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From Covid fears to opportunities

All was well and suddenly; one day we woke up to a world-wide lock down, schools out, social distancing, restrictions on public gathering and stay home to name a few. We awoke to the result of novel COVID-19, impacting spaces across the world, driving panic and fear within the populace.

Do we really have to panic? Do we really have to fear? Do we really have to worry? All of these are normal natural reaction to the unknown. And guess what? It’s okay to feel that way. But it’s not okay to stay in those feelings. Continuing in the feeling of panic, fear and worry can result in a depression. And as you can see already, the problems that we face would still be unanswered. There would still be the unknown because this virus is new and the authorities are still trying to comprehend it.

So now that we realize that it’s out of our control, how can we find opportunities in this stressful period?
1. Utilize the time to do the things that you’ve always wanted to do and never had the time to do it. (eg. crocheting, sewing, online studies, connecting with friends and loved ones etc.)
2. Work online from home if possible, based on your job.
3. Spend more time with your family doing activities together (have frequent bonding moments)
4. Spend more time with your children playing, doing school work, teaching them to do new things
5. Search for new business opportunities, for example passive income
6. Reflect on your life, relationship, set goals, develop a plan to accomplish these goals
7. Take the time to understand self and determine the areas of weaknesses that you would want to work on to be a better version of yourself
8. Learn to cook new meals
9. Redecorate your house
10. Exercise at home

All the above can be accomplished if you work with a schedule taking care to include all the activities. By now you will realize that your days will now become occupied with positive things.
How you view the situation is dependent on how you respond, and or react to it.

Choose to be POSITIVE and find the OPPORTUNITIES in this situation.

Having Difficulty Getting Pregnant – Then It Happened

Just two years ago, I thought I was living a dream life. I had found my soul mate and had the most beautiful wedding surrounded by all our families and closest friends. Besides, we were finally ready to start our own family.

The truth is that we have both devoted our attention to our careers first. After all, we believed that we had all the time in the world to start our family. So, we had to work hard to have a good savings account and we would then start “practicing”. At the time I was 37 years old and I, just like most women, have taken the birth control pill for many years. I was to only get pregnant when I reached my professional goals. And this only happened at this time. So, it was the right time to think about our own family.

The truth is that practicing is a lot of fun. However, as time goes by, we start wondering if there is some kind of problem with any of us. Since hubby and I have many brothers and sisters, we never thought that we would have any problems in having a baby. While we weren’t worried after the first month of training, we started thinking that maybe there was some kind of problem when we didn’t get any positive results in the next 2 months either.

At that point, we let our minds interfere a lot. And your mind can be your worst enemy in this kind of situation. The thing is that when you think you may have a problem; you will be attracting that problem. And while we knew this, we couldn’t avoid thinking there was a problem. And this interfered. While we could be having a lot of fun practicing, we would do it just because we have to try to get pregnant.

When we reached month 5, I told my husband that it was time to see if we had some health problems that could be preventing us from having a baby. So, we scheduled an appointment and we did all the tests and exams the doctor prescribed. When we got the results, we couldn’t be happier. The truth is that there wasn’t any health problem and our bodies were functioning well. So, with that doubt off the table, we returned to practicing once again. However, this time was different. We decided that we were together for the good and for the worse and no pregnancy (or no pregnancy) would interfere again. We managed to stop with the negative feelings and only concentrate on each other. And it finally happened. Not even two months after getting the doctor’s results, I found out that I was pregnant.

In case you’re in the same situation that I was, don’t keep reading and thinking about everything you read online. Just go to the doctor and see if everything is ok. As soon as you confirm it, just focus on your partner and let it roll. As soon as you notice, you’ll be pregnant, just like it happened to me!

Married but feel like a single mom

My husband and I have been married for 6 years. Shortly after we got married, I got pregnant… with twins (a boy and a girl). Needless to say, I was scared, nervous and happy all at the same time. As a new mom, caring for one newborn can be a bit stressful, so you can imagine how I felt taking care of two babies at the same time.

Our babies are a bit older now but taking care of twins can be a bit exhausting at times. My husband is a contractor and he works odd hours. Most days he leaves the house as early as 5 am and returns extremely late, even on weekends, so I’m left with the responsibility of taking care of our kids all by myself. As a working mom, it has not been easy juggling work and mommy duties, especially on weekdays.

I wake up as early as 6am on weekdays so that I can get the twins ready for school. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I take them to their after-school programs (swimming on Mondays and soccer on Wednesdays), which means I have to rush down from work to pick them from school and drop them off at their practice. After practice, I normally head straight home and prepare dinner.

Luckily for me, I have a friend whose child also attends the same swimming lessons as my kids, so sometimes she would drop them home after practice. On the days my mommy friends volunteer to take my kids home after practice, I head straight home for some ME time before I start preparing dinner. Once they get home it’s non-stop until it’s bedtime. I have to ensure they eat dinner, bath them, and read bedtime stories, which normally comes at the request of my son. This has been my daily routine for the last several years. Some days are hectic while some can be good but if my husband was around more often it would easier.

I love my husband – we have a great relationship; I just wish he was around more to help out with the daily activities.

I decided to share my story on Moms Exchange because I believe moms should stick together. So, I’m hoping that someone out there can let me know how to better deal with this issue.

Checklist for travelling with a toddler

Here are my absolute MUSTS for travelling with a toddler:

Packing tips:

  • – Start packing a few days before your trip
  • – Decide what you’ll use as carry-on luggage and what you will check-in
  • – Try and minimize what you have to carry to keep your hands free
  • – Pack all liquid in Ziplock bags
  • – Don’t forget to pack chargers for any devices you are taking
  • – Use sanitizer wipes, especially on the plane, to wipe your seat, tray table, arm rests, etc.
  • – Load up the iPad with movies/shows as a backup plan
  • – Toddler headphones for the iPad

 

Checklist:

  • – Snacks (pack as many snacks as you can)
  • – Collapsible / umbrella stroller (try not to fold it up until you are right at the plane)
  • – Bag for stroller (you can order from Amazon)
  • – Diaper bag
  • – Diapers (bring extra diapers in the event of an emergency of unforeseen delays)
  • – Wipes/wipes container
  • – Changing Pad
  • – Sanitizer (for you after changing your toddler, if no soap/water is available)
  • – Car seat
  • – Car seat bag (you can order on Amazon)
  • – Portable highchair
  • – Bibs
  • – Warm Water in a thermos or bottled water for mixing formula
  • – Formula (preferably in travel packs that are sealed or in a container premeasured for bottles)
  • – Baby Food pouches
  • – Bottles (an extra one in case of delays)
  • – Water in a sippy cup
  • – Plastic fork/spoon
  • – Night light
  • – Medications (for cold or injuries/thermometer)
  • – Painter’s tape to childproof at destination
  • – 2 extra sets of clothes just in case of an emergency
  • – An extra set of clothes for yourself just in case
  • – Face cloths
  • – Blanket
  • – Jacket
  • – Extra Shoes
  • – Sunhat
  • – Sunscreen
  • – Mini Shampoo (in case a quick cleanup is necessary or to wash any soiled clothes)
  • – Bags for wet/dirty clothes
  • – Extra pacifier (if they use one – as soon as 1 gets dirty you need the extra)
  • – Swim Diaper(s)
  • – Bathing Suit
  • – Baby soaps/shampoo

First Christmas as a new mom

Christmas has always been the best and most exciting holiday for me ever since I was just a little girl. I remember growing up, I would start planning my Christmas outfits from October and my mom would just smile at me. Looking back at those years, I realize that my love for Christmas has not changed, well, this year it was a little different because I became a wife and a mom for the first time ever.

For me being a first time wife and mom, it was quite exciting planning the Christmas decor, food and little get together party with friends, even though I had to focus all my attention on my 2 months old baby.

As early as November, my husband and I decided to go Christmas shopping to make our home as beautiful as ever because it was going to be the first Christmas our baby would experience.

Christmas tree with gift all around it, fairy lights, hanging stockings and a beautifuly decorated fireplace was how we made our living room. When I  was pregnant I told my mom that I was really looking forward to this Christmas because it would be the first Christmas I would experience as a first time mom and I also told her about my decor and food plans but she gave me a grin and said ‘ I doubt you would have time to do all that with a baby that small’. I even read articles on how Christmas can be stressful with babies but that wasn’t the case for me, I had the best Christmas ever.

On the morning of Christmas, my husband and I cuddled around our fireplace while holding our baby in our arms and singing Christmas songs. I can’t even describe how amazing that felt.

A couple of hours later we had made our special Christmas stuffing with bacon recipe which we love so much and by afternoon, our friends were trooping in bearing gifts and taking turns to carry our baby. I was surprised at how she didn’t cry at all, she felt so comfortable in their arms. Later that evening after all our friends had gone home, we sat by our Christmas tree unwrapping gift. Most gift were for our little one, items like baby diapers, baby photo album, rattlers and muscial toys, were gifts that were given. In summary, I would say that I had fun on Christmas day and this Christmas is one that I wouldn’t want to forget in a hurry.

Returning to work after mat leave

There’s always a fine balance between work and family, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I recently resumed work after my maternity leave expired and I can tell you that it has not been easy caring for an 8-month baby and working on a full-time 9-5 job. I’ll take you back to a week before my resumption and my first day of resumption.

Before I resumed work, I had a colleague who also went on maternity leave a year before I did and she would tell me tales of how emotionally attached she was with her baby and I could tell that she really missed her baby from her ‘every second call’ to her nanny. With that in mind, I began to set my emotions in check for the D-day.

On the morning of my resumption, I woke up in a high spirit, I had my bath, wore my favorite floral dress that I had abandoned when I was pregnant and put on some makeup and jewelry. After getting ready to leave for work, I stood in front of my full-length mirror and admired how beautiful I looked because sincerely speaking I had not had time for a proper me-time and self-care. Before I left home, I gave all my baby’s essentials to my sister who lives with my husband and me and told her all she needed to do for my baby.

After what seemed like a 10-mile drive to work, I was finally in front of my work building, at first I had a partial guilt feeling because I was not taking care for my baby by myself and I was not with her but then again I had to work to earn a living so that I can take care of her.

After being warmly welcomed by my colleagues I felt like my old self again and I gradually let go of the guilt feeling. However, an hour after I had settled at work, I began to miss my baby in a way that I couldn’t explain, it felt like I was missing a piece of me. Without further ado I called my sister’s phone but she didn’t respond, I dialed it again still no response and before I could calm myself, I began to cry because I was worried and scared, only for my sister to call me 3 minutes later to tell me that she was upstairs playing with my baby and her phone was downstairs.

I am gradually adjusting to my work life, although I still get emotional sometimes, I have improved and I know that 80% of nursing mothers have experienced similar situations when they resume work. Getting a fine balance between work and family is always hectic but I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.

First time mom

Oprah Winfrey once said, “The choice to become a mother is the choice to become the greatest spiritual teacher there is”. I pondered on that quote for days, after I found out that I was 3 weeks pregnant. Thoughts like ‘so I’m going to be a mother now’, ‘so someone is going to be dependent on me’ or the frightening thought like ‘how is labor going to be like’, filled my mind each passing day. I constantly had that scary yet exciting feeling about being a mother, mostly because it was going to be my first time ever. Although my mother was not around to teach me the basic things every first-time mother ought to know, I had Google and Siri as my coach and best friend. You could catch me at any given moment saying ‘Siri, what’s the best way to bath a baby’, or ‘Google, what are the dos and don’ts for a first-time mother’, and the list goes on and on. And just like the Boy Scout motto which says “Be Prepared”, I tried my possible best to be prepared for everything.

Before my very eyes, it was a week to my due date, I started giving pep talks to myself and told myself severally, ‘Girl, you are ready for this, you got this’. I was indeed mentally, physically and most importantly financially ready to bring my little bundle of joy into this world.

My due date finally came, I was nervous but yet excited at the same time. My darling husband was with me, dishing out lovely words of encouragement as I laid on a bed in the labor room (my labor experience would be a story for another day).

All the long hours in the labor room felt like they would never pass by until I heard the cry of my baby girl then suddenly all the pains vanished like magic. I held her in my arms never wanting to leave her, and for the first time in my life, I felt the joy of motherhood, and in that moment I truly understood the joy of motherhood

It’s been months since I joined the motherhood wagon, and all the research I made on caring for a baby, when I was pregnant finally paid off, I could score an A+ on my caring skills. My experience being a first-time mom has taught me how to love, care, cherish, provide and protect someone other than myself. Like Oprah Winfrey once said “The choice to become a mother is the choice to become the greatest spiritual teacher there is”, therefore, each and every day I strive to become the greatest spiritual teacher my baby would ever know.

Mother of 3

Having a baby will always bring a new experience for any mother, new or with previous children. With my third son, I was the most prepared mentally but drained physically as I was caring for my other two sons. A mother of boys is a busy job, keeping up with their energy on a regular level is a task and during pregnancy can feel like a marathon! Taking care of household duties- cooking, doing laundry, cleaning as well as having a full time job can be exhausting on a daily basis. Being blessed with a husband who takes on a lot of the physical tasks of caring for the children is a huge help. Simply activities of bending down to bathe children were too difficult for me during pregnancy.

Having an even wider support system is essential when raising young children, unfortunately I don’t have that. Having a reliable baby sitter or nanny is an avenue I am pursuing to ensure we don’t burn out ourselves while  taking care of our bunch.

When I was bringing home baby #3, I was quite anxious about the dynamics of being able to cope with a newborn, recover physically from giving birth and still be able to take care of my 4 year old and 22 month old. I got my mum and 11 year old niece to fly in to help me out because I couldn’t do it on my own as hubbie would have to be at work. Their presence was a great help and I was able to focus on caring for baby and healing my body. I have learnt that it is as important to care for myself as it is to care for my children.

Being a mother is probably the best and hardest job on earth. Getting alone time weekly is needed to refresh and renew the spirit and to remind yourself that you are an individual and not only somebody’s mother or wife. Although these early years are some of the most difficult on our bodies and minds, we must remember to enjoy the moment as these days won’t last forever.

Having My Daughter

Going in to have my daughter was the best day of my life……………….My experience like many others I am sure started by being told that I was going to be induced on October 21,  therefore I was able to mentally prepare and more importantly prepare my home knowing that I would be coming home with a baby!! OMG!!

On the morning of Saturday, October 21,  I was able to wake up, shower, and have a good breakfast……..which I know many new moms do not get the luxury of doing. (I was lucky!!!)

I was blessed to be able to have my mom and dad, my mother in-law and of course my partner at my side through this crazy, amazing, magical, scary, exciting…..Did I say scary???……time.  Having them beside me was huge, this was one of the most important moments of my life and I can look back on it and say thank you to those who were beside me through the whole ordeal.  There were definitely some scary moments throughout the day (which I will not get into) but in the end it all turned out amazing and at 810pm my daughter was born and she was perfect at 7 lbs 3 oz!!!

Now to being a new mom at home……..just us……no nurses to buzz when I needed anything, How scary is that, they sent us home, outside, into the world with this precious little tiny baby at 1030pm on a Sunday night, Yikes!!! I was very lucky to have my partner at home for 2 weeks as well as my mother in law there to help for 2 weeks and of course my parents were less than 10 minutes away and were over all the time!! So definitely very lucky.  And as I mentioned earlier I was one of the lucky ones who was able to prepare before going to the hospital so the house was ready, well I thought it was, lol!! My daughter did not want to sleep by herself at all, the only way we got her to sleep was on one of us so for the first  2 weeks we took 4 hour shifts on the couch with her sleeping on us, not ideal but it worked (for us).  My daughter and I then started co-sleeping which again worked for us, I know I know most people say its so bad and so dangerous and you shouldn’t do it, but again it worked for us and my philosophy is “Whatever keeps you sane”. Finally at 4 months she started to sleep in her crib for 10 to 12 hours straight, woohoo!! Amazing.  This only lasted until she was 12 months and then back in our bed she came, lol!! This is something I am still working on a solution for.

Honestly though as scared as I was when we started this chapter in our lives I absolutely love it!!! I loved being at home with my daughter for a full year (again very lucky), we did as much as we could together, Aquafit, Mom and baby yoga, strollerfit, storytime and of course a number of mall trips and lunches.  I definitely wish that I could stay home with her forever but lets get real that’s not an option for most people these days.  We are now in a great routine, we get up we get ready and she goes to my parents every day (again lucky!!!) and Daddy and I go to work.  Bedtimes are pretty routine and we try and play as much as we can before bed.  Now I can’t wait for every new stage in the future!!!

We are truly amazing mommas and don’t ever forget that, we don’t need to be perfect we just need to stay sane and keep our babies loved and keep them safe enjoy it, enjoy it all!!!

 

Why Momsxchange

Hi! Welcome to Moms Exchange. My name is @pickering_mom905, Co-founder of momsxchange.com

The reason we created Moms Exchange is because we believe that connecting moms is a step in the right direction to help moms connect and share stories and advice with each other, which in turn helps alleviate some of the feelings of loneliness, social isolation and disconnection some moms may face during and after they have a baby.  When I got pregnant with my daughter, I immediately had a million and one thoughts in my head……When can I tell people? What will happen to my career? When can I start pre-natal yoga? What will a year off of work be like? Will I take the full year off or will me and my fiancé split it?  Where will he or she go to daycare when I go back to work? And, of course, many, many others.

With these thoughts and questions floating around in my head, I needed somewhere to go to get all of my questions answered, but where? I ended up doing research on one site, buying baby items on another site, and reading advice from a million others.

Our goal at Moms Exchange is to have moms, new and experienced, provide real-time advice to other moms (via our online Mommy chat room tool), support momtrepreneurs and other local businesses owned and/or operated by moms (via our Mommy Business), buy and sell gently used kids items from other moms (via our Mommy Shop), and share their experience with other moms across Canada (via our Mommy Blog), all in one secure, trusted, and judgement free environment. Yes, that’s right, all in one spot. No longer will you need to look at three or four different sites to get everything that you need.

If you would like to help us alleviate the social isolation, loneliness and disconnection some of our moms’ face, or connect with other moms in your community, please sign up here… it’s FREE.

Word of the Week (WOW)

Matrescence: The process of becoming a mother.

Helpful info

1. Click here to apply for Maternity and Parental benifits

2. Apply for your child's Social Security Insurance number here

3. Complete your child's birth registration here

4. Are you eligible for Canada Child Benefits? here to find out

5. Toronto Public Health offers free prenatal breastfeeding classes online. Click here for more information

6. The Public Health Agency of Canada is committed to promoting awareness about SIDS and safe infant sleep environments. For more information, click here

7. Are you experiencing Perinatal Mood Disorder? If so, click here for more information

8. Click here to learn more about Health Weight Gain During Pregnancy

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