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I Always said “No Guns” . . .

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 by:

I always said my kids would never play with guns. Then I had two boys and realized that wasn’t necessarily realistic. Still, I worried. I wasn’t really sure why, but it just seemed wrong.

One of the joys of being a parenting journalist is having access to many of the top professionals in their field. I decided to jump into my research and find out if toy guns were okay. As I did, I was imagining ways to tell my boys that gun play would no longer be allowed in my house. It wasn’t going to bode well.

Much to my surprise, every expert I talked to said that not only were toy guns okay, but they could actually help empower my children. Click here to hear the full story.

Bad Santa

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 by:

My 12-month-old is absolutely terrified of santa. When she first saw him at her big brothers’ school she shook and screamed with such intensity that one of the teachers thought she was having a seizure.

At first I was sad that her terror meant there would be no santa photo with all three of my kids for 2011. Which got me to thinking: Why do parents put so much importance on the beloved santa photo? We will subject our children to fear-filled drama just to get a photo of them sitting on santa’s lap.

Then, I had a look at these Christmas photos gone bad and it all made sense. Christmas makes parents crazy!

Should Cellphones Be Allowed in the Classroom?

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011 by:

The answer may seem obvious. How can it really be a good idea to let kids bring cellphones, iPads and other hand-held devices into the classroom. Kids will copy on tests, ignore their teacher and waste valuable learning time chatting with friends on Facebook.

That was my initial reaction when the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) voted to lift the cellphone ban earlier this year. Now, I’m on the fence.

It’s easy to say hand-helds have no place in schools, but the world is a very different place than it was when we went to school. The classroom is the only place where anyone is required to learn by sitting in isolation with a paper and pen. I’m not saying we need to throw out old-school learning, but there may be a way to incorporate technology into schools and help teach children to use a hand-held to help with problem solving. Done the right way, allowing hand-held devices in schools may help kids see technology as another way to learn – not just a way to chat with friends or play games.

Schools Ban All Balls

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 by:

I get it. We all want our kids to be safe. To be honest, I don’t really want to get hurt either. But banning all hard balls on school property because a parent was hit in the head with a soccer ball may be taking things a little too far.

Earl Beatty Junior and Senior Public School in Toronto is the most recent in a string of schools to ban all hard balls from school property. Students are no longer allowed to bring soccer balls, basketballs, baseballs, footballs and volleyballs to school. All balls that aren’t made of sponge or nerf material will be confiscated.

Ottawa and St. Catharines, Ont. have also seen ball bans after playground head injuries resulted from soccer game fun.

Guess what parents? It’s life. Kids get hurt. Parents get hurt. Driving a car is a lot more dangerous than playing a soccer game. Are schools going to insist that all children walk to school because a car is unsafe?

Only seven percent of Canadian children get the required hour of daily physical activity. Moving around not only keeps our kids in great shape but it stimulates brain development and improves concentration.

When are adults going to admit we can’t control everything?

Mommy Connections

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 by:

Being a work-at-home mom allows for some amazing bonding time with my girls. It blows my mind that next year Kyla will be in full-day kindergarten and we won’t be spending all our days together. It makes me happy and sad that she is growing up and becoming so independent. Ryah will begin a preschool program next year as well and she will be away from me three mornings a week (tear). I am so happy that being a Mommy Connections Director caters to my needs and allows me to spend this precious time with my girls.

Mommy Connections has an amazing support system, Carol (see below) refers to her directors as the Dream Team. I cannot say enough about this group of amazing and talented women. The words of encouragement and willingness to offer suggestions that come from this group is overwhelming. We are all there to support each other and cheer each other on.

Carol is the President and Founder of Mommy Connections and since 2008 she has grown Mommy Connections to over 24 chapters in North America. I am both honoured and proud to be a part of this organization. For more information about Mommy Connections and Licences opportunities go to www.mommyconnections.ca you can also email carol@mommyconnections.ca

Having it All

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011 by:

Last spring I was asked if I’d like to become a Mommy Connections Director. After a lot of soul searching I decided it was a good move and I bought the license. I am now the Program Director for Mommy Connections Mississauga South.

What a great decision! It is the best job I have ever had. Working as a Mommy Connections Director combines everything I loved about my old job and none of the pressure. I get to use my business skills to run Mommy Connections Mississauga South and stay home and raise my two girls.

A day in the life of me a Mommy Connections Director might find me waking up with the girls; fixing them a hot breakfast; then off to the park or a play date for the rest of the morning. I can receive email on my phone so I can respond to anything important while the girls are playing. We then have lunch and Ryah goes down for her nap. Kyla will do crafts or watch TV while Mommy works. I check my website stats, update my status on facebook and look for pages and businesses that I would like to partner with. I also make calls and send emails in the afternoon in an effort to finalize the program agenda.

One of the major struggles of this job is finding ways to market the program to Moms. I have never worked so hard in my life all while having a super fun time. I know my kids are well taken care and they love having me home. Kyla started a co-operative nursery school this fall. With my old position I would never have been able to enrol her there because of the duty days and extra work involved in this type of school. On my duty days, I get to experience the school day with her and her friends. What an amazing experience for both of us.

The Big Change

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 by:

I was due to go back to work in the summer of 2009. I had found a wonderful home daycare for Kyla. She started going twice a week in July 2009. She spent her time there doing crafts going to the park and having the best time with her two friends Dillon and Lucas. It made the transition back to work a little bit easier knowing she was happy in her new setting. During my maternity leave the company I was working for made some changes to the sales force and my job went from full time to part time. I was completely fine with four days a week as I had just found that I was expecting my second child (surprise). I went back in mid July 2009 and I worked for only seven months (that was nice); during those seven months I started to wonder if I could do my job and have two small children. The sales meetings away from home, the long hours and stressful work were just not interesting to me anymore. On my days off, I loved being home with Kyla.

In March 2010 I had another beautiful girl Ryah. Life was amazing with my two girls, but something was weighing heavily in my mind. I was dreading my return to work day and I had a hard time trying to relax and enjoy this maternity leave. I started taking a couple courses online in an effort to learn a new field of work that would allow me to work from home. I grew restless of this and thought that there was nothing out there for me to do. I was going to have to go back to the job that I had once loved but had grown to dread.

Then, in January 2011 a decision had been made for me. The company I had been employed by made some more changes and they let the whole sales force go. I was both happy and sad. The only career I had known was gone, done, and finished! I had a short identity crisis (a whole week) and decided that I needed to focus on my kids. I could stay home for a while and not worry, that was a nice thought­–for a few weeks.

Making Mommy Connections

Monday, October 3rd, 2011 by:

Three years ago I was out for a walk with Kyla and my dog Griffin. I met another mom with a baby boy just a few months older then Kyla. We soon met a few other neighbourhood moms and the “Alderchicks” were born.

We started meeting every Friday for coffee. We would go for beautiful walks through the neighbourhood–the convoy of strollers was hilarious. I looked forward to Fridays; I loved spending time with these women and their babies. Our group slowly grew to 21 moms and it is still growing. Most of us had our second babies around the same time so we were able to spend another maternity leave together. While we were on our second maternity leaves, we met some first time moms in the neighbourhood. One of those moms was Karen–the Mommy Connections director for Toronto West.

Losing Warren

Monday, September 26th, 2011 by:

My husband and I had purchased a house four days after Kyla was born. And–NO–in case you’re wondering it is not a good idea to buy a home when you’ve just had a newborn. Packing and preparing for a move all while nursing a newborn every two hours was stressful. How much can you accomplish when you have to stop, nurse, change and play with your baby every hour or two? Half the time I could not remember where I left off when I returned to packing. I was also still recovering from my C-section so moving around in general was slow and painful.

After we moved, however, I didn’t feel any more relaxed. Another major stress was hanging over my head. My brother Warren was dying.

Warren had been off work since November 2007, when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. In a small blessing, my maternity leave gave me the time to spend with him before he passed away in September 2008. I was able to share my new baby with him and spend precious time with him.

Ironically, Warren’s diagnosis came the day after I told him I was pregnant. I had six months left in my pregnancy and he was given six months to live.

Warren fought hard and thankfully I was able to share my precious little girl with him. I remember the first time he met Kyla. Warren held her and kissed her and told her silly stories about me as a little girl, it was both beautiful and heart breaking. Warren and I spent our visits talking and reminiscing about our childhood laughing and joking with each other, we would also talk about the fun our kids would have growing up together. Warren had a son James with his wife Christine the year before.

I had to remain strong and hopeful during our visits. Warren had such a positive attitude about his recovery that I did not want to show him any negative emotion. Throughout his entire illness, he (and our family) never gave up hope that he would recover and beat cancer. When Warren died, I realized I wanted my life to change. I wanted more time to spend with the people I cared about. I revaluated my plans and decided to take the full year of maternity leave.

Slowing Things Down

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 by:

By the time Kyla (now 3) came along in June of 2008, I was ready to slow down. I was even moving slowly. I had only left one week between Kyla’s due date and my last day of work. My thought? No baby ever arrives on their due date, right? Well, Kyla did. After 22 hours of labor and an emergency C-section she arrived, 7lbs 6oz safe, sound, and right on time.

Life really changed for me after that. To my surprise, I enjoyed the slower pace of life. Kyla and I would walk Griffin (our dog) every morning and I loved watching my new baby sleep peacefully in her stroller. I was not expecting to love being at home so much, but I did. I enjoyed being off and spending time with my daughter and not being tied to a rigid work schedule. I could not believe that my days were so full. I didn’t need to work for eight hours in an office to keep busy. Being a mom kept me busy and exhilerated.