Why We Don’t Need Sophie the Giraffe Or Any Other High Priced Items

I went for a walk with a friend of mine a while back and we found a discarded Sophie the Giraffe teething-toy lying in the middle of the sidewalk like it was a free-for-all. We could hardly believe that anyone would just toss this overpriced piece of rubber on the ground and walk away, but we had no idea how to find the owner.

My friend picked up the what looked like a brand-new Sophie and all we could think about was how some mom somewhere must be losing her shit searching for it. I mean, this isn’t something to just drop and lose. It costs a paycheque, after all.

While worrying about the poor mom, the toy got us thinking. Why in all things holy and sacred do we hold so much value on this small crazy-expensive rubber toy?

It’s a must-have, but why?

For us – two moms who went through postpartum depression and anxiety – dove into a conversation about the kind of expectations placed on new moms.

You have to get the best of the best because the internet said so, and moms around the world are all in favour in driving themselves mental getting unnecessary costly items for babies.

For us, Sophie became our mascot for postpartum disorders.

I know it sounds extreme, but hear me out.

First time pregnant moms have a shit-ton of stuff to figure out while their bodies change from normal to being stretched out like silly-putty and riddled with everything from retaining water to sciatica to all-day nausea.

Questions like will you breastfeed or what colour should you paint the walls invade your thoughts like a broken record.

I remember telling my mom I needed it. How important it was. How everyone raved about its effectiveness in assisting in the development of a baby’s mouth structure.

My world, how ever did our generation survive without this toy?

I mean, everyone has it, so you should too, right?

Wrong.

Sophie the Giraffe, while adorable, is unnecessary. Not only does Sophie paraphernalia cost anywhere from $19.98 to $149.99, but some kids just simply don’t take to it, like my son.

The first time I introduced the giraffe to my son, he paid it no attention. Eventually, he took the Sophie, twirled it around like a baton, put it in his mouth for a photo op, and then threw to the side, never to be touched again. I kept it in the hopes that one day, he’d pick it up in excitement and use it while creating for himself the world’s best mouth structure.

But he just didn’t care for it, and that was an eye opener.

Why is there so much pressure on families to get these kinds of over-priced items for their babies? Whatever happened to simple and affordable?

We put far too much pressure on ourselves and allow others to interfere with our Zen, telling us what we need and don’t need. We lose ourselves in the shuffle and pay ridiculous amounts of money for the best new things when really, simplicity works just fine. I mean, we all turned out well, didn’t we?

A newborn baby isn’t going to grow up shunning its parents for not buying some expensive giraffe, nor will it remember any of the over-priced items you just had to get. All it needs is the basics and your love.

So, the next time a new mom comes to you for advice, unsure of where to turn or what to get, let her know that the simple stuff is more than okay, and Sophie the Giraffe is not a must.
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I Take My Medication Like It’s My Job Because It Is My Job

This is my little pill.



My teeny tiny yellow and white pill that helps me get through the day-to-day obstacles of life without breaking down or falling down a long black claustrophobic hole.

The medication wrapped up in this minuscule capsule is what helps the chemicals in my brain stabilize so that I have less of a chance of succumbing to a panic attack over something that can be perceived as trivial to those looking in. It also helps keep the boogyman away from me and my thoughts.

You see, I’ve taken this same pill on and off for the last 23 years or so – give or take. I’ve been taking it steadily, though, ever since I was hit in the face with postpartum depression and anxiety; in other words, for the past four years. Since then, I’ve been using this medication as a metaphorical floaty.

Do I wish I didn’t need it? You better believe I do.
Do I choose to take it? Like it’s my job.

Because it is my job. Taking my medication each and every morning is part of my job as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, an employee, and a human being who is part of a bigger picture.

Sounds extreme, sure. But what happens when I don’t take it?

What happens when my world falls apart because I can’t handle a tantrum or the stress of trying to balance my work life with my home life consumes me?

What happens when the thoughts in my mind become scary enough that I frighten myself, which is known to happen?

What happens when I hide in a dark closet and cry, ignoring everyone – even my child – around me?

Make no mistake, medication doesn’t cure me. It simply assists me in handling some situations – like those above – that I otherwise would not handle well. I still suffer from anxiety attacks and still have depressive episodes, but they don’t occur as often – or last as long – as they would if I neglected to take the pill every morning.

And I have neglected to take it, by way of forgetting. And if it’s been a few days, then I pay the price. The problem is that sometimes I feel great and forgetting seems natural. But just when I feel I’m ready to venture off on my own, I’m hit with a situation and it becomes clear that I am not ready, not just yet.

And that’s okay.

There’s no shame in taking medication, just like you wouldn’t feel ashamed for taking flu medication when sick. The difference is that my diseases are hidden and can be masked with a smile.

This is what I live with day in and day out.

Sure it’s a struggle and there are times when I feel defeated, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. No matter what is happening, the light stays right where it is.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel because I want there to be one. Because I know that’s it’s much better where the light shines.

This is just one of the many things that make me who I am. It’s not as glamorous as, say, my hair, but it is part of what makes me, ME.

I wish for the day when I no longer need assistance in the form of a pill, but until that day comes – and it will come one day, I’m sure of it – it stays a part of my morning routine.

So instead of finding shame in what is, I look my situation in the face while I stand tall complete with brass armor, and I stay on guard because it’s my job.
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Dear Hormones – A Disgruntled Middle-Aged Woman’s Plea to You

 

Dear hormones,

What in all things holy and sacred is your problem?

I’m sorry to be so brisk and rude – actually, no I’m not. In fact, I have a larger-than-life size bone to pick with you.

So, I’m forty and I’m sitting here looking at my face, and there’s this little – no big – blemish on right there on my jawline that looks like I got hit with a marble. I’m not kidding. It’s like a small red hill that’s angry at the world. I’m pretty sure it lost its way while it was looking for the twenty-something-year-old whoever this attack was meant to be for. read more

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Embracing The Change In The Way We Parent

While taking a breather from playing tag at the wet park with my crew this evening, I was taken aback by the beauty of the coloured leaves that were scattered across the ground. Suddenly I found myself picking up and placing the different colours in a bunch so I could take a picture.

Each leaf represents a different story. Each leaf is at a different stage in its life, growing from greens and changing to oranges and yellows, then to purples and deep reds, before taking their last bow and turning to brown.

These changed leaves, for me, resemble parenting (yes, I’m feeling a bit sappy, bare with me).

I mean, we all start out so sure of ourselves and the decisions we know we’ll make once graced with children. Face it, we are all perfect parents to hypothetical children. Except, as time moves forward and we are living with the reality of our once hypothetical, we notice how many more colours there.

Parenting is not all black and white, just like a leaf never stays the same shade of green before turning into a different colour entirely. It’s colourful. It’s spontaneous. It’s exciting and it’s vibrant. Our views and our choices change with time, just like leaves change with seasons.

Maybe instead of being so hard on ourselves for changing tactic when realizing that our reality is so much harder than our hypothetical, how about embracing the change and allow ourselves to work through any given situation as natural as a leaf turning colour.

We don’t have to get it right the first time, nor do we need to do exactly what we said we’d do. More importantly, we should change the way we want to and not the way someone – or society, including the sanctimommies – tells us we should.

Let’s give ourselves the permission to change and parent as easily and naturally as the leaves change their colours. Everyone knows what’s best for them and their families, just like a leaf knows when it’s their turn to start their change.
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Dear Partner, We Can Both Do Better

 

Dear Wife, do better.

 

I’m so tired of picking up banana peels off the wooden cutting board on the kitchen counter. I just can’t understand how hard it is for you to toss the peel in the compost after you unwrap your banana. And while we’re talking about compost, must your tissues remain on the dresser and table? Can you not toss them when done? read more

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Dear Husband, Thank You For Being There

Dear husband,

Tonight, when I found out some potentially disappointing news and you told me to believe, I felt you had my back. 

Tonight, when I was about to break down into a full out adult-meltdown right in front of the kid, you told me that you wanted to help me. 

Tonight, when I felt like my depression was starting to surface and I was going to break apart, you held me close and told me that you’re right here for me. Always.

Tonight, when I starting going down the slope of negativity, you told me to trust in myself. 

Tonight, when I started losing faith in myself, you told me to trust in my abilities. 

Tonight, when I started feeling like I will never amount to anything, you told me that I’m special, educated, and passionate. 

It can be so difficult for me to keep faith in myself; to believe in myself.

It can be equally as easy for me to compare myself to others and convince myself that I’m not good enough, or strong enough, or clever enough. 

But you, for you, it’s so easy to believe in me. It’s so easy for you to know my worth. It’s so easy for you to love me completely and entirely. 

I envy your ability to see things through your eyes – realistically and pragmatically. I’m so sensitive and easily brought down. But not you. You have a strength I only wish I had; the same strength that you see in me, but that I often fail to notice. 

When my depression starts to creep its way through, you’re right there, making sure I know I can come to you when I need to. When my depression tries to knock me down, you remind me how much you love me and how important I am to you and this family. When I start to cry, you remind me that it’s okay to feel the way I’m feeling; that it’s only a minor set back and that I just need time. 

You take the picture I need you to take. You read the words I need to write. You listen to the silence I need to have. 
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Being Forty and Feeling Great

I’m a few months into being forty and I’m feeling good about it. I like saying I’m forty. I like being forty. I’m all around liking forty.

You may be wondering, what is this woman’s obsession with being forty? Well, I’ll tell you.

There once was a time when I didn’t think I’d make it to eighteen, let alone forty. There was a time in my life when I wrote in my diary that I was determined to take my own life before my eighteenth birthday. 

I was in a very bad place, and eighteen – the official start of adulthood – seemed even more unmanageable than the teen years. My anxiety and depression ran haywire and I had little to no idea of how to manage them properly. My body image and self-esteem were deeply buried under tons of dirt and negative self-talk. 

However, thanks to therapy, the idea was set aside and a plan was never made. 

But then, as if the stars above heard my thoughts, I coincidentally got into a bad car accident four days before my eighteenth birthday, which resulted in having my head fly through a side-door car window. I lost consciousness and have no recollection, to this day, of what happened that dreadful night. Was I being taught a lesson? Were the stars trying to tell me something?

Whatever the reasoning was for what happened when it did, that was my wake-up call. I did not want to die, nor was I ready to. 

Fast forward 22 years and I’m still here. I’m still going. I’m still pushing through, resisting my anxiety and depression’s attempts in taking me down. I’m fighting the negative self-talk and body shaming. 

I’m a survivor. A warrior. A damn strong woman no matter how many times I tell myself I’m weak. 

I won’t lie and say that I didn’t make some very bad choices after that incident, because I did. In all honesty, I would go through another ten years or so more of making harmful and self-destructive choices that would eventually spit me out on the other side, to this moment right here. 

Since that time when I thought eighteen would never happen, I’ve graduated college and university. I’ve traveled. I’ve lived and worked abroad. I’ve met my soul-mate and married him, bought a house, and had a child. I’m not just living life. I’m thriving. 

Being forty may not seem like a big deal to many. In fact, turning forty may even be a hard spot for some. But for me, it reminds me how strong I am. It keeps me in check, pointing out how far I’ve come from being that young woman writing terrible things about herself in her diary. I’ve made it an additional 22 years since my supposed end-of-the-line date. 

Aging can be difficult and hard. But it can also be amazing and interesting. It can be beautiful and adventurous. 

Well, at forty, I feel beautiful. I feel worth it. I feel free. 

Life wasn’t – and isn’t – always simple for me living with crowded voices in my head trying to beat me down. But as I age – each and every year since turning eighteen – I appreciate the second chance I’ve been given. 

Cheers to forty!!
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