What a week this has been. With a very heavy heart I took my oldest daughter, Edie, to her first day of school this week. It was so hard walking away as she whimpered “Don’t go, Mommy”, with her voice cracking, eyes swelling with tears. I had to walk away as the teacher closed the school yard gate, but I watched from a far as she took a deep breath and slowly walked over to the sand box. She sat down on the ledge beside another little girl and timidly said, “Hi, I’m Edie.”, with that they started building a sand castle together. 5 years of my life went into that very moment. I was so proud of her.
So, then I sat in my car and cried, like I mean bawled, the kind of cry that you have to remind yourself to breathe in. They weren’t sad tears, just the tears that come with being hit with a wrecking ball of a mother’s hopes and desires. My baby is growing up, in that very moment I realized it and there is nothing I can do to turn back now.
My pre-kid self would crack up to learn that we became an overtly emotional mother weaping in her car in a school parking lot. Alas, here we are, asking ourselves, “Where did the time go?!!” I certainly wouldn’t change a thing, but it would be nice to offer that pre-kid version of myself some insight before she enters into the greatest adventure of her entire life.
Staying true to the school theme of the week, I’m writing up some study notes for that previous version of myself, as well as any other parents-to-be in the class. Remember, we’re all in this together.
Parenting 101: HPA Study Notes
“Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. It reduces everything to essentials.” ~ Meryl Streep
- You have no idea what you’ve gotten yourself into, stop thinking that you do. (Mainly for me 5 years ago.)
- Enjoy the quiet while still pregnant. The sweet, sweet nectar of silence. It will be a looooooong while before you soak it in again.
- Pregnancy is nature’s way of preparing you for baby. All of those pee breaks, all of that discomfort is about to be accompanied by baby cries and feeding times.
- Don’t stress about labour too much. It is truly remarkable what your body is capable of when you trust it. (2 all-natural births of 8lb babies has certainly taught me that.)
- The sooner you surrender your ego, self-imposed body restrictions, know-it-all attitude, etc. the better off you and your little fam will be. (Also for me and anyone like me 5 years ago.)
- Invest in good-quality baby items like stroller, carrier, crib and car seat, you’ll have these items for a while and rely on them often. Everything else you can purchase as you need it. There is so much useless stuff that you think you need that you or your kids won’t use (i.e. the untouched Graco swing that has been sitting in my basement for the past 5 years.)
- Nap when the baby naps – ignore the dirty dishes and laundry just a little longer.
- Water bottle. Always carry a full water bottle.
- Take full advantage of help when offered. It’s not easy but use it while you have it.
- Don’t cheap out on your vacuum, and make it compact. You’ll be using it plenty.
- The white noise from a blow drier can bring peace to a nightmarish evening of baby screams.
- Sign up for yoga with baby while they ‘re still immobile. It’s a great place to meet new moms and a great excuse to get out of the house and feel productive.
- It’s not easy, but the younger your children are the easier it is to stretch and work out. Take advantage of it.
- Routine. Routine. Routine. Grow to love it because you will depend on your routine to maintain sanity through the years to come.
- Buy in bulk. Now is the time to consider that Costco membership.
- Mesmerize a few children songs and poems, sing them to your kids often.
- Don’t think about weight gain for the first 8 weeks after labour. Don’t do it! After 8 weeks, read this: www.hotpinkapron.com/the-secret-to-weight-loss-exposed
- Don’t forget to make time for you! Join a book club, fitness club, standing Thursday date with a friend, get out of the house and away from your family for at least 1 hour a week.
- Your friends without babies have no idea what you’re going through, your friends with older kids have forgotten what it’s like (they have new challenges to face). Don’t waste your breathe trying to explain all the hardships you’re dealing with, make friends with other baby mamas near the same age group as your kids.
“Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? Thought I was the only one.” ~ C.S. Lewis
- Find a Doctor/Pediatrician that you like and trust, you’ll be spending enough time with them and their staff.
- Ask questions. Ask everyone and anyone any questions you have. There is no embarrassment in not knowing.
- Pack a restaurant bag with toys, crafts, special items that only come out at restaurants to ensure you can still enjoy a meal out with your partner and friends here and there.
- Be confident in the choices you make. If you decide to stay home that’s great; if you decide to return to work that’s great; base your decisions on what’s best for your family and believe in your choices.
- The greatest gift a mother can give is a happy home – that starts with you first. What makes you happy?
- Believe in your intuition, it can tell you a lot more than any Martha Stewart magazine can.
- Baby oil can remove most skin stains (*recently discovered* including color-stay lip stain).
- Hairspray lifts pen scribbles from leather – the sooner you spray the better.
- Heads up: just when you think you’re done with poo diapers it becomes the only thing they want to talk about. Kids crack up at the mere mention of “poo”, it’s weird and quickly becomes really annoying.
- Don’t wish it away. So many times through the parenting process Brett and I have said, “I can’t wait until… she’s walking, speaking, going to school…” It can feel like a lifetime when you’re sleep deprived but the time that your babies are babies really does go by so quickly.
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” ~ John Lennon
- Hot Pink Apron.com was born out of a need for something that was just mine. Sacrificing work/friends/habits for motherhood nearly broke me; don’t forget who you are as you adapt into who you are as a parent.
- Just breathe, everything is going to be alright.
- Love food! A well fed family is a happy family.
Homemade Blueberry “Flakies”
Inspired by my own childhood excitement when I opened that lunch bag and saw a Vachon Passion Flakie inside. “Score!”
Makes about 8 pastry treats
- 1 sheet store-bought puff pastry
- 1 egg, whipped with 1 Tbs. water (egg wash)
- 1 cup fresh, local blueberries (I’m using up our pickin’s from Wilmot Orchards but you can substitute with most other berries)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 (heaping) tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup whipping cream (35%)
- Preheat the oven to 425°F
- Prepare your pastry: Roll out store-bought puff pastry to a 1/4″ thick rectangle. Cut into evenly-sized squares, 2 slices vertically, 3 slices horizontally will give you 9 squares. Place on cookie sheet and brush the egg wash across each square. Chill in the refridgerator for at least 10 minutes. Remove and lightly score diagonal lines on 4 of the squares – this will make them ideal as bottom pastry layers as they won’t rise too high.
- Bake puff pastry in the centre of the oven for 10 to 12 mins. or until puffed and golden brown.
- Prepare your fruit filling: On medium heat, add your berries, corn starch and sugar to a small saucepan. Stir until sugar fully dissolves. Bring to a boil. Stir, remove from heat and transfer to a clean bowl to cool.
- Prepare your whipped cream: (Note: best whipped cream is made when the cream is cold and all utensils have been chilled as well, including bowl and whisk.) Using the whisk attachemnt of a stand mixer or handheld, whip cream until light and fluffy.
- Once all components are at room temperature, put it all together. Scored pastry on bottom, dollop of cream, spoonfuls of berry sweetness, topped by more crispy, buttery, puffy pastry. Enjoy!
(Note: You’ll want to keep those wet wipes handy for these.)
Add to favorites