Though I adore an old-fashioned letterpress invitation sent through the mail, with busy lives and hundreds of birthday and holiday parties, online invites have become the trend. I was gifted a signed first edition of Emily Post’s Everyday Etiquette from my Great Aunt, yet there is no chapter on the etiquette of online invitations! One of the great benefits, besides being thrifty, is that digital invites are great for the environment and are becoming more and more accepted. But what are some of the do’s and don’ts?
Nature-deficit disorder, as coined by American author Richard Louv, should be adopted as a scientific term. Research shows spending time outside delivers mental and physical health benefits, makes people feel more relaxed, less stressed, more invigorated and gives them a break from the pressures in their daily lives. Despite 55% of Canadians believing that nature relaxes them, a full 56% of Canadians feel they don’t get enough outdoor time. Ugh. Sure, we can blame technology, full calendars, or gross weather. But in the end, I would go even further. I believe that we not only have a tendency to place a higher value on structured activities as opposed to free play. But I also think that we avoid the unknown. A minute-by-minute schedule is comforting, somehow, and once it’s all done, we feel accomplished and successful. Going off to search for a four leaf clover that may never materialize is comparatively frightening. Without teaching or kids to venture into the unknown, however – without the safety net of the construct of a video game or piano lesson – we are failing them. Ourselves too.
We may have mommy-brain about almost everything else, but the one thing we all know is how we like our coffee.
My personal go-to has been a K-cup of an insanely dark roast cut with half and half. There is something to be said for fast, easy, eye-opening caffeine consumption that even my kid can make. (Yes, I’ve taught my oldest how to set the coffee maker and how many splashes of cream to add for it to get to just the color mommy likes.) That convenience comes at a high cost however, with a large amount of waste I’ve never felt great about.
Julie Andrews is obviously a Goddess. And thankfully, this was recognized by the wise folks at Netflix as well as myself. Tailored to creative pre-schoolers, Julie’s Green Room – a Netflix-original, is streaming away as of this month. You can join Fizz, Riley, Peri, Spike, and Hank, as they explore the magic of the performing arts under the mentorship and teaching of theater legend Julie Andrews.
It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with depression during difficult periods in the past. My new revelation is that since this past spring, I have been medication-free. It took a few weeks to wean off the prozac, but knowing I can be fine without the drug makes me feel more in control of my body, somehow. For many people, medication can be absolutely necessary and there may be a time when I resume, but for now I am trying other methods to keep the blues away. In order to maintain good mental health, I’ve made a few things in my life a priority. Living in the northern hemisphere, these steps can be hard to maintain once November hits. These seven tricks are paramount to how I fight the winter blues, and I hope they help you as well!
Since September I’ve been on a health kick. For once, I enrolled myself in activities while I did registrations for the kids. It is time for some overdue self-care. And like my dear Grandmother would have said – if I don’t have an hour a few times a week to take care of my body, then my life is out of whack. Balancing yoga, barre and Zumba classes have been a delight instead of a chore, and I have been feeling stronger, more toned, and best of all – more positive. Grandmothers are always right.
What I was eleven years old, I went to the bathroom and discovered that my underwear had blood in it. I called my Mom, who opened the bathroom door, looked at what happened, and then asked, “Did that come from YOU?”
(I’m not sure where else she thought that would come from.)
There’s more to me than being a mom. Or at least, there used to be. I had a kick-ass job in which I got to travel the world and into dangerous countries. I have been to Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, Oman, Russia, Colombia, and further afield. I’ve lived long periods of time in France and Germany. I speak French quite well. I know how to shoot guns and how to (basically) survive in the woods. (I wouldn’t really want to test those skills, but I’d like to think if the Zombie Apocalypse ever came upon us, I could kick ass and take names with the best of them.)
But I might have been the only person in my life who cared about those things. My new mom-centric world consisted of helping my son complete his 30 Day FREE Coding Challenge, getting snacks and more snacks for my daughter, teaching my youngest how to swim, separating and referee-ing arguments, monitoring screen time (and did I say getting snacks?) These somewhat mundane tasks, added to housework, meal prep, and so forth, left me with little time for me. For remembering who I was and exploring who I would or could still be.
You know that warm, tingly feeling you get when you’re sitting on the couch watching tv in super soft flannel pjs and you’re just starting to get tired? When you yawn and stretch before padding upstairs in fluffy slippers and you slide into bed and slip immediately into a deep sleep? Well, it’s usually not me feeling those feels. It’s usually someone I’m watching on tv as my sleep deprived brain whispers, “that person is about to have the best sleep of their life.”
But things have changed.
I did not want to get up this morning. My hand shot out from under the sheets to slap my alarm with lightning fast reflexes while the rest of me grumbled and groaned, pleading with the universe for just five more minutes. I wrestled with the snooze button a few more times before I finally dragged myself out of the bed. As soon as my feet hit the floor, my dog hopped up, literally wiggling with joy, and ran to the door; ready to start her day. She ran outside and stood for a moment, breathing in the cool, crisp air. I watched her bounce through the grass, eager to do her business then come back inside. She trotted in and ran right to me, pushing her body into mine so I would scratch her behind her ear–her favourite spot. Putting breakfast into her bowl, she gulped it down, not leaving a single crumb, not worried about calories.
Suddenly I realized–she is happy all the time. She doesn’t mope if she doesn’t get her way, she doesn’t pout or whine. She isn’t constantly looking for more, she is content the way she is. It hit me: maybe dogs also figure out life seven times faster than we do.