Information for Moms

July 2018 Newsletter

Welcome – I Am So Glad You’re Here!
I am so proud to be a member of this community right now. I set out to raise funds in support of families with children on the spectrum and, at first, small amounts of money were trickling in. I was encouraged and hopeful. Then, it all came to a halt. I didn’t want to keep posting about it because I feared pissing people off. I was driving home one day, praying that one of the businesses I had written to would come through with a sizeable donation or some miracle would happen. When I got home, there was a new donation worth $250 from Stephanie Gilmer. I sat at my computer and cried (the ugly cry) because I felt so relieved. As the end of the school year approached, I started to panic. Would there be enough money? I placed a donation box at my husband’s shop and his clients donated an extra $90 over two days.I posted a photo of my daughters’ Nintendo Switch with two game cartridges on Facebook (bought it for Christmas and they hated it). It sold within ten minutes for an extra $350. The lady actually paid me $360.

In the end, the campaign raised enough money to offer respite for three families (4 hours per week all summer), it helped a dad afford Shared Care summer camp for his son so he could go to work with peace of mind and it provided one on one swimming lessons for a little boy who struggles with aggression. Swimming is good for him, it tires him out and develops important skills because he jumps into water even though he can’t swim. He has no sense of danger. On top of all this, Melanie Cleghorn ( contacted me to say she would take one family to offer an Equine Assisted Learning program for free (8 weeks). I knew just the family. I recommended she work with one woman’s three daughters on the spectrum and Melanie accepted. I was elated!

I can’t describe how amazing it felt to meet families. One family was paired with a student who already had a connection to them. They were so excited! I met with one student and the mom she was matched with. They sat and chatted over coffee. It felt like a perfect match. I was able to meet some of the children and chat with the moms. It was awesome! I also met with Tammy Hurlbert at the Municipal Centre to find out if we could offer Sensory Friendly movies at the Municipal Centre. She was super supportive and I could tell she genuinely cared about families.

This experience really gave me an appreciation of the members of the community, how all these awesome people do their best to help others every day. I was shopping at Walmart and, as I entered, the same greet I had noticed before was beaming at me. His name is Claude and he is such a great greeter. He interacts with people, greets everyone with a smile and helps out when he can. As I left the store that day, I had an idea. Someone should take the time to thank all these awesome people, like Claude, who do such a great job caring about the members of their community. I launched a new project on my Facebook page. Every morning, I posted a photo and short text stating why I was grateful for one particular person in the community. It was a lot of fun. I did it daily until the children were done with school. Now, I will feature one person on the Monday of every week. It’s great to feel connected!

Every month, I start my newsletter with a Families Connect Challenge. This month is all about our connection to nature. In this day and age with technology at our fingertips, we sometimes have to work at getting the family outdoors. Summer is the perfect time to head out for family fun. If you live in the country as I do, you merely have to step outside but I know how challenging it can be for families who live in the city.

Here are a few activities you can try:

1-Bring a camera (or iPhone) and go for a walk. Make it a game for the children to capture as much beauty in nature as they can (colourful insects, flowers, leaves, rocks, shells, tree bark and roots, birds etc). They can take photographs then sketch them in their journal when they get home.

2-If you live close to the beach, you can make sand castles together. Collect lots of seaweed, rocks, pine cones and shells to decorate your sculpture.

3-Plan to eat outdoors either by having a picnic, sitting on the deck or eating at a nearby playground. As you eat, see if you can notice the sounds of nature. You may want to try to identify what birds you are hearing.

4-Take the children to a trail or forest and have them gather items from nature-sticks, leaves, rocks, bark, moss etc. When you get home, have them either rub the items by placing them under a paper and rubbing the paper with an oil pastel or crayon. They can also create a college with their items by sticking them onto a canvas (you’ll need to help them with a glue gun, it gets very hot), adding words or painting the background.

5-Gardening and cooking together can also help you bond over nature and your children are learning some life skills at the same time. Win-Win.

I would love to hear from you or see your art. Don’t forget to tag me if you share photos on your FB page or Instagram for your chance to win the Movie Pass for four (two adults, two children). The winning family will be announced on my Facebook page on December 23rd, 2018.

During the month of July, I will be editing and finalizing my book in preparation for Book Launchers. I will be publishing and promoting The Mommy Monologues with them in the Fall. I will also be hosting my husband’s friends who are visiting from the UK in early July. My priority over the summer is spending quality time with my daughters so I will not be hosting any workshops in July. However, I might organize an activity for families in August as a way to enjoy our time together before school starts. This season is so short and I want to make the most of it.

I thoroughly enjoy interviewing a different artist each month for Awesome Artsy Moms. This month, I sat with Ottawa artist, Trish Rossiter, in my studio in Kemptvillle to discuss how beneficial it was for her to create glass mosaics after she became a mother through adoption. Creating mosaics was an act of self-care and connected her with other women through online communities. My videographer, Andrew McManaman sent me the video of our interview the day after our interview then flew off to BC for a new job the following morning. I was in a panic as I was unable to load his file. I reached out for help on Facebook and D’von Wallace, a local, spent a while with me on Canada Day morning, getting my video loaded onto You Tube. Thank you for your help D’Von!!!!! Here is the link to our interview. You can also have a look at Trish’s website for more information on her services,

This month, on my blog, Anne’s Mommy Moments, I reveal just how challenging and emotional it was for me to return to work after my 12 months of maternity leave. I know I’m not alone. If you are buying lottery tickets and crying yourself to sleep at night, I get it, I’ve been there. Hugs to you. You can read my blog here.

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. I had an interview with a woman from Norway this month.
Her overall statement was that “There is no better place to be a mom”. You can have a full-time job in Norway and still be present for your child. Many women leave work at 3:30pm to pick up their child from daycare, no questions asked. Norwegian society is very work-centric. You get one year of parental leave. The husband must take fourteen weeks of paternity leave. If he chooses not to take it, he looses his wages for those months. You are guaranteed child care at a limited cost. It is highly subsidized. There are after-school activities so you can work a full day.

There is pressure to start a family. People’s questions can be intrusive, “When are you getting pregnant?” The constant questioning feels unpleasant. If you are struggling to conceive or you’ve lost a baby, it can be very difficult due to social expectations to have a family.

Home births are very rare in Norway, 98% of women have their baby in the hospital. You can’t elect to have a c-section. It will only be performed if medically needed. The social expectations are very clear and strong. This is how you’ll deliver your baby, pushed. You have the “breastfeeding mafia”, twelve months minimum. If you can’t breastfeed for some reason, you’ll encounter social difficulties. People will ask you why you aren’t breastfeeding.

Between 0-4 months after the baby is born, you receive support. You get a visit the week after you give birth to check on you. Then you go to regular visits at the health station where your baby gets shots and is weighed. The majority of babies are vaccinated but you do have the option to opt out. Family involvement varies because many people live away from their family. Baby showers have just been imported from America. It didn’t used to exist. This trend has increased in the last seven years. There are quite a few cases of post-partum depression. More people are talking about it but there’s still lots of stigma. Many women don’t know they are going through it. It’s acceptable to talk about it but many don’t know about it.

We pay a lot of taxes in this country. Education is free. Even the private schools have capped fees. You don’t pay for your doctor’s appointments until the age of 18. As moms, we often have three shifts per day. We go to work until 3:30pm, take our children to after-school activities, feed the children and put them to bed then, open the computer and do more work. Parents are expected to take an active role in their child’s life. Dads do take a more active role these days but women still end up being the “head of logistics” in the household even if we have the same level of education and pay. There are equal expectations on you in the workplace but then you are expected to do more than your share at home. You have an allocated time to breastfeed, it’s twelve months. The mom is on maternal leave for eight months then, the father is on paternal leave for about four months. It is not uncommon for men to visit the mom at work so she can breastfeed. In this culture, you have to breastfeed come hell or high water.

The expectations of dads have been changing over the last 15 years. My brother is 11 years younger and he takes a more equal share of household duties. Change takes time. Men need role models so it becomes more normal. Employers are getting used to men being involved. Women of this generation have different expectations, they expect their partners to be active. Most women work in Norway. Stay-at-home moms are rare due to the high cost of living. You need both incomes. There are strong social expectations that you will work. There are so many supports to help. Women who stay at home are stigmatized. It’s hard to be an entrepreneur in Norway because the taxes are high and you get no income while you’re on maternity leave and, you need to pay for insurance. You’re not allowed to think that you are better than others. We are very different from the Americans in this way. Norway is very conformist. We are very sporty, fit and healthy. As long as you follow the norms, you can enjoy a great quality of life.

Finally, on Mama’s Toolbox, I interview professionals every month to ask them questions that I think moms would want to ask. I met with Rebecca Cronk from Get Cronk’d Fitness to hear all about her journey into fitness, to learn the common mistakes that moms make when they try to shed their baby fat and to find out how Get Cronk’d is promoting fitness for the whole family through its new program on Saturdays. You can listen to our interview here or check out her website,

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 do not hesitate to e-mail me at

I look forward to seeing you in my groups or reading your comments.
Motherhood Doesn’t Have to Be a One-Woman Show,
Anne Walsh

**If you are participating in my Families Connect Challenge, please follow the links below to see previous newsletters.

View June 2018 Edition

View May 2018 Edition

View April 2018 Edition

View March 2018 Edition

View February 2018 Edition

View January 2018 Edition