Sharing is hard! From the earliest years, my children have struggled with the concept, and lately I’ve learned that I’m asking the wrong questions when I do try to resolve some of the arguments. (Occasionally I try to let them sort it out, but we are still in early years yet).
I’ve learned not to ask, “Now, who had it first?” And give it to the child who claimed this title of “first.” Why? Let me explain.
A single instance that it clicked, I was asking the wrong question. No, I don’t want my children taking toys and not being told it’s wrong. No, I wasn’t going to let them battle it out. I was going to start asking the right questions.
At the table one day, after I had given the kids their snacks, I hear the familiar sound of bickering over a chair. They both want it. (Never mind that there are 7 others exactly like it.) Neither are willing to give it up. The older yells a claim of being there “first” and the second follows it up with “no, you weren’t!”
Now, I would have sided with the first, as she tends to be a bit more truthful, would she have not followed up her claim with, “when I sat down this morning with my breakfast, I was sitting in this chair!”
(And thank goodness she did, because in it came a valuable lesson. For me.)
Wait a minute. Breakfast was hours ago. She is laying claim to the chair she had sat in for a few minutes, from a totally different part of today. Technically she was there, “first” that day, but this was not what I was asking.
Or was I?
I followed up my question, which now seemed to miss a certain perspective, with, “when I gave you your snacks just now, who sat down first? Just now. Not earlier.” The older child admitted that the second was seated first at this instance, but she had sat there for breakfast. And afterwards, “did you take the seat from her just now then?” She nodded.
It’s all about perspective.
This goes the same for toys, or anything really. Asking who had it “first” is all a matter of what the child’s reference point is compared to yours. You are asking about one instance in time. They may be thinking about it as “I was first this day to touch this toy” even if they’ve put it down in between. Maybe “this is the toy I was given for a present, so of course I touched it first when I received it.” It’s all in the perspective.
Now, what questions would be better to ask, to gauge whether one child is right (assuming the children are telling the truth). I’ve figured that, “Did you take it from…?” Is probably a wiser question. (Or being more specific and referring to the instance in question.) And a follow up of asking the other child if the same question, because of course, they could have snatched it before, and then there is a whole new lesson in how we treat others.
Of course, this is simplified a lot, and assuming that the truth is being told by all parties involved. You do need to use discernment in these situations, but I’ve definitely learned that my perspective is possibly completely different to my children when I ask about who was “first.”
What have you found you need to explain more when you’re asking your children questions?
Mummy Review: I neglect to practise self-care a whole lot of the time. Mom’s Night In Boxes are a good way to help me practise self-care.
Disclosure: I was sent the Mom’s Night In Box in exchange for a review, however all opinions and suggestions are my own. The “Date Night In Box” is an affiliate link, which means I may get credit for qualifying referrals. See my disclosure policy for more details.
Time to myself is scarce lately. Especially since my littlest refuses to sleep through the night no matter the strategies or products we try. I know that it is important to take care of yourself as a mother, but it is HARD to find the time. Often, I am drained and exhausted by the end of the day, and the baby still won’t be officially “asleep for the night” until around 2 or 3 in the morning. (With that, he still wakes hourly or every other hour, so getting anything apart from sleep done is nearly impossible.)
The Mom’s Night In Box offers even a little pampering for those few minutes you find (or you lucky ladies can turn it into a night)! I was gifted this gorgeous little box and wanted to tell you all about it, because who doesn’t like a nice treat or pampering every now and then?
“Every month, MOMS NIGHT IN sends you a box filled with fun, unique, and relaxing moms night in items, ideas, and activities, all aimed to help you take a moment every month that is just for you! Each month will be a new theme and will focus on helping you renew and recharge.” — -~MomsNightInBox.com
The Mom’s Night In Box is a subscription service box full of pampering goodies (or you can choose just a once off). For a few minutes, or a whole night, you can get yourself started off with some of the great selections inside!
The June box included:
Stash Lavender-Tulsi Herbal Tea (in a teabag)
Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-in Conditioner
The Earthy Child Fresh Mint Sugar Lip Scrub LemonCrate Handcrafted Cleansing Grain Scrub
Sinful Colors Professional Nail Polish in Rose Dust
Salon Board, Bath Scrubber, Face Cloth, 3 candles, small disposable cup and a sprig of lavender.
Since my husband was on baby watch, I make sure to use this opportunity for a nice bath. Yes, it may have been midnight, but I was going to use this opportunity to the fullest! I lit the candles and put in some of my favourite bath soak (Milk Bath) from The Body Shop along with my Christmas present, a never-opened bath pillow.
Next step was the face mask, which was definitely a refreshing feeling (and a resealable bag, since I only used a small amount), and let that set while the bath filled. The Sugar Lip Scrub was a cute little container and great for the winter months, since my lips are often dry and in need of exfoliation.
After I boiled some water in a kettle, I poured myself the tea, which was a nice change to my typical English Breakfast. I like that it came in a tea bag rather than loose leaf. It had a nice relaxing bit of lavender in it, great for a Saturday night!
After that, just soaking and enjoying the quiet, and use the scrubber which was handy. Yes, I know The Mom’s Night In Box website does have some music to play along, but I like the quiet. It’s not a common occurrence, so I cherish every silent moment.
The Black Vanilla Hair Conditioner smells absolutely amazing! I love that it can be used in wet or dry hair, or as a detangler and just left in! (I may have used it in-between showers, too, just so I smelled a bit nicer!) My girls insisted on their having some as well, as they like nice-smelling things.
I’m actually saving the nail polish for some time with my girls, so I haven’t utilised that as of now, but they’re in love with the colour! Maybe we can use some of the leftover scrubs and pampering bits for a little bit of a girly-night-in!
If you were interested in getting a Mom’s Night In Box, I do recommend it for either you or the person in your life who needs some pampering, even just for a few minutes!
The Mom’s Night In Boxes come in various price ranges, from a monthly subscription (non-renewing) to a full year’s subscription of Mom’s Night In Boxes delivered to your door each month!
Do you want something a little different? Maybe something for time with the husband? How about getting another one of the their “Night In Boxes“?! They also offer a Date Night In Box, Faith Night In Box, and Daddy Daughter Night In Box along with the Mom’s Night In Box! They seem to have some great ideas for all sorts of night’s in, so if you are looking for something different to other subscription boxes, this is one to try! They do ship to the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and a few other countries!
What do you do to practise self-care? Do you remember to set time aside, or do you neglect to remember too often?
Mummy Confession: I don’t mind hours in the car on the road. However, a road trip with kids is a bit more complicated and may prove a bit challenging!
As I mentioned before, we are taking our first family trip to the snow soon! I have compiled another list of things to bring on the road! Not only for the drive, but what to have close at hand, and just in the car, when traveling with kids!
Plus, better still, some great suggestions for games, recipes that travel well, and other advice from fellow-travelers! I’ve included a quick click here, or scroll to see! To check out what to bring to the snow (for kids), check out my post here.
Road Trip! What to Bring in the Car/Specifically for the Drive:
We’re talking a 4+ hour drive with kids in tow. Two of which are toilet trained, so that should be interesting! I want to be sure that on the trip down, we are taking minimal breaks (I mean, as minimal as you can with kids). In order to insure this, I have a list of what we will be taking in the car, strategically placed so as to have necessities accessible while driving. You know how it is when little Munchkin wants that’s toy that’s in the boot? Yeah, we will try to avoid that.
Easily accessible or in the front:
1. Eskie (Cooler) with drinks/snacks– Nothing says “pull over!” Like a thirsty child. Be sure to have plenty water bottles and other beverages for you and the kids as well as some ice packs if desired. We bring a water bottle for each child in addition to drinks, so there is less mess going! Sippy cups are my favourite.
2. Snacks/Food– The road trips in my childhood bring back memories of my beloved Barbeque chips and savouring them as we drove along. Snacks can help pass the time and hold the kids over until the next rest stop. Opt for healthy, or whatever suits your family! There are some great road-worthy recipes for snacks and ideas below courtesy of some amazing Bloggers! (Click here to skip to the recipes)
3. Activities/Games/Toys– I often pick a few cheap toys the kids haven’t seen yet and hide them for a bit and give them out at random times. Nothing too loud, of course! You do need to be in a car together for hours! If you enjoy playing games in the car or need other suggestions, there are some ideas below (or click here).
4. Toy Organiser/IPad Holder– Unless you wish to hold everything on your lap, it’s probably best to invest in something to store all the bits and pieces from your kids’ toy box. We opted for something to hold a tablet so we can play a movie some of the time, or a couple toys or tissues that are easier to grab. Skip Hop looks like they make good organisers.
5. Chargers for phones with car adapter &Phones– You don’t want your phone to run out of batteries while you are on the way to your destination. Especially if you use it for a GPS or to stay in touch with other cars on the way there!
6. Any music desired– When “99 bottles of” your chosen beverage are no longer on the wall, or your refuse to entertain the idea of signing that, opt for some alternative tunes. Go “Retro” as the kids call it nowadays and blast some of your old favourites, or if you’re game, let the kids pick the music. See some ideas below (or click to skip there now).
7. GPS or other Directions– We do need to arrive somewhere close to our holiday spot, eh? I think this one is self-explanitory.
8. Access to internet or written down numbers/addresses for hospitals, medical centres, etc (just in case!)– You can never be too prepared! Either have information on your phone, in a notebook, or however your prefer. Google is great for searching, too, if your GPS is questionable (I know mine is…), so be sure whatever you are using is reliable! And when in doubt, follow the signs!
9. Car Pass for Toll Roads or Money for Tolls– If you plan on travelling the way of Tolls. Try to stay away from trolls and bridges though.
1. Tissues and/or Wipes– Messes happen, and so do boogers. I often have a few travel packs on hand throughout the car. Baby wipes aren’t just for babies!
2. First Aid Kit– So long as you have access to the first aid kit in the car than its location isn’t necessarily needed in the glove box (it’s jut the easiest place to store it.) I will say, make sure you have a vomit bag in there because, well, you never know. If you would like to purchase a first aid kit, Mumma Morrison has a great place to find one with a great cause here (first aid kit proceeds going to families in need to provide first aid training).
3. Spare Change– You never know when shops may not take cards or have minimum EFTPOS limits. Take some cash just in case!
In a Container or Bag in the Car (I call this my Go Bag):
1. 1 Change of clothing for each child, full set with two pairs of understuff
2. Wipes – Always an essential. Even without babies.
3. Nappies (if you have one in them)- I always have three per child who needs them.
4. Plastic bag or wet bag– For dirty or wet clothing, or rubbish you need to bring from the car.
5. Towel, blanket, burp cloth or muslin wrap– For the messes, spills, and comfort of your child. Especially in winter, I always carry a blanket.
6. Nappy rash cream– Sudocreme is always good one to bring, because it is not only a nappy rash cream, but is also good for cuts, grazes, and burns. Be sure to use a cotton bud if you intend to use it on more than your baby.
7. Potty seat (just in case!)– With a couple who are toilet trained, you can never be too certain where the bathrooms are on the road. Or, if you child will decide they need to go as soon as you hit the longest stretch of road without toilets.
“I love the app “Elmo loves you” for my 2 year old. It doesn’t require data so it’s great in the car and there’s a heap of activities within it. Get the free demo version first to see what your child thinks.
Worried about relinquishing your phone? Put it into airplane mode so your toddler can’t make calls or post your selfies on Facebook!” from Mel- Anyday Adventures
“Portioned bags of air popped popcorn, ‘scroggin mix’ of nuts and dried fruit, portioned bags of chopped carrot, celery, cheese sticks and rice crackers all make good snacks for the road” from How She Does It
“We need our portable DVD players. They keep everyone quiet for a good hour. You also need scheduled breaks. So find the best parks or kid friendly cafes or towns with lolly shops. Map those out before you go.” from Entertain My Tribe
She has been amazing enough to share about a condition called diastasis recti! Pam has first hand experience with diastasis and I hope the information and her personal journey here will help someone else who may have questions or is on their own journey!
Pam’s Journey with Diastasis Recti (Part One)
My name is Pam and I had a problem that affects many women, but few know about. It’s called diastasis recti. This is a separation of the ab muscles. For most women, after pregnancy, their ab muscles go back together. For others, they don’t. That gap is a diastasis recti. Risk factors for getting a diastasis recti include carrying multiples, c sections, and multiple pregnancies. Or, in my case, a petite torso and a baby that was transverse for much of the 3rd trimester.
“When I was doing [crunches and sit-ups], my stomach…bulged out like a mountain, or like an alien was trying to escape my belly button. It was so bizarre that I mentioned it to my OB.”
My first son was born in 2011. He was born by emergency c section. He was transverse for much of the 3rd trimester. I carried him all out front, and my muscles and linea alba were stretched to the max. I had never heard of a diastasis recti though. A few weeks after he was born, I was eager to start getting my body back. So I started doing a few crunches and sit ups, since that helped me get a six pack before I was pregnant. And when I was doing them, my stomach did this very strange thing. It bulged out like a mountain, or like an alien was trying to escape my belly button. It was so bizarre that I mentioned it to my OB at my 6 week check up. She felt around my belly, and said that I had a diastasis recti. She said that she had one too, and explained what it was. I remember asking her what can be done. She said that it can be fixed surgically, but most surgeons only do it after you’re done having kids. I asked if PT could help, and she said she didn’t know if it did. I left feeling like a bit of failure. I didn’t heal right after my baby was born, and it seemed like I was stuck with it.
At my next physical, I asked my regular doctor about it too. She also felt that it was there. She also didn’t know what I could do about it, aside from surgery.
So I saw a general surgeon. He was an older guy who said that I also had an umbilical hernia along with my diastasis recti. He said that the surgery would be through my belly button, and it would have to wait until our family was done. At this point, my husband and I didn’t know what our future was for our family, so I had to wait. (I would later find out that I did not have an umbilical hernia, and that he was wrong.)
I was so unhappy with how my body looked. I had this perpetual baby bump, which is a common characteristic of a diastasis recti. I couldn’t bathe my son, because it was too hard to bend over the tub without my core being able to support my body. Doing the dishes was uncomfortable too. I struggled to carry heavy things, like laundry baskets and boxes. I also had trouble opening tightly closed containers because of my limited core strength. This diastasis recti was impacting my life, more than just how I looked and how people wrongly assumed that I was pregnant.
So I took to Google. There were some resources there, but not much yet. (More information and resources are available now though!!!) I did learn that in France, all women get physical therapy after birth to help their muscles and pelvic floor heal. And I was very jealous! If I had had that care, then maybe my body would be in better condition. I read about a few exercise programs that you can buy to help heal your diastasis recti. I also found a physical therapy facility near me that had a specialization in post-partum women’s health. I called them and started going.
I liked my first PT a lot. She was kind, patient, non-judgmental, and very helpful. I learned so much about how my muscles work (or don’t work in my case!). I learned how to gain some of my strength back. It was the support that I needed and the learning about my condition that I was desperately seeking. I wished that my doctors knew about the importance of physical therapy to help a diastasis recti.
“The videos didn’t help. I was stuck and I hated it. I tried jogging, and it made no change to the size of my stomach bulge. Between the extra skin and the diastasis recti separation, no amount of exercise was going to change what I looked like.”
At the beginning of my PT journey, my gap between my muscles was about 4 fingers wide, which is no small amount. It was May 2012. I did PT for about 1 and a half years or so, and I was able to shrink my gap to 1.5/2 fingers wide. But I was stuck there. I was not able to heal the gap. I tried to go back and saw a different PT. She was much less helpful and I didn’t make any further progress. I felt frustrated and stuck. I looked always a little pregnant, which people would ask me about. (Never ask a woman if she is pregnant!!) I tried one of the programs that I had found online, and it was a complete failure. I ended up just wasting time and quite a bit of money. I then tried some exercise videos, being careful to not make my diastasis recti worse. Doing any crunch or sit up type moves, or 100s in pilates, etc can pull the muscles apart more. So I did everything but these kinds of movements. The videos didn’t help. I was stuck and I hated it. I tried jogging, and it made no change to the size of my stomach bulge. Between the extra skin and the diastasis recti separation, no amount of exercise was going to change what I looked like.
“Through my participation [in the 4th Trimester Bodies Project], I was finally able to find peace and acceptance with my new body. It will forever be a part of my post-partum journey. Although my body wasn’t changed, I could mentally move forward.”
As a Mom in this era, I often found great support and resources online for all parts of Motherhood. This battle I was having with my broken body was no different. One life changing support network was the 4th Trimester Bodies Project. This photography project was dedicated to the uncensored beauty of motherhood. This project showed real Moms, and what a real Mom’s body looked like. This was so eye opening for me, and empowering. These were real people, not super models. And nothing was retouched. When I saw the picture of a Mom who also had a diastasis recti, I was brought to tears. I feel in love with the project’s mission and decided to participate in March 2014. Through my participation, I was finally able to find peace and acceptance with my new body. It will forever be a part of my post-partum journey. Although my body wasn’t changed, I could mentally move forward.
In 2015, my husband I decided finally that we wanted to have one more child. I knew that another pregnancy would re-open my muscle gap and make it worse. I knew that it could be painful and be an issue during the pregnancy. But we were happy to announce that I was pregnant in the fall of 2015. I was having a baby girl! Since my muscles were so weak, I showed very fast and I carried very big. I also had extra amniotic fluid for parts of my 3rd trimester. She was also transverse at times as well. I was having pelvic floor pain and back pain with this pregnancy. I had to wear a support brace that helped lessen the discomfort some. I then had to stop working at 36 weeks because I just couldn’t walk comfortably anymore. I knew that this pregnancy has really stretched my already stretched out muscles and skin.
My baby girl was born in May 2016 also by c section. Since at this point I knew my muscles and my body so well, I knew I had another big diastasis recti. Assessing myself a few weeks post partum, my gap felt 4 fingers wide again, and much deeper. Once I healed from my c section, I started to notice back pain and hip pain. The pelvic floor pain started around 6 months post partum too. I did not have pain like this after my first baby. Doing many everyday things truly became impossible without both immediate and lingering pain. I knew that I need to get back to PT and start the process for a surgery consult.
“Doing many everyday things truly became impossible without both immediate and lingering pain.”
My women’s health PT this go around was so incredibly helpful. While there was not too much that we did for my diastasis recti, my PT was able to help me manage the back, hip, and pelvic pain. I still felt weak and broken, but at least I wasn’t in as much pain each day. She is kind and understanding and so helpful. I am so glad that I saw her before surgery.
I started my surgery consult with a general surgeon at the same office that I went to after my son was born. I saw a different doctor, who specialized in hernia repair. After looking at me, he said that I don’t have an umbilical hernia, and I do have a large and deep diastasis recti. He said that at this point my linea alba (this tissue connects your ab muscles) was “obliterated”. And it would be like operating on a wet tissue. He took some pictures of my belly and brought my case to his organization of hernia surgeons for further guidance, with my approval. At my second consultation, he said (very nicely) that there was nothing that he could do for me. For him, I was not operable and not a candidate for surgery. He said that I would have to see a plastic surgeon, and he gave me the name of one who he’s worked with before to get insurance to cover a plastic surgery procedure. I left feeling even more broken, defeated and alone in this journey. But I knew that I needed to be fixed. At 34, I should not be having chronic pain like this, and I knew it would only get worse as I got older if I didn’t fix my body.
My initial appointment with the plastic surgeon went well. She spoke fast but understood what I needed and why. We started the process to try and get my insurance to cover it. From my view point, this was a medically necessary procedure, despite the fact that it was with a plastic surgeon. I could not function with my core as messed up as it was. In my mind, I was calling my procedure a “reconstruction of my abdominal wall”. I didn’t yet know that that is essentially what a tummy tuck is. And a tummy tuck was what I was getting. The surgeon explained that if she only fixed my abdominal wall, then I would have a “fanny pack” of extra skin that will forever hang over the waist of my pants. So we obviously had to include removing the extra skin too.
The surgeon’s office tried many ways to code this procedure to get it approved, but to no avail. They priced it out for what I would have to pay out of pocket and gave us the number. It was much lower than we thought (still not cheap!) but we could swing it. So we paid and set the surgery date for May 8th, 2017, when my baby girl would be 11 months old.
I was extremely nervous leading up to the procedure. This was major surgery. I was going to opened up wide and operated on. I could not even fathom what I would look or feel like afterward. I had been disappointed so many times trying to fix myself and I absolutely did not dare to even think about the results. I just didn’t want to be broken anymore. I was too focused on my worries, arranging for the time off from work, and trying to arrange care for my kids while I had an 8 week lift restriction.
“I was worse than most that they see. It made me feel validated that I was truly broken and that I was not “lazy” or “fat”.”
Despite my worries, the actual procedure went very well. It took 3 hours or so. At pre-op, she and her surgical resident came to mark up my belly. They both were amazed still at how my belly looked and were happy to be fixing it for me. For whatever reason, this helped me feel a lot better. I was worse than most that they see. It made me feel validated that I was truly broken and that I was not “lazy” or “fat”. My surgeon said that she had to do an extensive amount of work on my muscles, especially in the middle by my belly button. She had to cut out and reattach my belly button after removing the extra skin. My incision line is about 15” long, from hip to hip.
My surgery was a day procedure, which was surprising but ended up being fine. I didn’t really look at myself that first day, I was extremely tired! I had 2 drains and a binder around my belly. The binder will have to be worn at all times for the first 4 or so weeks, and then I can switch to a Spanx type support if I wanted for weeks 4-8. The 2 drains were removed at 2 days post op and 5 days post op respectively. The first few times that I saw my new body I didn’t even recognize myself. It felt like an out of body experience, to the point that it felt strange to even look at myself. Most of the skin on my belly is totally numb and my belly button is now shaped differently than it ever had been my entire life.
During the second week things improved though! I was starting to heal internally and externally a little bit. It was still going to be a long healing process, but my scar was not as gruesome/Frankenstein looking. And I was starting to be able to move a little bit normally. (I could finally sit to use the toilet without help! It’s the small things!)
“I look like ME. The old me. The not broken me. The strong me”
As I type this I am 16 days post op. I will return to work at 4 weeks post op (28 days). I will hopefully return to full normal activities by 8 weeks post op. I have to see how my healing goes with the surgeon. Right now I am healing well but a little slowly because of all the muscle work that I needed. And I am starting to love my body again. I’m wearing my binder all the time, except to shower. (It is under my dress in the picture.) My back, hip and pelvic pain are completely gone. And I look like ME. The old me. The not broken me. The strong me. The me with a normal shaped body. No more being broken and disfigured. No more looking pregnant. I am ME again. And I am so glad. So very very glad.