Hang In There Mamas… Christmas Is Almost Here

We are so close to Christmas mamas! 

Just a little reminder… if your kids are all hyped up and having extra meltdowns and are fighting with each other more than usual, that’s totally normal leading up to Christmas (and Halloween and birthdays).

It took me a few years of parenting to see this pattern, but once I did and realized most kids get like this leading up to an exciting holiday or event I totally relaxed.. and popped in my AirPods and poured myself a glass of wine. 

We’ve got this, hang in there! 

Are you doing anything for you?

Over the holidays you are going to be giving a lot of yourself! You don’t have to burn out. Remember to carve out time for you, and in turn everyone around you will get a better version of you!

Have you been following along on my CrossFit journey on Instagram? I have been sharing my new life-changing fitness journey and how much it has impacted all aspects of my life.

I encourage you to make time to do something for yourself in 2020, because you will never just find time.

You deserve it!

You can follow my journey on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Pinterest!

Setting Expectations for Your Kids

Setting reasonable expectations for my kids and navigating this new parent “epiphany” is something that I will have to practice every day. But it is so worth it.

Do we have reasonable expectations for our kids?

As a parent to young children, doing things together like sitting in a restaurant can be nerve-wracking and unpredictable. If you are anything like me, you stick to the old faithfuls, the loud and slightly overcrowded ones (so that your kids add to the noise, rather than having them ‘be’ the noise).

People-watching is commonplace for me there. I look around at the families, unconsciously examining their table manners, complimenting their kids and feeling guilt-filled relief when someone is having a harder time than me. Let’s be clear about one thing here – the judgments I’m making in these moments, are of myself and the expectations I’ve set for my kids.

Do we have reasonable expectations?

We’ve all seen the families with the “perfect” kids, where no one ends up under the table, they’re eating with their fork and saving half of their chocolate milk for after they eat.

If that is you and your kids, kudos. But that’s not me and mine. And for the longest time, it left me with thoughts like, “why can’t you do that?”

“Why won’t you listen the first time?”

“When I was your age, I had 10 times the responsibility that you do.”

“Can you stop that?”

These sound worse when you lump them together. I don’t say them one after another like this, and most often they remain thoughts in my head. But I am guilty of pulling one out in a moment of frustration.

Reasonable wouldn’t be the way I would describe these. These remarks break onto the surface when I am in an entirely UNreasonable state of mind.

In setting expectations, keep this in mind. You know your child. But, do you know where they are at and what they can do?

So, what’s reasonable? After welcoming twins, our family count went from the “perfect” family of four to a slightly-oversized family of six and I realized something (so simple) that changed my approach to parenting –

Our children are truly one-of-a-kind.

Maybe that’s something you’ve heard before. But now, for me, this ideal has been highlighted over and over again. I hadn’t anticipated that I would need to parent each of my children a little differently.

In setting expectations, keep this in mind. You know your child. But, do you know where they are at and what they can do? Figure out how to meet them where they are, and create an achievable “next step” for them to strive towards.

Setting reasonable expectations for my kids and navigating this new parent "epiphany" is something that I will have to practice every day. But it is so worth it.

Our kids ultimately want to make us proud and the pressure they feel to succeed is real. Know any adults that reflect on their childhood with, “nothing I did was ever good enough for my parents”? If our expectations are met with feelings of frustration or anxiety- on our part or theirs, consider adjusting the expectation next time, even if only slightly.

We can’t change overnight.

Be patient with yourself. Recently, I kept noticing my son and I continually butting-heads. It wasn’t until we were visiting some friends, that they noticed, “wow, where did the sarcastic humour come from?” I had no idea. All this time, he had been trying to make me laugh and I had been missing it, correcting his behaviour – no wonder we weren’t getting along.

Setting reasonable expectations for my kids and navigating this new parent “epiphany” is something that I will have to practice every day. But it is so worth it. Becoming more than “maintaining our image” in a restaurant, we are teaching our kids how to set realistic goals for themselves, start to understand their capacity and ultimately learn to help themselves find success, however that may look to them.

No pressure.

Lindsay Fricker is a mom of four – two plus twins. Kindergarten teacher by day, Lindsay enjoys helping others find ways to navigate the ugly parts of parenting, while keeping their sanity and positively supporting their children. You can read more from Lindsay here or follow her on Instagram @serendipity.six.

Twins in Kindergarten – Same Class or Different Classes?

I never expected to be a mother to twins. Twin boys even less so. Yes, they run in my family. But after two singleton pregnancies, it had fallen off of my radar.

Finding out we were expecting twins after two singleton pregnancies

Twins seemed to amplify everything – pregnancy became high risk, followed by a scary hospital stay and preterm delivery. Caring for premature twins – the first year we were followed so closely by a medical team, everything was much more medicalized and full of questions and protocol. It wasn’t until their 4th birthday, when we were officially discharged, that we started to feel like we “got through it”, the hardest part was over.

Except that it isn’t really over. Old challenges appear to be continually replaced by new ones. And one of those new ones came in the form of Kindergarten Registration.

kindergarten registration decision for twins, same class or different class?

Like most parents, I had done my research. I spent time researching area-schools, even reaching out and asking questions. At the end of it all, they had one question for me – “same class or different classes?” that left me thinking.

If you happen to be trying to make a similar decision, here are 4 things that dictated our decision-making…

1. Independent or Dependent?

That unique connection shared by twins can create an extra level of support in the classroom enviable by most. But, if this sibling support prevents our kids from being able to navigate their day at school independently or prevents our kids from establishing peer relationships with children other than their sibling, we may want to rethink it.

2. Sibling Rivalry

In this age of parenting we are slowly reintroducing the idea of “friendly competition”. We know that our kids have their own unique set of strengths – but it’s oh so easy to keep comparing our twins. Even more, how do we navigate this as they begin to notice disparities between themselves? Do they raise each other up or fight for the top? If one twin seems to always be struggling to keep up with the other, it may be worth looking into separating them.

3. For Your Convenience

Think about your family dynamic for a second. It’s not hard to find families with two working parents, siblings to think about, meals to plan and extracurriculars to attend. Making ourselves available to have the relationship with our kids school that we want to have – sometimes the convenience of having one teacher, with one newsletter and one set of field trip dates to keep track of, is enough of a win to keep your twins together.

4. Extraneous Circumstances

Sometimes it’s not about what is happening inside the classroom at all. If they are going through any kind of transition – like moving to a new home, navigating divorce, experiencing grief/loss – then it may be worth thinking about whether or not having them undergo the stress of being separated as a necessary one.

We’ve ultimately decided to keep our twins together for their kindergarten year. But this decision, but that’s just what will work best for our family this year. We’ve transitioned to a new city, and as our boys attended the same preschool class, it was clear that their interests couldn’t be more different, resulting in different peer groups for the two.

Still not sure? The way our kids act at home isn’t necessarily how they are going to act at school. Do they attend daycare or preschool? Speak to someone who has supervised them in an unparented capacity, they will have some good insights into how they will behave in a classroom setting.

Keep an open mind and speak up, having open and ongoing communication with your school and kindergarten classroom teacher will ultimately be the best approach. Know that your decision doesn’t have to be the ultimate one. Decisions CAN change and so will your kids – what works this year may not work for next year.

A pro/con list will always be my favourite pathway towards a decision. Sit down with your thoughts and maybe take a deep breath or two, as the next challenge waits for us just around the corner.

Twin boys on their first day of kindergarten

Lindsay Fricker is a mom of four – two plus twins. Kindergarten teacher by day, Lindsay enjoys helping others find ways to navigate the ugly parts of parenting, while keeping their sanity and positively supporting their children. You can read more from Lindsay here or follow her on Instagram @serendipity.six.

Parenting and The Comparison Game

More often than not, this parenting comparison game sends us into research, with Google becoming our favourite friend, determined to find the way to do it all “right”.

Raising Kids the easy way, forget the comparison game - Lindsay Fricker for Nesting Story

You’ve stopped attending those Mommy and Me groups. You made fast friends with the other mama’s and loved an excuse to get out of the house, but you couldn’t help noticing the other babies. They were all moving through their milestones quickly, some even skipping milestones altogether. Was your baby behind? They aren’t alike at all. You began to worry and decided it would be easier to avoid these meetings. You don’t want to play the parenting comparison game.

Maybe your baby was the one hitting all the milestones – and it wasn’t until your second child came along that you noticed things were different…why weren’t they progressing like their older brother? The anxiety builds. 

You attend your scheduled doctor’s appointment, only to see your baby’s measurements slide off of the carefully plotted curve. You take it on as if it is your fault – you can’t produce enough milk. Why can’t your body do what it’s supposed to? (Side note – this is NOT your fault).

Then there is the guilt you may find in the safety of your own extended family. Everyone has an opinion on how your child should be raised – “Co sleeping is a bad idea. They will never be able to sleep on their own.” 

You somehow make it through the infant year, but are struggling your way through toddler-dom, you have “that child” in the preschool play. Or, you find yourself into the school-age years before their struggles in math class have you worried they won’t be able to be “whatever they want” when they grow up. 

Looking for Answers

These feelings of worry, guilt and anxiety exist for most parents – in one way or another. When it strikes – we can easily panic. More often than not, this parenting comparison game sends us into research, with Google becoming our favourite friend, determined to find the way to do it all “right”. 

But this is what the “right” way to parent looks like –

Hopefully, this makes it clear. If you’re looking for an easy guide to parenting, there isn’t just one to choose from. Parenting is HARD. There isn’t a one-sized-fits-all answer to any of our questions. There can be answers if we put in the work, holding fast to a series of trials and errors. 

We are the Experts of Our Children.

It is so important that we take action against these feelings of anxiety and worry. They can prevent us from seeing our children clearly. They can rob us of the precious time we have with them, or even keep us from providing our children with what they need, when they need it. 

Our first step in being the expert of our children, is going to be in taking care of ourselves. We’ve all heard the adage, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. 

As soon as we begin to harness these feelings of worry and guilt, we will be able to see the comparisons for what they are – comparisons. There is no “better”, only different. Being an early walker does not necessarily mean you will be winning gold medals in the Olympics for track and field, and being a late talker does not discount you from winning awards for Public Speaking. 

In tracking milestones and making comparisons, keep your focus clear. What is the purpose? If it’s to feel some sort of satisfaction or sense of hierarchy, you are doing it wrong. Parents, stop playing the comparison game. 

As every child is unique, so is every family. When it comes to raising our children, only we know what will work best for ours. By being able to take the concerns of our doctors, along with those of our extended families, and make healthy comparisons between our kids and others their age, we will ultimately be able to understand what our child’s needs are. 

Even more, as we keep reading these articles handing out advice on child development, we will be able to pick and choose the strategies that will ultimately work for us – ensuring our ability to help our children to grow and learn where their strengths and interests lie, which is ultimately all we could ever ask for.

Lindsay Fricker is a mom of four – two plus twins. Kindergarten teacher by day, Lindsay enjoys helping others find ways to navigate the ugly parts of parenting, while keeping their sanity and positively supporting their children. You can read more from Lindsay here or follow her on Instagram @serendipity.six.

Our Family Almost Didn’t Make It To Summer Break

We just crawled to the finish line. Our last month before summer break was a doozy! We had such a healthy year and then crashed and burned in June. On top of our family having one illness after another, we were forced to face some big time parenting problem solving.

Having four kids… you can always expect a wobbly plate. You focus on that kid and get them sorted, then triage the family and move onto the next wobbly plate and so on. Well, somehow, some way we had four wobbly plates for an entire month before summer break.

It was so draining for me mentally and emotionally that it began to have a physical affect on my body. Phew. Despite the stress we pushed through and I am happy to say we have restored the peace in our home in time for the summer break. Watch as I share our journey and then implemented a system that helped us changed the narrative in our home and created a positive atmosphere…

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