February NewsletterFeb 6, 2018
Welcome – I Am So Glad You’re Here!
Today is February 5th, 2018. I have so much to share with you but, to be honest, I am feeling a bit frazzled. My website should have been launched with the January Newsletter but I am still waiting for the website to be completed. There were so many glitches this month. This experience has taught me to stay focused on my intention, to do what is within my control and, to detach from the outcome.
Every month, my newsletter will start with the Families Connect Challenge. This month is all about love. I challenge you to spend quality time together as a family, expressing your love for one another. We will be creating wish boxes filled with ideas from every member of the family. February Challenge-Filling Wish Boxes
I like to suggest this as an activity to families who have more than one child where the eldest may be feeling replaced or left out. Trying to make time for each child, your partner and yourself can feel a little overwhelming to say the least. We often expect more from ourselves than our loved ones do. Children love having our attention and affection. We don’t need to plan something big. Just the intention to focus on them for a while is enough to deepen our bond. The wish box helps you figure out what simple activities your child would like to do with you. It takes the guesswork out. Then, all you need to do is find little morsels of time.
Step 1 – Visit the dollar store and get plain, empty boxes (big enough to fit post it notes). Buy one for each member of the family.
Step 2 – Have the children pick some decorations for their boxes. You can make them as fancy or plain as you wish. Set a budget to avoid ending up with a packed, expensive cart. Examples include: decorative tape, decorative paper, shells, rocks, foam shapes, fancy lettering, stencils, stamps, stickers, pompoms, feathers and googly eyes.
Step 3 – You may want to start by having each person paint his or her box with a favourite colour. Then you can add items from step 2 to the box. You will need a glue gun and some glue sticks to fasten heavier items to the box (like shells or rocks). If you don’t have a glue gun, only suggest items that can be attached with glue.
Step 4 – While the boxes are drying, ask each person to write ideas regarding what they would like to do with each parent on (non-sticky) post-it notes, cut up construction paper or recipe cards. For younger children, the parents can write their ideas for them. Place each suggestion in the box.
Step 5 – The children can keep their Wish Box somewhere special (ie. in their room on a shelf). When you have a bit of time (15 minutes), ask the child to pick an idea from his/her box and let him/her know how much time you have together. Alternate doing things with each child, your partner and yourself (ie. take a bath, make a smoothie, read a chapter from your favourite book).
Step 6 – Take photos of your special time together. You may want to have a bulletin board or a frame for multiple photos in a central spot in your home to display these photos. My daughters don’t make a big deal out of our time together but, once in a while, I overhear them speaking to others about the fun things we do and I can tell they look forward to it. Do not underestimate the impact you are having. My youngest was excited to play “I Spy” with me, trying to guess which tree ornament I was looking at “like we did last year”. I had no idea she had enjoyed doing that until she asked to do it again.
Enjoy your special time together and don’t forget to tag me if you share photos on your FB page or Instagram.
Every Tuesday at 1pm (ET), moms can connect online for free, and explore whatever topic is being discussed that week. As soon as my website is live, we will be discussing identity. Becoming a parent shifts many parts of our identity from our body concept, our sense of accomplishment, belonging and self-esteem. See Mommies Mingle to sign up.
If you’d rather socialize in person, join me in my art studio on CR 18 in Kemptville for my monthly creative activity, Mama’s Time Out. This month, we explore the Three Pillars of Wellness and create individual self-care boxes. There will be tea, coffee and lots of fun. Each workshop costs $60. See Mama’s Time Out on my website www.annewalsh.ca to register. I am very excited to interview an artist each month for Anne’s Art Adventures. My February interview is with Meredith Luce, graphic artist and, the illustrator of both of my children’s books. Meredith enjoys knitting, illustrating, designing, pottery, singing, performing, printmaking, silk screening and shooting photographs for her greeting card collection. For a sneak preview, visit www.luceends.com.
This month on my blog, Anne’s Mommy Moments, I share my experience of early pregnancy. Yes, I was tired and drooling during the day but I was thoroughly enjoying my new bumps and curves too.
I decided to visit different groups of mothers to speak with them and learn about their experiences. Speaking in a group is different from talking one on one. We feed off of each other’s ideas and our conversations can take unexpected turns. This is exciting! My visit to the Ontario Early Years playgroup was an eye-opener. There were eight parents with their very young babies-seven moms and a dad.
After a brief introduction, I asked them how the reality of motherhood/fatherhood differed from the fantasy they had prior to being a parent. One mom was now raising her toddler and young baby on her own as she and the father were no longer together. Another mom was alone because her husband was sent away to another province for work. A third mom was adjusting to the fact that she is never alone now that she is a mom. She is always caring for her baby. A fourth mom expressed her feelings of helplessness due to her child’s health issues which began during pregnancy. A fifth mom, who has older children at home, felt that her world revolved around the children. It seems to her that everything she does is about them. She was looking forward to her return to work. A sixth mom was parenting her baby while keeping the memory of her lost son alive. The father in the group talked about how having a child with special needs taught him to adjust his expectations with his second son. He was having mixed feelings about his return to work. He enjoyed being at home with his son.
I also wanted to know what support looks like to these parents. Many of the moms felt that social media played a role in helping them stay connected. The Ontario Early Years also helped them connect to other parents. They enjoyed spending time with friends who have children and visiting family. Having people around and a sense of community were important to them. One mom suggested people ask them what they need. They might not know what they need but it reminds them that they still have friends who care. They all agreed that it’s nice to have an adult conversation about something other than the baby and that having time together as a couple was really important as well.
Finally, on Mama’s Toolbox, I interview professionals every month to ask them questions that I think moms would want to ask. I started the series with Cathy Sheppard from Sheppard and Associates LTD. She had so many tools to share regarding financial planning. Have a listen here. Please visit Cathy’s website to explore its many free resources, www.sheppardandassociates.ca.
This is my way to serve you. If you have any suggestions regarding topics you would like to have covered or questions you wish to ask, please submit them here.
I hope you are feeling loved this month. I look forward to seeing you in my groups or reading your comments.
Motherhood Doesn’t Have to Be a One-Woman Show,