Hey, Rebecca! Can we talk about bullshit Internet baby advice?

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By , April 17, 2014 12:35 pm

Hey Rebecca,

A fellow mom in my mom’s group was horribly sleep-deprived, sobbing and feeling emotionally bombarded by all the bullshit on the internet that tells her she is to blame for the night-nursing her ten-month-old baby is doing. Can we talk truthfully about what it’s like to breastfeed a nearly-one-year old?

Signed,

Sick of the web

sleeping baby

Continue reading

How to stop sounding like a douchebag parent in 5 easy steps

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By , April 15, 2014 9:21 am

Your child is a wonderful creature filled with intellectual curiosity and boundless joy. She is a fucking delight. No, I’m serious. I bet she is. And you deserve some credit. You are a committed and fully engaged parent who takes great pains to make sure you do things the right way. Your entire family is good, decent, moral and you are champions of the environment. You should be proud.

But can you be proud in a less douchebaggy kind of way? Lemme help you with that.

1. Remember that it’s just lunch and nobody cares.

Chicken sandwich

The answer to what did you guys have for lunch today is not, “Slices of locally-sourced, free-range, organic chicken breasts slow-roasted in my backyard fire pit and then served atop homemade spelt loaf with my own special garlic aioli, and organic watercress and heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market.” The answer is, “A chicken sandwich.”

2. We already know that your kid’s better than ours, so lay off the bragging.

piano

For example, don’t say, “Atticus has made us all so proud by placing first in the regional badminton tournament while practicing for his piano recital at the Royal Conservatory and being honoured with an award for most generous student at school. I honestly don’t how he manages to do it all while volunteering at the retirement home. We are so blessed to have such a talented and big-hearted boy in our lives.” Don’t say that and then plaster pictures of your superstar all over Instagram and Facebook so we can’t even mess around online without feeling inadequate. Try a “Way to go, buddy!” instead.

3. There’s something in the Bible about not posting all your good deeds to the Internet. I’m pretty sure there is.

How to stop sounding like a douchebag parent in five easy steps

It truly is wonderful that you’ve donated your kids’ clothing to refugee, single mothers with amputee kids. That you do that on top of making all your own furniture out of driftwood you find while volunteering to clean up the local beach, spearheading the fundraising committee at your kids’ alternative school and running a marathon for ovarian cancer research is actually breathtaking. You should win an award. If we give you an award, will you stop talking about it?

4. You don’t get to dictate what kind of gifts your kid gets, so maybe stop trying.

birdhouse

By all means, dress your kids in head-to-toe organic cotton or nothing but vintage thrift store finds from the 70s, depending on where you fall on the Gwyneth Paltrow-Alicia Silverstone scale. Deck their nursery out in muted earth tones and take a vigilant stand against plastic. But don’t expect the whole world to give a crap. Your kid’s going to come home with half the dollar store in a loot bag one day no matter what you do. Might as well be gracious.

5. Pinterest already takes care of our self-loathing quota on the craft front. So you can give it a rest on Facebook, okay?

mason jar craft

I honestly think it’s great that you spend hours a day making stuff out of mason jars, burlap and birch bark with your kids. They will probably cherish those memories forever. I don’t actually know because my mom was too busy working double shifts to do crap like that with us but one time I made a caterpillar out of half an egg carton and some crayons. That was good.

 

The first four images were taken from goop.com because it was too easy.
Number five (because I’m pretty sure Gwynnie doesn’t craft) is courtesy of this talented photographer on Flickr.

Peaches Geldof, motherhood and how we still don’t get it

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By , April 9, 2014 12:51 am

Peaches Geldof

I spent the morning reading about Peaches Geldoff. Strangely, I’m having a hard time processing this one. She’s a pseudo-celebrity made famous by birthright. I really didn’t know much about her apart from the occasional tabloid headline. This doesn’t feel like a deep personal loss for me and yet I can’t shake this sense of profound sadness.

It’s always sad when someone so young and full of potential dies, of course. But her two babies are the real gut wrenchers. It’s the stuff of nightmares, after all, leaving your children motherless. Since becoming a parent nearly eight years ago, I can barely stomach the news some days. It’s physically painful to hear about a baby falling out of a window, a child being run over or a young mother losing her life.  Of course parents don’t have a monopoly on grief and you don’t have to be a parent to feel the weight of those kinds of loss. But for me, personally, these kinds of stories became much more difficult to bear when I became a mother. There’s an intense visceral response that takes my breath away.

So I thought that was probably it. A young mother with two sons under two-years-of age loses her life and it’s just the normal punch in the gut from fate and justice that I was feeling.

Then I read this New York magazine story. Continue reading

Win advanced screening tickets to Disneynature’s Bears

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By , April 7, 2014 2:05 pm

Bears is the latest feature-length film put out by Disneynature. Set in Alaska, it’s the story of two mother brown bears and their cubs. I’m pretty sure this is as close to a bear as I’m ever likely to get and know my kids will love it. We’re really looking forward to it.

Bears opens in theatres on Earth Day, April 18.

But you can win a family pass (4 tickets) and join me at the advanced screening this Saturday, April 12 at 10am at SilverCity Yorkdale in Toronto. Contest closes Wed. April 10, at 11:59pm.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Snooki’s pregnant again! … and nobody cares

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By , April 7, 2014 10:57 am

snooki

For Snooki, the only thing worse than the hail storm of ridicule and condemnation that rained down on her when news of her pregnancy broke in 2012 must be indifference. So guess what? She just confirmed her second pregnancy to Us Weekly and all we have for her is a collective shrug. The worst thing I could find written about it just trotted out some tired old orange Ewok jokes. YAWN.

This is because second babies don’t get any respect. After the world is done gawking at our transformation from young sex symbol to mother and after we’ve been showered with enough hooded towels and butt cream to last a decade, nobody cares. Of course you’re going to have another baby now. That’s what you do. If you want people to care, try deciding to not have another baby. Suddenly everybody and their delivery guy will have an opinion on the state of your womb. But if you actually go ahead and have a second baby half the people you know will  barely even notice. True story. Continue reading

We’ve got measles. Now what?

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By , April 3, 2014 12:44 pm

sick baby

We’ve got measles. The collective we, I mean. Nobody in my actual family has contracted the disease, thank goodness. But the latest in a string of localized outbreaks across the country is in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, and that’s close enough to get my attention.

The measles vaccine became available in 1963 and by 1998 Canada had officially eliminated measles. 400,000 children in Canada alone used to get measles every year and 75 of those would die from it. It’s a highly contagious virus that begins with flu-like symptoms and develops into a rash and dangerously high fever. Complications arising from measles can include an ear infection, bronchitis, laryngitis, croup, pneumonia, encephalitis, pregnancy loss or low platelet count. There is no treatment for an established case of the measles. We can only prevent it through vaccinations.

So you know where there is going. Continue reading

You won’t believe the latest parenting fad, ghetto-rearing

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By , April 1, 2014 9:20 am

Ghetto-rearing, the latest parenting fad

The latest parenting trend doesn’t borrow from the French or from the past. Its inspiration is the poor. That’s right. Rich and a-little-bit-less-rich (ie. “middle class”) parents are starting to take a good look at their own spoiled-rotten little brats and then compare them to the self-sufficient and less demanding kids of poor people.

“It’s not really fair,” one North Toronto mom said. “The amount of time I spend trying to teach my kids that money doesn’t just grow on trees and instill in them some sense of gratefulness, you know? I mean, kids whose parents really can’t afford a Sky Zone birthday party don’t even have this problem.”

The solution is something called Ghetto-rearing. Parents try to mimic the lifestyles of the very poor and marginally poor in a last-ditch effort to teach their kids to stop being so fucking spoiled. This includes things like taking public transportation. Die-hard adherents might even go so far as to leave one car at the cottage all winter long. Desperate parents of kids who have never heard the word “no,” are even setting aside nutritional, environmental and ethical concerns, and stocking up on highly processed foods like boxed and microwavable meals. The food itself might not be good for them, but the fact that they can learn to get their own damn dinner most definitely is. Continue reading

Spring shopping season is here! (Shut up, it’s a thing.)

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By , March 31, 2014 1:11 pm

Thanks to Sears Canada and the Sears Days sale (March 20 to April 6) for inspiring the hunt for the perfect kiddie looks.

Ah, Spring.

I am so happy to see Spring this year that I don’t even begrudge it the foot-deep blanket of twigs that covers my front lawn courtesy of this past winter’s ice storm. Nor will I complain about the afternoon-long clean up of all the wrappers and cigarette butts and miscellaneous garbage that was blown onto my property over the winter. And of course, that’s all just a precursor to the ludicrous spectacle of me trying to actually plant living things in the ground.

I am so deliriously happy to see Spring that I almost brought all three kids to my nearest Sears for a giant spring-clothes shopping extravaganza. (Because Sears Days! March 20th to April 6.) I could just picture it. All three kids trying on fun new clothes while I snapped pictures and made everyone on Instagram jealous of my beautiful family. We’d laugh and listen and no two-year-olds would run screaming down the aisles and pee in the ladies’ handbag section. My five-year-old and I would agree about every single clothing choice and my nearly eight-year-old son would actually want to be there.

Luckily, I pulled out of that hallucination just in time. I still prefer to shop in person, especially with three growing kids whose sizes I can never keep straight. But I’ll save the shopping trip for when I can squeeze in some special one-on-one time with them and use the great selection of children’s clothes available at Sear.ca to jump start the new season for everyone.

Check out what I was able to pull together.

Casual girls fashion Continue reading

Goop, she did it again

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By , March 26, 2014 10:18 am

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow has shown, once again, that everything she does is better than everything you do.

You’ve likely already heard the news. Gwynnie and husband Chris Martin of Coldplay fame are splitsville. She announced the break up in a letter to fans published on her Goop.com website. That page isn’t loading right now but you can also read the full text on Gawker (and everywhere else probably.)

Gwyneth calls the separation a “conscious uncoupling” which is clearly far superior to the run-of-the-mill break ups and divorces the rest of us go through. She also assures us that the couple had been “working very hard … to see what might have been possible between us.” And we can rest easy knowing they “love each other very much” and are “closer than ever.”

Damn. I wish my actual marriage had half as much love and mutual respect as a Goop divorce. The last time we worked hard at anything as a team we were trying to close an overloaded suitcase. We bought a king-sized bed with the express purpose of never having to be “closer than ever” again. And it’s an actual probability that we won’t even sit down and watch a tv show together until season 3 of House of Cards comes out.

I bet she didn’t stalk out of the room and empty the dishwasher through a haze of rage tears even once.

Is it too late to let go? On free-range parenting in the helicopter age

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By , March 25, 2014 10:41 am

Is it too late? On Free-range parenting in the helicopter age

“Oh, wow. That school has a great playground.”

I was talking to a mom with a child just starting kindergarten. This was a few years ago and I wanted to know how he was adjusting.

“Yeah, the playground’s all right — except for all the balls!”

” . . . balls?”

“They let the older boys throw balls around the school yard, whipping them against the wall, they go everywhere. There are little kids right next to them in the playground. Someone could get hurt!”

I backed away slowly. I mean, really. In a couple short years this woman’s son would be old enough to throw a ball around with his friends. Shouldn’t he be given enough space and freedom to that, at least?

I’ve been reading about helicopter versus free range parenting for years now. I’ve been hearing about how our kids are being raised on back-lit screens and shuttled from one scheduled activity to another. They don’t get the time or space to explore their neighbourhoods by themselves and learn independence in the process. They aren’t active enough and, quite frankly, all this tab keeping is exhausting for everyone. If there was ever a question about which side I’d take, helicopter or free-range, I’d already long decided to be free-range.

But it’s not that easy. Continue reading

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