Mean Girls at this age????

Making mom friends is like trying to make friends in high school. You feel as if everyone is judging everything about you and your child ( who for all purposes is usually an innocent bystander). In these circumstances yourself confidence is none existent, any back bone you may have grown since leaving high school has turned to jelly, and your need for recognition from your peers is at an all time high.

I’ve tried Mommy groups, which from my experience are full of  negativity and people looking to act out a passive aggressive warfare that could rival the Cold War arms race. Why do we bother to over analysis other people parenting skills and compare them to ourselves? Which mom is doing to much or not enough. “What do you mean you don’t have your child enrolled in Montessori school yet??? You should have done that while they were in the womb. Now they’ll never get into the top universities” ” your going to put your child in daycare, oh I cold never do that”  Your kidding me, right?  or my favorite “WHAT YOU STOPPED BREAST FEEDING!!!” (oh btw, never feel guilty about giving up on breast feeding, for some people it just doesn’t work no matter how hard you try, don’t let anyone shame you about it. We had a terrible time and I just wasn’t producing enough for my colicky babe. The bottle made her happy and healthy. Formula for the WIN!)  My mom has the best answers for these situations and that is “everyone has a different life and what works for some doesn’t work for everyone. The most important thing to remember is  to do what works for you”. My personal favorite ” why, is it your business?” I’ve retorted with a few of those when faced with some rather judgmental attitudes and it pretty much shuts them down cold.  I hate feeling the need to defend myself our other mothers from these types, but you just have to remember not to let it effect you or your child. Sometimes they mean well, but there are those who get off on making others feel like crap… to you I say “grow up already”.

There are some women out there who are dead serious about this kind of stuff and will simply pass judgement on a momma  by what stroller she happens to be pushing or how well your put together. Even for those momma’s who can pull off  getting themselves out of the”lulu pants”, doing your hair and makeup, be prepared to receive the look. You know what I mean..the I just smelled something “stank face” laced with a dash of bitterness. Well, let me just say that if a woman manages to have the time to herself to get ready, we should be applauding and give the overworked momma a complement rather then a dirty look and a back handed comment.  We are all sisters and we must stick together and support one another as we navigate our paths through motherhood.

Speaking of put together, for years I worked in a very “La Di Da” area of the city, where the fashionable mom’s wear expensive yoga gear everyday that has never seen a drop of sweat, it was a surreal experience in seeing how the other class lives. Three children was the trendy number to have, privates school’s and nannies a must, being surrounded by the kind of women you feel would judge you Mean Girl style, I was always surprised how they always seemed unaffected to other peoples opinions of their parenting style or lack there of.  I learned a thing or two from these Fashion Mommies, to just not give a shit about what other people are saying or doing. Just sit back, enjoy your glass of pinot grigio and get on with your life, because it’s to short and the precious time we have to spend with our little ones shouldn’t be bogged down by negativity.

That being said, I’m still on the search for new mommy friends, so I’ve joined a Mom Date site called Hello Mama. Funny thing is I actually thought of this idea the other day and was doing market research to see if I should develop it, then discovered one already existed.  I will let you know how it goes.

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Natural Beauty from the kitchen

Proper skin care is my worst nightmare, creams with ingredients which require a wiki search, heavily scented to the point of nausea, and the expense… Cruising the drug store beauty aisle is not my idea of fun what so ever, so what is a momma to do?

Hit the Kitchen!!
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So far after some trial and error, trust me there was a few times I questioned some of treatments. Side note don’t use turmeric unless your prepared for nasty yellow stains .

Something I’ve been doing for years, which is one of my favorite beauty tricks is baking soda as an facial exfoliator.  After reading an article from the CBC on how the use of commercial exfoliating products was destroying the ecosystem in our waterways, I decided to make a change to my skincare regime ( not that I had much of one in the first place). All those lovely little micro plastic scrubbers in your cleansers and toothpaste are polluting our lakes and oceans slowly killing the wildlife.  After doing some research baking soda seemed like a great option as a replacement for micro scrubbers and gave the same results as a product with beta-hydroxy acid, the bonus I wouldn’t be damaging my already sensitive skin. Baking soda is easy to use, I keep a small container ready to go in my bathroom to apply on my face in the shower or added to my favorite cleanser (Sukin Organics Sensitive cleansing lotion). The results of using baking soda once a week, my skin feels softer and cleaner. The only issue is that baking soda has a high alkaline content, if used to often or in large amounts it can cause irritation.   I apply only a small amount, using very gentle circular motions and wash off quickly.  I then follow up with some rose water or witch hazel to restore my skins natural Ph levels and finish off with a moisturizer.

Sugar isn’t just for baking , it’s also great for sloughing of dead skin. Everyone has come across some sort of fancy sugar scrub recipe, some have a huge list of ingredients when really it doesn’t need to bet that complicated. All you need is 1 cup of sugar (take your pick granulated white or delectable smelling brown sugar) and 1/2 cup of coconut oil. Mix them together and store in an air tight container and you’ve got yummy smelling exfoliating power direct from your pantry.  This can be messy, I recommend applying this dreamy mixture to your skin in the bath tub before you take a shower.

I love lemons! There I said it.  I sneak some tart juice into everything that passes through my kitchen much to Mr. H’s dismay. Those little yellow wonders are also great for cleaning around your house, but I love it for skin care.  Growing up I remember reading in Anne of Green Gables one of the characters recommend she use it to bleach her freckles from her nose. Now this was back in the day before everyone had access to the internet in there home , so fact checking was not an easy option for a kid from small a town with no public transit. Sorry kid no trips to the library. Sick to death of my freckles I gave it a try and rubbed a lemon all over my face, shoulders, arms, anywhere a freckle lived I was out to destroy it. I realized after my skin started to burn, that I was using way to much and should maybe take it easy.  Now a days I’ve taking the advice of some more reliable sources and only use just a small wedge with some honey and apply it to any blackheads after having cleansed my skin.  The blackheads don’t completely disappear on the first application but I have notice they’re less noticeable. The citric acid works as an astringent and much like beta hydroxy acid

Creamy and yummy avocados are one of the strangest yet wonderful things in this world, it always used to baffle me how it was considered a fruit, more so than tomatoes. We go through a bag of avocados in just a few days, between Miss E and I, we must consume one each everyday. On top of that making masks for my hair or face every week. Another great thing you don’t need to do much to it all, just mash and apply. You can add honey or sometimes I like to mix a little powered red clay from the health food store and use it as a facial mask. I leave it on till it dries or goes brown whichever comes first.

These are just a few natural solutions, A quick search of the internet will surely give a gal inspiration to raid her pantry. If you would like me to post more on the subject let me know in the comments section. I’ll test different things out and give you all the highlights of the disasters and the real winners.  If you’ve tried anything let me know what worked, what did you incorporate into your weekly beauty routine and what would you never try again.

The Never Ending pain in the neck… tra-la la la la la.

I’ve been agonizing about whether writing this post is a good idea or not. The purpose in creating The Modern Hepburns was about a positive course correction in my new life as a momma and wife, it was about not losing myself in my new role and forgetting who I used to be, but the the last month was a bit rough. I didn’t want what I was experiencing to tarnish the voice I’d built here, so I kept quiet. Now that I’m starting to feel better and life is returning to normal I feel I can talk about it honestly and hopefully not come across as being over dramatic.  Being open about things has been hard for me, it’s difficult to know who you can trust and who has your back  at a time when your most vulnerable.  Yet here I am exposing myself all over the internet, I’m a walking, talking oxymoron.

But here it is… I was in pain every waking minute of the day and night. I had experienced the same physical symptoms in the fall and had visited to 2 doctors int the city, a dentist, had far to may labs done, 2 rounds of antibiotics, and visited a yogi. I hesitated in making a trek all the way out to no man’s land to see my trusted family doctor of the last 30 plus years, because I knew this trip with a finkie baby would be a nightmare, so I just suffered in silence and popped pain killers like candy. Nothing I’d tried worked and I was becoming afraid of what might happen if I let it continue.  Everyday was unending, I dragged myself out of bed and went through the motions of appearing fine. When someone asked how I was doing I’d answer with gritted teeth through the pain that I was “great, never better”.  Reality was, my head was constantly splitting, my neck ached, my shoulders felt as if they were being pulled apart, I was constantly dizzy (I didn’t trust myself to pick up Miss E), and the worst part was the longer I let it go the further the pain spread through out my body. Some days I could barely move.

It wasn’t until I was out with Miss E (please note I was wearing her in the baby carrier at the time) on a mission to pick something up for dinner, when I was over come by a wave of dizziness and splitting pain which was going to cause me to faint.  The fear of falling and my baby girl getting hurt made me stop to sit on the closest bench I could stumble to.  I tried calling Mr.H to see if he could come walk me home, but his phone was busy. So, I called someone who everyone calls when their in trouble not 911, but my own Momma.  Just hearing her voice was reassuring even if she couldn’t help me, because she lives over an hour away. I needed to have someone on the phone to talk me through it and to be there in case anything did happen, causing Miss E who was already pretty helpless to be put into a dire situation. I didn’t want to leave her unprotected at a time when I was to weak to do anything.  I eventually was able to pull it together and a 10 minute walk home took me a half hour with no dinner in hand. (Thank you Dominos delivery for being there for me that night).  That day was my proverbial “straw the broke the camel’s back” moment.  My Momma called me later that night and told me she had made an appointment with our family doctor and that she was going to pick us up (btw as most city dwellers, I don’t drive), so we were going!

When the day came, my Momma picked Miss E and I up and we drove all the way out to “Scarberia” (as it’s unaffectionately know by everyone) to see the Doctor. My Mom sat with a rowdy Miss E, while I went in for my appointment. My Doc checked me out, moved this part , felt that gland in my neck, checked my eyes… yada yada… order some testes (ex-rays, blood work), but said it looked to him that I might have Osteoarthritis in my neck and spine. He would wait to confirm this after the tests, but this was a major break through for me. No more worrying about a botched epidural, my pain finally had a possible name. After my test results came in his suspicion was confirmed at our follow up. He gave me some exercises to do, told me which medication to take, and a few alterations to my diet I would be feeling great. For the most part his recommendations worked, but what I didn’t know was that if you suffer from Osteoarthritis expect to have seasonal flare ups. Some are affected by the cold weather or humidity, but for me the dampness of early spring and fall are a nightmare. Let’s just say I would rather go through childbirth again then live in constant gnawing pain for months.  Funny thing, at the hospital they always ask you from 1-10 what is your pain level…at the time labor wasn’t bad pain wise I could manage at a pain level of 7 or 8. That was until they gave me oxytocin, contractions every 2 minutes  or less for 8 plus hours = no fun, but that would at least end, the arthritis pain will be with me forever and some days it’s a 6 others it’s a 9.

For most of March up until last weekend I’ve been fighting through it and trying to go about my daily life as if everything was normal, but that was not the case. I stopped doing things I loved in favor of taking care of the priorities, because I knew I only had enough in me to get a few things done. I was doing my exercises 3 times a day, knocking back pain killers and just hoping that it would end.  People would tell me I looked tire, then make  some off color comment about how the baby must be keeping me up, uh wrong!  The pain kept me up and thank you very much for telling me I look like a tired piece of crap, it’s greatly appreciated. Me being nice would just laugh and say “oh no, she’s a great sleeper I’m so lucky” then walk away, when we all pretty much know what I really wanted to to say. On the positive side, I’m starting to feel better and I have all these half finished posts  I’d been working on last month, that I need to edit and get out there for you to read. I didn’t realize till I logged in today how much material I had, but just didn’t have the energy to finish ( sitting the last month has been excruciating, so being on a computer for any length of time was painful).  I’m going to be working my way through my back log posts the next couple of weeks.

If anyone out there is experiencing something similar, don’t worry I got your back. I’ll explore new recipes using foods with anti inflammatory benefits, share with you my failed exercise attempts, what works and what you might want to avoid, and be your sounding board for any crap that comes our way.  Osteoarthritis might be here to stay, but I’ll make it my bitch.

Be well and be kind

A

Inner Beauty: Hair Donation

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The last 9 years have been dedicated to growing and caring for my massive amount of hair for one sole reason….hair donation.  Your thinking why?   Well, why not!  It’s only hair after all, but to someone going through chemotherapy or a child suffering hair loss due to an illness it could give them the confidence and comfort they need in difficult times.  Think of it this way, to us it could be just hair, but to someone who is in recovery it’s a chance to regain a part of there lives before becoming sick.

My reason for donating is, because of a boy in my 5th grade class over 20 years ago. Back then we didn’t understand why he was never in class, Leukemia isn’t a term that is usually on a 10 year old’s radar. On the rare day he was in class I remember the girl sitting next to me badgering him about why he was bald,  pushing him for an answer she could use to play with and get a reaction out of him. Her cruelty was halted when he finally had the courage to answer her and say that he was gravely sick, his baldness was the results of his treatments. He then got up and left, after that incident we didn’t see him back in class for a few days. Our teacher addressed his illness in class and explained to us the crushing reality of his Leukemia. I remember being blown away by our own mortality, the thought that someone so young could be dying was intangible to me. He returned the following week wearing a wig that was a little to big for him, even though he had to adjust it every so often because of it’s size, you could tell he felt more at ease in class. It still makes me sad to say that he didn’t win his battle with Leukemia, but nice to think that he had some comfort wearing his new hair and getting to be a regular kid even if just for a short while.  He is  an inspiration as are the all the children and adults out there fighting for their lives.

If your thinking about committing yourself to the process there is a few things you need to know about hair donation and what kind of hair can be uses for wig making.

-Permed, bleached , or color treated hair is not acceptable. Most charities will only accept non processed hair. There are some that may take hair that has been lightly highlighted, but it is preferred to have virgin hair.

-A slight amount of grey hair is accepted.

-Most charities will only except between 8-12 inches  of cut hair for donation. Hair must be clean, dry and gathered in a ponytail or braid.

Those are just a few of the basic stipulations, every hair donation organization is different, I recommend checking with your local charities to get their exact rules for donation.  I’ve chosen Angel Hair For Kids. This foundation supplies children suffering from hair loss with wigs and hair prosthesis  for free.  The cost to manufacturer a wig is between $800-1000, the relay solely on donations of both hair and money to make this happen. Even if you are unable to donate your hair money is always a great way to help.

So, if your up for the challenge go for the chop, trust me it’s not that scary. This is my third time. Your hair could bring someone happiness when they will need it the most. It might just be hair to us, but to someone else it’s a chance at regaining their old life back.  If you done it before or know someone who has received a wig I would love to hear your stories, please share them in the comments section. Who knows maybe you’ll inspire someone.

Oh, and a big thanks go to Hannah and her team at H2Goa Salon for my awesome new style.
imageBe well and be kind,

A

All photos taken by the kind, lovely, and talented Ash of Meandering Mac. Check out her blog and live vicariously through her adventurous spirit.

Post pregnancy body a realization

Nine months, nine whole months of eating, stretching skin, bloating, taking better care of yourself then you have ever done your whole life, and what follows after D-Day, well let’s just say it isn’t pretty, but your to tired and over joyed to care at this point. When that 3 month mark hits and you get the “ok” to get physical, one of two reactions might happen. Your ready to get your post pregnancy bod back or your not at all motivated, because your to tired, have zero time to yourself, or would rather use that time to ‘oh say take a shower you dirty bum.  I found myself in the second category of ‘this ain’t just gonna happen yet.  Why, well all the above reasons, and I just wasn’t motivated.  Having this new body, with all it’s gloriously jiggly parts, saggy boobs, and non existent waist line was not inspiring me to get into the gym. It made me want to hide in comfy clothes and pop a bag of Doritos. As the weeks rolled by I noticed more pounds finding their way to my belly,  that new pair of  post preg jeans I ‘d bought the month before could barely be zipped up let alone buttoned and I knew it was time to put down the bag. My goal wasn’t to get into swimsuit model shape, it was about being comfortable in my own skin and feeling healthy again. I had spent far to many months having zero energy and in physical pain because of all my achy joints. I also felt a darkness settling into my mind, that if I didn’t do anything about it, it would take me back to a place I swore I’d never visit again. It was time.

Exercising in a gym was not going to happen for me, so I started at home. Tummy time with Miss E became Yoga/Tummy time. We went for long walks everyday, she would take her midday nap and Momma would work off her midnight snacks. No crazy diets or ridiculous restrictions I knew that I’d never stick to, instead I decided to eat like the French. What???? Everything in moderation, portion control is key, savor your food ( no gorging myself or speed eating), and eat real food not junk.  It was simple and not extreme, this would keep me from have binge sessions with a pint of ice cream. Just these minor changes made a difference. Since October I’ve lost about 10lbs, just being mindful of what I ate and walking everywhere I had to go meant I could avoid the both the expense and scheduling conflicts that going to the gym presented.   I also tried to get more sleep, by napping when she did, asking Mr.H to watch her so I could squeeze in a cat nap and going to bed early. Sleep plays a major role in your health, the negative effects of sleep deprivation can lead you to consume more calories, but I will be getting more into this topic next week. Trust me you’ll want to read this one.

I’m still not back to where I was, but I don’t expect to be, pregnancy changes your body forever, but I don’t mind I’ve got the an adorable little girl, because of each jiggly bit. Trust me there is no rush to get into a bikini anytime soon, this winter has made sure of that. But seriously any new momma out there don’t feel ashamed of what’s still hanging around, it takes time. As they say it took nine months to put it on, it’ll take nine months to take it off. There’s no rush, enjoy your time with that cute baby of yours and don’t forget to live your life.

Be well and be kind.

A