Monday, May 30, 2016

Parenting with Gratitude

Gratitude and mindfulness. I’m pretty sure these two things are the cure-all for any bad mood and can instantly change your perspective. I am trying to practice these on a more regular basis and with more intention. I admit that it’s harder than it sounds. I’ve always been a pretty optimistic person but in the mundane daily grind of work, chores and rushing around, it can be easy to forget to recognize the greatness in each day.

A few months ago, as part of my Masters of Public Health Practicum, I was enrolled in an online mindfulness course through The schools here in town have been having teachers trained in order to teach students mindfulness and self-regulation strategies in the classroom. My project was on community based parenting education and parents identified mindfulness as an area they’d like to know more about, so myself and some of the Public Health nurses enrolled in the course in order to help facilitate strategies with parents. Since then, I’ve been trying to practice these skills at home and at work, and in particular with my son.

Parenting is hard. It’s stressful and exhausting, tests your patience and can feel unrewarding at times. Other times, it’s the most amazing, rewarding experience I’ve ever had. I love being a parent, and can’t wait to have more kids eventually. It’s often hard to remember just how fleeting the younger years are. Max is a toddler already and I have become hyper-aware of just how quickly time flies. I am so guilty of being glued to my phone or thinking about school or work when I should be absorbed in the present moment with him.

As I walked down stairs on Sunday morning to let the dog out and get some coffee started, my living room came into sight. The floor was littered with yesterday’s toys; Lego, books, a dozen cars, a ride-on quad and a red balance bike. My first thought was how much had to be cleaned up even though I spent the majority of nap time yesterday mopping and scrubbing.  But as I stood on the bottom step and looked around, I couldn’t help but smile and be grateful for the mess.

Grateful for the hand-me-downs and the money for new toys.

Grateful for the little boy who made the mess.

Grateful for the time to build Legos and play cars with him.

Grateful for the smiles that these toys bring.

Grateful for a healthy child who brings us so much joy every day.

Grateful for the crayon scribbled art hanging on my fridge door.

Grateful for the quiet moments when Max sits down and plays independently.

Grateful for his squeals of delight at the simplest things.

Grateful for every slobbery kiss and sticky hug.

Grateful that this is my life.

It’s not glamorous, or extravagant. But I have a family I love, we are loved by so many, and we wake up every day with the ability to make messes and have adventures.  For that, I am, and forever will be grateful.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

High, Low, High

What a crazy month this has been!

It’s been full of stress and planning and paper writing and travel. While it’s been exciting, it’s honestly been exhausting too.


I finished my Masters Degree! At the end of April I presented my culminating project to the faculty and students of the School of Public Health at the University of Victoria.  The presentation was only ten minutes, but it was the end product of 8 months of practicum work and 3 years of course work. It still hasn’t sunk in that I’m actually finished. With my undergrad, I graduated with my entire class. We celebrated together, our families came to UPEI and celebrated with us. It was a big deal.  And while a Masters Degree seems much more accomplished academically, it seems as though everything else going on in life minimizes the accomplishment. As an undergrad, your entire life is school for 4 years. As an adult, particularly completing a program online and without a local group of peers, so many other big things are all happening at the same time.

During this degree I: worked full time, had a full time course load, got engaged, had a baby, bought a house and planned a wedding. So high five to me!

I can’t wait to get my paper in the mail! The physical evidence of all the hard work and sacrifice that I can hang on my wall and admire.


Wedding planning, it’s the bane of my existence at the moment. I have no clue why people like planning weddings. It would probably be fun to plan a wedding with someone else’s money, and without the personal connection to the guests. I’ve had such a hard time with all this wedding stuff.  We agonized over where to host the wedding since our family and friends are so spread out. I hated making that decision. We finally decided on a destination wedding and picked a resort but I hated trying to figure out travel deals with different travel sites and travel agents. I hated that guests would have to spend money on a trip. But the reality was that no matter where we got married, the majority of guests were going to have to travel. The closer we get to the wedding, the more and more people aren’t going to make it. It has me questioning what the point of having a wedding is at all. We wanted to celebrate with friends and family and the majority of these people won’t even be there.  The perfect storm of factors such as  Zika virus, the Canadian dollar tanking and illness seems to have impacted many guests. I guess for me the most discouraging part of it all is the number of our friends who didn’t even bother to acknowledge they got an invitation at all.  I’m trying not to take it personally but it’s pretty tough.  We’re a week away from the wedding and I just want to get it over with. Don't get me wrong, I am excited to be getting married, and am looking forward to spending time with all of our friends and family that are coming with us, but I feel like the whole experience has been severely tainted by everything leading up to it.


On the bright side, we’re getting married next week! In a few short days I’m going to be on the beach with a (well deserved) drink in my hand! I am so excited to take Max to the beach and play in the ocean with him. I’m excited to go scuba diving. I’m excited to see my parents and those that are coming. I’m excited to shut my brain off and not think about the daily grind. I’m excited to watch Max play with his cousin. They were so little last time they saw each other they barely acknowledged each other’s existence.  Our resort looks amazing and I am definitely going to take advantage of any offers to babysit so I can truly relax and have some time to myself and enjoy the holiday.

Another high? It’s almost summer! Is it just me or did this warmer than usual winter feel really long? I’m looking forward to spending the whole summer in my yard gardening and reading and entertaining. It will be my first summer without homework in far too long and I plan to take full advantage by boating more and quading more and going on more family walks with Max, Penny and Chris and spending hours at the beach soaking in every last ray of midnight sun while I can. 

I feel like this blog has been a bit heavier than normal lately since I returned to it a month-ish ago. Maybe it's because the times I have the greatest urge to write are the times I have too many thoughts running through my head that I need to articulate. There are so many exciting things going on for me right now that I might be misrepresenting life a bit. I hope to be back with more exciting things now that the major life stressors are over!