Moms Get In The Picture! (Take More Pictures With Your Kids)

(Photo by Monstera:

It is a well know, widely complained about phenomenon: when it comes to pictures, moms are often nowhere to be seen.

There are several reasons this seems to be the case.. A lot of women don’t really like to be photographed and feel uncomfortable or dissatisfied with their looks or bodies. They think they don’t want to remember the way they look now.

But here’s a little secret, the pictures aren’t just for you. One day all that will be left are pictures, and you want to be in them. Your kids want you in them. Your grandkids want you in them. Etc.

Men often are notoriously bad at taking pictures of the women in their life. Whether it’s because they’re less sentimental than we are, or because they’ve been told one too many times not to, I think most women will agree that they often sneak cute candids of their husbands with the kids but their husbands rarely do the same. There are always exceptions, but that seems to be the norm.

Now, I can’t tell you how to train the men in your life to take more pictures. Other than just sitting them down and telling them you’d like them to do it more often and then hoping they follow through of course.

That also doesn’t really help mothers that don’t have anyone else in the picture to…take the picture.

Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands.

I’m a selfie fan. Always have been, always will be. Some people hate them, but I think they’re great. I’ve definitely taken more than a couple selfies with my kids (and by myself) and I’ll take thousands more. In a pinch, it works.

But sometimes it’s nice to have other options. Cramming numerous faces into a selfie can be tricky, and often the pictures all end up kinda looking the same.

Here are my tips for getting some great pictures of you with the kids

Get a tripod and a remote. There are tons of options and I’ll link some of my favourites below. You can absolutely get a nice fancy camera or a full package of photography equipment with all the bells and whistles, in fact, I highly recommend it if you’re interested in taking pictures at all because it’s a lot of fun to have. But it’s not necessary.

Some of my favourite pictures with my kids were taken with just my phone mounted on a tripod. It works great.

Don’t look at the camera the entire time. The pictures I like best are the ones where everyone is looking at each other. It seems more candid and shows more personality a lot of the time. That said, my next tip:

Make everyone laugh. Pictures that show genuine emotion will always be better than forced smiles and awkward posing. So crack a joke, make a silly noise, get everyone to smile or laugh and you might just end up with some beautiful shots you’ll cherish forever.

Record a video instead, and then screenshot! This is one of my favourite tricks and the one I’ve been using a lot since I had twins. It makes it so much easier to capture those lightning-quick moments you might miss otherwise.

My Recommended Products

These are some of the things I use and like. You can purchase, or just find more information by clicking the picture.

(Disclosure statement: links contained in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you use these links to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You are in no way obligated to use these links, and your support is very much appreciated either way.)

Things I Miss Most About Being Pregnant

If I’m being honest, I never thought I’d miss being pregnant.

I hated it, a lot of the time. Or at least I thought I did at the time. It was so much harder than I expected the second time around, I assume partly due to my age and the fact that I was pregnant with twins.

Whatever the reason though, I disliked it a lot. Then a few months passed and I thought I wanted to experience it again…or more accurately I wanted to experience it better than what I’d just been through. That was a hard feeling to process. 

Click to read my article on

Now that it’s been a while, I think I miss it.

Am I crazy?

Ok, don’t answer that.

I have no plans to get pregnant again. Ever. The other half and I have agreed that we’re done. Three kids is a lot of kids and we don’t need more. Not at our age, and not after having twins.

But every once in a while I get almost sad about that.

It doesn’t quite make sense to me. I was miserable while I was pregnant, and I do not enjoy having babies in the house so what is going on in this brain of mine?

My best guess is that because my pregnancy was cut short (since I was induced at 34 weeks) a small part of me feels robbed of those last few weeks. I also suspect part of it is because my pregnancy was so filled with worry, concern, and constant monitoring of the babies’ growth, I didn’t really get the chance to relax and enjoy it. I was constantly scared. Then they arrived and I was so busy and tired (and still scared,) that I had no time to even think about everything that has transpired over the last couple of years.

I’m still very tired. And busy. And scared. But now at least I think I’m at the point where I can look back fondly on the incredible experience I had growing two entirely new humans in my body at once.

Things I Miss About Being Pregnant:

Baby kicks/fetal movement in general. It hurt sometimes…actually no, scratch that, it hurt a lot of the time. But it was also amazing. It was especially cool getting a sense of the baby’s personalities and how they moved differently. My favourite part was putting my hand on a part of my belly and feeling them push back against it.

Getting huge. I am one of those (formerly)pregnant women who thinks getting bigger is awesome. I loved having a big belly (most of the time) and even though I was so uncomfortable I still thought it was amazing. I absolutely would not stop touching it and taking pictures of it. There were a few minor “I’m HUGE!” meltdowns (hormones are fun) but for the most part, I thought the size of my belly was pretty cool.

The excitement of knowing they were on the way. When I wasn’t terrified about any number of things that I don’t really want to mention right now, just the knowledge that I was expecting twins was pretty exciting especially since I had all but given up on the idea that I might ever have any more kids. It’s pretty funny that the universe made me wait so long and then gave me two at once.

Surprising people by telling them I was carrying twins. One of my favourite pregnancy stories is when we ran into a very young girl in a bathroom and she cried “Mommy! She has a baby in her belly!” and I told her, “Actually I have TWO babies in my belly.” and her eyes got huge and she started repeating, almost like a chant, “TWO babies! Two babies in her belly! Two babies!”

I had so many negative experiences during my pregnancy, it’s nice sometimes to look back on the positive ones. I wish I’d been able to see these more clearly in the moment, but I’m happy to find joy in them now.

Leave me a comment and let me know if you have any favourite parts of pregnancy.

I (Sort Of) Chickened Out On Baby-led Weaning

I first learned about Baby-led Weaning (BLW) while I was pregnant and watching one of my favourite Youtube moms, Brittany Balyn. She’s done multiple videos where she talks about her BLW journey with her daughter and that made me really interested in the subject. For a good chunk of my pregnancy I was set on the idea that once it came time to feed the twins solids, we’d do BLW and that was it.

But then that time came, and I chickened out.

((Disclosure statement: links contained in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you use these links to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You are in no way obligated to use these links, and your support is very much appreciated either way.)

What is BLW?

Baby-led weaning (also sometimes called BLISS: Baby-Led Introduction To Solids) is essentially skipping the purees and going straight to finger foods that the baby can feed themselves. There are a lot of supposed benefits, some you can read HERE and HERE, and the main thing I found appealing was the convenience factor. The thought of spoon feeding purees to 2 babies at once sounded like a hassle and I thought jumping right to self-feeding sounded like an amazing alternative. They’d be more independent at meal times and that would take a lot off my plate…and theirs. Ugh, that was a bad joke.

A lot of parents who practice BLW specifically feed their babies semi-modified versions of whatever the rest of the family is eating, which can make the whole process even more convenient because there are no special meals being made and the baby can learn how to feed themselves while sitting down to eat with the family.

Why Did I Chicken Out?

Quite simply, I got paranoid. Even though I had read and learned a great deal about the subject, I was worried mostly about choking. Even though most of the current research on the subject shows that babies that self feed are not at any more risk of choking than babies that are spoon fed, I was scared to take the chance. Especially when I was alone with both babies. What would I do if one did choke? How would I help her while keeping the other safe? What if both choked? What do I do then?

What We Did Instead

So we started with the purees. Honestly, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Some of the puree options out there now are actually pretty cool, and we were big fans of the Baby Gourmet brand. Juicy Pear & Garden Greens, Hearty Veggie & Turkey and Banana Apple Kale were some of our favourites. I really liked that they were a semi-local Canadian company (based in Calgary!) and the large variety they offered. Even now, after we’ve grown out of the puree phase, I still buy their snacks and I’m excited for my girls to be ready for some of their products that they just aren’t quite old enough for yet.

It became sort of an obsession of mine to go to the store and check the baby food section to see what combinations we hadn’t tried yet. That’s the thing that I do really love and appreciate about purees like this, it gives you a great opportunity to explore a variety of flavors pretty quickly, and in combinations you may not have considered previously. They’re also pretty handy. On more than one occasion, I fed a baby a puree pouch in the shopping cart while getting groceries just to keep them from getting too cranky.

Gradually, I started replacing store bought purees with homemade ones. Then, after a short time doing that we moved on to finger foods.

I will admit, I felt concerned that I had maybe hindered my babies progress with regards to learning to chew by “wasting time” with purees (it isn’t a waste of time, this is just the Mom Guilt) I definitely second guessed my choices a handful of times. But the twins have taken to self-feeding so quickly and absolutely love the process. Now meal times are so much fun and my new obsession is trying to perfect recipes for them.

The perfect baby pancake eludes me, but I’ll get there…

How To Know If BLW Might Be Right For Your Baby?

There are a few key signs of readiness that your baby needs to meet before starting baby-led weaning, just as there are with beginning purees. Some of the things to look for include:

  • They should be able to sit with support (such as in a highchair) and have good neck support.
  • They should be showing interest in food. Watching family members when they eat, mimicking their chewing motions perhaps (these were two BIG ones for the twins!)
  • They should be bringing their hands or other objects like toys to their mouth to chew on them.

There are other signs and it’s important to do your own reading to determine if you think your baby is ready, and discuss with their doctor if you’re unsure or have concerns.

One key way to know if BLW might be a good choice for your baby is to watch how they behave during meal times. Do they sit passively allowing you to spoon bites into their mouth, or do they try to get their hands in there and do it themselves? My babies kept grabbing the spoon from my hand and helping to guide it to their mouths and I knew it was time to let them take the lead.

Further Reading

Baby-led weaning doesn’t increase choking risk, study finds by Susan Scutti (Published on CNN September 20, 2016)

Baby Led Weaning (BLW)– A Beginners Guide For Starting Solids Without Spoon-Feeding by Abbey Sharp, RD, BASc (Published on Abbey’s Kitchen November 21, 2019 updated October 4, 2021)

Ultimate Guide to Baby Led Weaning (and Best First Foods) by Amy Palanjian (Published on Yummy Toddler Food, updated June 7, 2021)

Or if you prefer a book or e-book, these are some good options (click the picture to learn more or purchase):

My BLW Supply Wishlist and Recommendations

Part of the fun of feeding babies—other than the fact that it’s adorable to watch them learn and immensely rewarding to see them master new skills—are all the different products you might convince yourself you need to buy.

Obviously you don’t, but if you—like me—want to add a few fun things to the experience, these are some of the ones I either use or am currently eyeing up:

Now I want to hear from you! Did you feed your baby purees or did you go with BLW? Is BLW something you’re considering or curious about? Or let me know what your baby’s favourite food is or was, or your favourite baby or toddler recipe. Leave me a comment and let me know!

It’s Really Hard To Not Hate Other Mothers With Large Families Sometimes

(This post was written in February 2021 just before I discovered I was pregnant with twins. I’m posting it now, all this time later because I think it might still resonate with others going through the same thing or something similar.)

This is one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever admitted, but sometimes I feel like I hate mothers with large families.

I know it’s not really hate. It’s jealousy, of course. But knowing that doesn’t exactly help and it doesn’t make me feel like less of a terrible person when I get annoyed by things I have no business being annoyed by.

Their family has nothing to do with mine, so why am I expending energy being offended because they have something I wanted and wasn’t able to have? Is it the other woman’s fault? Did she sabotage my chances to have another baby by expanding her family? No, of course not. So why am I so annoyed with her?

Is it simply because her family is a painful reminder of what I most long for? Is it because every time I see her pictures of her smiling kids, arms wrapped around each other and dirty faces, I hear that little voice in the back of my head saying “You’ll never have that.”?

Even if I were to magically fall pregnant now, the age difference between my children would be too much. They wouldn’t play together or have many of the typical sibling experiences.

I think that’s part of what bugs me the most: feeling like I failed to give my daughter that. I wanted so badly to give her a brother or sister and for them to grow up close and have adventures and experiences and memories together and now it’s clear that just simply won’t happen.

So I convince myself moms with lots of kids are ungrateful and undeserving of what they’ve been blessed with. Somehow that makes me feel better and worse, but I run with it anyway because I’m already having a self-pity party so why not just keep going?

The things they complain about, I’d give anything to experience. Siblings bickering? Yes, please. Schedule juggling? I’ll take it! Astronomical food bills trying to feed a large family? I’ll sell my kidney if I have to!

Ok, ok. I’m being ridiculous, I know.

Is it so bad having just one kid?


There are a lot of really incredible things about being able to focus all your energy on one child. I have a bond with my daughter that I might not have if she’d had to spend her time battling for attention with a little brother or sister. I’m thankful for that.

She certainly hasn’t been lonely growing up, which is something other people often worry about when it comes to only children, and which they should stop saying because as a parent it’s like a knife to the heart when someone implies you’re intentionally depriving your child of the companionship that siblings bring.

She’s also been able to have experiences in life that might not have been as attainable had our family been larger. We’ve been able to take trips, take up hobbies and build memories we might not have been able to afford if there’d been additional family members.

Or maybe we would have. It’s really impossible to know what could have been.

At the end of the day, this is the family that we have. It’s a family I’m eternally grateful for.

I know I’m extremely lucky.

But sometimes, when I’m being a spoiled brat, I lose sight of that. It’s embarrassing to admit. But I’m admitting it anyway.

23 Ridiculous Questions To Ask Your Teenager

When my daughter started school, I became a master of coaxing conversation out of her. I wouldn’t settle for the typical one-word answers:

“How was your day?” (Good?) “Anything exciting happen?” (No.)

Uhhh, No thank you.

So instead I would rapid fire specific questions at her, things that required thought and actual, real answers:

“What was the coolest thing you saw today? Who was the first person you talked to at school? What was your favourite thing in your lunch?”

-an annoying mom, aka ME

and on and on until I ran out of ideas.

And most of the time, she was fairly receptive to it. Even now, at almost 15, she still indulges my questions and tries her best to give me thoughtful, genuine answers. With minimal eye-rolling.

Over time this has evolved into somewhat of a game where I go out of my way to think of absolutely ridiculous questions to ask her. Partially because it’s fun. Sometimes her responses catch me off-guard. Sometimes I expect an equally ridiculous answer and instead get something deeply insightful that stops me in my tracks. Sometimes it’s just so interesting to see how she views the world and interprets things.

I also think it’s a valuable tool to encourage positive communication. Sometimes teens can be a little difficult to talk to and the more personal or embarrassing the topic, the more likely they are to clam up. Asking them questions that are just meant to be fun and not so serious can be a great way to open up those lines of communication without crossing their mysterious teenage boundaries.

So I put together a short list of slightly ridiculous questions you can try asking your teenagers, to see what kind of responses you might get. All of these questions have been tested on my own teenage daughter, many of them leading to more in-depth conversations, and some of them making us both laugh so hard we had tears in our eyes. I have to admit one of my favourite parts of the whole experience was watching her put her phone aside, and recline on the couch as she requested the next questions, followed closely by the look of contemplation as she actually thought and considered her response to each query.

I highly recommend you give it a try.

(Disclosure statement: links contained in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you use these links to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You are in no way obligated to use these links, and your support is very much appreciated either way.)

23 Ridiculous Questions To Ask Your Teenager

  1. What language would you learn if you could choose any language – even fictional languages count! (this is probably the least ridiculous one on the list, but we’re getting there.)
  2. If you could travel to any planet and be able to survive there no matter what, which one would you choose?
  3. What fruit or vegetable do you find most relatable and why? (disregard the fact that this may be technically 2 questions.)
  4. If you were a pet, what type of pet would you be?
  5. If you were a dragon and could hoard any one item, what would you pick?
  6. What planet do you find the most relatable? (a word of warning: I asked my daughter this and it spiraled into a half-hour long conversation about planets and their perceived personalities and culminated in us taking Buzzfeed quizzes about what planet we were, so if you are low on time or patience, proceed with caution but if you welcome going off on a weird tangent with your teenage child then this might be a great choice!)
  7. What do you think clouds would taste like?
  8. If a donut and a cookie had a baby, what type of baked good would their offspring be?
  9. If you could re-colour any one thing in nature, what would it be?
  10. If we were burying a time capsule (set to be opened at any random length of time you choose) what would you put in it?
  11. What is the weirdest dinner combination you can think of?
  12. If you had to fill your house with only one type of furniture, what would you pick?
  13. If you had to create a new animal, what would that animal be? (as many details as desired.)
  14. If I had let you rename yourself when you were (any age) what do you think you would have picked?
  15. One mythological creature is coming to stay at your house for the weekend, which one is it?
  16. Which 3-5 people are on your zombie apocalypse survival team, and why? (word of caution, try to not feel offended if you aren’t on their list. It’s just supposed to be fun.)
  17. Would you rather explore the ocean or space?
  18. A new planet has been discovered and you have the privilege of naming it, what do you call it?
  19. You’ve been recruited to join the circus, what is your act? (Could be either a skill they actually have or one they’d like to learn or one they wish they had!)
  20. What slightly useless superpower would you pick if you were given the chance to choose one?
  21. You can only watch one movie for the rest of your life. What is it?
  22. You have an abandoned building to turn into a house, what was the building used for before this? (ie, old church, store, school, etc.)
  23. You find a buried treasure filled only with items that start with the same letter as your first name. What’s inside?

Parenting teens is tough, these are a couple books I’ve been reading lately that I’ve found very interesting (click to purchase)

Now I want to hear from you! What are your best tips for effective, positive communication with your teenage children? Do you find your kids easy to talk to or do you struggle to coax full sentences out of them? I’d love to know!

My Current Favourite Things as a Mom of Twins

Below is a list of the various products I’m currently loving as a mom with twin babies. A lot of it is fairly generic things (helloooo diapers!) but it’s the stuff I find I just can’t do without lately.

If you’re interested in purchasing any of the items I recommend below, you can click the picture to do so. Please note if you do, that these are affiliate links and I may get a small percentage of the cost of your purchase.


Diapers are obviously one of the most essential things when you have a baby, and when you have 2 babies you go through a lot of diapers. I find Pampers Baby Dry gives us the most bang for our buck, and I prefer the style and fit much more than other brands that I’ve tried.


We combo feed, and when the girls get bottles, these are the ones we’re loving. I like the shape of them much more than a lot of other bottles and they’re very easy to clean.


I mentioned wearing earplugs around my babies in a mom group on Facebook and got roasted for “ignoring my babies!” but here’s the thing: kids are noisy. And earplugs don’t make you deaf, they simply take the edge off sharp or loud noises so you can preserve your sanity (and protect your hearing of course) which makes it easier to be a good mom when suffering from sensory overload.

Silicone Breast Pump

I have an electric pump that was a gift from an incredible family member and I love it so much. But I can’t always strap myself in for a good pumping session…especially lately as the babies have decided they are jealous of the damn thing! These silicone pumps are a great alternative when you need to pump breastmilk, can’t be bothered with a traditional manual pump and don’t have the time to use the electric version.

Aussie 3 Min Miracle

This isn’t really a baby thing but it’s a MOM thing, at least for this mom. I’m desperate to keep my long hair and not need to resort to a cropped Mom Cut, and without this stuff I wouldn’t even be able to get a comb through my hair most days. It’s so knotted almost all the time, tossed up in a messy bun and neglected or tangled up in grabby baby hands, but this stuff seriously is a miracle and makes my hair somewhat manageable when I’m finally able to try to tame it.

Prenatal Vitamins

I’m a huge brat and can’t handle vitamins unless they’re gummies. But it gets worse! I’m also an even bigger brat and am extremely picky about the specific texture of said gummies. These ones are perfect and the only ones I’ve found that I will consistently take because I like them. And yes, I am taking prenatals still, because of breastfeeding.

VTech Magic Star Learning Table

This toy is perfect for our girls right now because they’re learning to stand by pulling up on furniture, so it gives them something fun to do while they’re standing. I’m already sick of the songs, but it’s worth it.

Banana Teether

I swear our babies have been teething since day one, they’re constantly chewing and drooling all over everything and their cheeks are super red more often than not. Of all the things they grab to chew, these seem to be the favourite, so much so that they will fight over them and steal them from each other.

(Motherhood in Progress is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Personal Updates (+ Pictures!)

This blog has been a little quiet lately as I’ve been focusing on other projects as well as growing these babies. So I thought rather than posting about any specific topic, I’d just post a quick update here as well as maybe link to some of the things I’ve been working on lately.

How Are The Babies Doing?

The twins are doing pretty good. They’re definitely coming earlier than expected, which has been a weird emotional rollercoaster for me.

I’m excited to meet them but obviously worried that being born too early could be bad for them.

Currently I’m exactly 34 weeks pregnant and while I won’t say precisely when they will be joining us I’ll say it is soon. (The main reason for early delivery has to do with blood flow issues that indicate that the placenta isn’t doing the work that it needs to be doing to keep them both healthy inside my body much longer.)

So at the moment I’m just staying positive, getting prepared, and trusting in the doctors who are tasked with helping us welcome these little ones into the world.

Physically, I’m incredibly uncomfortable and in that weird limbo state of feeling “done” while also feeling “not ready yet.”

My Favourite Baby Products

We’ve been so absolutely spoiled by friends and family members lately, and it’s been so appreciated. These are some of my favourite things we’ve either received or purchased ourselves over the last few months that I’m really excited about (click the picture to view on purchase on Amazon – these are affiliate links which means I will possibly earn a small commission if you purchase through them, but you are in no way obligated to)

Maternity Pictures

My daughter took some maternity pictures for me recently. I wanted some nice ones before this pregnancy was done, and she was sweet enough to offer to help. I love how they turned out, even though I picked a bad time of day to get them done and the sun kind of made things difficult, but I’m happy with them.

Youtube Videos

I started uploading videos on Youtube about a year or so ago, for no real reason other than I wanted to learn how the platform works and I thought it would be an interesting challenge to learn how to edit videos.

In recent months I’ve been uploading videos specifically about my pregnancy, you can find the most recent one below. I’ve also posted a few general pregnancy updates you can see if you go visit my channel (if you have a Youtube channel as well, please leave me the link and I’ll come subscribe to you!)

Social Media Links

Follow me around on various other platforms if you’d like!

I hope if you’re reading this you’re doing well, if you’re expecting a baby any time over the next 9 months or so let me know how far along you are and how you’re feeling.

Stay safe and I’ll be back with another new post soon hopefully!

Why You Should Solo Road Trip With Your Kids

I took my first solo road trip with my daughter when she was only a year old. We drove from where we were living at the time – in the Okanagan Valley, B.C. – to visit a friend in Calgary, Alberta. Roughly a 10 hour drive in total depending on how frequently you need to stop – which is obviously often when travelling with a little one in diapers.

That first road trip on my own was such an empowering experience for me, especially as an at-the-time single mom who was fortunate enough to have very supportive, very involved parents who were an endless source of support for me but who occasionally – through no fault of their own – left me feeling like less of a mom because I needed help (but that’s another story for another blog post, although I would like to make it clear they never made me feel that way, it was other people’s comments that got under my skin. But again, another blog, another day.)

But that trip. I had no one to rely on. No back up. No safety net. It was just me, the kiddo, and the road. Ok and the car. And the diaper bag. And about a million other things packed into the car, you get my point though. It was an adventure for just the two of us, and by the end I felt more confident in my skills as a mother than ever before.

My mom and I used to road trip together a lot. My entire family has always been really into road trips actually. We drove nearly all the way across Canada – twice – first when we moved from B.C. to Ontario, and then back to B.C. a handful of years later. But again, another blog post for another day because this post is about those solo trips. Small 2 hour day trips here and there. To Vancouver and back for a weekend more times than I can count. When my daughter was born, she joined our little road tripping crew and the 3 of us continued our journey all over B.C. and occasionally over to Alberta. Sometimes we had reasons for our trips, such as the time I tracked down where my grandmother’s mother had been buried in Alberta so we drove there to visit my great grandmother’s grave. Or when we wanted to take a Girls Weekend drive to Victoria to visit Buchardt Gardens and the Butterfly Gardens for May long weekend, so we rented a van and drove out that way, falling in love with “Sidney by the Sea” along the way. Sometimes our road trips were just because we felt like going for a drive. On a few occasions we’d just pick a random direction and just head out, just because we wanted to explore.

We’d get snacks. We’d pack CDs (yes, CDs) and whether my mother liked it or not I’d sing to her the whole damn time. (She swears she likes it but I’ve heard myself so I think maybe she was just hearing me through the “I love it because I’m your mom” filter.) When I wasn’t singing, we were talking about every single topic under the sun. When I got old enough to drive we started sharing driving duty, something I’m looking forward to in a few short years when my own daughter learns to drive.

Some of the Reasons Why Taking Solo Road Trips With Your Kids Is Awesome

  • Lot’s of quality time for lot’s of quality conversation. Conversation seems to flow better on a road trip for some reason. Maybe it’s the lack of having much else to do (although these days being glued to their phones is still an option, but you can hopefully still get some good chats out of them.)
  • New surroundings have a magical way of pushing you into a new place.
  • Road trip snacks are awesome and nothing feels cooler than when your mom let’s you pick out whatever snack you want…except maybe growing up to be the cool mom who let’s your kids pick out any snack they want!
  • It can be a really education experience, both because of what you’ll learn as you talk along the way, and what you might see and discover on your journey.
  • It’s a great bonding experience, and a way to make new memories. Years after you’ll still be laughing sometimes about a funny thing you saw as you drove through an unfamiliar town, or recounting tales of getting lost or any number of things. When my mom and I were frequently road tripping her car would sometimes overheat and we’d be stuck on the side of the road for hours. We hated it at the time but we laugh about it now.
  • There are so many different options and no two road trips are exactly the same. Weather, the direction you head, even the time of day you hit the road can all drastically alter the experience (in good and bad ways of course, certain times of the year are not the greatest for long drives.)

Leave me a comment and let me know either the best road trip you’ve ever taken, or the longest one. Or if you’d like, tell me your worst road trip experience ever! Mine is tied between when I got sunburnt in Vegas and had to endure a looooong drive back to BC in a car with a window that wouldn’t roll up, or the time I injured my neck on a rollercoaster in Edmonton and had to suffer through the 10+ hour drive back to the Okanagan, unable to get comfortable the entire time.

Fun stuff.

Self Care For Moms

I follow a fair amount of mom groups and blogs and a common theme I see repeated a lot is that moms don’t get their needs met as often as they should. This is obviously a problem a lot of moms can relate to, if the frequency of which it’s brought up is any indication. So why are so many moms lacking the self care department? How can we fix that?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that at least part of the problem is that we’ve made it a habit to put ourselves last, take on too much, and be the go-to person to solve everyone’s problems. We’ve convinced ourselves that if we don’t do it, no one else will and as a result we’ve put ourselves and our needs on the very bottom of the pile. What’s worse, this has gone on for so long that breaking these habits seems impossible and some mothers (obviously not all) are almost comfortable in this “put myself last” dynamic. We’ve certainly normalized it, and that’s unfortunate.

So now let’s normalize undoing it.

Self Care Is Important

It’s great for your mental and overall health, prevents burn out and is a great way to safeguard against developing feelings of resentment towards your spouse or your family in general. Plus it’s healthy for your kids to see you putting yourself first. The importance of self care should be fairly obvious when you look at the consequences of not getting enough, or any.

Some Ways To Help Ensure You Get More Self Care In Your Life

Figure out what self care means to you. It doesn’t have to be bubble baths, massages and getting your nails done. I mean, it can be if that’s your thing, but it’s not the only option. Self care can be going for a solo walk, or having uninterrupted reading time or time to watch your favourite show. It can be a night out or taking a class. Whatever the thing is that makes you feel recharged and reconnected to who you are as a person outside of being a mom, that’s something you should be trying to incorporate into your life on a regular basis.

Steal little pockets of time where available, get creative if you must. It can be tough to just find the time to indulge in any type of self care when life gets so busy, so sometimes you need to think outside the box to make it happen. If your kid plays a sport for example, that likely takes up a large chunk of your time. But what if you coordinate with one of the other moms to alternate taking each other’s kids to practice? It doesn’t really add anything to your plate to bring along an extra kid on your days to drive, and it gives you a chunk of time that’s now free on the days when the other mom is taking the kids. Now go do something just for you with that time.

Put other things on the backburner, and prioritize yourself. What is the worst that is going to happen if you sit and read for 20 minutes instead of sweeping? Can you let the kids put the laundry away so you can get a quick work out in? Sure they may not do it exactly the way you would, but does it matter? Really?

Let go and let others take some stuff off your plate. Trust that they can handle it. Resist the urge to micromanage.

Communicate your needs and be firm about them. It would be so nice if your family could read your mind and anticipate your needs, but they can’t. So be realistic and tell them what you need and how you’re going to ensure that need is met. Then hold firm on that. If 7-7:30 is your time to relax in the bath and the kids come knocking on the door asking for a snack: Nope. This is Mom Time. Go ask your dad or figure it out yourself.

Will it always work? No. But if it works even 5% of the time that’s still more than usual so that sounds like a win to me. Plus, it will very likely get easier over time. Think of it this way, it’s like building any other type of habit or skill. It takes practice and repetition.

It can also help if you try to make the self care activities you choose take place outside of the home so they don’t even have the option to disturb you. Call it hiding from your family if you must but sometimes it’s necessary to remove the temptation (that’s you) so they don’t just fall back on the easy solution for all their problems (again, that’s you.)

Find cheap or free alternatives. Sometimes we stop doing the things we enjoy because the expenses of family obligations take priority and anything for ourselves starts to look like an unnecessary indulgence. It’s why so many mom’s will update their kids’ wardrobes every season while they’re still wearing the same yoga pants they’ve had for 6 years.

Ideally, just breaking that way of thinking and learning to treat yourself sometimes would be nice. But until you get to that point, try exploring cheaper or even free options. If buying the newest hardcover novel you’ve been eyeing makes you cringe at the price tag, check your local library or see if there is a used book store or some type of book swap nearby. If getting massages, or getting your nails done is your thing but out of your price range, look for local training schools where you can often get fantastic service by someone learning their trade (guided by a professional in that field.)

Something is better than nothing, so start small if you have to. Making self care a priority is likely a difficult thing to do because you’re not used to it. So any small thing you can do can add up over time. The more you do it, the easier it will become. Your family may even start learning to anticipate some of your needs because you’ve made a point of showing them that they are a priority.  

This one may prickle a few feathers but I’m saying it anyways because some of you need to hear it: Don’t make excuses and don’t be a martyr. You know what I mean.

“But I have to–“ No you don’t.

“Well I can’t–“ Yes you can.

Stop neglecting yourself on purpose just so you can complain about being neglected.

Obviously Sometimes Things Are A Lot More Complicated

Now, I completely acknowledge that a lot of this can be trickier when you’re dealing with circumstances outside of some of the examples I’ve given. If you’re a single mom, that makes it difficult because you can’t exactly hand the kids off to a partner so you can sneak away. Depending on the age of your children, this is still a great opportunity to model that self care behavior. There’s no reason why you can’t have a conversation with your kids and explain to them how every person needs a little time to themselves to do something they enjoy so they can recharge and feel good, modifying the language as needed based on their age. You could ask your kids what activities they think are their own self care activities, and explain to them some of yours. Maybe discuss ways you can help each other practice self care. Start the conversation now so they’ll have a healthy attitude towards self care as they get older.

If you have very young children and a partner that absolutely refuses to help out or accommodate your needs in any way, well…I’m not at all qualified to tell you how to handle that but that might be a bigger issue that needs to be addressed in a more substantial way before it get’s even worse. I’m not saying end your relationship, but having a good serious talk about these things could be beneficial, as well as looking into counselling or other outside sources of support if it seems necessary.

What are your preferred forms of self care? Do you feel like you get enough of it in your life or are you usually putting your needs last to take care of everyone else? Leave me a comment and let me know.

How To Encourage Your Teenager To Talk To You?

(Feature Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels)

A big worry for parents when faced with raising teenagers (and even preteens sometimes!) is how do you get them to talk to you? Teenagers can be secretive, mysterious creatures. They can be moody and temperamental, prone to fly off the handle at the slightest innocent question. Often they make us, the parents, feel like we’re inconveniencing them simply by existing. It can be a frustrating time for everyone involved, but there are things to keep in mind and strategies to try that can help make it a little bit easier.

Ways To Encourage Your Teenager To Talk To You

Actually listen, and listen with intent to understand. Don’t approach a conversation with your teenager assuming it’s not important or that their thoughts aren’t relevant because they’re young. Don’t assume they’re lying or trying to get out of something if the conversation is a result of a problem that has occurred recently. If you’ve already made up your mind before the conversation has even begun then you’re just wasting your time. Give them a chance!

Talk about things they are interested in. Is hearing your teen talk about Fortnite it’s only special realm of hell? Yes. But if it’s something they enjoy that is important to them, it’s important for you to make an effort to listen at least some of the time. It’s less about being interested in that specific thing, and more about showing your child that you care about what is important to them.

Remember what it was like to be a teenager. Remember feeling misunderstood? Maybe sometimes even afraid? Did you ever keep secrets from your parents because you were worried about how they may react? Maybe they had reacted poorly in the past and so you were scared to confide in them because of the memory of that incident. Or perhaps you were embarrassed for one reason or another. Possibly your parents put so much emphasis on the importance of good grades, for example, that when you failed a test or a class you were too scared tell them. I think a lot of parents simply forget what it actually felt like to be that age.

How you react when your child confides in you is everything. It sets the stage for how they might feel when problems come up in the future. Ideally you want to be the person they come to when things happen in their life, both good and bad. But if the way you react in those moments hurts their feelings, makes them uncomfortable or is in any way dismissive of how they feel about it, there’s a really good chance that they’ll remember that next time and they’ll hesitate when it comes to approaching you again.

Do NOT dismiss your child’s concerns if they tell you they suspect they may have an issue relating to mental health. Depression, anxiety, whatever it might be, if your child is brave enough to tell you they think they might be struggling and you outright dismiss their concerns they’re not going to come to you with these struggles later on if things get worse, which could have absolutely disastrous consequences later on. Absolutely do NOT argue back about all the good things they have in their life that (in your eyes) mean they couldn’t possibly be struggling in that way. That’s not how it works and could in fact only serve to make them feel worse. Listen to their concerns and take appropriate steps to find them necessary help.

If you child confides in you—even about something you do or have done that upsets them—you need to at least try push your own feelings and ego aside in that moment and just listen to what they’re telling you. It does no one any good to get defensive and have it turn into a fight. That’s a great way to ensure they won’t open up to you again in the future.

Obviously I’m not saying to just stand there and let your child verbally abuse you, but say for example your teenage son summons up the confidence to sit you down and tell you that you recently made some comments that hurt his feelings. If your immediate reaction is to argue back or start listing all his shortcomings, the rude things he’s said to you in the past, or to otherwise make the situation all about your own feelings, you’ve effectively ensured he won’t feel like he can come talk to you in the future.

Especially don’t start listing all the things you’ve done for them as it that somehow justifies or cancels out the hurtful thing you’ve done. That is just a gross, manipulative and yes, abusive, tactic that is used far too often.

Remember your child’s feelings are valid even if they contradict your own. This might be hard to accept but your kids are allowed to have opinions that are different from yours, even when it comes to things that directly affect you or things that you find very important. They are their own people and may be experiencing and seeing things differently than you do. That’s not a bad thing. If anything this should be seen as an opportunity to learn from each other by exposure to different perspectives, and you should be proud that they’re learning to take in information and make decisions about how they feel about it.

Respect their privacy. If your child confides in you, don’t include other people in the conversation without their permission (not including immediate safety threats of course, or in some cases something that directly affects the other person) this includes the other parent, their grandparents, or siblings. It doesn’t take any extra effort to ask your teenager if it’s ok if you share what they’ve told you, and yes it might be a little tough to keep it to yourself if they decline but it’s still important that you do so. If they want someone else to know, that’s their decision to make, not yours. Betraying their trust like that is a sure way to guarantee they won’t extend that same trust in the future.

Include low pressure, casual conversations whenever possible that make it clear that you just enjoy talking to them. Not everything has to be a deep meaningful conversation. Sometimes it’s just fun to talk about random things that happened throughout the day. Rehash old memories, talk about favourite hobbies or movies or whatever. Remind each other of a funny thing that happened. Just talk for no other reason than sometimes it’s fun to talk to each other. Compliment them on something they’ve done recently that really impressed you, ask for their input or feedback on a decision you’re trying to make. Just talk.

There are many other things I could add to this list, but it’s a start. Sometimes I myself struggle with some of the things I’ve included here but I understand how important it is and I try to prioritize them as much as possible. I want my teenage child to always feel comfortable to come to me with anything, and I’ll be 100% honest, that’s not always the case. So it’s something I will continue to work on.

Let me know your thoughts, what are some of your key things you try to keep in mind when communicating with your teenagers? What are things you wish adults in your life had known or remembered when you were a teen? Leave me a comment and let me know.