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From Sympathy There’s Gratitude
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When We Worry Too Much And What To Do About It
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When People Stare At My Child Who Has Special Needs
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Two Simple Mindful Breathing Techniques
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Separated Siblings: She Waves Goodbye As He Leaves For High School
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Back To School 2017 For Kids & Mom Too
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How To Injure Yourself While Exercising In Four Easy Steps
8
PTSD—Always There Under The Surface
9
Perimenopause Is A Bloodsport
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Have You Seen This Video?

From Sympathy There’s Gratitude

It’s Thanksgiving here in Canada and there is so much to be grateful for. But with all the awful things—the violence, the tumultuous and surreal (I mean, can you even believe this has been allowed to go on this long?) political climate, not to mention the unnerving actual climate, it feels like we have to squint to see the good. But it’s there.  I’ve been watching it fill my Facebook feed. It feels right and affirming to see all the happy today.  But then I looked out my window and saw the saddest thing. It literally squeezed the air out of my lungs and made me dizzy with sympathy.  My family room window faces my neighbour’s kitchen window. We didn’t have blinds for a few months when we first moved in here thirteen years ago, so our poor neighbours were likely privy to way too much Thornbury in various states of undress. Tall trees, a substantial generation gap, and a language barrier prevented us from becoming close with our neighbours. But they’ve always smiled and said hello over the fence whenever we’re both out in our yards. And they happily throw back the balls and frisbees that ended up underneath[…]

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When We Worry Too Much And What To Do About It

I understand the parameters of reality, so why do I worry so much? It’s pointless and I know that worrying is harmful, so why do I keep doing it? I think I have an answer. The first time I recall being really worried was when I was seven years old. My dad traveled a lot and one night his plane was late. I was convinced he had crashed and I worried myself sick. Of course he was fine. I had worried myself sick for nothing.   Over the years I continued to worry about a variety of things from A to Z — some realistic, some ridiculous.  They say only eight per cent of our worries are realistic. And of those, we can actually only do something about half. This means ninety-six per cent of the things we worry about are a useless waste of time. Why do some people worry more than others?   I have a theory that we worriers have three things in common:   1. WE NEED TO BE IN CONTROL We dictate and delegate, but then end up doing everything ourselves because everyone else does it wrong. We like to organize and compartmentalize and strategize and basically orchestrate the outcome[…]

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When People Stare At My Child Who Has Special Needs

  When strangers stare at my daughter I feel embarrassed, angry, defensive, indignant. I feel all the feelings in no particular order.  Sometimes I make direct eye contact with the starer. Sometimes I call them on it. Sometimes I don’t.  It’s emotional for us when people turn to look at our kids. And when their stares linger, it’s hard to handle.    But I try to remind myself that different draws attention. It’s human nature to be curious. People aren’t generally cruel. They’re just trying to figure it out.  So last week when my son’s gaze fell upon a girl with Down Syndrome and his glance lasted a few seconds too long, and was perceived as a stare, I understand why her mother glared at him.  He looked upset after swim practice. Not only were his eyes stinging from the chlorine, he was feeling the sting of guilt because he’d upset the mother of a girl in his class.  He explained that when he got out of the pool he noticed a girl about Avery’s age standing on the pool deck waiting for her sister. He spotted a school crest on her shirt and he was trying to get a better[…]

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Two Simple Mindful Breathing Techniques

Jewel, right? She’s an actual gem. I loved her in the nineties. And I love her now with her simple approach to mindfulness. Clearly we’re soul sisters because we both use these easy breezy breathing techniques. ‘Counting Breath’ and ‘Box Breathing’ are my go-to techniques throughout the day—to calm my mind and squelch panicky feelings… hey, thanks PSTD. Sometimes I use them to simply relax and take a break from the multi-tasking mayhem that is my life.  I’ll just let Jewel explain. She’s perfection.  Try these tomorrow. It’s life changing.      Side note: My husband’s name is Adrian. We started dating around the time Jewel’s song “Adrian” was popular. It creeped me out and left with me an irrational fear of canoeing. But nothing a little box breathing can’t fix. 😉 

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Separated Siblings: She Waves Goodbye As He Leaves For High School

My daughter packed her backpack weeks ago in giddy anticipation of returning to school. She asked me to paint her nails and “do her hair pretty.” She couldn’t be more excited to start grade six.  My son was in denial that summer was ending right up until the end. He gave little thought to his first day of high school outfit. He wasn’t even planning on brushing his hair until I “suggested” it. I pleaded with him to let me take him shopping, but he refused. “Mum, I’ve got enough clothes. I’m fine.” Kind of hard to take him seriously when he’s arguing his point in mismatched socks and pants that are miles too short.  But he’s in high school now. He’s a big boy. In short pants. His pants, his choice I guess. (Mind you, I went to the mall today and bought him a few new things against his will. I can’t have the kid looking like he’s been stuffed into shrunken kahkis all year.) High school… no longer at our local elementary. He’s moved on and this is the first time his little sister will be at school without him.  At first she didn’t make the connection. “What?[…]

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Back To School 2017 For Kids & Mom Too

  It’s exactly one week until back to school. I have mixed feelings, same as last year. But no matter which side of the BTS fence (yay or wah) you fall on this fall, you’re going to have to buy a few supplies.  Sure, you can send your kid back to school with a ripped and somewhat mildewy lunch bag, but should you?  And yes, you can stock up SOLELY for your kids. But why? YOU organized the summer. YOU curated memories. YOU slathered your squirmy kids with sunscreen. I’d say that deserves a little treat or two for mom. I’d like to state up front—so you know I haven’t been held at (staple) gunpoint to say nice things in exchange for free stuff—that this post is NOT sponsored. I bought most of these items myself, but Staples Canada gave us some things to try out at an AWESOME event styled by my fiercely talented friend Sarah Gunn.  FYI… Sarah designed this Dream Dorm Room for the #ThinkSTAPLES event in Toronto this summer. I felt like a proud mama bear blogger. It was stunning. And everything (minus the clothes) can be made or bought at Staples. Yes, even the rug[…]

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How To Injure Yourself While Exercising In Four Easy Steps

I don’t love to exercise, but it finally got to the point where I had no choice. I wasn’t handling stress well and my blood pressure was high. I was getting uncomfortably fat, none of my clothes fit, and I was listless, stiff and sore. I was a chubby statue. A fatute if you will.  So I put on my runners and started exercising 3-4 times a week at a gym called Orange Theory Fitness. I’ve been at it for nearly nine months so you’d think I’d be pretty skilled at it by now, right? Not so much. I still fall off equipment, drop things, and generally do exercises completely wrong.  When I spot the coach heading toward us, I know she’s coming straight for me. Most likely to correct my technique or just to shake her head in bewilderment at my level of uncoordinatedness. Despite all my klutz, outside of a few pulled muscles, I been physically okay. Until now.  This month I was a walking (barely) talking ad for “How Not To Workout.”  I pulled a groin muscle running on the treadmill. That was injury number one. Apparently I run like a rusty tin man. I’ve been told I[…]

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PTSD—Always There Under The Surface

Adrenaline is nature’s way of keeping us safe in the face of danger. It serves a purpose, but when a traumatic experience causes you to live in a constant state of fight or flight it can wreak havoc on your life. PTSD can wreck you if you let it.  We’ve all experienced that jolt of muscle quivering energy that floods our bodies during scary or stressful situations. Like when the car in front of us stops unexpectedly causing us to slam the brakes. Or when a glass slips from our hands, but we catch it before it smashes. Our hearts race, but we quickly recover and move on.  But sometimes the situation is painfully serious and the recovery time is substantial. Like when your child has a medical emergency—a near fatal seizure or maybe she chokes and stops breathing. I can’t begin to describe how frightening that is. We’ve been in this horrible place a few times over the past decade. We’ve watched helplessly as our youngest lay unconscious, or unable to take a breath.   Our daughter Avery’s near fatal seizures have rendered her lifeless in my arms. I’ve seen her lips turn blue. We’ve watched paramedics bring her back to[…]

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Perimenopause Is A Bloodsport

My body is waging a war against perimenopause. In my mid-forties, I still consider myself to be young and virile. Isn’t it too early for this?!? And why didn’t anybody warn me? Or maybe they did but I tuned them out because they were just “old ladies” whinging about their messed up cycles. Perimenopause is essentially water drip torture. You know, the kind where water was dripped slowly onto the captive’s forehead, slowly driving them insane. Perimenopause runs on the same principle. Just little droplets at first. Nothing you can’t handle. A restless night here, one early or late period there. Nothing unmanageable. Drip drop drip. Then two nights of tossing and turning. And a hot flash. Or maybe not a hot flash? It might just be an especially humid day. You’re not totally sure.  Drip drip drip drop drop drop… And how are we THIS tired and still standing? Some nights it’s, “Go to bed three hours before the kids” tired.  Along with the inexplicable exhaustion, there are sudden spurts of anger for absolutely no reason. You’re the Incredible Hulk in guacamole stained yoga pants. Drip drip drip drip drip drop drop drop drop… Water trickles into your eyes, tickling[…]

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Have You Seen This Video?

  “What video?!” you ask. I said there would be a charming video here today, but there’s nothing but this empty video player.  Yes I announced with great confidence yesterday that I would be posting all sorts of video content going forward. So much video. I even went on Facebook just now and blabbed about the first of said videos and teased you with a link.  The link took you here. Sorry, just words. No video. But before you scold me for unfulfilled video promises (the video I started today wasn’t going to be very good anyway, so it’s actually a blessing) I want to explain why making videos is paralyzingly difficult for me. And maybe for you too? It’s not like I don’t have anything to talk about. Ask my friends and family—I rarely shut up. But when it comes to turning thoughts into actual watchable video content, there are some very real obstacles like: I can’t find the camera cord that connects my camera to my computer. I saw it somewhere but all the cords look alike!  I could use my iPhone to shoot the video but I need to charge it. I swear my phone is eternally at[…]

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