The Hating is Dissipating

My youngest daughter is enjoying her gymnastics class a lot. It’s a parent and tot class so each of the little ones has a parent with them to assist with all the cute moves they’re doing.

A couple weeks ago there were just 4 kids there with an adult. We did their warm-ups of jumping, bear walks and walking on tip toes. It was already 10 minutes into the class before I realized that all the other parents were Dads. I was the only Mom there. A year ago I would have noticed immediately and have been devastated, hating the Dads and their cuteness with their kids. Their loving hugs and connection with their children.

But the hating is dissipating. I don’t feel as angry. I don’t feel as empty. It’s there still…the sadness, the longing for the way things should be. But peace is slowly creeping into my life.

Learning to live this new life is a day to day exploration. Figuring out how this is going to work without Steve. He was a light and rock in our lives. He was our cheerleader.

So, if your life is not working out the way you’ve hoped here’s some of the things I’ve done to help me over the last 2 years.

  1. Take Care of You – I’ve put a big emphasis on taking care of me so I can take care of my kids. Going to bed early, eating well, seeing my counsellor, going to the gym etc. What small changes can you make to your day which would be a bit more kinder to your body, mind and spirit?
  2. Find your Passion – I’ve done a lot of self-reflection over the last year. When death hits so close to home people often reflect on their life. Are they living the life they want? I’ve refined my business to grow the parts I really want to do more of. I’ve tried out different hobbies and keep exploring who I am so I can find joy today and not put it off. I know too well that life is too short.
  3. Enjoy the Now – I have been actively working on my inner game, my mental state. I could complain about how hard my life is (sometimes I still do) or I can embrace the gifts I’ve been given. My 2 healthy, brilliant little girls who are strong-willed and funny. It’s not all roses and picture-perfect moments but I’m grateful for my kids. So, each day, I’m learning to enjoy the now, the present moment.

So yes, the hating is dissipating. It’s being replaced by love and gratitude. I hope your hate is leaving too.

If you want more support, click here to join me in my private Facebook group Guiltless Grace.

Talk soon,

All Hands Deck – Ask for Help

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned being a solo parent is to be ok with asking for help.

I can’t do this alone. If I try, I will be too stressed out and tired. That’s no good for me or for my kids.

Also, when I ask for help, the others who help feel better. They get to help the girls and I. And they also get to see and bond with the girls if what they’re helping with is watching the kids.

Even the small things with parenting – ask for help. You don’t have to do it alone.

We used to live in close-knit communities with multiple generations that leaned on each other, cooked together and supported one another. We’ve become too self-sufficient.

My challenge to you this week – pick one thing on your to-do list and ask someone else to do it. Then let the outcome go. Things don’t have to be perfect. Talk soon,

 

 

 

His Funeral was My Funeral

 

His funeral was my funeral in more ways than one.  It was my funeral because it was the end of my life as I knew it. It was also a glimpse at what my funeral would look like.

Steve died so suddenly that we didn’t have a chance to speak of his wishes around a funeral or celebration of life. I knew what he did for both his parents who pre-deceased him. And I knew the core and essence of Steve and who he was. So, choosing how to celebrate his life was easy. My wonderful sister was the project manager and dealt with all the details and delegated with the rest of the family and friends who were helping. His Celebration of Life was exactly how he would have wanted it to be.

But it was my funeral too. The life that I knew was over. A chapter was closing. One that I didn’t want to close at all. That I was extremely happy with.

It was like my world was a snow globe and someone shook it so hard that I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t walk straight and the snow storm flew all around me. When the snow settled, I didn’t recognize my world anymore.

However, one of the lovely things about his Celebration of Life was that it showed me how much love and support we have and I have. Our family, many of my friends, old camp friends, networking colleagues and supporters came out, quite of few of whom had never met Steve or only met him a couple of times.

It showed me how much I was loved. I could imagine what my Celebration of Life would look like with all of these amazing people.

So why do I share this with you? Because there are people around you who love you and support you. You are not alone even when you feel like you are. There are people who would do anything for you and show up for you. They believe the world is a better place because you are in it. So reach out. Ask for help. Ask for a hug. Ask for what you need. You’re worth it and the people who know the true you know you’re worth it too.

Dr. Whitney

For more about living our lives as while raising our kids, join me and other moms as we raise happy, healthy, & hearty kids without the Mommy Guilt in my private group called Guiltless Grace.

Our Future: Foggy but Hopeful

One of the things that makes me so sad is thinking about my family in the future.

All the dreams and plans we had for our family of 4 were shattered and scattered on the floor the day my husband, Steve, died a year and a half ago.

Just days before, we had celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary and we toasted and asked each other what we hoped for for the next 4 years. We talked of what we wished for each other and for our beautiful young daughters. We dreamed of vacation plans and a trip that Thursday to the local zoo. I couldn’t listen to the song “Mommy’s taking us to the zoo tomorrow” for months.

Despite the ending to our story, our anniversary dinner by the lake was a beautiful moment in time and I’ll treasure it always.

Now, what makes my heart ache the most is what won’t be. The family trips, the walks to the park, the family bike rides or just movie nights all cuddled together. These will never be exactly as I had imagined. My world was turned upside down and for a long time, I couldn’t look more than 2 weeks into the future. It hurt too much and was too scary.

A friend recently brought something to my attention… now I can start to see a future for us again. I can look longer into the distance.

I’m learning that life is not the fairy tale I was lead to believe it was. That there are happy endings to chapters but then a new chapter begins. I didn’t want that chapter with Steve to end..

I also know that many people have lives that aren’t turning out the way they expected. That I’m not the only one who’s had suffering. Illness, divorce, infertility, and death can affect us all and change the way our family looks. It doesn’t matter if we are “good people” or “deserve” happiness.

I’m still saddened by the fact my girls’ Daddy won’t be there every step of the way in the little moments and the big ones.

But I’m not alone as we watch these young girls grow. I have amazing family and friends who love and support us and are thrilled to be there for those moments.

And now, through the fog I can start to dream that I may love again and this new person may walk with me and my girls as we go forward. However, if I love again, it won’t be my “happily ever after.” You need to have “happily now, in this moment, in this chapter.”

So I want to acknowledge all you moms out there who are making it work. Who are making memories with your children with the cards you’ve been dealt. Life may not be turning out exactly as you planned but we can still be hopeful through the fog while we are enjoying our kids right now.

Dr. Whitney

For more about living our lives while raising our kids, join me and other moms as we raise happy, healthy, & hearty kids without the Mommy Guilt in my private group called Guiltless Grace.

The Goal of the Stroll

The house we grew up in backed onto this amazing park with a soccer field and my elementary school. We had this secret door through the big gate that would open up into a world of imagination, play and adventure. I have so many childhood memories that involve friends and cousins and running out through the gate to the park.

The parks and the mature trees and the friendly neighbours are what I love so much about living in my neck of the woods. I love asking my daughters about which park they want to go to and they yell “the purple park!”

What’s even better is that there are amazing health benefits from getting outside and connecting with your neighbours. As a naturopathic doctor who works with moms, babies and kids, I love sharing about all the great reasons why it’s great to get outside and chat with your neighbours.

Park Perks

Being outside in nature just makes us feel good and this is a huge area of new research because of how much time we spend indoors and in front of tech toys like iPads, phones and TV.

Being surrounded by trees, forests and outdoor spaces has numerous health benefits for you and your kids. These include:

  • Improved short-term memory
  • Restored mental energy
  • Stress-relief
  • Lower levels of inflammation
  • Better vision
  • Improved concentration
  • Sharper thinking and creativity
  • Immune system boosts
  • Improved mental health

So, just being outside among the trees of your neighbourhood can really make you feel good.

Neighbourhood Networking

The number of neighbours who we actually know has changed over the years. We spend more time indoors and the nightly news gives us lots of reasons why we should hide out at home.

However, being with others is extremely important to our health. Having a social network helps with longevity. There was a Harvard study of graduates throughout their lifespans and they found that strong relationships are the strongest predictor of life satisfaction.

A lack of social ties is associated with depression and later-life cognitive decline as well as increased mortality. This increase in mortality risk is roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. So having strong relationships is really important!

Connecting with others relieves harmful levels of stress, which can negatively affect coronary arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and your immune system.

So, let’s get outside more, let’s start talking to our neighbours and forming those relationships with each other, we’ll feel better for it.

Dr. Whitney Young, ND

Dr. Whitney is a Naturopathic Doctor and Super Baby Coach who has a special focus on fertility, pregnancy and children’s health. She is the founder of Guiltless Grace – an online community for moms who want to ditch the Mommy Guilt!

Daddy Duties

Daddy Duties

The first time my windshield fluid went dry in my minivan, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. Dread came over me. This was the first time in so many years that I was going to have to do this on my own.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m an accomplished, feminist type of woman. I used to check my own oil, put air in my leaking tire and put windshield washer fluid in my car. You know, the relatively easy stuff.

But I hadn’t had to do that in years. Steve always took care of this for me and topped it up for me.

There are countless other mundane chores at home that he thoughtfully took care of and now it all falls to me.

That dread of oh…THIS…THIS is something I’m going to have to do ON MY OWN again. And it’s not a big deal, right? Buying a jug of fluid, opening my hood and pouring it in while trying not to spill the whole thing. Not a big deal.

But it was just another reminder that he’s not here. He’s not here to take care of me anymore.

Last week it was the propane tank. I used to buy propane in university for our BBQ that I shared with my friends. But that was almost 10 years ago.

So, here’s 3 steps to hating those Daddy Duties then Conquering Them. You can do it. I believe in you.

  1. Feel Sad. Feel sad for a moment. For what you lost. For him not being here any more.
  2. Be Thankful. Thank him for all the wonderful things he did for you. Count them. Say them out loud or just remember a couple.
  3. Be Bold and Conquer. Now, you can be powerful. You can amaze yourself and others with this tiny thing that now you can do! Wow! You are amazing. Gold star!

I know it’s tough. I’m with you. I get it. But you can do it. Try something small. If you can’t do it and it’s too hard, ask for help. Your family and friends want to help and they are just waiting for you to give them a specific job.

If you want to join me and a group of others who are mothering through loss, come on over to our Facebook group called Guiltless Grace. Click here to find us.

Hugs,

Whitney

Survival Guide Specialist