September: we can do it.

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Guys, I’m not going to lie.  My world has been rocked these past few weeks.  The September transition is always a huge one for our family, and this year it has been even more amplified, as 3/4 of my family members (one husband, two children) headed back to school.  For me, that’s meant a huge increase in my work hours and a big shift in the everyday life I’ve known for the past several years.  And all of this whirlwind of change has happened very suddenly, after the adventures of Summer.  Whew.  I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed and mentally drained, emotionally fragile and physically exhausted.

I know this will pass.  I know it’s the transition that is the hardest part.  But when you’re in the eye of the storm, it’s hard to see through it to the blue skies on the other end.  We’ll get there.

Why am I telling you this?  Well, truth be told I really debated whether or not I should share this stuff online.  Part of me craves privacy, part of me wants to keep up a stoic facade, but the bigger part of me wanted to let you know that I go through this stuff too. This struggle in particular, I want to be public, because I know so many of you are going through this with me.  Change is hard, and when you couple change with parenthood stress it can seem unmanageable.

I’m looking inward and focusing on me, and that’s what I’ll continue to do until this chaos passes.  I’m still running, I’m still going to the gym, I’m still focused on my nutrition and my sleep.  I have learned that I need all of these things to function at my best.  And in periods of stress, I need them more than ever, albeit I’m getting them in irregular proportions.

Take care of yourselves so that you can continue to give all that you can.  Times of stress are not times to skip taking care of you, they are times to prioritize taking care of you.

If you’re going through this transition at your house too, hang in there.  We can do it.

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Johnny Who?

Now that my first-born is in school, I realize that I’m having a hard time adjusting to city life.  Particularly the raising-kids part.  I grew up in small-town Alberta, where everyone knew everyone, and it was very common to not only know your teacher, but to also be going to school alongside their children.  My high school graduating class was somewhere around 70 kids, and we grew up together; we knew each other’s siblings and cousins, birthdays, after-school jobs, houses, and cars.  So I find it very strange to be dropping off my five-year-old for a full day of school, not knowing the parents or even the last names of his classmates.

I know, I know….. privacy concerns surround the release of personal information.  But really, what would I do if I knew the full names or, gasp!, the phone numbers of his classmates?  Google them?  Spam them?  Creep their Facebook pages?  Likely not.  In fact, all I would do is cultivate a community for my children.  I’d store the ‘last name’ details into my brain so that as my child continues at his Elementary School for the next nine years, I might run across those names at other extra-curricular or community activities and build a support system, a network, a village-to-raise-a-child.

I’ve become increasingly embedded into the Burlington community; I’ve got a profession that allows me to work with people from all walks of life and it’s a small enough city that I find do-you-know-so-and-so connections often.  Add to that the fact that I’ve got a Burlington born-and-raised husband and a recognizable surname, and this city most definitely feels like home.  But I still know less than half the parents at morning drop-off and only a handful of last names.  I want phone numbers and emails and home addresses.  I want to be able to take my kids for a walk and say “that’s Johnny’s house.”  I want to phone parents to set up playdates and to email birthday party invitations.  I want my children to feel a sense of belonging, of support, of community; and I suppose I just need to wrap my head around a new way of doing that.

I’m a city girl by nature, but I must be a country girl at heart.

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