When my husband, APB, approached me a couple months ago with the idea of combining a work conference with a trip to interior B.C. to see his grandma, I thought he was crazy. I think I told him so. You see, up until that point, the farthest we’d driven with our boy was to my parents’ house, which is less than an hour and a half away. I couldn’t imagine driving to Calgary, let alone the Kootenays.
However, I loved the idea of a vacation and doing cool things with our bebe. So I worked my butt off (maybe too hard, as you may recall I fell down some stairs the day before we left) to bank hours so I could take an actual vacation and not think about work…and off we went.
We only had one day where it seemed like the worst decision in the world to try this. And it was halfway through the vacation and well into B.C., so there was no turning back. We learned a lot that day. Hindsight is 20/20. If I could go back to that day, I would have:
a) tried to breathe more
b) stopped insisting we needed to pull over to try and nurse
c) just whipped out my boob while we were driving, as that worked well later on
d) insisted we get out at an actual restaurant (even if fast food) in Banff, not just a park
e) not have a 9 hour day. Holy shit. When I realized we’d been travelling (not in the car the whole time, but out and about) for 9 hours, it was no wonder the baby and I were bawling hot messes. Poor guy.
We agreed on the way home that if we had to, one of us would just hold him. It didn’t come to that, thankfully. I totally get it when I hear of parents who have done that, though. No judgement here!
But I digress. This was a small part of an overall awesome vacation. Cub (and Mommy and Daddy) got to have so many cool experiences! Dinosaur museum in Drumheller, zoo and science centre in Calgary, small walks/hikes in the Kootenays, and most importantly, he got to meet his great grandma! Had he been a girl, he would have been named after her….something I think we forgot to tell her. Next time.
But we’ve agreed: no more big trips til he’s older. It was fun but too much. I wouldn’t mind heading back to Calgary, though: the zoo and science centre rock! If you are ever there and have littles, I recommend both. Our favourites were penguins (ok, probably my faves, he liked the yellow birds) and the water table. See below.
I think the overall lesson is to chill. It will all work out. That’s probably the overall lesson every day as a parent, right?! Also, new books and toys are your friends on long trips. Dear friends of ours lent us some of theirs to amuse Cub. We also hit up a Toys ‘R Us armed with gift cards for our last leg of the trip. The steering wheel was a hit, as was the pop-up book with a flashlight!
Let’s do it again! In a couple of years…..
Forget the zoo. Toilet paper is where it's at.
All the cool animals at the zoo and he loved these birds.
Awesome water table at the science centre.
Cub looks happy but this was a "Get me the hell out of this carseat!" stop.
Loved Great Grandma.
How we survived the drive home from Lethbridge.
My son’s new favourite play space is the stairs. He can motor up them quite quickly, and he’s figured out how to go down them backwards or sliding down on his bum if you hold his hands. He always has a look of such pride when he makes it to the top, and he chatters the entire way up.
Sometimes he stops part way to hang onto the rails and play with the cat.
So it would be somewhat ironic that today I was the one who fell down the stairs while holding him.
One of my biggest fears since becoming pregnant was, ‘What if I fall?’ Not an unreasonable fear, as I’ve had knee problems since I was about 10, albeit (knock on wood) my knees have seemed better since the last round of surgeries and physio. I’ve had visions of my knee dislocating while I’m walking up or down stairs with my baby, and I’ve wondered, how would I handle that? Would I be able to hold onto him?
This is also not an unreasonable fear, as this very thing happened when I was a kid and I was holding a friend’s toddler. My knee tweaked while walking down our front steps. I fell – I think sort of straight down on my butt – and let go. She tumbled down the rest of the steps. Thankfully, she was more scared than hurt: she avoided me like the plague the rest of the day! Can you blame her?
My baby cried, too, but after some cuddles and nursing, he seems just fine. He’s currently talking to his toy sink.
Surprisingly, I haven’t cried yet, but I was trying not to because I didn’t want to scare him further.
So lesson for the day…SLOW DOWN. Not just to enjoy the little moments, but to realize you can’t do or be it all. Here I am, trying to do too much…
we head out on vacation for a week tomorrow, and I’m trying to wrap up work, pack clothes and snacks, run the dishwasher one last time so I have clean water bottles, and oh yeah, don’t forget to walk the dogs.
Time for a deep breath, mamas. I’m going to brush my teeth (whoa!) and go outside to refresh and restart. I’m looking forward to a soak tonight to help my sore tailbone and elbow.
My heart is so full this week. It’s been a good one and a good note to end on, as you may recall last week felt tough.
However, today I can only smile as my baby stands beside me, pulling tissues out of a box and then eating them. Yum!
You see, I had dates with three lovely women this week (one I even got to see twice as we met at her house and later the park!). Twice I was at a fellow mom’s house over lunch, and both fed me and my baby. I feel like this is bad etiquette on my part to be there at that time, but nap times are so hard to coordinate…today I at least showed up with coffee and Timbits. For the third date, I showed up with lunch in exchange for one of her delicious coffees. Win!
Great friends who let us use their slide AND feed us on a moment's notice.
As I walked or drove home in the sunshine from these dates (this week it has been SO nice out, I’ve said it so many times, I’m a broken record), I reflected on how I’ve been so focused on finding my tribe that I’ve lost sight of the fact it’s right in front of my nose.
You see, almost a year ago we moved to a bedroom community. While not far from Saskatoon, it’s just far enough to make me want to make all my appointments and do all my shopping out here (plus I’d rather support local business anyway). The move, combined with changing nap time and baby getting older, brought an end to me going to the breastfeeding café. I still keep in touch with some of those moms, some of whom are definitely part of my tribe, but how I looked forward to Thursdays where I would see other moms who faced the same joys and struggles I did. That day was often the highlight of my week and I was sad when it ended.
I thought by moving I needed to meet new moms out here so I joined Facebook groups and plugged group outings into my phone planner, even though I’ve yet to make any. I started going to La Leche League meetings, thinking I’d meet moms there (and to some extent I have, but I wasn’t as alone as I maybe felt).
(If you live in Warman, have babies or young children, and are reading this, don’t get me wrong: I’d still love to meet for a walk or a play date at Cj’s. Message me!)
However, if I would have stopped and taken stock, I’d have realized I’ve had my tribe since before my baby was born, and it has continued to grow and change.
I have my two doulas who are also moms: especially in the early days, I texted them ALL the time for help (How do I get rid of thrush? How do I get rid of mastitis? Is _____ normal?). I have many facebook friends who are now moms who have offered support this past year. In particular, when we suffered through thrush early on in our breastfeeding relationship, at the advice of my doula, I posted that I was struggling. I received many beautiful messages from fellow mamas, some I hadn’t talked to in ages. It meant so much and gave me strength to persevere through the pain and tears.
I have a mommy friend I message every day even if we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like. I have friends I can text and say, I’m nearby, want company? And we meet at the park or their house. I have a neighbour I can go for walks with.
Fed us and hauled up an extra high chair. Friends rock.
I also have friends whose children are either grown or who don’t have children, and they are there to help me in a heartbeat or just hang out. I know if I called in a panic, they would help me any way they could.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my mom, quite possibly the most important member of my tribe. Every week, she drives nearly three hours total so she can spend time with her grandson but also help around the house and walk the dogs so I can work my other job. We are so lucky to have her.
One of my favourite photos of two of my favourite people.
Perhaps my struggles last week gave me perspective. I have so much for which to be grateful, including the fact that what I’ve been searching for all along is already there: I have my tribe. Thank you, ladies. I love you all so much. Thank you for sharing in the good, not-so-good, the great, and for sharing your booze, food, and coffee. In return, I’m here any time you need me (or any of the above).
I haven’t blogged for a while. I have a post I really want to write, but I’m not in the right head space to do it justice. So I’ve been slacking. However, since I said part of the reason for writing was for myself to look back on my parenting journey, I don’t want a blank space for this week and wonder why.
Though I suppose the reason why is it’s been a rough week, at times shitty, and I don’t want to seem ungrateful for all the good in my life, because overall, my life is awesome.
Last week I was talking with a good friend who said she thought of me and my post about owning our parenting styles and not judging when she felt herself starting to judge someone. I figure now is a good time to put it in writing that I am far from perfect. I don’t want anyone thinking I am or that I think I am or that I’m sanctimonious.
Here are some examples of how I am not perfect: sometimes when my baby cries or fusses incessantly and I can’t figure out what to do to make it better, I yell, “What’s wrong? I don’t know what you want!” And then I feel even less perfect, and in fact, feel like a total asshole. If he could tell me what was wrong, he would. He’s not trying to frustrate me. He’s not feeling well for whatever reason and it sucks. Yes, it sucks that I can’t figure it out, but I’m the adult, so I should act like one.
Or how in similar situations, I put him down so I can dig my fingernails into my hands.
I cry, I scream. Often at the dogs. Then I feel even shittier than I already did.
We’ve had a lot of crying this week – like waking up from a nap screaming or waking up in the middle of the night screaming, and me not being able to figure out why. Today it was crying and not able to fall asleep. So we hit the road. Within two minutes, he was sleeping, so I took myself on a long drive south of Saskatoon. Once he woke up, we went to Beaver Creek.
A while ago, I wrote about how not to lose your mind when you’re having a rough day. Many other moms offered wonderful ideas – so many I wondered if I should do another post! I’m pretty sure one of them was get outside. So that’s what we did. And man, the colours in fall are beautiful, and while Cub can’t tell me, I’m confident we both felt better after spending some time outside. I think he was even kind of smiling in some of the photos! He laughed the squirrel.
I also took another friend’s advice (which was to do some physical activity) and went to yoga tonight. I literally started to cry when we were done. I’m not an overly spiritual person, and I have a hard time meditating (and truthfully, tonight I was focusing on not letting a fart slip), but for some reason, the teacher’s words hit me. I think it was something about honouring yourself.
None of us are perfect. Being a parent is hard. It is also extremely rewarding. We, myself included, shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves when we mess up as we are all human. Just because we get frustrated doesn’t mean we aren’t grateful and don’t love our lives and our little ones. It just means we had a moment. We regroup, and when we know better, we do better.
Tomorrow is a new day. And honestly, in the end today was kind of cool, as you can see from my pics below. If I sum up my day, I had fun at Beaver Creek, I scarfed down some A&W onion rings and rootbeer shake (and double cheeseburger), and then went to yoga. Remember to be kind to yourself. Were not perfect but the moments can still be pretty great.
Face washed but hair not brushed. Neither are my teeth though I did swish around some toothpaste. See? Not perfect.
Beaver Creek is gorgeous this time of year.