How do I help my Kids with Back to School?

How do I help my Kids with Back to School?

This post may contain affiliate links. To read the full (and a little boring) policy click here

Right now we are all being bombarded with so much information about what fall is going to look like. I’m overwhelmed with the amounts of opinions and content being thrown my way. Not to mention that its ever changing and conflicting information.

School, sports, music lessons, daycare, play dates, and pretty much every aspect of life will be different. We don’t know what September and beyond holds for us and every single family’s situation is different with its own challenges.

Lately I have been laying awake at night wondering what is the right plan for us. I’m a stay at home mom for three kids that works part-time online. My sons will be in Grade 5 and kindergarten, and my daughter just turned two.

If I decide to home school, I worry about providing enough time to each of their needs. I also worry that their will be too much screen time in between my one on one attention. I’m scared that they will lose friendships because they won’t see their classmates. I worry they will miss the routine and the stress will be a lot for them.

If I decide to send them to school, I worry of course they will be the unfortunate one to unknowingly catch Covid from a classmate. Or that they will go back to school with all the excitement of a slight “return to normalcy” only to have it ripped away after a month. Will we be right back to social distancing and shut into our house for the winter months? What will this do to their little brains and emotional well being?

I worry about myself and if I will burn out or become impatient over time. Will it mentally be too exhausting to educate my kids, work, and run a household properly?

I worry about making the wrong decision and not being able to get over it. Am I overreacting by keeping them home? Or am I under reacting by following the people around me and sending them to school while ignoring my gut? Its an absolute impossible situation with no right answer.

What can I do to help my Kids with Back to School?

There’s only so much that is in my control:

I can decide how we live our lives on a day to day basis. Limiting our exposure in outside environments, wearing our masks, washing our hands, and limiting our social bubbles

I can decide whether I home school, virtual school or go back to the classroom

That’s it. Everything else is out of my control and I have to learn to live with that.

So that’s how I have to handle things for my own sanity, but how do I shield my kids a little, and make their life a happy and safe environment no matter how this year plays out?

I have to be honest with them

I have been tempted to downplay the impact Covid-19 is having on the world. Different cities and countries are having varying experiences, and overall our home city is in a pretty good situation. But they need to know the possibilities that could happen and why its important to follow the safety measures.

We’ve had to have the difficult situations where they were confused about friends getting together with other friends while we were not going anywhere. Its a fine balance of explaining different choices, while also being careful not to sound like you’re passing judgement. Everyone has different comfort levels and we have to respect them the same that they respect ours.

Then there’s the confusion of cohorts and bubbles and quaranteams (not my favorite term bleh), and try explaining that to them. “Well mom I don’t understand. Why can I only see a few friends and not others, but I’m able to go to hockey camp and in a month I will probably be back school?”

I’ve had to be incredibly honest with my kids that we’re doing the best we can to navigate each situation and make proper decisions, but we too will make mistakes and probably not get things right. How do you explain to a ten year old the delicate balance of their mental health through socializing and sports, while keeping some sort of social distancing structure in place? You can’t so you just have to ask them to trust your decisions.

Get the conversations going now

Have open and honest talks with the kids about everything that is happening with school

When our now 5 year old had just turned 4, his preschool organized a field trip to the science center. He was so excited and counted down the days.

On the big day I realized on the drive to his preschool that we had never had an indepth conversation about stranger danger, or what to do if he got lost or separated from his group. Or just the general safety rules of being in public without mom or dad. In a wonderful parenting fail, I quickly rattled off everything I could think of at this poor little child, including writing my phone number on his ankle in pen “just in case” he needed it. I overwhelmed him and accidentally scared the crap out of him. So I got a phone call an hour into the field trip saying they couldn’t get him to stop crying and I had to go pick him up. Way to go Mom.

With our oldest child, I had started those conversations earlier and was much more organized, so he never felt overwhelmed. Throwing everything at my second son on the day of was too much for him to process. The same goes for the conversations that we need to have with our kids about what school will look like this September. We can’t wait till the night before to bombard them with how things may or may not be different this year.

I want to prepare my kids for situations so they won’t get blindsided with the following topics:

  • They need to know proper safety measure
  • They need to be prepared that school is going to look different than it did last year
  • Their social lives will be different. They might not get to go to birthday parties of friends in other classrooms due to cohorts. And they can’t be upset about that as much as it hurts
  • They need to understand why a teacher pulls them back from entering the bathroom at the same time as a kid from a different class. Or asks them not to high five buddies in the hallway. And that they didn’t do anything wrong
  • I want them to know that if they get sick at school, they will be isolated by themselves until I get there and they don’t need to be scared, its just precautionary.
  • They need to be prepared that school could end abruptly again as it did last year, but it won’t be that way forever
  • I want them to feel safe and that I will support decisions that they make in their best interest. If we proceed with a plan to go to the classroom and they change their mind and want to switch to virtual learning I will support them and do everything I can to make it work.
  • Most importantly I want them to know that as parents, we’ve never lived through something like this before and we are making decisions with the information that we have in our best interest as a family and that’s all we can do. Its all anyone can do. So when their friends families are making slightly different decisions. Those are what’s right for their situation.

Every family is going to have different conversations around their own situation. The above topics are applicable to mine. But my motive is to make sure they are prepared for what the fall may or may not look like.

Provide Consistency At Home

As the schooling landscape changes, my plan to help make things a little bit more routine and constant at home is to create 2-3 constant activities. What I mean by this is that no matter what happens I will have 2-3 manageable activities that we will consistently do at home, on the same days, at the same time.

I am labeling 30 minutes a day, everyday at 4 pm, Family Activity time. I chose 4 pm because if they are in school full time, than they will be home by then. And if they are back to virtual schooling, then they will be here and need something to break up the day at that point in time

In our school district there are three scenarios. Scenario 1 is back to regular school with precautions. This is the current plan that they plan on moving forward with. Scenario 2 is school half time and Scenario 3 puts the kids back at home with virtual learning. Depending on cases and transmission in our area, the decision to move into a different scenario can happen overnight. So I want to offer a level off consistency at home that they can hold onto.

Activity 1: Monday and Wednesday I plan on having the kids do 30 minutes of Big Life Journal . I love love love this company and the activities and emotional development it promotes for a wide range of age groups. My oldest has always struggled with communication and managing his emotions. Their products have always helped him. I want to offer them an outlet to express emotions and thoughts they might not be able to fully comprehend on their own through these uncertain times. Check out Big Life Journal HERE. They have both physical and digital products available

Activity 2: Tuesday and Thursday I plan on having workout time. There are so many great online resources for yoga, dance videos or different kinds of cardio. Or we can just head out for a bike ride or a walk. I don’t know what the limitations of recess and gym are going to be like at school. Or if we are at home sometimes its easy for a whole day to pass with limited physical movement within the house. So I want to have that minimum amount of 30 minutes a couple days a week that we play together as a family.

Activity 3: Friday night Art Night. The possibilities are endless. We can paint, color, do crafts. Anything! Just as long as its creative, fun and an opportunity to escape the challenges of the week. We can get as messy as we want and enjoy making things together

Where do we go from here?

I think its safe to say that no one with school age children is overly comfortable with September. Or maybe you read this article and you think I’m an excessive worrier and need to settle down. Trust me I agree with you on that!

No matter what you’re thinking on back to school is, I have only two requests, and I’m sure we will share the need for these requests:

  1. Don’t beat yourself up about what you decide, or what has been decided for you based on your situation. You are doing what you need to do to make your family life, work life and personal life move forward. If you’ve read this entire article and made it to this point, I’m guessing you are feeling some of the same feelings I am. I put a lot of guilt and pressure on myself and I will try to heed my own advice and try to relax a bit.
  2. Don’t push your decision on anyone else or make anyone second guess themselves. There are a million factors that are playing into everyone’s schooling decisions this fall and they are not easy. I have had a few situation lately that have popped up that pushed my comfort zone and I was worried that I would be judged by choosing to not participate. The reactions from the people involved were amazing and I felt really supported. I want to be mindful that I react to people in the same way and teach my kids to be sensitive as well.

With this I sign off and wish you all the best for the Back to school season. As always, I would love to read any comments below and advice on how you are approaching your return to fall.

Stay safe and Healthy

Carpet Cleaner DIY Solution

Carpet Cleaner DIY Solution

You have probably figured out by now how important non toxic, chemical free cleaning is to me. I am a firm believer that green cleaning is the healthiest thing for your home and your family.

I am by no means perfect when it comes to healthy living, but chemical free cleaning is such an easy thing to do. Years ago when I bought my first carpet cleaner, I took a look at the cleaning solution that came with it and said nope. The chemical smell was overwhelming and made me feel lightheaded. My first question was, what can I use instead of store bought carpet cleaning solution?

I tried a few different recipes, and after coming across a blog from an actual carpet cleaning company I found my “solution”. Ha! See what I did there? But they said that what it really comes down to is super hot water that breaks up the dirt in the carpet. Chemicals and solutions help aid the process, but its the hot water that accounts for most of the cleaning. Well that works for me!

I experimented a little, but my favorite carpet cleaner homemade solution is simply super hot water, a small sprinkle of natural laundry soap across the carpet and a little bit of essential oils in the tank to add a fresh smell. Don’t go overboard on the laundry soap or oils. Neither are necessary, and too much could result in either a foamy or oily carpet. I only spread half a scoop over the carpet and put about 6-8 drops in the 1 liter tank

Me Demonstrating the Carpet Cleaning Process I use

I have this carpet on our main floor in the TV room that is white. I got it from IKEA so its nothing fancy but I really love it. Its not huge and it only takes me about 10-15 min to complete the whole process of vacuuming and carpet cleaning. I wanted to demonstrate how easy my method is, but I decided you probably didn’t want to watch me clean for 15 minutes so I super sped it up. I taped my phone to the ceiling which probably took longer than the actual cleaning process, but it worked out to be a pretty cool visual.

If I could really clean this fast my house would look amazing all the time!

The Results of the Carpet Cleaning DIY Solution

At the end of the video you can see my failed attempt at trying to hold up the dirty water to see. Apparently I forgot how gravity works. So here is a quick recap of the results.

I love love love this carpet cleaner homemade solution. It makes me feel so good when I see the kids lying on the carpet watching a movie that they aren’t inhaling residue of chemicals and that it is fresh and clean.

3 Ingredient Homemade Weed Killer

3 Ingredient Homemade Weed Killer

What if I told you that this 3 ingredient Homemade Weed killer did the following things?

  • Saves you time
  • prevents back breaking weed pulling
  • its non toxic and chemical free
  • its super inexpensive
  • Actually works!!

Sounds too good to be true right? But it really is all those things! I can’t rave enough about this recipe. It checks all the boxes. It could not be easier and you probably have all 3 ingredients in your house already.

What’s in the 3 Ingredient Homemade Weed Killer?

Vinegar – 1 gallons (4 Litres)

Salt – 1 Cup

Dish Soap – 2 Tablespoons

I previously tried to mix a smaller batch of everything into a spray bottle and spray the rock section in between our house and our neighbors. It took a really long time and my hand hurt. I tried to have one of my kids do it, but they did a mediocre job at best.

I solved both problems by purchasing this sprayer. It arrived in two days and it works amazing. It took me 5 minutes to spray the whole area and my two older children were fighting to take turns. Worth it!

Want to see the Results?

These photos were taken at 10am, right before I sprayed the 3 ingredient homemade weed killer.

The area is covered with a variety of small green weeds that are so time consuming to pick by hand. It looks terrible and they grow so fast!

It took me 5 min to completely soak the area with the spray pump I purchased. It fits exactly 1 gallon of vinegar, 1 cup of salt and 2 tablespoons of dish soap. I used about two thirds with my first spray

These photos were taken at 2pm. You can see the weeds are starting to shrivel and disappear.

I did a second coat on a few of the larger weeds and the ones that were still looking green.

Make sure that you are only spraying this in areas that you just have weeds. Do not spray it on weeds in your grass or around your flowers because they will have the same fate.

These photos were taken at 9pm. 11 hours after the initial spray.

I used a rake and pushed the rocks back and forth all the way from one side to the other. This took me about 10 minutes in total.

I took a photo of the small amount of weeds that I pulled out by hand.

I did one more final spray to sit overnight.

It took me only about 20 minutes in total for everything. It only cost about $3 to make. And it actually worked!

Another thing to point out is that because it is all safe ingredients, I don’t mind letting one of the kids go out and spray it.

These are the final photos the next day at around 2pm.

I did one final rake over everything and this is the final result! Looks perfect!

I am so happy with this entire process. This is my weed killing recipe for life.

The only thing that makes me happier than a product or recipe that works is a chemical free one! It makes me feel so much better about using it and having a safe home and yard. For more tips of removing chemicals around your house and green cleaning, check out these articles:

14 ways to use less Chemicals in your home

Castile Soap: When it Works and when it Doesn’t

That recipe one more time

1 Gallon of Vinegar

1 Cup of Salt

2 Tablespoons of Dish soap

Happy Weed Killing!

Castile Soap: When it works and when it doesn’t

Castile Soap: When it works and when it doesn’t

When I first started using Castile soap I almost quit. I kept reading articles about how it was a wonder product that would cure everything. Clean your house, cure your acne, give you thick luscious hair and kill weeds naturally.

I felt like it wasn’t living up to the hype with some of these claims and I figured it was a silly product. But, I am glad I kept with it. Really glad! .

In the beginning, I found it confusing. There are a million recipes for different uses and I found it overwhelming. I tried a giant process of trial and error of all the different uses of Castile Soap and I would love to share them with you.

Some uses I now swear by, and others I have different methods I prefer. Read on to see my findings.

What is Castile Soap?

Lets start with a description of what Castile soap is. There is a giant history lesson that comes with Castile soap. I will spare you the schooling, although its really interesting if you ever want to google it.

The absolute minimal gist of it, is that Castile soap originates in the Castile Region of Spain. Traditionally it is made with Olive and laurel oils. The soap migrated to other areas of Europe and became very popular. It was especially popular in England. Other areas did not have easy access to Laurel oil, thus it began to made with just olive oil. 

What are the Ingredients of Castile Soap?

Nowadays it is defined as a vegetable based soap.

Many manufacturers use a variety of oils including coconut, walnut, castor, avocado, almond and hemp oils as well.

Depending on the scent, some use natural fragrances to add a nice smell.

How is it different to other Cleaners and Soaps?

The biggest difference between Castile Soap and regular soap is Castile is vegetable based and most soaps are animal fat based.

The biggest difference between Castile Soap and most other cleaners is that is it chemical free and non toxic.

What makes Castile Soap Better?

I’ve mentioned a few things like the lack of chemicals that really make Castile Soap an amazing choice. Above and beyond that, there are a number of reasons why its a better choice for a lot of uses in your home

Its eco-friendly/biodegradable

Vegan

Not tested on animals

 Non toxic

Extremely versatile 

Its economical!

Why I love Castile Soap

As I mentioned before, I was not an instant fan. I am really happy I kept trying it for different uses, because the things I love it for, I REALLY LOVE it for:

  • One of my favorite things is that I can start to teach my young sons how to clean a bathroom but not have to worry about them handling dangerous chemicals.
  • I appreciate that I can wash our fruits and vegetables with something natural that’s not going to leave a yucky soapy taste.
  • I really enjoy that I can make my own body and hand foaming wash with amazing essential oil smells.
  • Using Castile Soap in the areas that I have found really work, make me feel like I”m doing a small step to making my family healthier and reducing the chemicals in our home.
  • It really is very economical, especially stacked up against other Green products. For a 1 liter bottle it is approx $22 CAD. There are 4 cups in one liter. Lets look at a couple of the cost savings that are easy to quantify.
Use of ProductCastile SoapCompetitor
Foaming HandsoapUse 1/2 cup or $2.75/hand soap refill$3-$5/avg per bottle
Foaming BodywashUse 1/2 cup or $2.75/body wash refill$5-$8/avg per bottle

 Is there any downside to using Castile Soap?

There are a few things you need to avoid when using Castile Soap:

  1. I have hard water and a water softener is on my “wants” list, but not in the budget at this time. The Castile Soap reacts with the water and leaves behind a white film residue. This is why there are some uses that I don’t use it for like mopping darker floors. For some people it might work better. 
  2. Both Vinegar or lemon juice mixed with Castile soap will have the same white film effect. Since many of us use these two ingredients for other natural cleaning purposes, just keep it in mind that mixing them will give an undesired effect.
  3. Castile soap on color-treated hair may strip away some of the color, so if you decide to try it as a shampoo make sure you are not coloring your hair. 

Above and beyond the few little things mentioned above, I just found that are some things that it is amazing for, and others that I would rather use something else. 

The Many Uses of Castile Soap

I broke the following list into the my reviews through trial and error of when I found it worked, and when it didn’t

When It Works

1. Foaming Hand Soap – You have to get the mixture just right to get the right amount of foam. I purchased a few foaming hand soap pumps from Walmart. I mix 1/2 cup of peppermint castile soap, 10 drops of thieves essential oils and fill the rest with water. It smells great! The essential oil isn’t necessary, I just put it in for an extra kick of cleaning properties.

2. Foaming Body wash – I use the same foaming soap pump I purchased for the hand soap. It doesn’t look like it belongs in the shower but it works great. I am addicted to citrus so I use a mixture of 1/4 cup of citrus castile soap and 1/4 almond castile soap and fill the remainder of the pump with water. It smells so good and leave my skin so soft. 

3. Body scrub – There are a lot of different variations and recipes of body scrubs. I keep it simple otherwise I will never bother to make something or buy extra ingredients that I don’t have around the house. I use 1/4 of castile soap, 2 tbs of coconut oil (if you have it, if not just skip it), 1/4 of water and a cup of brown sugar. Its enough to scrub from head to toe!

4. Some Laundry – For laundry I use it for sheets and towels only. I am too nervous to use it on my regular clothes because it is an oil. I know a lot of people use it for everything but I have read some people reviewing that it left oily stains. For Sheets and Towels it makes them super soft. Just pour about 3 good squeezes into the liquid laundry spot. Also fill the fabric softener tray with vinegar. Ironically when you use vinegar AFTER castile soap it gets rid of white residue. Its only when they are mixed that it creates it. 

5. Tub cleaning – I just fill the bottom of the tub with about an inch of hot water and splash in a few squirts of Castile Soap. I can give the tub a really good clean and not feel at all guilty about plopping one of my kids in immediately after. No chemicals lingering around afterwards and getting into their bath water.

6. Bathroom floor and countertops – Most bathrooms have lighter colored flooring so It works great. With the counter tops I ahve that same feeling as the tub. I can clean the kids sink and counter and don’t worry about them putting their toothbrushes down on the counter afterwards and then back in their mouth. I will say that the only area of the bathroom floor that I sometimes call in a little chemical reinforcement is my boys bathroom. Every couple of weeks I have to use something a little stronger like bleach or an antibacterial cleaner on and around their toilet. Boys are sometimes just gross

7. Shaving – I keep a bottle of Soap in my shower and just dump a little in my hand, add a tiny bit of water, lather it up and use it for an amazing shave. My skin is so soft and I never get razor burn.

8. fruit wash – When I get home from grocery shopping I fill the sink with warm water and a couple squeezes of unscented Castile Soap. I toss in all of our fruits and veggies to soak and then rinse them off. 

8. Hand washing dishes – Fill the sink with hot water and put about two squeezes in. It doesn’t work for really dirty pots and pans, but is perfect for light hand washing.

9. Dog wash – Its gentle and moisturizing on their skin and makes their hair very soft. Just lather up some in your hands and use like regular dog shampoo.

10. Light colored flooring – On darker flooring it can leave streaking, but on lighter color floors you cannot see it. I love to use it because especially with babies crawling around I don’t worry about floor cleaner chemicals.

11. Bath soak – It doesn’t foam or give bubbles but it makes a really nice soak for your skin. you feel so soft afterwards and you really do get addicted to the smell of Castile Soap.

12. Make up Remover – Dilute with water and use as an easy on your skin makeup remover.

When It Does Not Work

1. Laundry all the time – It is an oil. So I don’t want to put it on my delicate fabrics. I have read reviews of people claiming it left oily stains on their more delicate fabrics so I haven’t experimented with it. My favorite green product for laundry is Nature Clean laundry powder.

2. Toilet scrubbing – For light in between deep cleans it works fine. But on Bathroom deep clean day you need something stronger. Its super gross to think about, but Coke does the trick. I pour 3 cups of coke in the toilet bowl and let it sit for 15 min. I try not to think about how it dissolves and deep cleans any discoloring, because what the heck does it do to my insides?

3. Especially smelly areas around the toilet from boys – I mentioned this earlier in the areas that it does work. I love it for the bathroom floor. But every once in awhile I use a diluted deodarizing bleach to clean the toilet and around the bottom. Those middle of the night pees don’t always make it fully in the bowl from the kiddos .

4. Dishwasher – I tried it and just felt like it was a disaster. It didn’t seem to spread around evenly around the dishwasher to get everything clean and there was a white film on the glasses. I think its not the right consistency to be a good dishwasher product. I love Nature Cleans dishwasher pods. They work great!

5. Kitchen and stove cleaner – I have black counter tops, so I feel like it leaves too much of a white film. In the photo below you can see the white film down the center where I Cleaned with water and Castile Soap. I prefer to just use a vinegar based homemade spray. I use 1/2 cup of vinegar in a medium sized spray bottle and fill the rest with water. To try and mask the smell, I use peppermint essential oils. My husband hates the smell of vinegar. I love it the smell!

6. Shampoo – Nope just nope. I am used to low lather shampoo because I use that type for my curly hair. But this just looked like I had dumped an oil slick on my head.

7. Toothpaste – I think partially I’m just very conditioned to think toothpaste has to taste minty, but I did not like Castile soap for toothpaste. My mouth just did not feel right afterwards.

8. Darker hardwood or vinyl flooring – Just leaves too many streaks. You can go back over it with water or vinegar to get rid of the streaks but then it doubles your cleaning time. I prefer to use my water and vinegar mixture mentioned above.

9. Glass Cleaner – I don’t even know why someone thought this was a good plan. I tried a few different recipes of different dilutions and every time my mirrors just looked completely cloudy. Back to my vinegar!

10. Gardening – Many people use it as an insect repellent in their gardens and on their plants. I tried in on a few different plants with different scents and dilutions. There is a strong possibility that the bugs might have actually liked it better. I have not found a great chemical free product to help with bugs that doesn’t harm the plants. If you have a tested one please write it in the comments!

11. Deodorant – Similar to my shampoo reaction. Just nope. I recently ordered the Native brand deodorant and I love the smell and texture. Its awesome.

12. Sinus Decongestant – I’ve read a number of people using it in a pot of boiling water for a decongestant. I don’t see any harm in doing it and I liked the smell. I’m just not sure it had any additional benefits over the regular steam.

I really sincerely hope this list was helpful. My trial and error can help you save a few mistakes along the way. Castile soap is a wonderful product that I have found works beautifully in some areas around my home. And most importantly I love that its a safe and responsible cleaning choice. For more chemical free tips read 14 ways to use less chemicals in your home

For other cleaning and beauty products that you can feel good about, check their ratings at https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ and https://www.ewg.org/guides/. Any of the alternative cleaning methods or products I’ve mentioned above get A ratings through EWG.

Thank you for reading and Happy cleaning!

Mom Stuck! What it is and how to fix it

Mom Stuck! What it is and how to fix it

Have you ever heard the term mom stuck? Until recently I hadn’t either. It makes so much sense though. Simply put, Mom stuck is that feeling that moms get when you just feel the weight of repetition.

Its not that you don’t love your life. Its just that when every aspect of your existence is so much about your kids and your family, you get a little stuck on what YOU need. You forget, or don’t prioritize having hobbies or goals for yourself

I kind of love that this feeling has a descriptive term. It takes an abstract feeling we have all felt and recognizes it. You’re just stuck on building goals for yourself. MOM STUCK! You need a little push to get going on something. And that something can be anything. Painting, organizing, working out, reading, writing, learning a new language.

Being Mom stuck is kind of like being in a Mom rut. Its really important to again re-emphasize that being stuck does not mean you are unhappy. Its that moment when you just hit a wall as you change your millionth diaper, or prep the same lunch bag or shop from the same grocery list. And you think, I’m really bored and I don’t want to do this today. I want something to challenge me in a different way.

So here you are, Mom stuck. Hanging out in a rut. What do you do to fix it?

mom in a rut

Its not a quick process.  There are little things we can do to alleviate stress or focus on our self care. Check out my articles on 12 tips for self care. I wrote it in regards to self isolating but its applicable at anytime. Or relaxation through hydrotherapy. These things can help turn a day around or regenerate a little energy, but they don’t address the larger issue.

What Can I do to become Mom Unstuck?

1.  The first thing you have to do is identify what’s really weighing you down.

For myself, I can pretty consistently break it up into three areas

PROBLEM
  • Monotony – For me, this is the most common. Your life gets so scheduled with activities and your family’s needs that it gets very repetitive. Get kids to school, run errands, make meals, drive to activities, clean the house, repeat. Its my life and I love it but I get a little bored sometimes. 
SOLUTION
  • Goal Setting – In my post Goal Setting with Kids, I talk about the importance of Goal setting as a family. Kids need to see their parents setting out on goals and following through on them. When you life gets a bit repetitive, its important to refocus on something you want to accomplish for yourself and then etch out a bit of time each week to work towards it.
PROBLEM
  • Lack of Social connections –  In my free guide of finding happiness as a SAHM, I talk about mom friends. It can sometimes be a very tricky area of our lives to navigate. Even if you have the most amazing spouse in the world, which I do, you need friends. They help and support in different ways.
SOLUTION
  • Reach out, just force yourself and reach out. I make a lot of excuses to myself on reasons why I can’t be social, but I always feel better when I go out and do something with friends. Going out for a coffee or play date is a quick picker upper, but try to commit to something more regular. Set up something weekly or set small goals for yourself to reach out to people more frequently.
PROBLEM
  • Personal Neglect – This is something that builds up over time. Fatigue, weight gain, poor nutrition. How many of you have been guilty of feeding your kids a super well balanced healthy breakfast and then you shovel in something convenient and unhealthy on the way out the door because you forgot to include yourself? Or you cancel a doctor or dental appointment for yourself because you have too much going on? It adds up and you can find yourself a lot less healthy than you intended to be. I know I have.
SOLUTION
  • Prioritize your health…..please! – Mommas, please please please take care of yourselves. Make those doctors appointments right now. Make a plan for your health right now. Start on those small changes you keep putting off. See a nutritionist, find a walking buddy, buy an apple watch, or download a meditation app. Don’t leave it until something needs to be fixed, be proactive to keep healthy.

2.Once you really focus in on what area is troubling you, make a game plan

After looking at the problems and solutions, can you actively make a game plan? Something you can do today?

Can you find 30 min to map out a game plan over the next few months to make time for yourself and what you need to accomplish to get you unstuck?

Do you have a sense of accountability or do you need to enroll someone to help you? I can hold myself accountable for certain things no problem but in other areas I am the queen of making excuses. I use a friend or my husband to hold me accountable to things.

3. Find a way to realistically make that game plan work

This last September I had mapped out a full game plan to join a gym. I was super mom stuck in my fitness goals. I have been that way for a long time. So, I checked out their child care, worked out a budget and made a schedule of what days I would go. My husband took a look at my plan and asked me if it was realistic. The closest gym with good childcare is a 30 min drive. By the time I drive there, check the kids in, work out, shower, get the kids and come home it takes about 2.5 hours minimum. Was I Really going to do this 3-4 times a week? Plus with the membership and the childcare it was going to be close to $200/month. Was is really that practical or for that price was there another option?

He suggested a new game plan. A Peleton bike. I wanted one for a long time but they seemed crazy expensive. We did the math and with their 0% financing and membership, it came to $185/month. And it includes all of their other classes as well as the cycling ones. With this plan, I am able to put our toddler to bed, set the boys up with a snack and a show, do a workout and I’m showered by the time my husband is tucking them into bed. I Can say goodnight too and have the rest of my evening. So much more realistic.

4. I like to give myself a list of questions before I start on an unsticking mission.

So if my mom stuck has developed because I haven’t been being very social, I would give myself this questionnaire. This may seem ridiculous. But first, I love filling out forms and second it helps to put things down on paper. Call yourself out a bit. About a month down the road, answer the same questions again and re read your old ones. See how you are feeling and how you’ve been doing.

  • How many times have you reached out to friends in the last two weeks?
  • How many play dates have you arranged?
  • Did you get out of the car at drop off or pick up?
  • Is there one friend in particular that you aren’t seeing that’s bothering you?
  • Did you set something up with someone and then cancel for any reason? Did you reschedule?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you right now?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how motivated are you to engage in social activities

Again, this may seem a little silly but this is my reality. I find initiating being social very difficult, but over time I’ve recognized that its something that makes me feel a lot happier and healthier. So if I have to create a weird system to encourage me to be social then what’s the harm? 

5. If after a month, you still feel like you are not quite getting your zing back, start back at step 1.

Maybe you have an area that you need to identify that I don’t have in my list. Or maybe you aren’t identifying the source of your mom Stuck correctly. Just keep pushing and trying. A more motivated and content you is just around the corner, you might just need  a stronger push to get there.

12 Tips for Self Care in Self Isolation

12 Tips for Self Care in Self Isolation

If you are like me your head is spinning right now. I can’t stop checking my phone every few minutes to see updates. The world is changing every hour and we are all a little nervous, scared and confused. Schools are closing, extracurriculars are gone and we are all left with a million questions as we start new versions of our lives in self isolation.

As we wrap up day 5 of self isolating in our house there are a few things that have become clear to me.

  • When all 5 of us are home full time we go through a lot more groceries than I was anticipating.
  • I’ve never paid attention to our toilet paper use before and I find it very odd that we have to think about it now. So far we haven’t had to get out there and hunt for it.
  • Kids are resilient. My oldest cried for two days over the abrupt end to hockey but he is now ready to get training for next year.
  • Being a part of a community is more important than ever. Making sure you are checking in with your neighbours and loved ones is essential to getting through this together.
  • I quickly identify that I am not going to be a hero of a teacher. I’m going to do my best to create a routine and stick to it. But with a 9, 4 and 1 year old, I’m not quite sure how to balance all of their different needs. Education, physical activity, household chores, parenting, working, etc. Its a bit overwhelming. But I recognize that I am in a good position compared to a lot of people as I am a stay at home mom already.
  • The first thing to go in this new jam packed schedule is anything mom related. All self care has gone out the window and that’s on me. We are all guilty of putting our families first and when your entire family is around 24/7 it becomes even more so.

So in the interest of trying to keep ourselves healthy at home so we can take care of our families to the best of our abilities take a look at the list. I know better than anyone how easy it is to put yourself last. Please try and take little bits of time to protect your brain and your body.

The next couple of months are going to be different to anything we have experienced in our lifetimes. You may feel guilt about taking time to work on yourself when there’s so much people are dealing with out in the world but its ok. If taking time for yourself gives you the energy to keep a peaceful, happy house for your kids and to protect them from the uncertainty then its important. You have to keep yourself in a good space to create the environment they need.  

The Super Duper Self Care in your Isolation Home List (rolls right off the tongue right?)

  1. Mini breaks – 5 min here and there. As you build your schedules to home school and work, keep some moments in there that you can walk away and have a tea or meditate with a breathing app. Even just a couple minutes of quiet breathe can make a huge difference.
  2. Moms night in –  Ask your partner if you can have a night off. Ask the kids to pretend you are not in the house and take some time for yourself. Give your partner the same courtesy on a different night. They may be working from home as well and not used to having little ones wild energy in the background and need a little time too.
  3. Hot Baths – I believe in the power of hydrotherapy. I am never more relaxed or calm then when I’m in a hot shower or tub. Check out my full hydrotherapy routine if you really want to kick it up a notch.
  4. Create a social support – Reach out to all of your mom friends. Make group chats. Make fun daily challenges like who’s kid cried for the dumbest reason. Share your home school triumphs, resources and of course home school fails. Also be honest about what your kids are ACTUALLY doing. Don’t pretend like you did crafts, science experiments and outdoor sports all days if you did it for 5 minutes and watched tv the rest of the day. We are all in this new normal together and we don’t need any unnecessary guilting.
  5. Indulge – Don’t beat yourself up over little indulgences. Eat Ramen noodles, have wine a little more often, stay in your pyjamas. Do what you need to do to replace your regular life indulgences like your Starbucks or monthly massages.
  6. Soak your feet and give yourself a foot massage as you get into bed – I know literally nothing about reflexology but its so relaxing when you soak them in warm water for even 2 min and massage cream into them as you crawl into bed. I swear it makes me fall asleep instantly
  7. Buy a facial vacuum thingy –  I don’t know what they are properly called. I totally fell for an Instagram ad and bought one from modern mua but I’ve seen other brands as well. Even once it arrived at my house I was shaking my head at what an idiot I was for falling for ads but the darn thing works! The first time I used it was one of the grossest yet most satisfying things ever. You have to really steam your face first and follow the directions closely because the suction is crazy strong, but my pores have never been cleaner. Its super addicting and makes me so happy. This is a great at home spa treatment to make you feel pampered.
  8. Snuggle everything in your house – Husband, partner, pets, children. I strongly believe that being close to another living thing is so healing to our souls. Now more than ever we have the opportunity to slow down and appreciate the people and pets in our home. Take the time and connect with them.
  9.  Give a kid a brush – What woman doesn’t like to have her hair brushed? I give one of my kiddos a brush, a spray bottle and some hair elastics. It keeps them busy for awhile and they think they are playing with mom but its just relaxing to me. Its my super budget spa treatment
  10. Clean out something cluttered in the house – Just pick one drawer, one shelf or one closet. Clean it out and I promise you will feel really good afterwards. There are studies that show how cleaning really is theraputic to your mind. If you have 10 minutes just pick one small thing and tidy it up.
  11. Goal Setting – Everyone in your house should be setting goals while you are in self isolation. It is so easy to let the days blurr together and spend too much time in front of screens and the tv. Its a slippery slope. But if you work together to set some goals and work towards them, it will be great for motivation and focus. Read my goal setting with kids to get some ideas. It will keep your mind clear and strong.
  12. Do your Workouts – If you can implement family workout hour, do it! Or try to find 30 min to get your sweat on while the kids are working on an assignment. I always use the excuse that I don’t have enough time but right now I have nothing but time. I don’t and can’t have anywhere to be. So all that time I was spending driving around everyday can be used to accomplish things I’ve been putting off.

I know we are a little unsure of what’s happening in the world. Its scary! We need to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. This means you too. Reach out to friends and try to stay busy. Above all else, keep yourself and your household healthy. 

The last thing I will say, and I sincerely mean this, if you don’t feel like you have other moms to reach out to during this time. Write to me! I will respond and be happy to have another person to connect with as well. We need each other. 

Stay Healthy mommas!