Summertime and Scraped Knees

Living in Southern Alberta, we take every possible moment when the wind isn't howling, the sun is shining and the temperature isn't frigid to spend outdoors. I have two little girls who finish up breakfast and are promptly asking the play outside for the remainder of the day.

My girls are 3.5 and 1.5 years old. If you have toddlers you know that this age means bumps and bruises. Whether they're moving too fast and run into something or trip over their own feet, I feel like someone is always picking themselves up off the floor. I've learned rather quickly that my superpower is to heal "owies" with a single kiss (and occasionally with the help of a Doc McStuffins band-aid).

Being outside with my girls brings all sorts of new accidents to be had. From something as simple as walking to pick up the mail to something as complex as climbing on the playground, the risk of injury is never ending. We've officially entered scraped knee season and currently both girls have scabs on various body parts.

There are certainly times when I'm over cautious,
"don't run on the sidewalk."
"Don't climb up there."
"Stay close."
"Hold my hand."
The maternal protector in me comes out in full force. But I'm learning about balance; about letting my daughters explore and learn their own physical boundaries. While I often cringe watching my youngest run after her sister, envisioning her falling and getting road rash on her chin, there's something so beautiful about watching that sense of independence unfold before your own eyes.

As we're experiencing that transition from "baby to toddler" and "toddler to preschooler," I'm learning to trust my mothering instincts even more. The A-Type, controlling, perfectionist is me is being set aside as the proud mom watches her children grow up and discover the world and their place in it.

Motherhood is such a fine balancing act and I feel that as my daughters are growing, so am I. As they discover new abilities (and speeds!), I'm discovering the fine line between fear and faith in parenting. I have no doubt we'll be buying boxes upon boxes of Doc McStuffins band-aids this summer. I'm also confident knowing that the three of us will grow immensely into exactly who we're supposed to be. As I've been watching my flowers flourish I think it's fair to say that we've been flourishing, too.


Who You Are Vs What You Do

Ok, we did it! My oldest is potty trained. At 3.5 years old and after many battle of the wills, she decided she was ready and that was that. To say that I didn't beat myself up on a regular basis over my child who is quite intelligent not being potty trained would be an understatement.  It was a daily battle not feeling like a failure every time I changed a Pull-Up.

Unfortunately, social media was no help. "Potty Train in 3 Days," let me tell you, I tried every trick, bribe, method and timing in the book. And, although I have some amazing mom's in my life who continually encouraged me, reminding me that her not using the potty isn't a direct reflection on my parenting, there were a few (whom I sincerely hope unintentionally) weren't so kind in their comments or looks.

What I learned through the potty training process with my daughter is that ultimately what matters most is who you are, not what you do. This is something my husband and I strive to teach and model for our children, that their character is far more important then their skill set. There have been countless times that my toddler's character shone through and made more proud than any poop or pee on a potty could.

The same goes for you, at the end of the day, many won't care or remember what you can do, but they will remember how you made them feel. Do you look someone in the eyes and actually listen to what they're saying? Are you generous, more than fiscally, with your time, your words, your actions? Are you kind? Are you patient?

There is definitely a time and a place to let you skill set shine and I believe we've been gifted with talents for a purpose; but perhaps we put too much emphasis on the talent sometimes? In the parenting world we love to show off our offsprings latest learned skill, ensuring they're reaching those crucial milestones. And yes, milestones should be celebrated and new skills practiced, as should the budding character of our wee ones.

If you're feeling pressed down and like you don't measure up because of something as trivial as potty training, let me remind you that who you are far outshines what you do and in the end it always will.


"You're doing a good job."

Recently I was out for dinner with my two daughters. As per usual my children were friendly & smiley towards those seated around us, including the table with a family that had two older girls. Following our meal, on the way out of the restaurant, the mom of the family with the daughters stopped me. She asked the ages of my children (3 & 1), commented on how busy I must be (in a knowing sort of way) & then complimented their behaviour throughout the meal.

The exchange of that evening got me thinking about how I interact with other parents, whether I know them or not. We’ve all been there, someone starts melting down in the middle of the store & everyone is all eyes. Some give the sympathetic look, portraying complete understanding of the situation. Others are judgemental, usually as they’ve never been in that situation themselves. Occasionally a passerby will offer the words, “this too shall pass.” But still there the desperate parent is, struggling to keep it together & help their child get it together.

The thing that stuck out to me about my interaction with the fellow girl mom following our mealtime out, was that she didn’t offer me some cliche phrase to make me feel guilty about not savouring these hectic, busy baby & toddler years, rather encouraged my children & more directly my parenting.

I can totally appreciate the sentiment of the phrase, “this too shall pass.” Parents of adult children never fail to let you know that “before you know it they’re grown,” & any parent knows this all too well. I mean, hello, where has the last year gone? Just like that I’m on the cusp of full on toddlerhood with my second child! The days may be long, but the years are certainly, very short. And although that short phrase, “this too shall pass,” is intended to offer some sort of hope, it still leaves a parent feeling desperate & in the moment, often like a failure.

I know that in those crazy moments when the sh*t is hitting the fan & meltdown mode is in full swing, it’s like a car crash; it’s so bad that you want to look away, but you just can’t. Imagine if rather than giving that awkward, knowing smile, or offering some cliche that offers little to no hope in that precise moment, if we simply said, “you’re doing a good job.”

I’ll be honest, I’m my own worst critic when it comes to parenting. There are countless times when I beat myself up as I drift to sleep about situations that I could have handled better, been more patient, spoke more softly, been more kind, been more engaged… What I need more than anything from those who have been there isn’t unsolicited advice (social media offers enough of that, thank you very much), or a catchphrase to make me feel guilty. What I need is someone who’s been there to identify that I am in fact doing the best that I can given the circumstances.

So the next time I witness a meltdown in the grocery store, knowing the self condemnation that accompanies your child losing it, I’ll be the first offer the phrase, “you’re doing a good job,” because really, aren’t we all just hungry for validation? Parenthood is hard enough on it’s own with sleepless nights, endless laundry, mealtime mishaps & feeding struggles, playtime struggles, the witching hour, chaotic bath & bedtimes, potty training, explosive poos, meltdown moments, figuring out childcare etc. etc. etc. What we really need from other parents is a cheer squad. Unless asked, I won’t offer advice, just encouragement. 

Goodness knows we all need.


Back at it.

It’s been awhile, a very long while. So much has changed and yet, so little. 

So, what’s changed? My baby girl is now a toddler. A crazy 3 year old, with most amazing vocabulary and entertaining personality. She’s always up for fun and a giggle, she’s friendly and outgoing, she knows what she wants and I’m certain one day this will be a trait I greatly admire in her, although at times it makes me want to scream.

There is however still a baby girl in my life. A sweet little one year old, who is full of smiles and spunk. She’s a quiet the observer and then quickly surprises you with her go-getter attitude. Did I mention she’s sweet? She truly is, the sweetest little thing and she’s been like that from the moment she joined our wee family.

Our world is busier and much more pink, but then it’s always been busy and always very pink. I’m still at this stay-at-home mom thing. Working on not beating myself up over the little things and celebrating the little (& the BIG!) things. Have you ever noticed how it’s easier to beat ourself up than to celebrate our wins, no matter how big? Here’s a win, I’ve finished cups of coffee lately before they’ve gone cold. I won’t get into my dismal feelings of failure…not today at least. I’m sure there’s great pieces of wisdom to be shared, I’m just still working through the process of not picking myself apart too badly. Thankfully His mercies are new every morning and perhaps after nap times, too?

We’ve grown and experienced and been stretched & challenged & here we are still standing. I’m still holding hands with the most amazing man I know. He’s forever wowing us with how he loves, protects, provides, encourages and supports us. Through every season we’ve faced we’ve somehow come through stronger and more committed than before. 

It’s the fall, a new season. Although September is not even close to beginning of the year, in my mind it’s always been the beginning. Perhaps because after our little summer hiatus from everything from actives to favourite TV shows, it’s all starting up again. Or perhaps it’s because in my former career everything seemed to kick start after the summer and I’m stuck in that mode. Regardless, I’m happy for this fall, I’m feeling rooted and ready for all that’s headed our way.


Musings From a Mom of Girls

Hello my name is Catherine & I am a girly girl. I’ve always been a fan of coordinated outfits including shoes & jewelry. I’m a lover of all things glittered & sparkly (much to my husbands dismay when it’s time to decorate for Christmas & it looks as though our house as been invaded by fairies). I love shopping, fresh flowers & high heels. For the one year I played soccer my mom said other parents on the sidelines asked if I was a dancer because of how I would run down the field. I love all things pretty.

It should come as no surprise that I am delighted to mother two beautiful little girls. So far (the youngest is still a bit young to know for sure) they are just like their mother! My 3 year old loves princesses, sparkles, dress up, shopping & pink. I love that over my daughters’ lifetimes we will get to share all sorts of fabulous experiences together; ear piercings, first makeovers, pedicures, shopping trips, late night tears & giggles.

I realize there is a chance that one or both of my girls may not be into the same girly things that I am & I am 100% ok with that. Growing up, my little sister & I were not completely on the same page in terms of a lot of our interests & yet we still developed a close & strong relationship; which is ultimately what I care about most. No matter what, I want my children to know that they are loved & valued regardless of what their interest may be.

I’m also not so naive to think that raising girls won’t have it’s unique challenges, but I like to feel I’m up to the challenge. Being an incredibly emotional female myself (yes, I’m the one who cries in commercials & gets teary at weddings & baby dedications), I feel as though I may have a certain advantage to when it comes to emotional teenage girls. And sass, sweetheart, I’ve got that one covered. I distinctly remember the last time I was grounded as a teenager being because I was “being a bitch.” 

Consider this blog my random musings of being a mom to girls. The high highs & the low lows, God knows my life is full of them!


Daddy's Girl

My baby girl loves her daddy. I'm sure for some parents it's difficult when their child picks a favourite. I've read in numerous books & magazines how to handle possible feelings of rejection when you come in second place. Personally, I love it! I can't begin to describe how my heart reacts when I see the two most important people in my life together!

I will never forget watching my husband first fall in love with our girl as he held her in his arms at the hospital. After an emergency cesarean, he was lucky enough to give her her first cuddles & kisses. I've been told that when he said her name as she was being examined by doctors & nurses she immediately turned towards his voice. He has always been equally as effective with calming, soothing & putting her to sleep as I have been (unless she's hungry). Although bath times started rocky for our wee one who hated being naked (until only recently!), they've always been special times for the two of them as upon bringing our little one home daddy assumed the bathing baby role. 

After 13 months of enjoying our precious daughter on the outside, there are no words to describe how amazing it feels to watch her start to share affection with us! My heart has melted as I've watched the man I married, gracefully & confidently step into fatherhood. My heart now bursts as I watch my girl fall in love with the man who will for years to come be the most important male in her life. 

One of her favourite words to say is "dad," & she's so delighted to hear her dad call back to her. When she hears the door open when he returns home from a day at work, her face lights up & she immediately makes her way to his warm embrace. When the three of us are together she often favours being with her daddy. 

How could I possibly be jealous of their sweet relationship? It is so incredibly special to watch the daddy/daughter relationship blossom & grow. I also know that it's quite unique & different from my relationship with her. 

To the dad's out there, know that those moments early on make a difference. As tough as it can be with the screams & cries with a newborn, you're building an amazing foundation for a strong relationship as you head into life with a toddler. Learning your baby's preferences & little quirks not only help your partner out when everyone's tired, but it helps you bond with your baby from the get-go. 

For the moms, don't take the favouritism too personally. Enjoy watching the special unique bond form between your man & baby. Relish in the fact that there's someone who loves & cares for that little person as much as you do! What a blessed child to receive that much love & affection from both parents. 

How could I possibly be jealous of a relationship that I could never fulfill? What an incredible example my girl is getting at a very young age of unconditional love from her daddy. May she know that her Daddy loves her even more (I can't even imagine that's possible, but I know that it is!) than the both of us combined. 

Family is a sweet blessing that I pray my baby girl will always have, know, & be confident of. 


Dreary Days

Grey days are the best for hanging with my baby girl, enjoying excessive cuddles & warm beverages. The wet weather today called for a lunch date at the Calgary Farmer's Market with a lovely friend/family member, & her peanut, followed by Starbucks drive-thru for the drive home in the rain. Scrumptious food, gorgeous company, one of my favourite places to spend a few hours, drinks that warm from the inside out & special moments with my baby; it was an all around perfect day.

Grey, pink & sparkly make for a fabulous colour palette. Not only was my darling baby dressed in those colours today, but those are exactly the colours I'd use to describe the day. Grey for weather, pink & sparkly for the fabulous, glamorous girls I was privileged to spend the day with.

Everyday we have a choice to make; we can be tossed to a fro, or we can take control of the atmosphere.

Here's to making every grey day at the very least a little bit sparkly.