inside of me for awhile that only comes out at night.

Hot flashes.

Don’t ask me why it’s been happening, ’cause I don’t have an answer. Throughout the day I’m the chilly one, covering up and asking people to turn the temperature up on the A/C. There are even times that I will go to bed and will be freezing after ten minutes of laying down, requiring me to reach for the socks and a bulky sweater – even in the summer! After a couple of hours I may wake up, remove these items, and go back to sleep. Other nights, I won’t need to cover up at all, but I am still overcome by the heat wave that strikes each night between 2 and 5 am.

But this isn’t just like waking up and having to shed a layer, it’s like I’m actually roasting like a basted turkey in my bed. Nothing will provide relief from the sauna that is cranked up high inside my body. I am radiating heat like The Human Torch or the actual sun. 

Now I’m not talking about night sweats, where you wake up anxious and drenched. It’s just an intense heat that leaves me tossing and turning on the nights that I decide to stay put on our comfortable mattress, instead of hailing to the couch for some relief.

Lately, I’ve been taking to the living room more often than I’d like – even if the couch is a bitch on the back – because that is where the air conditioner lives. I can literally lay underneath it and bask in the frosty, artificial air and manage to regulate my body temperature and sneak in a couple more hours of sleep.

While Chloe and Sophie are doing much better at sleeping throughout the night, it seems my body just won’t welcome the opportunity to get a full night of rest.

Now I’m not sure why this is happening. Is it a hormonal mom thing? Is it because summer in Ottawa just won’t freakin’ end? Is it the fact that the duvet I’ve used all summer suddenly traps my body heat and reflects it back to me, creating an actual “baking” effect? I’m not sure, which is why I wanted to share this awful menopause-esque hell I’ve been going through, and possibly get some insights from other moms.

So moms: did (or do) you also bake like a DiGiorno pizza at night?

Going Organic: Episode 2 – Natural Dish Soaps

There will come a time in every parent’s life when they will finally (and thankfully!) stop sterilizing bottles and can welcome the simplicity of hand-washing those many, many bottle pieces. Now that you’re conscious of every germ and chemical that comes in contact with your baby, you’re probably in need to finding a dish soap that will get the dirty job done, while also reducing any potential harm it may cause for your growing, and immune system lacking, human.

While there are some things we can pass on when it comes to organic products (toilet paper is one of them), we believe that dish soap is something worth spending a few more pennies on to ensure that any soap remnants remaining on our mugs or spoons are not slowly poisoning our bodies, or the little bodies of Chloe and Sophie.

We’ve had the advantage of testing mostly every eco-friendly dish soap that we can get at the grocery store or pharmacy and we’ve had opinions on them all. We definitely have a favourite, but I’ll quickly go over the good, the bad, and the ugly brands you’re likely to find at any supermarket.

The Good

Seventh Generation or Green Works are both fairly inexpensive and efficient soaps that you can find at most Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstores, or Shoppers Drug Marts. So far, I haven’t been able to locate any eco dish soaps whatsoever at my local Walmart, but that’s not to say they’re not offered at other locations. Both are usually under $5 and are often on sale. The scents are really nice (we love the Green Works Water Lily scent) and both offer up a fairly decent cleaning job. The only problem with the Green Works is that it’s made with Clorox, which isn’t exactly “chemical free” if you ask me. Because it works alongside the power of bleach, it can be pretty hard on the hands. And when you’re constantly washing dishes, the last thing you need is a pair of hands that are dissolving before your very eyes.

The Bad

Eco Max and Bio-Vert are both pretty useless when it comes to cleaning if you ask me. While both are on the cheaper end of environmentally-friendly products, costing a bit more than your average Palmolive, their price doesn’t necessary make up for their poor job at cleansing the dishes. They both lure you in with fresh scents and a reasonable price tag, but you should only be grabbing for one of these if the other decent soaps are sold out or you’re on a super tight budget.

The Ugly

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If you want to spend a few bucks on something that’s going to be squirted right down the drain, but makes you feel like you’re being eco-conscious, Nature Clean is a great option for that. This is pure garbage that makes me want to use any other chemical-infused solution over this bottle of useless liquid. It deceives you with fresh and soothing scents like lavender and tea tree, but don’t be fooled. The price is cheap, but it’s on par with other non-organic brands, so the only difference you’ll notice is the fact that it doesn’t smell like anything, lacks the ability to produce any sort of lather, and you’ll have to squirt a third of it into the sink before it creates any sort of foam. Before you’ve even finished washing the first round of bottle pieces, you’re looking into a foamless, murky void that makes you wish you had some Dawn on hand.

The Favourite

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If you want the soap that cleanses well, smells amahhhhzing, and is totally worth its (typically) $4.49 price tag, Method is calling your name. Sure it’s trendy and the most expensive of the “inexpensive” eco dish soap brands, but the extra buck or two will be worth it for one reason alone – it has a hands-free pump, meaning that it doubles as a hand soap. That’s right. When you get your baby’s feces all over your hands following a massive blowout, this dish soap lets you lather up with having to handle any products in the process. This handy feature – and gentle feel between your digits – will be the cherry on top of an already great product!

So when you’re ready to stop boiling or microwaving those bottle pieces, remember what’s truly awful and save yourself the experiment, and choose something your hands and life will thank you for (*cough, Method).

 


*I feel that it’s important to note that all of the products featured in the Going Organic series are NOT paid endorsements or advertisements. I’m simply spreading the news to other parents about organic products that we have tried, loved, or wished we’d never spent our money on. 

Going Organic: Episode 1 – Live Clean Baby

Before having kids, my partner and I were big fans of the Live Clean brand. We bought the shampoo and conditioner in bulk, used their Fresh Face line of facial wipes, and replaced my Bath & Body Works hand soaps with the coconut milk moisturizing ones by Live Clean, saving ourselves at least $2.00 a pop and cleansing our palms with something we could feel good about. When compared to similar products, we’ve discovered that Live Clean is better for you, your wallet, and the environment.

Before our babies even arrived, we were stocking up on the Live Clean Baby products and requesting them on our registry, from the gentle and calming varieties of the tearless baby wash to the oatmeal relief diaper ointment.

Each item under the Live Clean Baby brand is under $10 and is worth every penny. The products tend to go pretty far (and we have twins, so remember it’s twice the distribution), although depending on how big of a bath you run for your baby (sink vs. tub), we find that the shampoo and wash doesn’t last long. It’s the only Live Clean Baby product we’ve had to replace on a fairly regular basis, but it’s one we’re happy to add to our cart alongside their teething biscuits.

Aside from the fact that this brand is eco-friendly, vegan, 97% plant based, hypoallergenic, and free of phosphates, dyes, and parabens (all key terms for a millennial mommy!), it doesn’t dry out the girls’ skin and leaves them smelling fresh for days. Best of all, it’s completely within our budget. Compared to the Aveeno Baby wash and shampoo, it’s slightly less in price. However, it’s a tad more than the Johnson & Johnson soaps and products when comparing volumes.

The Johnson & Johnson washes and products are the better deal financially, but it may not be the best to use on your little one. Recent studies have found that the line of baby products are made with toxic chemicals and other controversial ingredients. The worst culprit being baby powder (a substance that, coincidentally, Live Clean Baby does not produce).

If you’re searching for a line of baby products that range from lotions, petroleum jelly’s, and even massage oils that you won’t think twice about using on your newborn, the Live Clean Baby line is a safe and secure bet. The best deals we’ve found in price have been at Walmart, but they frequently go on sale at many other grocery stores and pharmacies.

If you have a cost-efficient product you’d like to have reviewed, send me a message (or a sample!). 


Going Organic is a series that discusses the trend that most modern mothers love to incorporate into their millennial parenting strategy. This strategy involves feeding their children foods that are ideally organic, free of added sugars (including glucose, fructose, and corn syrup), artificial colours or flavours, preservatives, and other ingredients that are considered “bad”. This strategy also applies to any product that is used topically, since anything absorbed into the skin is also risky. As a millennial mommy, I’m not immune to this trend and often find myself directing my shopping carts towards the organic aisles.

Unfortunately for our family, we’re not financially cut out for living the #organiclife, which is why we’ve become increasingly savvy when it comes to choosing the right products for our budget, and ones we can feel good about feeding and applying to our kids.

The food and products that will be reviewed throughout this series are all under $10 and can be found at any grocery store or pharmacy.


 

From Marketing to Motherhood

Being a mom is a great part of my life. It’s new, fun, adventurous, but this beautiful job is not a career and it’s certainly not fulfilling my desire to succeed, nor does it make me feel accomplished.

To bring these thoughts out in the open may seem harsh or insensitive to sahm’s or women who dream of conceiving, but to me it’s something I feel like I have to keep my mouth shut about and fake the fullness that children are supposed to bring to my life.

When you become a mom, the world starts to believe that this was your sole purpose. Consider ‘Mom’ to be your only title from here on out. Everything else in your life – career, friends, alone time – is just part of a support system to aide in your primary mission of being the best mom you can be. You may go to work or do something for yourself, but society wants us to feel guilty about it.

I love my daughters, but there is a big part of me that misses my old working life. And no amount of nursery rhymes, baby milestones, or cooking meals for my children will ever replace that.

In the last few months, I have been earning a living through freelance writing. It keeps the food on their high chairs and the shoes on their feet, but it’s not enough. For me, anyways.

Since early spring, I’ve been taking my time to apply to places that are looking for my professional background, experience, and education. I have no problem making it through to the interview phase, and yet the opportunities continue to go nowhere.

I am not ashamed of being a mom and so it will inevitably come up when I start discussing my life and current work. I don’t let the fact that I have children affect what I do. I have help and time and the ability to continue on with my career. Although, I can’t help but think that being a mother is a factor when potential employers are sifting through would-be hires.

Before I had babies, finding work was never an issue. I’m driven, experienced, and can give a good interview. But now it is a struggle.

The only thing that’s changed is the fact that I’m a mother.

Even the opportunities I do get are directed at women who are home with the kids; writing for baby websites and baby products.

I’ll say it again. I’m not ashamed of my children, but it makes me wonder if it’s even worth mentioning during the interview process.

I am capable of much more than being a mom. I pursued a life in marketing and paid good money for that dream to become a reality. The student debt still hangs over me and will be there for a long time. I owe it to my education and life to succeed in the field I am good at.

But it’s not about the money. Our bills are paid and we live comfortably.

It’s about the career. It’s about the passion and the work and the sense of accomplishment. It’s about the company culture and deadlines and clients. It’s about the stress and job well done. It’s about so much more than a salary.

It’s about being fulfilled as a person, and not as a mom.

Employers. Please don’t pigeonhole me for being fertile.

In fact, don’t discriminate against any hardworking, career-oriented mothers. Women are great at multitasking and we’re more than capable of juggling a career and children. Give us a shot. I’m sure we’ll all surprise you.

On a lighter note, this has opened up a new opportunity for me, one that is directed at giving up on finding employment and taking the reigns to create it. That’s right.

I am (slowly) looking to start my own business in providing content marketing services.

It may sound exciting and admirable, but the truth is that I’m terrified to take that step. To sacrifice security and comfort and to attempt something that could fail is something I have to constantly convince myself of being the right decision.

It’s a thought that I have abandoned and resurrected about a hundred times.

All that to say, sometimes us hardworking moms just need to create our own opportunities, and many already have.

To those who don’t let motherhood define them, you’re a rock star. Email me and let me know how you managed to take that next step for you and your family.