homegrown mama

Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

::Never say never::

In kids, parenting on 20112011-11-16T09:30:41+00:0030 9/11 at 09:30

I recently watched the documentary Never Say Never. This film follows teen pop sensation (and Canadian boy) Justin Bieber on his rise to fame via YouTube and other social networking platforms. An “impressive and whirlwind experience” is probably an understatement in describing the journey that catapulted him from his modest home in small-town Stratford, Ontario, to popularity virtually unfathomable to any regular teen.

According to the film, which culminates in his first sold-out concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden last summer, the now 17-year-old never had a voice lesson before he became famous. He also plays a host of instruments (guitar, piano, trumpet and, most notably, the drums). He’s what you’d call “a natural,” and he is a very blessed kid indeed to have supportive family and friends who encouraged his musical development at an early age. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that he wasn’t just another manufactured pop act, created by record executives and bigwig producers to make money off of young teen girls.

After viewing the entire show, I couldn’t stop thinking how the most poignant moment for me in the entire 1h 45m of footage was a fleeting shot of his parents in the audience at the featured concert. Though they split shortly after Justin’s birth, they stood together watching their son sing and dance to a crowd of 20,000 fans, tears in both their eyes, and awe on their faces. What a mind-blowing experience!

While a lot of parents would think their kid was wildly successful for these achievements, I am curious: would his parents be as proud and excited if he stood before them in uniform, boots shined, white gloves on, and beret perfectly perched upon his head? If Justin Bieber had decided instead to enlist himself in the Armed Forces, would his mother have cried tears of disappointment and fear instead of tears of joy? Would his father have shaken his hand and wished him good luck as he headed off to Basic Training, or would he have been letdown, thinking he must have thrown away his dreams?

Being a parent sure changes the way the world looks. Risks seem riskier, decisions carry more weight, and character-building is the key to ensuring the “success” of our kids as they grow into adults. And I’m not saying Bieber’s family hasn’t worked their hardest to build on a solid foundation of love, faith and trust (the show clearly reveals that they have!). But part of me feels like it would be quite easy to accept these types of blessings for your child. After all, doesn’t every parent wonder, at some point, “Maybe my kid will be the next [insert favourite celebrity here]”?

I didn’t grow up with much knowledge of Canada’s Armed Forces. And I’m sad to say this is the case for many people I know. But being a part of the military family now means that it also may remain part of my family in the future. If Heidi or Oren want to serve Canada in the Forces, I’d like to have enough faith, and confidence in their character, to wholeheartedly support them for choosing a path with a higher purpose, even if the cost could be their lives. (Of course, if one of them turns out to be a musical prodigy and tours the world selling out major venues, I’d be elated!) But in my heart, I know it takes a special type of person to say, “Yes, I will lay down my life for freedom, and for my country.” And while it may not be what I want to hear as a mother, it certainly stems from the kind of selfless and justice-driven character I want to instill in them as a parent. So no matter what ambitions, hopes and dreams we may have for our children, just remember: never say never.

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::On motherhood: we can’t do it all::

In family, military life on 20112011-11-14T16:02:21+00:0030 9/11 at 16:02

Being a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) has been a popular topic lately. Some of my friends with babies are just beginning to go back to work, either part- or full-time. One thing I hear a lot from women who are going back to work is that they just aren’t “cut out” to be a SAHM. Some of these gals satiate their urge for adult interaction and a second income through home-based businesses, which allow them to earn money as a representative for direct sales companies (Tupperware, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, etc.). But many worked long and hard to get to a certain place in their career, and can’t bear the thought of giving that up. This is true especially if their absence from the workforce would cause them to fall back in their field while their co-workers excel.

Having been raised in a “me” society, where we all concentrate on bettering ourselves and our futures for the first 20 years of life, the sacrificial nature of motherhood seems alien, and downright self-destructive. After spending years in college, then doing the bottom-of-the-totem-pole jobs at work so we could move our way up to more influential positions, quitting to raise children doesn’t exactly make sense. After all, we were brought up to believe in ourselves, dream big, and aim for the stars! So while feminism has opened up a world of possibilities to women, the requirements of motherhood have not changed at all. And with the drive and determination we have been raised to employ, we think we can do it ALL!

Funny, before I had Heidi, I ignorantly assumed that staying home with my babies would be fun and full of laughter, and come naturally. And once she arrived, I had little energy to make myself a hot meal, let alone be concerned about how my team at work was doing without me. Besides, I was still getting paid on maternity leave, so instead of feeling stifled by my home life, I felt I was on somewhat of a sabbatical from work to spend time with my precious bundle.

But now that my position as “Domestic 9r” (as Wayne refers to me) has been secured with the arrival of bundle number two, I admit I’m getting some belated cold feet. How did I get myself into this? Didn’t we join the Forces so that our kids could have me home every day? Some women I know would kill for that opportunity! What gives?

What I’m learningvery, very slowlyis that my penchant for looking forward, making plans, and staying abreast of the industry (which, for me, is marketing and corporate communications) is drifting gradually into second place. I am beginning to understand that I am not capable of being a SAHM and keeping my brain at work. Wanting to do my best in everything means I can’t physically or emotionally give 100% to my family and 100% to the furthering of my career. So I have been forced to reevaluate my priorities, and to align my heart with my mind, so I can move forward with conviction and commitment to my chosen profession, which, right now, is motherhood. And just like the growth of my career, the successful development of my children will require almost all of me for an indefinite amount of time.

Honestly, I wonder if I would be as hesitant about mentally committing to full-time and long-term home life if we hadn’t been moved to a new province just after entering parenthood? If I had a familiar home, environment, and support system in place, would I feel such a need to go back to what I know professionally?

Not all military spouses stay at home, so not all of them feel as torn as I do. But I know my limits and I need to own them, or my family will suffer. I know this situation is exacerbated by Army life and its control over how and where we live and make a home. But either way, the sacrifices of parenthood are big. Really, really big. So if your spouse has given up more than a little to run your family, teach and lead your children, and make your house a home, give them an extra hug today and ask them how they’re feeling about it. You may not even know military life has impacted them in this way; they may not recognize it either. But approaching it together will do wonders for clarifying their role, their sense of appreciation, and your relationship.

::I’m pregnant – what now? pt. 1::

In baby gear, pregnancy on 20112011-10-12T15:41:11+00:0031 9/11 at 15:41

(Did I trick you? Good. Because I’m most definitely NOT pregnant!)

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Congratulations! You’re pregnant for the first time and everything about babies and parenting is so new to you. Eventually, you’ll get online or drag take your hubby to Sears, Babies “R” Us, or any other baby gear store, to start a registry for your baby needs. But where to start?!

Other than the wedding industry, I am fairly certain the baby industry is booming with all sorts of ingenious products and services…that you just don’t need. One new nana-to-be recently asked me to send a list of baby items and products to her that she could pass on to her son and daughter-in-law, who are pregnant with baby #1. They are totally overwhelmed with the products out there, and they have no idea which ones are actually useful.

“No problem,” I said, and began to write. But as the list grew, I knew I had some valuable information, all neatly packaged in a useful shopping list format! So I’ll share it here, in a series called, “…what now?”

There’s so much good stuff I had to categorize it, and I included the links where applicable so you can investigate, compare prices, add things to your registry and familiarize yourself with the products. Please note, I am not being paid to link to Babies “R” Us specifically. But the gal who originally asked for this list is planning to register there, I believe, and I wanted to make this as painless for her as possible.

Get yourself connected

First, sign up for the following daily/weekly emails from these baby bargain websites. They’re like Winners for baby gear: overstocked or discontinued items sent to these companies to sell off at MAJOR discounts. But they are done in daily or weekly intervals. I buy a ton of stuff for the kids from them!

Babysteals.com

Babyhalfoff.com

Hippobargains.com

Craigslist is a fantastic resource for big ticket items too (nursery furniture, strollers, baby carriers, etc), as well as lots of pre-loved baby clothes. And Motherofadeal.com sends a weekly email newsletter with online and in-store deals from all sorts of baby- and kid-related companies.

Also, if you’re from Metro Vancouver, Kidsvancouver.com features the list of monthly swap meets around the Lower Mainland. There’s one in Cloverdale on the 2nd Saturday of every month. If you can hit it every month before the baby comes, you’ll find some GREAT stuff on the cheap, using this list as a “shopping list,” of sorts.

Are there any sites and resources I’m missing here for good kid gear at discounted prices?

Up next: part 2 – I’m a new mom – what do I need?

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