Top Tips To Stay Sane As A Stay At Home Mom

Stroll-air My Duo double stroller

My last maternity leave was vastly different than my first one was since I had an infant AND a toddler. I constantly felt like my toddler would get bored and fall behind after he was flourishing in full-time daycare.

To keep all of us sane, I set some ground rules early on and I truly feel that it made life a little more manageable. Here's how I managed the most whirlwind year of my life to date:

Toddler Cooking - Banana Smoothie

toddler cooking, banana smoothie, Astro Yogurt, Manitoba Hemp Hearts, Quick Oats, Baby Bullet
If you follow me on Instagram , you know I love to have my toddler help out in the kitchen. I find it lowers the stress when I need to prep food or when he's already hungry and needs a good distraction. He's also more likely to eat items he's helped prepare. I try to include him in the grocery shopping and encourage him to pick out an ingredient he's never tried before that we can cook together.

5 Benefits To Having Children Close In Age

Brothers close in age

Our boys are just over 2 years apart and I love how close they are in age! Obviously there's pros and cons to both waiting longer in between vs. having them back to back but for us, the 2 years is perfect and here's why:

Top Tips For A Successful Return To Work After Mat Leave

Returning to work after mat leave

Going back to work after maternity leave is hard! Not only do you have to trust your babies with ‘strangers’ but the overwhelming sense of ‘how will I ever do it all?!’ creeps in… How can you be the best mother if you’re juggling full time work hours, cleaning, making dinners/lunches, bath time, time to unwind (let alone shower), quality time with the kids and with the spouse?! The truth is you can’t! Prioritize and visualize your days. Sometimes I do the most basic cleanup or leave the laundry because I want to watch Successions with the hubby and that is fine! It’s healthy and your life will be richer for it.

365Give Challenge For April

A few weeks ago, Tom sent me a Ted Talk called 365Give. It was about a mother that started a year long challenge of giving back to a person, animal or the planet every day for a year. She did this to inspire happiness in her 3 year old. The intrinsic happiness that is only felt when you are doing something good for others. This hit me a deep level. When I talk to mom friends, our goals are usually the same: to raise decent humans. Obviously this seemed like a fantastic place to start as well as a great learning opportunity for both Taylor (3 this month), and myself.
I quickly decided that a year was not sustainable but if I planned it out properly, a month was totally doable. I also didn't want the majority of items to be monetary compensation because Taylor doesn't understand the concept of money yet so I made a list with the majority of things we can do together. Here's our list of things well be doing this month. We may shift some around to accommodate weather or a special circumstance but I would be thrilled to cause a ripple effect and have others join us!

April 1: Meatless Monday - We're making this mushroom stroganoff
April 2: Pick up and sort garbage and recycling at one of our favorite parks
April 3: Write a kind note in sidewalk chalk
April 4: Donate art supplies to local community centre
April 5: Make and deliver thank you notes to condo staff
April 6: Smile at strangers all day
April 7: 10 minutes of meditation or yoga
April 8:  Bring reusable bags to grocery store
April 9: Buy a stranger a coffee
April 10: Hold all doors open for strangers
April 11: Give someone a nice long hug
April 12: Give lunch to a homeless person
April 13: Be straw free for the rest of the month
April 14: Sign a petition for something that matters to you
April 15: Make and send cards to our little cousins
April 16: Bake and deliver cookies to the local fire department
April 17: Write a thank you note or review for a small business
April 18: Compliment a stranger
April 19: Donate money to an organization or charity 
April 20: Send sweet cards to the grandmas
April 21: Walk everywhere, no cars!
April 22: No single use plastic 
April 23:Taylor to hand out some daily affirmation cards to moms at park, community centre, or library
April 24: Donate to the local food bank
April 25: Pick up and sort garbage and recycling at our other favorite parks
April 26: Donate books to library or book bank
April 27: Make a loved one their favorite meal
April 28: Tell your parents a fond childhood memory that they created but don't know how impactful it was
April 29: Bake cookies for our doctors office
April 30: Donate clothes to a shelter or organization

Follow along with us on Instagram and feel free to DM me your ideas because I'm sure I've missed some great ones!

10 Indoor Activities To Do With Children

As most of you know, we live in a condo in downtown Toronto which means that sometimes I need to get creative with things to do with my two boys since we don't have a backyard. We do have a nice rooftop that we use to hang out but I don't like to bring Taylor up there to destroy the place with side walk chalk or art supplies. We save that for the in the unit or at the park (as long as the items are biodegradable). Also, since we aren't big TV watchers around here, things can get hairy if I can't get them outside at least once per day. Since this weather has been so cold, I've gotten creative with how to keep them entertained inside. Music goes a long way, so I have Spotify going quite often. It's best to find simple songs that you can tune out. We like folk songs for kids, Raffi, and Mother Goose Club. In the morning I will put on a positive podcast or adult music just to start my day off right. I've also recently introduced short bedtime stories when we're tidying up before reading stories before bed. It's great because we can discus them and the messages they focus on.

Here are some tried and true activities that keep my toddler busy at home:

Walking The Line

balancing a ball on spoon, walking a line, Indoor Activities To Do With Children

All You Need To Know About #The7TO

#The7TO Ball Pit Bubble Bath

Okay people! #The7TO is the most fun you're going to have for free with your kids inside this winter. You've probably seen the amazing Instagram pictures in your feed and thought what the hell is #The7TO?! Not only is it a great place to take perfect pictures but it's also a great place to take a toddle in the middle of the day when it's freezing outside.
Design:Maira Gall.