Hawaii honeymoon

Embracing Easy with Just-Eat.ca

I’ve now been back at work for a month, and just about everyone I know has asked me how it’s going. The truth: It’s going pretty well. I’m enjoying using my brain in a different way again (and am pretty happy about having a Starbucks in the building too).

The other truth: Life is kind of overwhelming. No one told me being a working mom of two is infinitely harder than being a working mom of one, and I think I underestimated the logistical crunch having two kids would bring to my working life.

I think I’ve found a groove for the busy mornings, though of course now that winter has decided to come to Calgary I have to build frost- and snow-removal time into my routine. It’s the evenings that are tough.

My commute is 45 minutes each way, and I work until 5 p.m. Ethan is usually approaching meltdown stage by 6 p.m., which gives me a very small window to get home and have dinner before transitioning into baby-sleep-whisperer mode. (As we all know, tired babies do not necessarily easily transition into sleeping babies.) Then I still have to do dishes (Rich cooks) and tidy and walk the dog and ignore the unfolded laundry and so on before attempting to get to bed at a reasonable hour so I can do it all again the next day.

I won’t lie. I’m tired and most nights my brain is ready to explode.

Chinese food takeoutSo…I’ll happily take any efficiency tips you care to share and in trade I’ll offer you one of mine: I’ve recently been introduced to Just-Eat.ca and I think it’s absolutely brilliant.

On weeknights Rich has been fantastic at getting dinner ready in time to feed Ethan before he totally loses it and so I can eat before my second shift (as it were), but there are some nights we just don’t have our dinner ducks in a row. And when it makes life easier we don’t hesitate to order in.

We get a little sick of pizza though, so Just-Eat.ca has been a great solution. Enter your postal code on the site and it will show you the places that will deliver food to your area at that time (and if they’re not open then but will be for dinner, you can preorder). All the menu items are listed so you can add them to your order with one click, and you can add a tip for the driver as well.

The first time I looked at the site I got lost in all the possibilities. With Thai food, Mexican, Italian, Indian, and more, it was easy to break out of our pizza rut. In the end we ordered Chinese food on a busy Wednesday, which is the night I’m on the hook for all the evening stuff because Rich goes to an art house event.

Italian takeoutEmbracing the easy way to take care of a weeknight dinner saved a little bit of my sanity (and bonus – no dishes!), so we tried ordering in on a Sunday as well. Rich was working (he’s getting into freelance illustration work, which is very cool and which I will share more about another time) so I’ve been doing kid and dog and laundry and grocery and dinner duty (on top of trying to get a run in now and then and still blog and do other freelance writing) and some Sundays the last thing I feel like doing is getting dinner ready while I’m trying to prepare for the week ahead. On this particular Sunday we ordered Italian (and discovered a place we hadn’t tried that serves zucchini sticks, which are a sentimental favourite for me). It was delivered exactly when we had asked for it and for a reasonable price fed the four of us with a good amount of leftovers for lunches (another bonus).

Telling you all this – with my good job and a husband who stays at home and family in town who support us – feels a little first-world-problemish. But you know what? Life is busy and it’s never going to get simpler if we don’t embrace the things that can make it easier. So I say lean in to ordering in. Your sanity is worth it.

 

This post was generously sponsored by Just-Eat.ca, but the opinions and images are my own. For more information, including ordering information for Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Waterloo, Kitchener, Guelph, Ottawa, London, Montreal, visit www.just-eat.ca. (There’s also an app.)

On High Standards and Hating Myself

A couple of years ago I wrote a post for Just.Be.Enough with this title.  It sounds sensational, but it pretty much summed up much of my experience with PPD.

Motherhood is hard enough without the movie-perfect baby and the Mommy Wars, but when we add those things in and still believe we should be able — effortlessly, flawlessly, and with a smile — to live up to our own high standards for motherhood, we’re pretty much doomed from the start. I was anyway.

In any case, I reflected on that in my post, which I’m thrilled to have had published on Mamalode. Come and reflect with me, won’t you?

First Day of Kindergarten

Connor had kindergarten orientation yesterday, just half an hour with three other kids. Parents stayed, they did a scavenger hunt to learn about their classroom, and his teacher gave the parents a gift – a Kleenex (to dry our tears) and a tea bag (to have a calm cup of tea after dropping them off for their first day), along with a lovely note about entrusting our kids to her for the year.

Connor loved it. He was excited about school and he really likes his teacher.

Today was the first official day – the day he got dropped off and changed his shoes and then hung his own backpack and sweater on his hook. The day he went to sit at his desk, in a group with three other kids, and got to see what school will be like for the coming year.

This morning he went in happily but came out a little overwhelmed. I can imagine; I don’t think I was especially keen on throwing myself into a classroom with a bunch of other five-year-olds either. (I was shy but cute.)

But he will be fine. He’ll be great, actually. And us? We probably won’t need the Kleenex (though certainly have an appreciation for a calming cup of tea).

Kindergarten has begun.

first day of kindergarten picture

An Explanation, In Part

I can’t wait for the time when I will get night after night after subsequent night of uninterrupted sleep.

“One of the Georges - I forget which - once said that a certain number of hours´ sleep each night - I cannot recall at the moment how many - made a man something which for the time being has slipped my memory.” ― P.G. Wodehouse, Something Fresh

When does that happen?

 

Freedom in a Bottle

I vividly remember the first time I left the house on my own after Connor was born. I went to a mall about 10 minutes from our house and it felt monumental. Significant. Almost like a prison break.

He was only two or three weeks old at the time, but we hadn’t introduced a bottle at that point and all I could think about was that I was carrying his sole source of food around with me. He was totally reliant on me and my body for his nutrition and there I was walking around a mall.

I got over that feeling eventually, of course, but breastfeeding made me feel tethered to him for a long, long time. He didn’t have anything else at all—no formula, nothing—until the day he hit six months and we gave him some rice cereal (and I cried because he was no longer dependent on me for nutrition. Apparently being a hormonal mom with PPD made me a little nuts in more ways than one).

We did introduce a bottle when Connor was five weeks old, and I remember the weird feeling of relief and pride. No, he wasn’t going to starve if I left the house and, yes, it was cool to see my husband feeding our baby. (And, oh, was he ever in love with giving Connor a bottle. I’ll never forget that first time.) Mostly, though, I was glad we had a way to feed Connor that didn’t require me to sit on the couch for an hour.

And then, when he was three months old, he started refusing to take a bottle. One night Rich did all the night feedings so I could sleep and after that, no more bottles for Connor. It was his way of protesting, I assume. He did start taking one again after we started solids, but the freedom ship had sailed at that point. For those months I was well and truly (and literally) attached to my baby.

With Ethan, however, it’s been totally different.

We started him on bottles slightly earlier and he has always taken them happily. I actually once came home right as Rich was feeding him and Ethan may as well have just said, “Hey, Mom! I’m having a bottle.” He was totally unfazed at me being there and finished the bottle happily. He’s still a champion nurser, too.

Naturally, I have taken full advantage of having a baby who will occasionally take a bottle. I’ll admit that I hate pumping as much as the next mom, but it’s been worth it in order to have some freedom.

In the early months, Rich gave Ethan a bottle in the mornings so I could sleep (and that right there is worth every single mooing sound the stupid pump makes). We’ve also used bottles a few times when I’ve gone out at night. I pumped when I got up or when I got home, and it worked beautifully. (The one Rich is using here is Dr. Brown’s, which we really liked – they’re easy to hold and easy to clean, and their bottle brushes actually get in all the little curves. My brother and sister-in-law have used this brand exclusively with their twins, if that tells you anything.)giving baby a bottle

But here’s where giving bottles has been really amazing: For the last several months Rich and I have been trading time off; we’ve each had two afternoons a week to work – time for me to write and time for him to work on illustrations. I wave goodbye to my husband and my baby and my freezer stash and happily sit at Starbucks. For, like, four hours. It’s new-mama heaven, I tell ya.

As I’ve sat there with my hot drink and my laptop and my headphones, I’ve often thought back to my time when Connor was a baby and wondered if I took for granted the freedom pumping and a bottle offered. Could I have bought myself more sanity? Maybe. But maybe not. We did what we could when we had the opportunity, but when a stubborn baby steadfastly refuses to take a bottle there’s not much you can do.

I try not to mourn the loss of freedom and sanity from that time around. I’ve just really, really enjoyed it with this one and I think, just maybe, it’s been one of the things that has made a difference.

Disclaimer: This post was generously sponsored by Dr. Brown’s, but the opinions and images are my own. And in thanks for the support Dr. Brown’s has given me, I have chosen Dr. Brown’s bottle-feeding supplies as part of my donation to community organizations helping with the recent flooding in Alberta, where I live. 

Some of the key features of the Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow bottles, which are available at retailers across Canada:

  • Helps reduce feeding problems – The Dr. Brown’s bottles are known for reducing colic, spit-up, burping, and gas.
  • Proven to help preserve bottle milk nutrients.
  • Vacuum-free feeding helps digestion – Good digestion is essential for babies, particularly newborns.
  • Patented Vent System and silicone nipple work together – Controlled flow so babies feed at their own pace.

For more information, visit www.drbrownsbaby.com/.