Dive into a Good Book

Have you read a good book lately?

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Whether it’s an autobiography (I highly recommend This Will Only Hurt A Little by Busy Philipps- she’s amazing!), a new parenting book on a topic that you need guidance on, or maybe a saucy romance novel to allow you a bit of escape…dig in and read.

Did you know that by reading you can increase your brain power, vocabulary, memory, and improve your analytical skills?

It’s a big part of why our team is constantly engaging in new materials and learning opportunities. There is always something new being uncovered, a new way of doing things that may help one of our clients, so we are constantly engaged in reading, writing, watching and learning.

If you have a great book recommendation for us, let us know!! We are all eyes, and ears!

Go Outside and Explore

When was the last time that you set out to explore the outdoors? Do you do it mindfully?

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Creating a mindful experience of exploring the outdoors is actually quite simple, and it’s really amazing to engage your little ones in this mindful practice as well. It’s all about appealing to your sense.

What can you hear?

What can you smell?

What do you see?

What can you feel?

Encourage your little ones to try this activity once with their eyes open, and then again with their eyes closed.

How does their perception change? Are they, and you, able to tune in more acutely and listen for the wind in the trees? Feel the warmth of the sun? Smell the freshly cut grass?

Getting outside and exploring is all about taking in the details. Make it your mindful motherhood moment this month!

Not Your Mamas Book Club: Boundaries

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Our topic of boundaries stemmed from conversations from our first “Not Your Mama’s Book Club” We all recognized it was something we all needed to work on.

I started my search immediately with podcasts, I had a pretty good idea of the type of audio information I was looking for.
Although, I was very surprised after stumbling across Magnanimous Warriors “Boundaries” podcast. It was certainly easy to follow and understand, but the view and perspective she had around Boundaries was quite intriguing and completely unexpected. After sharing it with Shannon, we knew it would definitely be one that sparked good, in-depth conversations amongst our group of Moms.

This month, instead of having the Moms check out the material prior to our meeting, we played the less than 15minute podcast while we were all together.
Immediately, the first response was “that was not at all what I had been expecting.”
Which really made us giggle, knowing we too, had felt the same way.

Magnanimous Warrior spoke to Boundaries from (I think), a very refreshing and positive point of view. She viewed it as change in our attitudes or “tones” as she put it. She spoke a bit about The Laws of Attraction and how many of the issues we may have with people and our relationships, may actually stem from how we allow people to treat us.
Specifically, she states “we teach people how to treat us.” Which is a very fair statement.
Many people in our lives have the belief that our Boundaries are selfish, likely in those cases, it’s the people who are on the their side of those, said Boundaries.

Boundaries are put in place to create protection and safety. They are a practise of self love and self care. We talked a lot about them from this angle, with the same belief that they are very crucial to our survival in life and that maybe they become easier to create in our lives once becoming a parent. As we’re known to have an innate ability and drive to always want to protect our children; we’ll do whatever it takes to do so!

It was a topic that challenged our current mindset and also one that forced us to reflect upon unpleasant relationships or previous traumas. The conversations were deep, supportive and brought out a lot of love and care from one Mama to another.

Hope you can join us next month!

Amanda
Xo

Why I Care More About Your Brain Than Your Boobs

Hey Mamas! Today I wanted to talk about something and be super real with you about a sometimes controversial topic: breastfeeding.

The main thing that has been on my mind lately is how many moms we see go through a tough labour and birth, and immediately the focus is on breastfeeding. All too often do I hear let's get baby to breast while mom is delivering a placenta and sometimes a bit groggy from birth.

For some women, that works incredibly well and is exactly what they want. For others, it is an overwhelming thought and can cause a huge amount of mental spiraling to happen. Add in hormones that are out of whack due to a steep drop in estrogen, spike in adrenaline, flowing prolactin (sometimes)....

I care more about your brain than your boobs

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Don't get me wrong, I care about your boobs too and supporting your efforts in breastfeeding is crazy important to us, but we care so so so much more about your mental health and helping you adjust to the demands of parenting and supporting you through transitions like sleep deprivation, mom guilt, relationship struggles, and self care routines.

And I care about your brain because if your brain isn't in it, your boobs aren't going to work.

Your mental health as a parent is instrumental to how you will function as a parent. And I say this as a mom who's mental health was not working after her first birth experience, and it deeply damaged my relationship with breastfeeding, my body, my spouse, and my baby.

If your brain isn't working...if something is happening that is preventing you from processing your birth experience, from taking care of your own needs, from interacting with your baby or your spouse....your boobs aren't going to work.

Making sure that your mental health is supported, that you have a nurturing and comforting person to go to that you can trust and unload things to, that you feel confident and wonderful in your role as a parent...that's what we care about.

Your boobs are great, hell...they're glorious and can do amazing things. But your brain...your brain is incredible and we want to make sure it is strong, balanced, grounded and able to function so the rest of your body follows suit.

xoxo

Shannon

No Apologies Necessary

Our conversations about the kind of parents we wanted to be often consisted of us using the word flexible. We shared a mutual understanding that just because we were parents, didn’t mean we were going to stop doing things – within reason, of course. We were looking to establish a routine that was, dare I say it…flexible.

As a Registered Early Childhood Educator (and now Certified Birth and Postpartum Doula), I know how important sleep is, each age/stage requires a certain amount of sleep and naps are essential if you want children to be more successful in sleeping through the night. I am well aware of all this, educated and fairly experienced – I think.

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Our first babe created her own schedule and it took her some time before she began sleeping 7pm-7am each night; but now at 2.5 years old she sleeps through the night and is pretty flexible in terms of her day to day routine. Last Fall she began taking part in classes that would make her late getting to bed, but she adapted and we’ve had no issues.

But now we’re parents of TWO. Our second babe has completely thrown us for a loop (which everyone says happens). She came home from the hospital waking only once or twice through the night – then she hit sleep regressions, milestones, teething and sometimes, quite frankly – we’ve just had a busy day and now she’s waking more through the night.
So, we began slowing down. We drew our attention back to her cues, focused more on what she was needing. Oppose to assuming she could keep up with our previously established routines. We also reached out to Sleep Consultant – Lindsey Smith.
Our babe is now 9months old and we are facing the reality that we are not at a stage to be a flexible family.

And guess what? I’m not going to apologize for that.

We’re a newly family of four, functioning with two different sleeping schedules, we do what we have to do! This may mean we can’t fly by the seat of our pants, we’re unable to stay late at family functions and we’re certainly unable to appease every single person in our lives.
Again, ain’t nobody got time to apologize for that! It’s unnecessary!
This Mama now does her grocery shopping online, it’s a quick and easy pick up! We’ve now become even more appreciative of those friends who drop what they’re doing to bring us Advil, when we have one babe with a fever and another one sound asleep. Or the family members who add a few of our errands to their list so we can insure the babes are fitting in both naps in their own beds. It’s a beautiful thing when you’re able to create this supportive village who understands your family comes first; and that you may (for the time being), not be very flexible.


Please do not forget, we’re never alone through these experiences. We all have our struggles. Just know – we don’t have to struggle through them alone. We’re here for you!

 

  • Amanda
    XO

You Are Exactly The Mother Your Children Need

On the off chance that you are doubting yourself lately....

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A good friend once told me that when she was angry or upset or simply feeling overwhelmed and doubting herself as a parent, she will take a look at her children when they are sleeping.

It's so easy to doubt ourselves as parents these days.

Are we doing enough?

Teaching enough?

Spending enough quality time with them?

Feeding them well?

Setting a good enough example?

The truth is, every single parent on the planet worries about these things and the mere fact that we worry means that we are good parents. It means that we care about the little people are we raising.

It means that we are exactly the mothers that our children need.

xoxo

Shannon

Rest Peacefully and Be Still

Whether you are a brand new mom, or you have kids who are moving out of the house and are off to college, university or the next phase of life....this month we encourage you to take a few moments to rest peacefully and be still.

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It can be hard to find these moments, and sometimes actually taking them for ourselves feels selfish. But here's a secret (that's maybe not so secret)....it's not selfish at all.

Personally, I like to take the 15-25minutes between my kids bedtime for myself. I get the little one to bed, and then sometimes just go and sit in my office. If I'm really lucky, I might even sneak into bed with the iPad and watch a show for a half an hour...uninterrupted and in silence. Sure, I'll get a text from my husband wondering where I am or what I'm doing...but it can wait.

In that moment, I need to rest peacefully and be still.

I need that moment of silence and peace to decompress after a long day. I need that moment of stillness to reset my brain and breathe.

And that is perfectly ok.

So the next time you're feeling a bit overwhelmed, take a few moments to rest and be still.

xoxo

Shannon

How an Overnight Doula Set You Up for a Positive Day

It's so much more than making sure you get a full night of sleep! Your overnight doula is in constant contact with you throughout the day to ensure you are having a positive day, and to help you navigate the points of the day that aren't so awesome. But how do we do that?

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After getting a full night of uninterrupted sleep, parents wake up to fresh coffee, breakfast and a well-rested baby. Your overnight doula helps around the house with some light housekeeping, to help get you caught up on those daily chores that can easily get pushed to the side.

I often see parents struggle with anxiety, frustration and depression that can be caused by sleep deprivation. Parents can be very emotional, irritable and tired. Any feelings that develop due to lack of sleep can be so exhausting on the entire family, putting extra strain on those relationships. Overnight care can help alleviate the stress by taking away the responsibilities of parenthood as there is someone there specifically to take that role on and allow you to take care of you. We take the baby monitor out of your room and allow you to have a full night of rest.

We all know how important eating a well-balanced healthy diet is to our mental well-being. Making a healthy and yummy breakfast for my clients each morning gets everyone started with a full belly and ready to take on the day. Coffee and tea are also made fresh for you to enjoy!

I like to prepare delicious and healthy breakfasts each morning that are quick and easy to prepare. Some of my favorite recipes are Brown Sugar Oatmeal Stuffed Apples, Pancakes and 5 minute Quiche Cups. I come prepared with a book of recipes that I have collected over the years and make breakfast based on what is available in the kitchen. Families are able to make special requests that can usually be accommodated.

xo

Kerri

The Only Way Out Is Through

Sometimes motherhood means breaking down the walls that we put up, and allow society to put up, around us.

Sometimes it means breaking through, pushing past our limitations and finding out who we are now that we are parents.

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We've spent a great deal of time talking to our clients lately about expectations and limitations. And the one thing that we always come back to is validating how you are feeling, when you are feeling it, and breaking down the walls that surround you.

Truly, the only way out is through and we will be damned if we let others put us into a box.

Mom your own way.

Care your own path.

Live by your own rules.

And know that you are loved.

xoxo

Shannon

Caution? Meet Wind

Can you feel it? Summer is so-incredibly-close. The warmth of the sun is returning, the flowers are raising their sleepy heads and soon it will be time to throw caution to the wind.

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How, right here and now...here in this moment, can you throw caution to the wind? At the yoga studio, we often talk of maven energy a being those moments where you are carefree, liberated and a little bit reckless.

Those moments where you sing in the car to your very favourite songs (much to the embarrassment of your children who are in the back seat), or where you strut your beautiful mom-bod to the pool and order up a daiquiri on vacation so you can enjoy it on a lounger, or even when you run out into the rain to jump into puddles with your kids.

Caution? Meet wind.

This month, throw caution to the wind. Let down your guard, get a wee bit vulnerable and have fun for the sake of having fun.

Being Present

Ah, being present. This is something that I struggle with from time to time, and as a meditation teacher is something that I have learned over and over again....yet still find difficult to implement.

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Being present.

Is it a challenge for you? I often find that with being a business owner, mentor, teacher, mother, wife, friend....etc....that I struggle. I get wrapped up in our schedule of hockey and tutoring and daycare and who needs to be dropped off here and at what time, that I forget that there are small moments in between the travel time that I should be taking notice of.

The moment he gets in my car after getting off the bus and he excitedly tells me about his day. 

The moment just before I fall asleep at the end of the day, when I can feel my body melt into the mattress.

The moment my youngest gets home and runs to me with a big smile, for a huge hug...even before taking his boots off.

Those moments, because I'm wrapped up in the schedules and to-do lists, I struggle to be present.

So this month, I challenge you! I challenge you to be present and stay present. Just one moment each day, but be there. Fully and completely there.

Slow Down. Be Still.

The hustle and bustle of the holidays is over. Life is starting to settle down. Depending on where you are geographically, the world may still be laden with snow, the skies still grey and the nights incredibly cold.

This month in Mindful Motherhood, we are encouraging you to slow down. To be still.

And to hold onto the moments that matter.

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The things that truly matter. Sometimes, those things are the tiny feet of our baby's. Other times, it's the quiet moments when they're napping and we are cuddled up on the couch binging our latest Netflix find.

The slow, still moments.

Hold on to them.

They matter so very much and in a world that is often chaotic and negative....they matter.

Hold onto them.

Lexi's Birth Story - World Prematurity Day

A HUGE thank you to Nicole McCullough, Lexi's amazing mom, for sharing this story with us!!  Today, we honour babies like Lexi and mamas like Nicole - along with the hospital staff that take life saving measures to ensure these little lives have a chance!
 


After a devastating loss we were ecstatic to find out we were expecting again. I was admitted to the hospital at 24 weeks for dangerously high blood pressure. While admitted we also found out our little rainbow baby also had IUGR (Intrauterine growth restriction). I was told I would be in the hospital for the next 3.5 months until she was born. After only 5 days in the hospital my condition worsened and I developed HELLP Syndrome. I was told to contact my family because they would be taking me in for an emergency C-Section as it was the only option to save both of our lives. My daughter was born in November of 2012 rather than March of 2013.

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Lexi came into this world weighing a mere 500 grams, had no respiratory effort and required ventilation. The Doctor told my family that we were very lucky as they don’t often attempt to help babies weighing less than 500 grams. During her first few weeks of life and her 109 day NICU stay, Lexi battled pneumonia, suspected sepsis, Bilateral grade1 IVH , RDS with PIE, BPD, Persistent PDA, mild pulmonary hypertension, stage 2 ROP, anemia and apnea to name a few. Our little miracle could only breast feed in the NICU up until 2 days before discharge when she was finally able to master the bottle (Haberman).

Finally, 10 days after her actual due date, we got to bring Lexi home! It was an exciting yet scary day. As much as we were excited to have Lexi home with us it almost felt like we were leaving part of our family behind. Her primary nurse, we referred to as her "NICU" mommy, was exactly that. They treated Lexi like their own. The nurses , neonatologists, social workers and NICU Respiratory Therapists are amazing at what they do and we are forever grateful for the exceptional care they provided for not only my daughter but for us as well. We have returned to the NICU every year around Lexi's birthday with donations for the babies and families as well as a birthday cake from Lexi to the NICU staff.

We are so thankful to have been able to keep some of our favourite ladies in Lexi's life! Lexi had many follow-up appointments after leaving the NICU and she continued to amaze her Doctors and Specialists. Our little preemie decided she could do things according to her actual age rather than her adjusted age and just after her 1st birthday she took her first steps and hasn’t stopped running since.

Lexi looks up to her older brother and he loves her to pieces. I’ll never forget the first time he saw her, he said “she’s so cute” and whispered “grow bigger baby Lexi.”

Although I still struggle with PTSD from our rollercoaster of a journey, I have my amazing little miracle & support of my family to get me through my days. Knowing we can provide hope and inspiration to other families of tiny little miracles helps me get through tougher days. Sometimes things don't go as planned but you learn and grow from your journeys

It's OK To Not Be OK

What does `ok` even mean?

Today is a rough day for me, I am NOT ok. I can admit this.

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Why do I have to love my life, my kids, my house, my body, my job every single day? That expectation of such a strong emotion is too hard on new moms. Life is not easy, and neither is being that person in a household who wears so many different hats.

Cook, dishwasher, care giver, cleaner, grocery getter, plan maker, laundry doer, potty trainer, tantrum diffuser, hair brusher, book reader, tickle monster and the list goes on… It’s exhausting!

Being able to meet all your needs on top of taking care of one or more tiny humans takes skills, ones that you have to relearn at different stages and when new additions are made. You can realistically only have so many cups of coffee to help you through before breaking down and asking for help. Do not get to the point where you NEED to have someone help you out. Plan for this and allow yourself some self-care, it is important to everyone around you for you to be healthy and happy.

You deserve it!

I deserve it!

It may be as simple as enjoying a HOT coffee, alone, outside of the house. Going and seeing a movie and not having to hide to eat candy. A mini vacation for your soul.

It may require to call in help from family, friends or professionals like us here at Sweet Stella’s. We are here to help facilitate whatever you need to make you happy and healthy again.

It is ok to ask for help. It is ok to want to spend time alone. It is ok not to be ok.

From one momma to another who is having a rough day with a runny nosed clingy baby, a toddler who is testing my limits, and a long list of things that need to be done today… everything will be ok.

Time Out!

No, not like a time out with your friends or a date night out with your spouse.

But a time out....like you would give to a toddler.

Sometimes, just like a toddler having a meltdown over being given the blue cup when he wanted the Dory cup, we need a time out too.

And that is perfectly ok. In fact, it's encouraged!

Give yourself a time out this month. Plan it in advance if you need to, or announce outright that you need a time out.

Give yourself a bit of quiet and space to reflect. To recharge. To sip a coffee, while it's still hot.

Time outs are just as effective as diffusing emotions for adults as they are for calming little ones.

Enjoy it!

Doubting Yourself Lately?

Plain and simple, you are exactly the mother that your children need.

 

I know, I know. Even on the easiest of parenting days, it feels like we are failing. It feels like we aren't doing enough, being there enough, modeling good behaviour enough, providing enough.

But we assure you, you are.

You are exactly the mother that your children need. And the very fact that you doubt and worry about these things shows just how much you care about your kids.

So this month, when you get caught in that spiral of worry and doubt yourself as a parent, remember:

you are exactly the mother that your children need.

Big Lessons from Little Ones

Have you ever stopped to just watch? To observe these little human beings and how they interact with one another, and us?

In the summer during one of our off weeks, my little guy, Graeme, was home with me and asked me to sit on the floor of the kitchen with him. Really...for no reason. He just wanted to sit and have a snack and chat.

He turned to me and said "So...what do you like today, mama?"

It was so funny to me. He just wanted to sit and slow down (rare for him, the little ginger!) and have a conversation.

When was the last time you just sat and observed their behaviour? Joined them on the floor for a chat and a snack? Enjoyed, really enjoyed, just being in the moment?

You Are A Superhero

Want to know a secret?

You know that human-being-growing-ability that you have? That mama-bear instinct? The quick reflexes to catch spit up, or save a child from harm when they are taking their first steps?

Those abilities...those instincts....they make you a superhero.

You physically, in your body, grew a baby. The ability to be pregnant is something that is really unique to women, and whether you get there by way of embryo transfer, ovulation kits, BBT monitoring, fertility treatments or happenstance; it makes you a superhero.

Whether you carry that baby in your arms or in your heart; you are a superhero.

You are an incredible human being, destined for great things!

Who Are You?

Who are you?

You're a Mother. You're a partner. You're a Wife. You're a homemaker. You're a cheerleader. You're the rock in the family.

But who are YOU?

The most exciting days in your life have come and maybe gone. Weddings, babies, lifelong partnerships and promises. You have made this life that is worth living, a dream. Then it hits. Who am I? What do I need? When did I get lost in all of this happiness?

How do you find YOU again?

This process for me has been difficult, exciting and scary. I am still finding me. One step at a time, one foot in front of the other walking on my own path. Sometimes it is 3 steps forward and 1 back, but I am closer to me everyday.

We can do this. I can do this!

I am a Mother. I am a Partner. I am a wife. I am a homemaker. I am a cheerleader. I am the rock in the family. I am ME!

Who are you?

Lindsey

Slow. It. Down.

This month in Mindful Motherhood, it's all about making time to slow down.

Sounds counter productive, doesn't it? Making the time, just to allow things to slow down. It sounds like you'd be wasting time, and putting so much effort into making all of the time.

All. Of. The. Time.

The thing is, we lead such incredibly busy lives as parents that we often don't have the time to just slow down and notice. Notice the details, the moments shared. It can be difficult, and then life passes us by.

This month in Mindful Motherhood, make the time to slow down.

Be intentional with it this month. Sink into the slow down, and allow yourself to unravel just a little bit.

Eat slower

Move Slower

Think Slower

Love Slower

Breathe Slower

Whatever you do, make the time to do it just a bit slower this month. Notice all of the details that surround you in that moment, breathe them in and let them live in your heart with just a little bit more intensity.

Slow It Down. You'll be glad you did!