talk to your daughter about the changes in her body

How to talk to your daughter about her period

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Your period.

While once upon a time it was was a taboo topic, it’s becoming more open this day and age in our Western worlds. Advertisements for feminine care products are being proudly presented. Girls and women are encouraged to explore, understand, love, and respect their bodies, and all of it’s functions. There are campaigns that advocate the need to spread awareness and normalize periods.

Having your period is now associated with strength, girl power, and femininity.

As it should be.

When your daughter gets her first period she may have feelings of embarrassment or fear. You can help extinguish these feelings by making sure you give her as much information about the changes in her body as possible. Here’s what your daughter needs to know about her period:

Why women have periods

Your uterus (where a baby would develop if you were pregnant) has a lining. That lining thickens in preparation for a fertilized egg. If there is no fertilized egg, that lining sheds as blood from your vagina. The bleeding lasts approximately 3-7 days.

It’s 100% NORMAL! It’s a natural body process that all women go through. It will start when she is anywhere around 11 years old: maybe a few years before, maybe a few years after. She will start by getting some pubic hair and her breasts will begin to bud. Shortly after that she will begin her menses. It will end when she is anywhere around 45: maybe a few years before, maybe a few years after. Basically, she’s going to be dealing with this for quite some time.

Now’s also a good time to have a conversation about sex, too. She can become pregnant now, and she deserves to understand that her actions can potentially have consequences.

Hygiene options

The options for how you want to go about taking care of your period blood is vast. There are conventional pads and tampons that you can get at almost any store, but there are also some really cool and fun products, too!

First, it may seem less than appealing at first, but reusable cloth pads can add some fun and individuality to the way you wear your feminine care products. From tie-dye, to paisley, to flowers you can coordinate every part of your outfit!   For more info on how to care for your reusable cloth pads check out this video here. Our society accepts cloth diapers…why not cloth menstrual pads?

On the topic of reusable, a Diva Cup is another great option. It’s comfortable, economical, and easy to use. It offers 12 hours of protection, and you don’t have to worry about Toxic Shock Syndrome like you do with tampons. It takes some getting used to, so you have to make sure you give yourself some time to figure out how to make it the most comfortable for you. Either way, there’s a method to inserting either a tampon or a reusable cup. You can find graphics on the internet that will give her some insight on how to do it correctly.

If using reusable products doesn’t suit you, there are also organic cotton products that work SO WELL! You’ll have peace of mind that you won’t have any leakage or chemicals in your body.

Explain to her the importance of changing her pad/tampon/reusable cup frequently so as to avoid any unpleasant odor that may make her self-conscious. Also, gently inform her of the potential risks of Toxic Shock Syndrome from her leaving a tampon in her body for too long.

How your body feels during your period

Some women are blessed with relatively easy peasy periods, while some women are cursed with awful symptoms. Don’t lead your daughter to think that her period won’t likely be uncomfortable. Chances are she may have the typical period symptoms: cramping, tender breasts, sore back, headache, upset stomach, appetite changes, etc. Then, there’s the emotional and mental side of symptoms that can cause mood swings, irritability, sadness, to name a few.

Let her know that these things are all normal. Allow her to express her symptoms to you, and provide suggestions to offer relief. Hot water bottles, various pain relief options, plenty of chocolate, and a ton of patience are ways you can help her through these times.

What you can and can’t do on your period

What you can do: Whatever you feel like.

What you can’t do: Whatever you feel like.

How she’s feeling dictates what she can participate in. Some women get exceptionally bad cramping, irritability, etc., so give her the benefit of the doubt if and when she says she doesn’t feel up to something.

How to avoid embarrassment

While your period is often on a set cycle (every 28 days, for example), sometimes it surprises the best of us. Make sure to encourage your daughter to keep her backpack fully equipped with whatever feminine care products she needs and a few quarters just in case. Explain to her how she can roll toilet paper around her undies to act as a pad in case she can’t get one, and how to wrap a sweater around her waist in case there’s any leakage. Fill her in on the fact that light colored clothing is not ideal when you’re having your period.

The biggest part of her not being embarrassed is teaching her to not care what anyone else thinks. This is a totally natural occurrence that EVERY woman has to go through. By keeping her informed about her body’s natural processes she will have confidence. She will be able to maturely explain the wonder that is her body in the case of any taunting that may come her way from her peers that don’t fully understand.

Take a deep breath. This is definitely a tricky subject, but you’re going to do great. She’s been watching you for years. She probably has an idea of what her period entails and is likely excited for you to explain it to her.

She will want to share with you the experience that she will have as she enters womanhood. Use positive language. Take this opportunity to bond with her. Use these moments to help shape her expectation and attitude about her period. Make it a celebration!

Don’t feel the need to have an extensive conversation with her at one time. Break it into smaller conversations that are easier to digest (for both of you). If you don’t have an answer, tell her you don’t know! Offer her the opportunity for the two of you, or her by herself, to head down to the library or public health unit to find the answers.

Lastly, if you’re uncomfortable talking to your daughter about her period use pre-made letter as a guideline. Print it off as is or customize it. Use it as a tool to help make this transition easier for the both of you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

yoga for moms

Yoga for Moms: 7 poses to try

Yoga can be a fantastically productive use of your time to benefit both your body and your mind. To a tired, overwhelmed person, going to yoga for Mom can be the recharge that they need. Remember how taking care of yourself is taking care of your children?

There are a lot of differing views on how yoga came to be. Some believe that 5000 years ago, in a beautiful place called India, yoga was developed as a series of physical movements that were said to encourage the ability for one to master the mind and emotions, and advance in their spiritual growth.

I have another theory.

5000 years ago, in a beautiful place called India, yoga was developed as a series of physical movements that were said to encourage the ability of the mothers of the land to chill out.

That’s why there is yoga for moms that involves poses that are designed specifically with Moms in mind. Here’s a few:

 

“Please let the kids behave today”

(Sukhasana)

sukhasana yoga pose

Bring your hands to heart centre, Mama. Pray to your Goddesses and Gods that the kids will not entirely chip away your sanity throughout the day.

Maybe add in a little request that you find an extra bottle of wine kicking around the house.

 

 

“No, really, I’m doing yoga”

(Shavasana)

shavasana

Here’s the deal: When that person you live with comes home tell them that you’re going to do some yoga in the backyard, basement, spare room, whatever. Unroll your yoga mat (make this look legit), and lay down on it. Technically, this is yoga.

Do “yoga” until your nap is over.

 

“I’m a warrior!”

(Warrior 2)

warrior pose yoga

Get yourself into this power stance and breathe in all of your amazingness.

You have kids, you keep them alive, and you’re doing a pretty darn good job at it!

YOU ARE A WARRIOR!

 

“Sobriety test”

(Standing bow)

 

 

yoga, friends and wine

If you can balance like this, you’re pretty darn sober. If you can balance like this, you should also probably have another glass of wine!

 

“Sexy Mama”

(Downward dog)

downward facing dog yoga pose

Come on. Your bum looks amazing in those tight pants. Whenever you see your partner peeking in to watch you, you immediately transition into this tempting pose! It’s entirely possible that’s not by accident. Ya, you’re a Mom…but you’re still a sexy beast. Tempt away!

 

“Mom’s gonna blow!!”

(Lion pose)

 

They know “the look”, but this one is new altogether. You’re at your wits end, but you’re kind enough to give them fair warning.

Enjoy the look of confusion/mild entertainment/moderate fear on their faces.

They’ll soon figure out what it means and act accordingly whenever you pull it out.

 

“I’m done”

(Child’s pose)

child's pose yoga

You’ve been beat down all day. You’re exhausted. You’re done.

The kids are in bed, and there’s still a billion things to do.

Acknowledge those things. Accept those things.

Silently give those things the middle finger, and curl yourself up into a little ball of not giving a damn.

 

Practising yoga takes dedication and consistency. You should allow yourself the opportunity to go through this sequence at least once a day…for yours and everyone else’s sake!

Namaste, Mama!

 

 

How to parent when you have anxiety

How to parent when you have anxiety

1 in 10 adults deals with an anxiety disorder. In fact, anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illness in Canada, according to anxietybc.com.

It’s normal to have anxiety about certain things. It’s part of our natural fight-or-flight response. However, when you have an anxiety disorder, those feelings of fear and apprehension are intense and persistent.

Are you scared to give birth?

Turn your fear into confidence with these 10 tips from a Mama who’s done it 4 times.

Plus, get exclusive access to a hilarious birth story that you will be able to learn from!

 

Yes, let me have them!

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People with these disorders fear anything from snakes, to leaving their house, and often times these fears debilitate their lives.  Some will get intrusive thoughts, while some will experience the physical symptoms of a panic attack: shortness of breath, heart racing, dizziness, nausea, and others. The symptoms vary from person to person, but it’s not an easy condition to live with, and it’s especially not easy to parent when you have anxiety.

I would know.

I’ve always had anxiety.

I used to be able to deal with it effectively, but now that I’m a mother I find it more difficult than ever before.

How to parent when you have anxiety

Being a parent when you have anxiety is extremely challenging, however there are some ways to help make it a little bit easier.

Where once I was able to focus entirely on my well-being and ensuring that I would conquer the next challenge, those days are no longer. I now have to fight my own battles while I fight battles with my 3-year-old. No longer can I meditate whenever I choose to or exert my extra energy with a mid-day run. My day is planned around ensuring that I get that time to take care of my mind. If that doesn’t happen I’m left to suffer the consequences.

I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder when I was pregnant with my third daughter. I would become so panicked about small “what if” things that I would spend hours in my bedroom hyperventilating and sobbing in my bed while my children watched movies. It’s become increasingly worse for me over the years. Recently I’ve begun to feel the burden of panic attacks, and now wear the load of the accompanying physical symptoms of that on a daily basis.

I kept this from my kids for a long time. I’m not embarrassed (obviously, as I’m sharing it all in a blog post…), but felt that these were adult problems that my children didn’t necessarily need to be informed of. That changed when I had an abrupt, intense panic attack that left my children wondering what was wrong with their Mom.

Throughout the course of my time dealing with how to parent when you have anxiety I’ve learned that one of the most important components of being able to parent while dealing with a mental health issue is to take care of ME first. This seems contrary to what we normally do as parents; to prioritize ourselves, however, it truly is the most important thing. You can’t take care of your children the way you want to and the way you’re capable of when you’re battling demons of your own.

I learned that making self care a priority was not selfish. It took me a while. Like, 4 kids and 12 years of parenting a while…but it’s helped immensely. I no longer feel bad when I head out for coffee with a friend, go for a hike, or plunk the kids in front of a movie so I can do some writing. Ultimately, my act of self-care will make me a better parent which will benefit my kids. Guilt=gone.

 

How to talk to your kids about your anxiety*

*I am not a trained medical professional. These suggestions are not based on medical evidence or fact; they are solely based on my experience as a mother on how to parent when you have anxiety.

Be open and honest

Your kids will be able to relate to what you’re going through. Remember a few nights ago when they were panicking about the monster under their bed? Use that as a parallel example for what you’re dealing with. Explain to them that adults get scared feelings about things, too. Let them know that it’s normal to have these feelings. Anxiety and most mental illnesses have a stigma surrounding them. Teaching your children that anxiety is not abnormal will contribute to that stigma hopefully being extinguished in future generations.

Explain what they may see

Let your kids know what anxiety looks like. Maybe you start to breathe a little heavier or fidget with your fingers. Perhaps they’ll hear you talking yourself down, or see you crying. Fill them in on your cues so that when they start seeing your shift in behaviour they understand what’s happening. When your kids see you acting unusually it’s scary for them. Remind them of the “scared feelings” you previously discussed. Reassure them that everything is fine.

Involve them

Your kids will want to help. If you’re feeling particularly anxious and can’t escape your children to get your bearings, involve them. They would love to do some deep breathing (2 seconds in, hold for 2 seconds, 2 seconds out) or muscle relaxation. It will benefit you and your child, and may even serve as a distraction for you to help get you through your difficult moment.

Give yourself space

No matter how old your kids are you can make some space for yourself. Explain that Mommy is going for a “time out” (they’ll get a kick out of this, trust me). Give them a safe activity to do for a few minutes while you go to a room and breathe.

Give yourself emotional space, too. It can be guilt provoking when you’re spending time trying to deal with your mental health rather than spending time with your kids. Try not to let it be. Spending this time to focus on your mental health will ultimately make you a better parent when you’re feeling well enough. This is a process.

 

Being a parent when you have anxiety is extremely challenging. This website has many resources available to help you through, however, if you feel your anxiety is getting to a point where it’s beyond your control I urge you to consult with your doctor or naturopath. There are also some online resources for mental health in this post. 

There’s no judgement. You need to make sure that you are your best you! If you’re finding that you just can’t keep dealing with your anxiety and need immediate help get your phone and call this number if you’re Canadian: 1-833-456-4566, and this number if you’re American: 1-800-273-8255. Those are crisis lines. If you’re feeling like you’re at the end of your rope you MUST get yourself some help. If you feel you are a danger to yourself or others please call 9-1-1. Don’t take chances, Mom. You’re worth getting yourself the help you need. Stop reading this and call right now. Please. 

Taking care of yourself IS taking care of your children!

 

 

These are the best sex positions for parents

7 best sex positions for parents

Sex used to be so simple. Remember when you could flash your big beautiful “fuck me” eyes to your partner anytime, anywhere? You’d commit to hours of uninterrupted, and carefree exploration of each other’s bodies, going into any and all sex positions you wanted WITH THE LIGHTS ON!! You saw each other, and each other only. The moments were entirely your own.

Then you had kids.

That’s when it all changed.

Your time is limited and your chances are few. You’re working around schedules, fatigue, and the physical results of pregnancy.  You pray to your gods and goddesses that the kids will be somewhat sedated from their 4 bites of dinner that they’ll sleep for a little while, while you bowchickawowow with your partner.

From a new version of foreplay, to “parent-approved” sex positions, to being lucky enough to have time to cuddle after your intimate interaction, you’ve learned to adapt to a whole new world of sex.

Best sex positions for parents

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Shut the front door

 

doggy style sex position for parents

Or the bedroom door, the bathroom door, or whatever door you’re up against.

You watched your 6 year old pick the lock to her sister’s room earlier today. You’ll get more peace of mind knowing that you’re keeping the door closed and won’t have any special vistors.

 

OITNBC

(Oral is the new birth control)

oral sex position for parents

You’re happy. Your partner is happy. Nobody is pregnant.

 

Flying solo

 

flying solo sex position masturbate

Those “fuck me” eyes become “fuck you” eyes when you’ve encountered your most recent battle about who’s going to change the diaper this time.

The kids have their toys…AND YOU HAVE YOURS!! There’s no reason to let perfectly good, child-free time go to waste (in fact, you’ll benefit immensely from it).

Apparent  exhaustion

spooning sex position for parents

You’re exhausted. You’ve spent time catering to a tiny person’s needs all day long. The last thing you want to do is cater to an adult person’s needs now. Get your lazy on without sacrificing your need to get your freak on!

This position is perfect: you can both face the door during your high-alert romp session. When (not if-you took too long and the kids woke up) you get walked in on you get to pretend like you were just cuddling!

 

The kids are at their grandparents

the kids are at their grandparents sex position

This is your chance. Finally flick those frickin’ lights on. It’s time for a balls out, no holds barred, just-like-when-we-didn’t-have-kids sex!

 

 

Don’t wake the kids

missionary sex position for parents

You’ve got a brief moment of opportunity here. You just spent an hour getting the kids to bed and the thought of waking them up is killing your mojo a bit. Ensure you’re as quiet as possible while getting as close as possible to your partner. In an hour or two you’ll have anywhere between one to four children in your bed with you. Enjoy your embrace now!

 

The Conserver

in the shower sex position for parents

Raising kids is exxxxxxxxxxxpensive!!! Clearly, it’s within your best interest to conserve as much water as possible, you know, to save money on bills. The best way to do this is for you and your partner to team up on your shower usage. Keep the water temperature set to cool and heat it up yourselves to maximize your savings!

 

 

As hardworking parents it’s hard to find time for each other. It’s SO important that you do, though. Your relationship will be stronger and you’ll be able to take on parenthood together so much better!

Trust me, you’ll be Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh so grateful you do;)

5 things that happen when you have your fourth baby

5 things that happen when you have a fourth baby

So, you wanna have a fourth baby, do ya?

There’s a lot of things to consider when deciding whether to have another baby, but the fourth is a particularly big shift in lifestyle.

From one Mama of four to another potential Mama of four, here’s a few things that will happen when you have your fourth baby:

 

Your sanity will be questioned by others…and yourself

Primagravida: Scientific term for a woman who is pregnant for her first time.

Multigravida: Scientific term for a woman who is pregnant for her second or third time.

Crazywomangravida: Scientific term for a woman who is pregnant for her fourth or more time.

You can’t argue with science.

You now have a 100% chance of not sleeping

There’s about a 25% chance you’re going to be woken up in the night when you have one child. When you have four children you’re pretty much guaranteed to not sleep . Get that coffee brewing, Mama!

Moms need coffee

You now have a 100% chance of not having sex

Maybe you’ve realized that you’ve reached your maximum capacity with 4 kids, and not having sex is actually a good thing. However, maybe you’re not done having babies. If this is the case, and you can find time to make a baby, you’re certainly amazing enough to have a fifth!

You officially need a minivan

Or something with 7 seats, at least. Don’t fight the inevitable. Say goodbye to your little car that got you through your days of 1-3 children, and trade up for a minivan! They’re not that bad. There’s lots of room, and nobody questions if you’re supposed to be in the “Family Parking” at the grocery store (even if you forgot the kids at home that day…)

You constantly do a headcount

Wrangling four children is like herding ants; it ain’t easy.

You’ve got a lot of stuff to remember: diaper bag, snacks, diapers, snacks, extra clothes, snacks, baby carrier, snacks, phone, snacks, wallet, snacks, and snacks. Oh…and you can’t forget the kids!

Count them. Do a roll call. Find a way to make sure you have all of them!

 

 

These little tidbits of information aren’t meant to deter you from considering a fourth baby. Believe me, it’s also the best!! There’s more to love, and more love in return.

It’s also an even number, and you can’t beat that!

 

 




everyone can get more sleep

Simple ways to help your child sleep better

Let me start this article by saying that I am in no way an authority on sleep.

See those blood shot eyes? They tell many tales of sleepless nights and exhausted days.

Mom needs coffee

 

While driving home one afternoon I was listening to CBC (Go Canada, go!) radio.

Wendy Hall, a sleep researcher and professor of nursing at the University of British Columbia was being interviewed. She was explaining a recent study done on children who don’t sleep well and the affects that it has on their parents.

While the results weren’t terribly surprising, they did validate every feeling I’ve had over the past 10 sleepless years of my life.

What happens to Mom and Dad when baby doesn’t sleep?

There’s a reason that researchers suggest a certain number of hours of zzz’s per night for different age groups. When we sleep our minds repair, our souls rest, and our bodies bounce back. All of these things are crucial refreshers for all people, including parents.

Unfortunately, many of us with children don’t get the adequate amount of sleep that’s necessary for us to reap the benefits of a deep slumber. We end up turning our auto-pilot on and carrying out our duties for the day in a state of zombie-dom, relying heavily on anything containing caffeine.

Wendy Hall and her research have shown a direct correlation between a lack of sleep and depression in parents. As the loss of sleep increases, so do the thoughts of frustration and anger towards the child. The negative thoughts that are felt translate into the parent feeling self-doubt in their abilities. This feeling of inadequacy takes a toll on the parent’s mental health. The affects become evident in their parenting skills which begin to be less effective. Worry and guilt set in, even more sleep is lost, and the cycle is perpetuated.

Some may assume that this pattern applies mostly to women due to hormonal shifts of pregnancy and birth.The research that was done, however, showed that men were affected as well. Whether there was a pre-cursor for post partum depression or not, the affects of a lack of sleep were evident in both parents.

 

What can parents do to get some sleep?

Every family is so different, and each child and parent is an individual with different sleep needs and abilities. Each family has their own beliefs about where a child should sleep, how they should sleep, and when they should sleep.

These differences, however, don’t negate the fact that everyone needs to sleep. Wendy Hall gives some universal tips to help get everyone some more rest:

Routine

Keep what you do before bedtime the same every night. Your kids will pick up on the cues letting them know that bedtime is near. Eventually, they will

We eat dinner, get pajamas on, brush teeth, and then read books. Once they’re in bed I sing them their 3 songs, and tuck them in for the night.

*Fun tip: Hall suggests giving your child “one free pass” for once they’re supposed to be in bed. Make an actual physical ticket that they have in their possession once you’ve said goodnight. This ticket allows them to come out of bed ONE time for water, a hug, to tell you one last thing, etc. Once they’ve used this ticket that’s it for the night.

Consistency

That routine mentioned above, you have to do it all the time. There’s exceptions, of course, but the more the kids get used to the routine, the more they will fall into the pattern of going to bed easier.

Consistency also applies to your child waking in the night. If they come to your bed, walk them back to theirs. Theoretically, after a while, they will understand that their bed is where they need to be and will remain there through the night.

Put your kids to bed early

There’s two reasons this is beneficial:

  1. Kids need more sleep than we do. If they’re not getting the sleep they need they become overtired. This makes them irritable during the day, but also makes it MORE difficult for them to sleep at night.
  2. You get some quiet time. If you take some time for yourself at night you’ll find yourself a lot more recharged the next day.

Keep them away from screens before bedtime

Screens stimulate children’s (and our) brains. Keep them away from television and tablets before bedtime. Try reading books or guiding them through a meditation while they lay in bed. YouTube has tons of guided meditations for kids.

 

You’ve tried everything and you’re still not getting sleep- what now?

If you feel like you’re beginning to feel the affects of sleep deprivation don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Ask friends and family to come watch your child while you get some shut eye.

Check online for Wendy Hall. There’s loads of information that will likely apply to your situation. Make a doctor’s appointment or call your local public health unit.

Don’t be afraid or ashamed to seek professional help.

You won’t be the parent you wish to be if you’re running on fumes. Get the help you need so you can recharge yourself. You 150% owe that to yourself.

 

Tell me about your struggles with sleep. I promise you won’t be the only one who’s had a hard time!