Whispering “Mom”

Nothing screams “mom” more than blasting Fred Penner through your stereo speakers with all the windows rolled down in the middle of a car dealership when they are showing you how easily your phone connects to the car with Apple CarPlay and that is the last thing that was played on your phone.

You can do it if you try,
You can do it if you try,
You can do do doodly do it if you try

I like to pretend that unless I have a kid hanging off of me, I’m not so obviously a mom. There is enough grey hair on my head that I can’t pretend I’m the babysitter, but I still like to sometimes go out, with or without kids, and not feel as though my look screams “I had 5 hours of sleep last night, I can’t remember when I last showered and despite doing laundry every day for the last week, I don’t have any clean clothes” as much as that may be true on every.single.day.

So I’ve got cheats that I use, whether it’s a list of pre-made outfits that look pulled together but are washable, nursable and most importantly, comfortable, or whether its makeup that attempts to disguise the bags under my eyes or, if nothing else, distracts from them, or whether it’s an accessory that makes me feel like I’ve taken the extra time to look after me, even if it’s just a necklace or a pair of glasses.

This outfit? In pictures looks so simple. But it fits all of the above, and it doesn’t scream “I’m a mom!”

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Ok, that is a teething necklace, so maybe it just whispers “mom”

Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

Review: Today Will Be Different

Maria Semple’s Today Will Be Different seems to be the most blogged book of 2017, at least in my circles. I think it’s because my circles mostly involve young mothers who are trying to balance raising kids, holding a job, not letting their house fall apart, and maybe spend a good 10 seconds a day talking to their husband, always waking up thinking: “Today will be different.”


We see ourselves in Eleanor. Ok, my upbringing was neither as glamourous nor as tragic as hers. Yes, I’m close with my sister (*waves* Hi Sister!) and while we may fight, I’m pretty sure her husband isn’t crazily controlling, and so I’m still in regular contact with her (plus, she lives in my neighbourhood so it would be awkward avoiding her at the local grocery store). We see ourselves struggling to pinpoint who we are and where we are going in this weird baby/career/life mess. We see ourselves as we are a little too hard on our kids, as we check our behaviour upon seeing another adult silently passing judgement, as we hand over our phones to silence them so we can just have one second to think. All of this I expected.

I’m not sure why seeing myself in Eleanor as she relates to her husband caught me off guard. I think it was the potato chips.

Let me explain. I was making a quick run to the grocery store (for the third time that day) to pick up the one item I forgot and the one item that was very necessary for that evening’s lettuce wraps: the lettuce. I couldn’t help but go down the chip aisle to see if they had ketchup Doritos… ketchup chips being my favourite (and Scott’s least) and Doritos being his favourite (and my least), thinking it would be a good 5 minutes entertainment as we both tried to choke some down, both likely hating it. But alas, they were sold out. Instead, I saw another brand was on sale if you bought two bags. Needing my ketchup chip fix, I bought myself a bag and scanned the shelves for one for Scott. I grabbed All Dressed. Arriving home, I hid the bags until C was out of the room (no junk food for her… just her parents, because we live by a different set of rules?), and then showed him the bags.  A look of confusion crossed his face. After some prodding, he admitted he wasn’t a fan of All Dressed chips. He kind of hates them.

We will have been together 10 years this fall and I don’t even know his favourite kind of chips. Sure, it may not seem like a very important detail (as evidenced this weekend in our car buying experience, I do know important information like his work phone number, his salary, his preference of back-up cameras and his hatred of making left hand turns anywhere but at controlled intersections), but to suddenly be faced with the realization that you don’t know something as basic as favourite chip flavour (especially being so incredibly wrong about it), came as a shock.

Obviously, my husband isn’t lying to his wife and his work place about his whereabouts during the day. I’m not letting my imagination get away with itself and assuming he is performing surgeries on yachts for millionaires. But sometimes, it takes a book going a little overboard to make you realize “maybe I need to take a step back and focus on him for a while”. Maybe, the next time we’re in the chip aisle together, rather than just finding a bag of chips we both are willing to tolerate and then settling on ripple.again.I should actually listen to his preferences. And then spend some time talking with him as we eat them rather than sitting beside each other, staring at our respective screens.

Today Will Be Different is over-the-top in Eleanor’s reactions to the events of the day, hovering right around the line between real and ridiculous. As a result, Semple’s writing mixes some heavy subject matter with levity to keep you enrapt in the chaos without dragging you down with it. I highly enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone who is trying to balance “it all” and maybe not always keeping it together.

Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

Five Things Friday

This week was not a stunning example of the type of mother I want to be. And of course, reading Today Will Be Different by Marie Semple (review coming) simultaneously made me feel like falling short is both normal and something so appalling that your life will fall apart if you don’t deal with it. So on that theme, here’s how things are going to be different next week

  1. I’m going to get up earlier so I can have a better breakfast with my girls and maybe feel a little less rushed to start the day (plus then I can maybe make C something other than PB&J for breakfast so when she refuses to eat lunch, I can resort to that without feeling like it’s all she every eats).
  2. I will let C know the plan for the day so she is less thrown off by the transitions between activities. Plus, it will give me a reason to make sure I follow through on my to-do list.
  3. I will make sure I eat lunch and drink enough water because a hungry mama is a grumpy mama. And “whatever C doesn’t eat” is not considered a meal.
  4. I will make cleaning up part of every activity, including meals. Not only will this make for a cleaner, calmer house, it will also enable us to spend more time together as a family in the evening before bed. I’ll also incorporate C into making and cleaning meals so there is less of a likelihood of her crying in the living room: “But who will play with me?!?!”
  5. I will go to bed earlier so I am more well-rested (she says typing this 20 minutes after my bedtime)
Categories: The new identity | 7 Comments

Currently: In June

June! It’s a touch hot for my taste right now, but better too hot than too cold! We’re soaking up the sun through the parts of skin that sweated off the SPF 50 zinc oxide sunscreen. Thanks to Anne and Erin for another month of Currently!

Currently June

… planning: M’s baptismal barbecue lunch at the end of June. It’s far enough away that I’m still excited and not overwhelmed at the idea of it. Mostly, it’s just a good excuse to look up fun fruity desserts

… wishing: for more sleep. For a while we were in a good routine of M waking up between midnight and 2, eating and going back to sleep and then waking at about 6:15, eating and going back to sleep and then me going for a workout. But now, that second wake up is anywhere from 3 to 5:45, and she is a fight to get back asleep and into the crib. I’ll often be up for an hour, which sometimes means only getting about another 25 minutes of sleep before she’s up for the day and waking her big sister up with her chatter. I feel so groggy that I can’t wrap my head around a workout, so even when Scott gets up with the girls and lets me sleep, I’m losing out on the energy I get from that. Plus this time around, my body just isn’t tolerating coffee. I’m actually dreaming about sleeping for 8 solid hours. 

… learning: how to sustain a garden. This is the first year that we’re doing raised beds and it turns out that the things I thought would be hard are easy, and the things that are hard are things I never even thought of. Like waiting until seeds sprout, and then hoping you don’t pull them thinking they are weeds. I mean, how am I supposed to know the difference?

… browsing: lawn furniture and car listings. Those are two separate searches, for what it’s worth. We’re spending more time outside, and carting more stuff around in our car than it can handle, so both would be handy.

… going: to the farmer’s market. Last year, we bought a share in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and it was all right. We enjoyed always having vegetables but they weren’t always the vegetables that we wanted. Since my garden is still in the early stages, I’m missing the fresh veggies so we’re going to the mid-week Farmer’s Market (the Saturday one is bananas!) whenever we need to supplement our little garden. We’ll still end up picking up produce at the grocery store too (we may have a fruit & veggie loving  little kid in our house) but the more local we can get, the better! Plus, it’s errands and a fun outing all in one!

Categories: The new identity | 8 Comments

Popping Up In Your Browser

Hi People!

My sister recently sent this image to me:


While I tried to write it off as an infected iPhone issue (I assume every piece of technology my sister touches eventually turns into a virus-ridden antiquated door stop, even if her track record of that ended quite some time ago), a few checks here and there and sure enough, mobile browsers have to deal with super annoying fake looking ads. Sorry guys, I guess now you know I’m C-H-E-A-P. SO here are a few questions to see if it’s worth my while upgrading to disable the ads

  1. Do you read this blog on your phone?
  2. Do you use an RSS reader as your primary means of reading it?
  3. How annoying are the ads on here? 
  4. Do you pay the monthly fee for your blog to disable ads?

 Thanks!

Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

Five Things Friday

I’m stuck in a rocking chair trying to get M to sleep. It’s not working. And while part of me thinks that I should appreciate the time to gaze adoringly at her, since she is gazing adoringly at me but my head keeps making to do lists, which only serve to aggregate me by reminding me that evenings are generally my most productive time of the day. So in the hope that writing it down will help get it out of my head, here are the top 5 things I’d like to be doing right now:

  1. Watering the front garden. My plants are not tolerating the heat given they were just planted in the last week
  2. Drinking the can of Coke I opened at 6:30 in order to give me enough energy to get through bedtime, and that was assuming it was an easy bedtime.
  3. Saying goodnight to C. I’m usually out of M’s room when Scott is partway through C’s bedtime routine so I get in a quick kiss and cuddle. But tonight, I’ve missed that window and as luck would have it, C went to sleep quickly and easily.
  4. Going to the bathroom. 90 minutes ago, I didn’t have to pee.
  5. Going to bed. Seriously, kid. It’s almost past my bedtime, especially if you’re going to decide the day starts at 5:45. It’s 9:15 and I still need to make the chicken satay marinade I promised your sister after she read about it in an Oliva book (despite knowing that it will go over about as well as the Brussels sprouts did, though that did teach me the proper spelling of the cruciferous vegetable)

Fine. I’ll gaze at you adoringly as you coo along to your lullaby. And maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll get to watch you peacefully drift off to sleep and it will calm my brain down enough to enjoy it.

Categories: The new identity | 4 Comments

Mental Labour & Exhaustion

The general rule on the internet is not to click on links unless you know where they’re going to go, right?

The other night, I clicked on a link tweeted by a friend entirely without any context or comment associated with it and I have never been so glad to have taken that chance. It lead me to “You Should Have Asked.” It details the mental labour that women do that is not in the least bit obvious to men, particularly in committed relationships where the couple also has kids.

One of the examples that struck me the most in the web comic was that of cleaning off a table.  It could take a man 5 minutes to take everything off the table and put it where it belongs. It could take a woman 2 hours to clear everything off that table and put it where it belongs because she’ll notice, as she puts the towel in the laundry hamper, that it’s full and so she puts in a load of laundry. And then as she’s putting vegetables away, she realizes that they are out of mustard, so she has to add that to the grocery list, and so forth. While all of these tasks are needing to be done regardless of whether it is the man or woman who is doing them, these tasks are largely invisible to the man who concentrates only on clearing the table.

It explains why I start getting ready for bed before Scott, but he’s always waiting for me to climb in before he can turn out the light. It’s true that I have more that I typically do.  I have to do things like take off my makeup, take down my hair, take out my contacts and brush my teeth. And all he has to do it brush his teeth. But there are all the unrelated tasks that I still have to run through before I can even get there.

  • I take a quick look around the house but the quick look often takes long time even if I ignore all the mess that still lying around the house that I like to clean up before bed. I check to make sure that the front door is locked because if Scott only used the back door, he won’t think to doublecheck the front door before going to bed.
  • I have to make sure that I’ve got a water for the night because in the middle the night there’s nothing worse than having to get up tiptoe past sleeping baby’s room to get some water only to have her wake up and having me unable to get back to sleep after 45 minutes of feeding, rocking and sneaking out of her room.
  • I have to check on two sleeping babies. I have to make sure that the toddler is breathing normally because her night terrors and her head sweating are often linked to severe sleep apnea. I have to make sure that baby sleeping calmly enough that I can check to make sure that her boots are on properly and that nothing is shifted around on her brace without us knowing.
  • I have to check the weather for the next day that way when Scott gives me a kiss goodbye (if I’m still asleep trying to make up for the interrupted night) I can take a quick look at what he’s wearing to make sure that it’s weather appropriate.
  • I have to make sure that I’ve got a list of everything that I need to get ready the next morning because the minute that my feet hit the ground, they hit the ground running, knowing it doesn’t matter whether we need to be at the door at 9 AM or whether we need to be at the door at 11, because there’s always something that gets forgotten or left behind. I always tell myself that tomorrow’s going to be the day that I remember to get everything into the bag when it needs to be in there.
  • And then I have to do a postmortem on the day. I think I put on things that went well. I think one of the things that I forgot to do, and I have all the things that I didn’t get to do. And then I have to try to decide whether it’s more important that I get eight hours of sleep a night or whether I get them done or whether I put them in a note somewhere to get them done which inevitably leads to making a note of all the things that need to be done around the house because I was intending to make that list of things we need to pick up from Home Depot and every time I’m at Home Depot I think “I don’t have a list of things to do” so start making that list

Before I know it, an hour has passed and while I may not accomplished anything in full, I’ve gotten at least three and a half lists made and figured out answer to a problem that I didn’t realize was an issue until I was half asleep.

Scott once explained me that having ADD means there is a constant sound of static in his head. Maybe not static, he said, but there is so much going on that he couldn’t pick out one single sound, and it gets exhausting. This mental load that women handle often feels the exact same, only instead of it being a constant droning sound we can’t distinguish, we can’t stop hearing each individual noise and try to categorize them and control them, all while trying to maintain a sense of composure, grace and decency.

It’s no wonder that once I finally fall into bed, I either can’t sleep, for all the thoughts in my head, or am out immediately, exhausted from trying to have my body keep up with my brain.

Categories: The new identity | 9 Comments

Giving the Bar A Boot (CTEV update)

Last week, M got approval to go down to nighttime wear for her boots (BNB). While we had figured out all of the tips and tricks by the end of the 3 months of full-time wear, I couldn’t wait to move forward with our lives. On the drive home, even the grass lining the roads seemed so much greener. That afternoon, M was so smiley and happy, and even carrying her around felt so much lighter and not just because she was missing 15 ounces of orthopaedic device.  And then I went to grab a drink and when I came back I started bouncing M on my knee, thinking to myself about how wonderful life was going to be.

Until I realized every bounce squished poop up out of her diaper and all over me. Welcome back to reality, Cara!

In all seriousness, there are some decided benefits to M being out of boots during the day. When we go to the park, I put her in the swing, I can hold her on the teeter-totter. When she’s in a baby carrier I won’t have to counteract the weight of the bar. I can use any of my carriers, and even put her on my back in them now. I can dress her in anything I want since we’re no longer having to dress around a bar.

Now we have new challenges.  She has no idea how to sleep without her boots on. Having untethered legs have sort of re-started her moro reflex only with her legs and not her arms. Her feet swell during the day in the heat, and so we have get them cooled down before we can put her boots on. And while she is currently thrilled when she sees her boots, since they are her favourite thing to chew on, we’re also starting to see the start of her getting frustrated with having her freedom during the day and not at night.

But the biggest challenge for me? It’s realizing that I thought it would be easier once we were done casts and full-time wear. I thought that moving down to nights only would be a significant and meaningful transition that would finally make me be able to put this all behind me. But with part-time bracing until 5, and semi-annual and then annual appointments until 16, we have years to go until it’s no longer an issue. I’d always told myself the first six months would be the hardest, and while that is, no doubt, true, it doesn’t make the next six months easy.

Categories: The new identity | 6 Comments

Five Things Friday Summer Plans

It’s a quiet overcast Thursday afternoon and I have managed to nap with both my girls (snuggles in bed with C was significantly more restful than nodding off in M’s glider). That is how grey days should be spent.  But, of course, when planning summer activities, we usually only think about the sunny days. I’m ok with that. The grey days are for taking it easy. But the sunny days? Here’s what I want to do:

  1. Go to a variety of beaches. There are so many lakes around here. While Bird’s Hill Park is a favourite, I’d like to check out Falcon Lake and West Hawk Lake too. 
  2. Go camping. That’s a near yearly tradition, and since we go with my family, that weekend has been booked since January (while I was still sleep deprived enough to not realize I would be taking an 8 month old with me. 
  3. Grow our veggies. Last year we took part in a CSA (community supported agriculture) that provided us with a box of veggies every week. It was good, but wasn’t tailored to our tastes so this year, we’re going to try growing ourselves. I’ve built and planned 30 sq ft of raised beds to grow carrots, peas, tomatoes, beans, peppers, herbs and so much more. But no zucchini. I’ve rarely had success at gardening so this “go big” strategy might fail but maybe having invested that kind of money in it will give me the push I need to keep it up. 
  4. Go to the zoo. We have memberships so this shouldn’t be too hard to convince us to do. They also have an animatronic dinosaur exhibit for the second summer and C promises is that this year, she won’t be scared of it. 
  5. Get some projects done. I have a doll house sitting in my garage that needs refinishing. I’ve promised C we’d turn her play structure into a castle. And building those raised beds made me realize I don’t hate building things when I get to use power tools. 

Thanks, Beth, for posting your Summer Bucket List. Mine may not be as long (or as pretty) but I’m sure it will still keep us busy. 

Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

How To Get Dressed

“Go ahead,” I said at 3:00 in the morning to the OverDrive app on my phone: “tell me again that you only wear boots that cost several hundred dollars”.

That’s the one memory I have of reading Alison Freer’s How to Get Dressed. It started out so promising – the first two chapters available without signing out the book through my library had me even smiling as I clicked through the pages. But at 3 am, as I reached the middle of the book, I was raging.

The book obviously didn’t answer back immediately. But it did a few chapters later. In between were copious references to why no one should ever send their clothes to a dry cleaners because it’s a waste of money (which apparently should only be used for buying expensive boots).

There was 5 pages on how to properly wear a tuxedo. There was an entire chapter on laundering clothes, one on stain removal and a glossary of fabric types that pretty much just repeated — for the third time — how to launder items.

I appreciated the reminder on how to make sure you are getting a good fit. The tips and tricks for wardrobe malfunctions could have been handy, if I hadn’t already known them. But by the time I got to the section on what fashion rules to ignore — ones that everyone already ignore — I was over her bragging “I work with celebrities but I can’t tell you who, I’ll just assure you that they are THE biggest name in Hollywood” and other boasts (even the acknowledgements implied that 705 people were needed to do her regular work while she stepped aside to write this book).

Seriously, guys. Give this book a hard pass unless you’re someone who woke up this morning and thought “you know, I’ve shown no interest in clothing until this very minute and now I want to dress like a star” because chances are, if you’ve even only mildly been interested in clothing there is nothing she has to say that is relevant to your life that you don’t already know, or wouldn’t be able to Google if the need arose.

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Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

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