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.

I Found More Rope

This week has been a bit crazy.

My oldest has been home sick for a couple days with a fever and bad cough.

The night times have been rough. I’m sure you can relate – no matter what age your kids are now. There are just some of those nights.

At the end of 2016, I made a list of all my “wins” and accomplishments. 

One of them was that I got up every night and night-time parented my kids. WIN!

I got up and comforted, cuddled and reassured either of them or both of them. Sometimes at the same time (those times are super hard!).

But there were times that it was really, really hard. There were times that I was at the end of my rope. That I felt like I didn’t have it in me.

Sometimes I would cry. Sometimes I would leave the room, let them cry while I took a time out to regroup and go back in and try again. Sometimes I needed some late night texts with my sister to get me through.

Somehow, I always found more rope.

I know we’ve all been there. When you’re exhausted and feel all alone and briefly hopeless. When you’re at the end of your rope, what do you do to find more rope?

The ability to bounce back….that’s called resilience.

And how do we build resilience in our children??

The #1 way is for those children to have one (or more) consistently supportive adult in their lives. A person who is their cheerleader and will be there no matter what.

So, if you’ve found more rope…and you keep on finding more rope when you’re at the end of it…you’re being that person to your child and building resilience in them.

Keep it going. One step, one night, one moment at a time. Sometimes those nights can be hard…but the cuddles are worth it.

Talk soon,

Whitney

p.s. join me over at Guiltless Grace on Facebook with some other supportive moms as we get through this together with grace and poise but without the mommy guilt.

Leaving the Kids & Letting Go

leaving-the-kidsletting-go

On my second last night in Hawaii, Stephanie, the beautiful Australian wife of one of my business coaches, asked if I missed the girls and then she said, “it’s ok if you say no.” We both laughed out loud. The permission she gave me was simple but so great.

She, being a mom of 3 totally understood that it was ok to have your time away from the kids. That enjoying myself, didn’t make me appreciate them less or that I was a bad mom. I didn’t feel regretful about my life or them in it. But I was just enjoying my time away from them.

I had permission to just appreciate my “me time.” That I had the opportunity to go away and do something just for me. To enjoy the sun, sand, friends, work, and totally immerse myself in my own needs. That it was okay to let go of taking care of my little people and of taking care of others in my practice just for a little while.

For these 10 days, I could just concentrate on what I wanted in the immediate moments of wanting sleep, snacks, to dance, to swim, to cry, to remember, to laugh.

For these 10 days, I could also concentrate on what I want for the future. Who am I, what do I want? What do I want for the girls? For our life together? For my work and my impact on the world? To “dream big, little pig,” as one of Jillian’s bedtime stories says.

I made the conscious and real decision to use my time away to become refreshed, reenergized and refocused.

3 Tips for Leaving the Kids and Letting Go.

  1. Remember they are in good but different hands. Grandma, Auntie or Daddy won’t do it the exact same way as you would. They might feed them food you normally wouldn’t or put them to bed later than you would, but your kids will be just fine. And they might even have good memories from it. I remember when my parents went away to New Zealand when my little sister and I were young. My grandparents took us to McDonalds for pancake breakfast. I’d never done that before and now I have a special memory to treasure.
  2. Give yourself permission to enjoy yourself. You left for a reason. To visit a friend, attend a conference, go on vacation. So be present and enjoy yourself. Your baby won’t have a better time knowing that you’re miserable. They don’t even understand the concept of time and how long you’re going to be away! So, give yourself permission to have fun. And savour each bite of every uninterrupted meal.
  3. Let go of the Mommy Guilt. It surrounds us in every area of our lives. We feel guilty for working and putting them in daycare. Or if we stay home with them, we feel guilty for not giving them the social experiences of other kids. We feel guilty for not putting them in as many activities as others do or not feeding them all organic food. We’ve gotta put aside the mommy guilt. It’s not worth it. I decided before we left, that I wasn’t going to feel guilty and that I was going to enjoy myself. My family made sacrifices to take care of the kids for me while I was gone, so I chose to honour them and be thankful and really soak up my work-cation.

So, go ahead, book that girls night away, go on a romantic getaway or even an afternoon away as the first “baby step” away from your baby. You deserve it and your kids will be happy when Mommy comes back happy and refreshed.

Talk soon,

Whitney

 

Whitney is a Naturopathic Doctor and Superbaby Coach. She sees moms and babies in her local practice and via Skype. She also is the creator of the solid food introduction course: The 30 Day Super Baby Program

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