The Power of A Mommy Group

You know sometimes Mommy’s groups get a bad reputation of just being an excuse to get together, gossip and complain about their lives but it’s not always the case.

While at the park you see mom’s (and some Dad’s too) hanging out while their children run around, climbing on the playground equipment and you think “it’s a walk in the park for those parents”. Well, it’s not always the case. Sometimes it can take hours for a family to get their stuff together and get out the door to meet up with their friends and children. The stress of trying to arrive on time, juggling nap times, meals and oh – the potty too can make you want to stay home on your own turf because it’s just easier. And on top of that there are tantrums…I’m just going to leave it at that.

Best friends since birth!

Best friends since birth! (2.5 years old)

A Mommy group isn’t just a play date for kids. It’s more than that, it’s full of:

  • an opportunity to learn from other mom’s experiences (not to compare children)
  • a chance to leave the four walls of your house for a few hours a day and escape daily tasks that keep piling up because we don’t have enough time to “get to it”
  • it’s social …. no, not like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. It’s LIVE, IN-PERSON socialization and personal interaction
  • it’s laughter when you need it most
  • it’s refreshing, inspiring. and can sometimes include really good food.

When I was on maternity leave with our first daughter Lilly, we started a play group from our prenatal class. There was 4-6 women and babies that would get together weekly. We called it our “Monday Funday”….oh yeah! The weekend was over, our husbands were back to work and it was time for us to get together. We would rotate from house to house each week and would always have a pot luck lunch. These were some of our best meals of the week….I’m not kidding. And if you hosted, sometimes your husband was lucky enough to have a little taste of what we ate for lunch. There was also the “field trips” that we took to farmer’s markets, the zoo, the park, the beach and the cookhouse for lunch.

The babies were born within 6 weeks of one another and have grown up together for the last 3 years. Each June and July we have a birthday party almost every weekend. It’s a fun time of the year because the kids get so much play time together. I’m talking about the kids here….not the Moms. Okay, maybe I am talking about the Moms … and the Dad’s too.

This time around with Hilary who is 6 months old, we have a few mom’s and babies that we get together with. Sometimes a big group and sometimes just a few. The best part is that the babies are getting exposed to other babies and the mom’s are able to connect, get support and enjoy each other’s company for a few hours.

A Mommy group of friends is a powerful group. It’s supportive, encouraging and inspiring. I know there are days that I can count on my group of Mommies for support; whether that’s a play date, a meal dropped off, last-minute pick up arrangements at day care or a simple phone call.

Mom’s or Dad’s – do you go to a play group?

What’s the best thing about your playgroup?

Weekend without our Little

Two weekends ago, Lilly went to spend the weekend with her Grandparents and Aunt Laura. We had it planned for over a month but for some reason I just put it out of my head until the weekend arrived. I planned nothing….we planned nothing.

My mom picked her up Friday night and they made their way back to Halifax – just over an hour’s drive. Lilly had a wonderful weekend playing outside, colouring, putting “ponies” in Aunt Laura’s, hair eating and sleeping well. And telling her Grandmother “you can’t catch me” while moving as far back in the bathtub as she could.

My husband and I decided to take it easy. The only plans we had were to go out for dinner and a movie – and that’s literally all we did. We saw “The Words” with Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana. When it was over I turned to Sai and said that it went by really fast and I wasn’t expecting it to end so soon. He replied with “Isn’t that a sign of a good movie?”

The other thing we managed to do was sleep in both days! Wow – sure forgot what that was like.

Everyone had a great weekend. Success!

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When my husband was away last year (for school), I was on my own working full-time, taking care of Lilly and our dog. It was kinda crazy as I look back at it now. There was one weekend that I blogged about but never hit the publish button, until now…. about being on my own for the first time in ages. No Lilly, no husband and Maclean (our dog).

My weekend without my little: (as written back in February)

I honestly can’t remember the last time I was completely by myself. Lilly’s been in our lives for 20 months, plus 9 months in my belly and I’ve been married to Sai for 4+ years.

I wasn’t quite sure about this idea of her being an hour away but what did I have to lose? Lilly left with my mom Friday morning and didn’t look back. No tears, no asking for Mommy … nothing. She played with my sister, stuck stickers everywhere at my parents house (on furniture, Grandad’s face, the floor) and drew a picture for both Sai and I. Apparently, she had a wonderful weekend with her Grandparents and my sister.

I on the other hand couldn’t figure out what to do with a whole weekend to myself. No toddler, no husband, no doggie (she went to Halifax too). I had a few suggestions from friends:

  • Drink tea and read a book
  • Sleep
  • Friday: Bubble bath, wine, none kid friendly meal (chips and dip?), early bed – ALL to myself!
  • Saturday: sleep in, go shopping, talk to long-lost friends on the phone, exercise, scrub bathroom, fold laundry, nap / lay in bed and read, cook a delicious, time-consuming, non-kid friendly supper, another bubble bath and more of that bottle of wine, read, relax,sleep.
  • Sunday: RELAX!!!!! (run, read, knit, tidy)
  • More Sleep, laundry, housework, sleep, beer
  • Sleep
  • And go for a Long Run

Usually I like to go into a weekend with a plan, things to do, items to cross of my list, goals to accomplish. Nope, not this weekend, I just went with it.

Friday:

  • Came home and closed the gate behind me – guess I was worried that I would fall down the stairs at some point!
  • Cooked up some bacon wrapped scallops. They looked great but didn’t taste so great AND I burnt the extra bacon! Dam!
  • Had a drink: Malibu Rum and OJ – yum
  • Relaxed in front of the T.V. and did nothing
Saturday:
[I REALLY, really wanted to sleep in this weekend]
  • Woke up at 6:35 a.m., went back to bed.
  • Woke up at 7:47 a.m. (I was not meant to sleep in)
  • Blogged
  • Cleaned the house
  • Ran some errands
  • Had a delicious hot chocolate and morning-glory muffin at my friend’s work (while she was working)
  • Dropped Lilly’s library books at the Library (or I would have had to paid a late fee)
  • Had lunch at home, caught up with a friend on the phone
  • Went to a movie by myself! (The Vow). One of my 12 things in 2012 done
  • Put together a shelf – should have started the wine at this point in the day
  • Worked out – felt so good…showered
  • Talked to my hubby
  • Watched Criminal Minds on my lap top while drinking wine, eating cheese, crackers and grapes.

Sunday:

[Again, hoping for a good sleep in – even 8:30 would be great)

  • 6:30 a.m. woke up, went back to bed
  • 7:14 a.m. woke up….Am I ever going to sleep in again? or is my body just hard-wired to be up at that hour ?!?!?!
  • Cleaned the house
  • 10:30 am left for Halifax to switch cars and pick up Lilly
  • I somehow manage to sneak in the house without Lilly or my sister, Laura hearing me (bonus)
  • Lilly see’s me and jumps up and down (BEST HUG EVER!!!!)
  • Lilly and I travel back home (she didn’t nap as per usual)
  • 3 pm – Lilly goes for a nap, I unpacked the car and starting writing my blog post (never published until now).

Looking back, it was a great weekend completely by myself. Now, I don’t think this is going to happen very often, in fact it will probably not happen again for a long time. Apparently, it was just what I needed.

As much as it sucked being away from Lilly for a whole weekend, I think I am a better mom for taking a break for myself. selfish, sure. Necessary, yes. Being a single parent is hard….hard work. I still don’t know how people do this and work, and manage a house and have a dog …. etc

When was the first time your little one(s) stay away from home for the weekend?

What did you do?

A little Friday thought…

It’s Friday!

Just wanted to share 🙂

What are your weekend plans?

Anyone running in a race?

Fall activities? Apple/pumpkin picking?

We’re celebrating my mother’s birthday 🙂

Dear Daughter

Dear Lillian Mae a.k.a Lilly,

WOW, 2 whole year’s at being your Mother! And what an amazing 2 year’s it has been.

When you arrived 4 weeks early – you really shook us for a loop. I had finished work the Friday before and by Sunday night you decided instead of sharing a birthday with me, that you would arrive early. Your own month, your own day. It was a long week in the hospital with you, not knowing when we’d go home or if we’d get you to nurse/gain weight.

We struggled for a long time to get you to nurse. I’m pretty sure not too many Mama’s would keep trying at the 2 1/2 month mark. BUT, we got there in the end.

Each month you grew and continued to amaze us new parents.

Teething wasn’t fun. Still not sure I am excited about your 2nd year molars that are still to come in.

You flew to England at six months – something that took me 30 years to do!

You started crawling on the May long weekend, with both Daddy and I present.

You have THE BEST SMILE EVER!

Your first birthday was quite fun – chocolate cake and all!

Then you went to the sitters and I, to work each day. That was a hard week for Mommy but I eventually got over it.

You took your 3 first steps while skyping with your Nan in England, Daddy and I right there with you. A very special moment for us all.

We’ve had lots of laughs, cry’s and sleepless nights.

7 months without Daddy around as he was away at school in PEI and Maclean covering you in kisses.

Your running around lots, throwing balls everywhere, reading books with Daddy and just a complete joy in our lives.

In one month, you will turn 2! Don’t grow up too fast.

Thanks for making me a Mom!

Love you little girl.

XO Mommy.

Back to Yoga

Early January I made a list of 12 things to do in 2012 that you can find here!

I’ve been plugging away at the list and accomplishing some of these goals. One is getting back into Yoga.

I wanted to work out tonight but my muscles are a little sore from my “Ripped in 30” workout from last night, which I am quite enjoying. So I thought I would give Yoga a try …. seeing that it’s on my list.

About 10 years ago I took a yoga class with two friends – it was terrible. All we did was laugh the whole time. Fun for us but not cool for the others; good thing it was at a Recreation Centre and not a yoga studio or we probably would have been kicked out.

When I got pregnant with Lilly I wanted to remain active but had to give up playing soccer. You can’t really play with a big belly hanging out of your jersey…can ya ? I got pregnant in the fall, stopped playing soccer but ran occasionally and walked our dog every day. When the snow fell I started cross-country skiing as that was a relatively easy activity for me to do – you still couldn’t tell I was pregnant at that point. I actually volunteered that winter to help coach the Para Nordic (sit skiing) at our local hill. Lots of fun but I ended up not being able to keep up with them – they were fast. And these were kids, not adults.

At 14 weeks, I started prenatal yoga! And I fell in love! I left the yoga studio feeling wonderful, I had lots of energy….I was SOLD! I continued attending the prenatal yoga class and made a few friends along the way. I went to my last class on June 12th 2010, I was exactly 36 weeks that day. During the last few months of my pregnancy I had some problems with my sciatic nerve. During my last yoga class my instructor and I talked about how much pain I was in and that it was probable a good thing it was my last class. [Side note – I had just been put off work the day before – June 11th 2010].

The next evening my water broke at home at 10:30 pm and off to the hospital we went. Contractions started in the car and things progressed rather quickly. Lilly was born at 2:22am June 14th (4 weeks early). I guess I know why my back was REALLY bothering me the day before at yoga.

After Lilly was born I attended 1-2 mom and baby yoga classes. I wanted to keep it up but I just couldn’t. Since then, I haven’t done any yoga. So tonight, instead of doing an intense workout, I did Tony Horton’s Yoga Flex – 10 minutes.

It was okay. Well it was good. I am feeling a little less sore but it just wasn’t long enough. I think next time I will pair this with “Ripped in 30” or “30 day Shred”. I feel like this would be a good dvd to do in the morning before Lilly wakes up – or with her.

Oh, and Lilly know’s how to do a downward dog – or Down Dog as we call it. If we ask her to do a “Down Dog” this is what she does. BUT, yes there is a BUT – she wants me to do it with her 🙂

Can someone please recommend a good Yoga DVD for me ?

AND can you recommend a Yoga DVD I can do with Lilly?

Screen time and my social media

My mother and I were chatting the other day about how my different my daughter’s life will be compared to both of ours growing up. My mother got her first T.V. when she was 8 and that was in black and white. I on the other hand had a T.V. in the house my whole life. We were not allowed a T.V. in our rooms until we were teenagers but were limited to basic cable – I wasn’t really happy about that then but now …. I sure am thankful. 

 

Another thing we didn’t have growing up was a Nintendo or in today’s world Wii, PSP etc. We would rent one every so often – on a rainy day – and would have hours of fun. We’d pack it up and return it a few days later – no problems, no tears, just something we would do. I am even more thankful that my parents never bought us a gaming system. I surely would not be the person I am today if they did. We played outside all hours of the day, biking to friends house, soccer games, playing IN the woods, “capture the flag” in our neighbours yards in the black of night.

 

My 9-5 job is about getting the inactive active! Crazy thought, eh! With the amount of screen time that not only children and youth are getting (up to 6 -7 hours a week day and more on the weekends), it’s no wonder why we have children and youth who are overweight, OBESE and not healthy.  Children just don’t play as much …. ADULTS don’t play as much these days either.

With the growing social media sites online it’s no wonder that we are becoming a society that is seen as lazy and inactive.

I started this blog for a few different reasons but at the same time I really try to limit my screen time. Screen time for me is computer at work when in the office and a little at home, very little T.V. because I simply don’t have the time, Blackberry for work which I don’t use for personal use after work hours. That’s about it.

Bloggers want to get their word out there, followers added to their list, likes and comments on their posts. Yes, I fall into that category. Recently, I’ve been looking at ways to “promote” my blog and I’ve decided to keep it simple. Why ? Because I simply do not have time to manage multiple social media sites, write blog posts, maintain my family lifestyle as a single parent (for another 2-3 weeks), work full time, workout, spend time with friends/toddler friends, participate in community events, go to the market…. the list could go on. Lots of people do have the time … and I follow them but for me it’s about keeping it simple for me.

For those bloggers and Twitter folks who follow me, Facebook fans who “like” me – Thank you.

I’m going to keep it simple so I can keep active and limit my screen time.

What do you do to promote your blog? What’s your limit?

To follow me on my limited social media sites:

@PipersRun

Keeping it Simple. 

THANKS, Anna

Love for Daddy

I’ve mentioned before that my husband is away going to school in another province. He is studying to become a Paramedic.

It’s not easy being a single parent, working full time, taking care of the house and the dog.

It’s not easy being the Dad away from your daughter and wife, I am sure of that.

Last Wednesday (Jan 18th) I BBM’d Saï to see if we would skype at our usual time; he wrote back “won’t be able to tonight”. Bummer I thought, he must be busy. So off Lilly and I went to play. My mother was coming down that night to help out and after Lilly’s bath I noticed she pulled in the driveway. Then I noticed another car backing into our driveway – it was Saï. He was home – so much better then skyping.  Saï was home for a week 🙂

Lilly was really excited to see her father. The hugs and kisses were everywhere.

It’s been great to have him home – helping with nappy changes, morning routine, walking the dog – it’s like we are a tag team getting it all taken care of.

It’s also been wonderful to watch them together; reading books on the comfy couch, eating dinner at her small table, learning and saying new words, playing with her “baby”, getting dressed for outside play.

I melt each time when she runs over to him and sticks out her lips for a kiss, or when she wraps her arms around his long legs for a hug or the laughter that comes from her when he’s tickling her or giving her “BEE-BO” a raspberry. SHE’S SO HAPPY!

This morning she woke up at 4am and we couldn’t get her back to sleep – so in the bed she came. I got up to get ready for work at 6:30 and they stayed in bed. When I came back to them still in bed she had her arms above her head snuggled right beside him – pure bliss. She woke up happy. When Saï picked her up from the sitters, she saw him and said “Daddyyyyy” – she was happy when she came home and she was happy at bath time.

I know it’s not easy being a single parent, I really don’t enjoy it and commend those who are.

Life. Is. So. Much. Better. When. We. Are. Together, as a Family.

What I am learning is how hard it is for that other parent who is away from their child. You miss a lot; reading books, new words/games, bath and bed time, laughs and giggles, daily hugs and kisses. So I have to remember when I AM having a hard day with Lilly – HE is not able to see her, play with her, help her, hug or kiss her. The good thing is I know this will come to an end and getting an education is important – I am really proud of you.

Saï, you are sitting beside me as I write this, and I miss you already.

xo I love you Saï.

I LAWU OU DADDY, Thanks for taking me out for a sleigh ride. xo Lilly Mae.