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Twin toddler aggression and regression

Nesting Story Twins

Take a deep breath Joanna. I am telling myself that a lot lately.

I’m not new to the toddler stage. I have been through it twice before. I get that there are ups and downs. Some days are magical and full of exploration and learning new things. Other days are hard to survive.

For the last week I have felt like I have been living with two angry cavemen (or I should say, cavewomen). From the moment we wake up our days are filled with screaming, hitting, pee on the floor, and constant communication break downs. At first I had thought our twins, (who will be three in July), were getting sick. Because, you know, there’s got to be some kind of reason for this behaviour.

But as each day unfolded without vomit, or snotty noses, I realized that we are going through some rough toddler stuff right now.

Dealing with toddler angst is hard enough when there’s one toddler, but two? Lord help me!

Let’s start with Mia. Mia has been having some mommy separation anxiety with a sprinkling of hitting her siblings. Not fun.

Everly

Then there’s Everly. My typically chill child has suddenly become an emotional rollercoaster, getting her kicks from copying her siblings, especially when they cry, and you better believe she one-ups them each time. Hitting has also been a problem, mostly towards Mia, but then there’s the regression.

We seem to have taken a step back in the potty training department. This I also know is all part of the journey with toddlers. So, we are going with the flow, taking those deep breaths and trying to picture what it must feel like to be a toddler.

Photos: Sarah Martin Photography and Ooh Ooh Darling

Check out our latest vlog to see the mayhem going on in our home…

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I am owning my time, my body and my career

mom 2.0

Each year when I jet set off to Mom 2.0 Summit, (which has been three years in a row now), I seem to walk away with some kind of epiphany.

Year one it was figuring out how to monetize my blog, and how to go from having a fun hobby, to an actual business.

Year two was learning to stop doing what I hate, and do more of what I love. Although I wasn’t going to stop writing, I made the decision to go full speed ahead with video, and I haven’t looked back.

This year was interesting. I felt this incredible peace come over me. I found myself floating from session, to pool hang, to bed, to lunch, to party to, to bed. Okay, I was fighting a cold the whole time, hence the time spent in bed. But I didn’t feel any pressure to be somewhere, or someone other than where I wanted and me… just Joanna.

I knew what I was doing and I know what my goals are. I just took my time and didn’t allow myself to get sidetracked with some new information about a social media platform I probably should be dominating, or worrying about pitching to brands.

Instead I focused on reflecting, having fun and building relationships.

One thing I realized while away is that I feel really comfortable in my skin lately. Everything I put on, I just relaxed into. I even wore a bikini without constantly feeling embarrassed that I had to cover up. I credit hitting my mid-thirties with this new found confidence, (more on this soon).

Coming home, I purposely slowed right down and it has felt so good. I have organized and cleaned my house, created a calendar, did wonderfully mundane “mom stuff” and have also tried to kick this lingering cold.

So, what are my takeaways from Mom 2.0

1. I love what I do. Seriously. I love it. I love the work, the creativity, the conversations and the people. This is so my jam.

2. I love where I am in life. There is really something magical about being in your thirties. You just feel settled. There are not many other ways to put it. I feel good in my skin and I feel good with my decisions.

3. I am in control of my time. Slowing down just a touch has been really nice. This is definitely a pace I shouldn’t and truthfully couldn’t keep up with every single week, especially as I grow my business, but something has got to give. I think it is time I hire someone to help with Nesting Story, (more on this soon too).

Regardless of what takeaways I have each year, this I know for sure; stepping out of your life, especially if you are a mom is a game changer. You are able to gain a new perspective that you can’t get at home while you are in it. Whether it’s to a conference, or just a weekend away, I highly recommend you step away, just for a moment.

Just in case you missed out on my Orlando vlogs, here they are…


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The day I started a second company

StoryMuseLife goes by so fast, and in the past year I have done a lot of soul searching. The biggest thing I have needed to address is fear. Yes, fear.

I started to realize a year ago that something was off. I was self sabotaging, and pulling back anytime I would get close to a goal.

I finally realized that this fear took root when I was a child and it was something that I was going to conquer.

In the past few months I have smashed the fear, and along with dropping the self sabotage I have started to challenge myself… by racing after my dreams. Along with my good friend, and fellow creator, AmandaMuse, I have started another venture, Story Muse & Co.

What is Story Muse & Co.? Here’s a little excerpt from our website…

After building their own online brands, including their popular YouTube channels, Amanda and Joanna realized that there was a lack of representation for women, (more specifically mothers), in the online video world.

Amanda and Joanna are now using their collective years of knowledge and experience to help others build their brand online.

By providing the tools and guidance required and often difficult to come by, Joanna and Amanda are empowering others to elevate their business and helping them tell their story in a digital world. Joanna and Amanda have a passion for speaking and educating about all things YouTube, online video and social media, whether it’s to fellow creators, influencers, brands, or marketing teams.

Together, Joanna’s love for storytelling and brand development and Amanda’s love for all things tech and strategy, make them the perfect team to help you take your business to the next level.

Exciting, right?

Don’t worry, Nesting Story isn’t going anywhere. I see Nesting Story as my personal brand, and it is still my fifth baby.

Here is a fly-on-the-wall look into the day we told the world about our venture…

Want to know more? Here is the Facebook Live that we did that day tell you all about Story Muse & Co.

Go check out our website storymuseco.com and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

Photo: Sarah Martin Photography and Ooh Ooh Darling

How I found myself after becoming a mom by going back to work

This post was created in partnership with Kids & Company.

mother reading to children

When I became a mother I felt lost.

After the dust had settled, my nipples healed and the excitement with round the clock visitors died down, I realized that my identity had been stripped away from me.

This was it, the end all, be all moment I had been fantasizing about since childhood… I was a mother.

First time mother

But then why was I filled with such resentment?

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my baby, and I really didn’t experience any postpartum depression with my first pregnancy in the very beginning, but something felt very off.

I was going to be a stay-at-home mom. That was it, end of story. Watching my own mother raise her four kids with such pleasure and fulfillment, I was sold.

Motherhood was my end game.

During my pregnancy I took my last train into the big city for my pretty amazing Interior Design job, and said goodbye to a traditional career.

pregnancy

But as weeks turned into months, and months turned into years, and one baby eventually turned into two, I increasingly felt myself fade away.

I was the shell of the person I once was. My days were filled with routines, caring for my children, while constantly watching the clock. What was wrong with me? Why wasn’t I thriving?

mother of two

As time went by, I eventually realized that I didn’t love a lot of the stay-at-home mom activities some of my friends cherished. Guilt began to set in, and I felt like a fraud.

When year three rolled around, I started to get real with myself and admit that I was pretty deep into a depression. My husband would walk in the door from work at the end of the day and find me pacing the halls.

Something had to change.

It was time to face my biggest critic and re-evaluate my path, including what my life was going to look like and most importantly, who I was.

The truth was I had no idea who I was.

The me before kids had different priorities, friends, interests and values. As I looked at myself in the mirror, I didn’t recognize the person looking back. It was time to find out who that person was, despite how scary that process might be.

After a lot of thought I finally decided that I did want a career outside of my home, which then set off a new type of guilt. I felt guilty that motherhood wasn’t enough for me, and I felt like I was betraying myself and my kids by deciding to take a different path than the one I had so clearly thought I had wanted.

It took me a while as I worked through a bizarre grieving process of letting go of being a stay-at-home mom, and reframed the ideals of motherhood I had pictured in my head for so long.

I finally realized that my new path and sense of balance would ultimately make me a much happier mother and wife, and no less of a mom.

Happy mom

After going back to work, I felt a new sense of self emerge. I wasn’t the same person I was before having kids. I was a new and improved me; a stronger person, a person full of confidence and maturity who had faced their fears and reinvented who they were.

Now eight years, four kids and many career changes later, I am thriving, balancing family life and work life while running my own business.

at a conference

Although some days my house looks like a tornado went through it and my to-do list is impossibly long, I’ve never felt that sense emptiness again.

happiness

I definitely don’t do it all and it does take a village. I think the biggest factor of making your own work/life balance fit is finding the right childcare for your kids.

Finding a childcare that not only gives me time to build my career, but that my kids also love has been such a wonderful aspect to having more of a work/life balance. Kids & Company not only has the flexibility I have needed with my unique schedule, but the incredible fresh, from scratch meals they provide for my kids each day (which they actually eat), fills me with such confidence with my choice in childcare.

Kids and Company

With locations all across Canada, Kids & Company is a high-quality care and early development centre that parents can trust and kids will love. Beginning under the leadership of two moms, (one of whom has 8 children), who felt there was a lack of child care options that truly understood what parents wanted, like amazing teachers, flexible care options, a community, a nurturing environment, programs designed to develop children and support for other pursuits like work, volunteering and hobbies.

Kids and Company

Whether it’s their Grab ‘n’Go snacks, or their complimentary care for date nights and shopping days outside of regular hours, nothing has been forgotten.

Here’s where it gets exciting… right now Kids and Company is waiving the registration fee (a $150 value) for Nesting Story readers! Just email msawatzky@kidsandcompany.com to access this exclusive offer.
One waved registration per family for a newly registering child before December 31, 2017. Subject to availability.

Head to kidsandcompany.com for more!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Kids & Company. While compensation was provided, all opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the opinions of Kids & Company.

5 Easy styles for long, unwashed hair

As a mom of four, washing my hair daily is a feat. It is a massive undertaking, which I only have pockets of time set aside for, a couple of times a week.

Overtime I have mastered five hairstyles that get me through the week without washing my hair daily.

From a simple low ponytail to multiple braids, each of these styles are perfect for long, unwashed hair.