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!

a letter to my daughter about her period

I want help with this one!

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Good luck. You’re doing great, Mama!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

yoga poses just for moms

7 must try yoga poses just for moms

Yoga can be a fantastically productive use of your time to benefit both your body and your mind. To a tired, overwhelmed Mom, going to yoga 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 are a number of 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 at 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.

 

Practicing 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!

 

zen mama workbook

 

 

 

 

 

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Teacher

How to make an awesome teacher gift

I was talking to a teacher friend and asked him what his favorite thing to receive from kids was. He said: “gift cards”. He went on to say that he loved sentimental gifts and everything else that was given as a token of appreciation as well, but that gift cards were practical and useful.

For years it was my automatic assumption that teachers wanted needed alcohol as their year end thank you gift, but last year I bought a bottle of wine for my daughter’s pregnant (she wasn’t showing-how was I to know?) teacher and that was the year I stopped buying booze.

Since the conversation with my friend I wanted to come up with the ultimate gift for my kids’ teachers. Considering what my friend said I decided to combine the two gift ideals: A sentimental gift with a gift card. Hey?! Not bad, right?!

The awesome teacher’s gift

Kids love their teachers. My kindergartener comes home raving about her “Madame” and all of the fun things they did during the day. It only makes sense that they would want to show their appreciation as much as you do (seriously, 28 kids for 7 hours a day??? Why am I not buying them alcohol, again???)!

This year the girls are going to make hand-painted mugs and I’m going to add a gift certificate to a local coffee shop.

How to make hand-painted mugs

  1. Take a minute to prepare yourself. Meditate. Have a big ol’ cup of coffee (or whatever). Get yourself ready to take on crafts with kids.
  2. Make sure the kids are in old clothes that you don’t care about. Going clothes shopping after this is the last thing you need.
  3. Get yourself some blank mugs and oil based Sharpie pens. This won’t work if you don’t use the oil based ones.***
  4. Let them decorate the mugs (get in on this, too, Mama!). Suggest they draw something that reminds them of their teacher, or something they learned about during the year.
  5. Once they’re finished, put them on a cookie sheet. handmade mugs
  6. Heat your oven to 250 degrees. Put the tray of mugs in the oven for 2 hours. Choose an activity to do while you wait.
  7. After two hours turn off the oven, but don’t take the mugs out yet. Allow them to cool down in the oven.
  8. Once cool, take the mugs out. Add a little note telling the teacher to handwash their fantastically wonderful new mug!
    best teacher ever

    Don’t mind the dust

     

9. Add a gift card, put it in a gift bag, and badabing badaboom! You’ve got yourself an awesome teacher’s gift!

***Those specific Sharpie pens are crazy expensive. If you don’t plan on using them ever again I suggest finding something else for the kids to make for their teachers. It really is the sentiment that counts when it comes from the kids. Something as simple as a homemade card would be thrilling to their teacher.

 

What do you get your kid’s teachers?

Being minimalistic is fun when you have coffee

THIS is the reason why you should not mix coffee and minimalism

Minimalism is a popular subject these days. People are seeing the benefit to not having “stuff” weighing them down: having a cleaner house, less time spent organizing possessions, a sense of freedom, and even alleviated symptoms of depression (ya, there’s science behind that- Google it!)

It is incredibly easy to acquire and accumulate “stuff”, especially when you have kids.  You know those lists of “THINGS YOU MUST HAVE FOR YOUR BABY OR YOU PROBABLY WON’T BE A GOOD PARENT!!”? I followed those things for a while. Guess what? Our house became bombarded with stuff that we absolutely did not need!!

What’s a mama to do??

I was web surfing (is that what the young people call it still?) on my phone while my kids were playing on the playground one day and I stumbled upon this website explaining minimalism and how to do it. I’ve heard so much about the benefits of minimalism that I thought perhaps I should give this stuff a try. I could definitely afford to give up some of my cleaning time and put it into better things…like much needed “me” time. I signed up for her free course and got ready for some life changin’!

As I started going through stuff and selling it online or at consignment stores (and making some good money) I realized that this purging thing may not be half bad. I’ve always liked stuff, but I was starting to like no stuff even better!

Minimalism in the kitchen

I was going through the kitchen, deliberating on the things that I actually really used and needed. Ok, well, actually, I didn’t use much after all…other than the phone…to call the pizza man. Anyway, I looked at the counter, saw my espresso machine, and had a totally bizarre thought: “What if I gave up coffee? I could free myself from my intense dependency on liquid life while clearing up some room on the counter!”.

Thus, began my personal coffee cessation program. For the weeks following I gradually decreased the amount of caffeinated coffee I was drinking, substituting it with *gasp* decaf. After 3 weeks of weaning the day finally came for me to go full decaf.

It was the worst day of my life. How do people who don’t drink coffee live like that?!

coffee and minimalism

I was so exhausted that I couldn’t move. My kids thought they had finally defeated me for good when I told them they could have cake for breakfast as long as they got it themselves. I caved pretty quickly after that, drank some fully caffeinated coffee, apologized to my beautiful espresso machine, and even gave her a vinegar rinse to try and make amends.

After that, I continued to purge the things I didn’t feel we needed in our lives anymore. My kids didn’t need 16 shirts each, we didn’t need the spare iron that I wouldn’t use anyway, and I finally acknowledged that I won’t ever get over my fear of pressure canning and don’t need the massive canner filling up our shelves.

Now that I’ve gone through the entire house I feel organized, liberated, and most importantly, caffeinated.

Want to try your hand at gentle minimalism? Download your FREE guide created by someone who will NEVER convince you to get rid of your coffee machine!

 

What’s the one thing you will never get rid of?

modern day hippie mama?

Are YOU a modern day hippie mama?

We all fall into a category of some sort. Our “type” helps define who we are, and allows us to seek out others who are like us. Sometimes you don’t fall into any one specific category; you kind of flop in between two. I’m not a full hippie mama, nor am I fully up with the latest trends. I am…a modern day hippie mama!

 

I’m a hippie mama when it comes to babies, but I’m a modern day hippie mama when it comes to…

cloth diapers.

I’m all for home births and eating my placenta, but after that it’s fair game. There’s a bit of controversy surrounding which diaper is best for the environment: cloth or disposable. I won’t get into the details because that’s an entire post in itself, but I’ve made the decision to not cloth diaper after failed attempts with two of my babies. Painful yeast rashes, too many dollars spent on expensive soap, and too many hours spent washing diapers deterred me from being a part of the (somewhat intimidating) cloth diaper community any longer. I’m a big fan of the convenience of disposable diapers, and to make sure my eco-conscious brain doesn’t feel guilty I buy the ultra expensive ones that are made from corn and biodegrade into some sort of edible mushroom. Now, how’s that for resourceful?

 

I’m a hippie mama when it comes to natural therapies, but I’m a modern day hippie mama when it comes to…

those times when western medicine is necessary.

Homeopathy. Acupuncture. Herbs and vitamins. Chiropractor. Reiki. Food as medicine.

I try to use all natural therapies for most elements of our lives. However, I know darn well that there are times that call for the use of western medicine treatments. It’s different for each person for when they need to take a Tylenol or go on some anti-depressants, but I will happily advise that any time an ailment is restricting your ability to function normally it warrants intervention. Sometimes natural medicine doesn’t work. Sometimes western medicine doesn’t work. Whatever does work to get you back to your life lovin’ self is the guilt free route you MUST take.

 

I’m a hippie mama when it comes to food, but I’m a modern day hippie mama when it comes to…

over-priced apples.

Don’t get me wrong. I love me a good farmer’s market. I fully appreciate non-GMO, organic, locally grown, antibiotic free, free-range food. However, there are times when it just can’t be a priority according to our budget. Paying $1.50 for an organic gala apple vs $0.50 for a conventional one seems a little ridiculous to me. We choose our certain things that we always buy organic, but there’s just some things we can’t justify paying triple for.

There’s other things that money can go towards, like the blizzards from Dairy Queen that I eat in my car while my toddler sleeps in the back and the older ones are at school.

 

I’m a hippie mama when it comes to beauty products, but I’m a modern day hippie mama when it comes to…

under-eye concealer.

Organic mascara: Check

Organic blush: Check

Organic lipstick: Check

Heavy duty, chemical laden, industrial strength under-eye concealer: Check

For the most part, there’s a lot of companies that offer organic makeup at comparable prices to the classic non-organic. Unfortunately, organic makeup doesn’t have the chemicals in it that I need to effectively cover up the big, black bags under my sleep deprived eyes.

I have a rule: I don’t want to look how I feel. On days when I haven’t had much sleep the night before I tend to do myself up a little more.

So, basically, I’m done up all the time.

 

I wear hemp mumus, grow my own food, play the didgeridoo (ok, I tried it once) and practice yoga. I also drive a gas guzzling mini van, order french fries through take out, and frequently forget my reusable bags. Being a modern day hippie mama is all about balance! Find out if you’re a Modern Day Hippie Mama here!

Namaste, Mamas!!

 

 

reclaim your yoga class

How to reclaim your yoga class: A guide to vagina farts

Kwif. Muff puff. Queef. Vart. Cooter Pooter.

VAGINA FARTS.

 

If you have a vagina, you know exactly what I’m talking about. We’ve all been there: the dead silent yoga class. You’re in a blissful state and looking hot in your yoga pants. You’re standing directly in front of the cutest person in the class. You gracefully go from shaking your tush in Downward Dog into Warrior Pose — and pffffffffft.

Fuck.

You look around in an attempt to not appear suspicious while also making sure nobody is looking at your accusingly. You notice a couple people looking over at your direction and you desperately want to yell “that didn’t come from my bum!” because for some weird reason that would make you feel better. You try to shrug it off like it ain’t no thang, but it’s hard to envision your chakras aligning when you’re focusing on your fear of fluctuating from your vagina.

You feel like there’s no way you could ever go back, but listen up lady: you can reclaim your yoga class!

Understand that this is normal. Just like boob sweat, upper lip hairs, and PAP smears, vagina farts during inopportune moments (quiet yoga class, romp sessions, etc.) is just another thing to add to the list of weirdly wonderful things our female selves get to deal with.

Vagina farts are not the result of too much raw broccoli in your lunch. Air gets in your vagina during various activities, and then escapes shortly after.

That’s it.

There’s really nothing gross about it…other than the sound it makes, which exactly resembles the ones that men and toddlers find inexplicably hilarious (minus the stench that goes along with theirs). However, regardless of the reason behind it, it doesn’t negate how embarrassing it can be. For most people who don’t have a vagina- and even some who do- the sound coming from your lady parts isn’t what they’re assuming caused the “pfffffffffffft”.

How to quit the queef

Preventing these red-faced moments is actually reasonably easy. We all know that kegels and squats can be helpful when it comes to avoiding urinary incontinence (i.e. peeing your pants when you sneeze, laugh, jump, cough, breathe…you know), but they can also be helpful when it comes to toning the muscles so the air doesn’t pass so easily.  Your doctor, midwife, pelvic floor physiotherapist (this is a thing, ladies- ask your doctor for a referral!!) can all give you tips on how to do a proper kegel to make sure you’re getting the most of your efforts.

Now you know exactly what’s causing this fantastically annoying occurrence, so how do you deal with it when it happens?

There’s a few options:

  1. Completely deny it was you. Point your finger at the guy sitting beside you (because for some reason it’s far more acceptable for men’s bodies to make these noises). Blame your child. Accuse the dog. Don’t take any ownership.
  2. Say “excuse me” and allow everyone around you to assume you had too much raw broccoli in your lunch.
  3. Nonchalantly say “Sorry, that was my vagina”.

Your response will be situational, but whenever possible it is ideal to fill other folks in on the wonders that is the vagina and casually mention the third option. It’s the only way we’re going to end the embarrassment of vagina farts so that women can resume that downward dog–in the yoga studio AND in the bedroom!