Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Memories 4: Age 7 / Grade 2

Although I didn't lose my personal sense of self, grade 2 brought with it a sense of vanity.  I have thick Chinese hair, and it is bone straight, end of story, but it was the 80's and I wanted so badly to have big luxurious hair.  I didn't ask for much, and my Mom must have known how important it was to me, because she let me have a spiral perm, bangs included.  Although it was definitely cute, in no way did it look natural.  (I know, I know, I need to go to my Dad's warehouse and find some pictures)  I loved it, I felt so grown up and cool with my big curly hair.  It's amazing how young the need to "grow up" can set in.

I also remember the need to have beautiful nails in the pursuit of vanity and maturity.  Beautiful was my favourite word by the way.  I wanted long, perfectly shaped nails, but given all the time spent in the playground it was never really meant to be.  That is, until someone taught me that I could make my own "nails" by allowing blobs of white glue to dry in the bottom of my drawer at school and peeling them up and sticking on my nails when they were still tacky.  This NEVER actually worked; they never stuck, they never hardened nicely and mostly ended up making a mess all over my drawer and myself.  I was not easily deterred however, I'm pretty sure that I tried to make "nails" the entire year.

The drawers I'm referring to were actually small plastic totes in a large rectangular unit, very similar to the ones available at IKEA except there were enough bins for the entire class.  In addition to housing my nail salon, that unit beat me up one day.  I remember I was wearing an off-white coloured sweat suit (surprising given m affinity for colour) and I had just been to the pencil sharpener, I wasn't watching where I was going (as per normal) and I walked into the side of the unit jabbing my pencil right into my upper thigh.  A piece of the lead broke off in my leg (I can see the spot to this day) and it hurt so bad, but I held back the tears.  I was so embarrassed, I never told anyone the incident until I was an adult.  Fortunately my doctor assured me that given my age, the pencil wasn't really lead and that there was nothing to worry about.

Grade 2 also happened to be the year that I got to visit Disneyland.  My little brother would have been 5 and my sister, only 2.  I don't actually remember a ton, though I'm sure if I had all my pictures in front of me I would.  I remember the hotel that we stayed at, a continental breakfast with warm croissants and an afternoon swim after a long day at the park.  I remember a photo with Snow White and I remember lots of walking, laughing, pictures and hugs.  What I remember most is family.

I can't wait until the boy is old enough to truly experience Disneyland!

This is post 4/15 and is part of Mommy's Piggy Tales 
Make sure you check out all the other great posts here!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Soapwalla Body Oil & Deodorant Cream Review & Coupon Code

I have always had sensitive skin, as a child I would frequently have red, inflamed and itchy skin.  I was around 8 when I first went to the dermatologist, he told me to wash my face with distilled water and that I should use Cetaphil as a cleanser.  To this day, I still use Cetaphil, it is the only product that I can consistently use on my face without breaking out in acne or a rash.  I've only ever had one facial, for fear of a skin reaction, and sadly it didn't go well.

That being said, I am older and wiser now and am always on the look-out for high quality natural skin care products.  I am always cautious when I try a new product and occasionally I find something fantastic.  I recently had the opportunity to test out some Soapwalla products, for the purposes of this review, and was more than impressed.

Soapwalla is created by the Soapwalla Chef, Rachel in the comfort of her home, using organic, food-grade ingredients and pure essential oils.  The products were borne out of necessity, as Rachel also had trouble finding products for her sensitive skin.  When I asked her how she learned about making personal care products, she informed me that just like I would have done, she scoured the internet, bookstores and libraries, reading everything she could and watching every video she could get her hands on before starting Soapwalla.  Gotta love a resourceful woman!!

I had the opportunity to try out the Soapwalla Luxiurious Moisturizing Body Oil and the Soapwalla Deodorant Cream.  Soapwalla Luxurious Mouisturizing body oil is all natural, vegan and smells absolutely amazing.  It's not too floral (that would make me sneeze) and not too citrusy, its just slightly sweet and left me sniffing my hands after applying it on the boy.  I used the body oil primarily on the boy's scalp; it is very dry and prone to eczema, if I don't moisturize before bed each night, he will have a very flaky and itchy scalp in the  morning.  Unlike straight grapeseed oil (which I often use) the Soapwalla moisturizing oil didn't leave the boy's hair greasy and seemed to absorb quickly. 

I have tried various natural deodorants, including a salt rock, but they've never really been strong enough to take care of my sweat and odour.  I don't sweat profusley, but unlike many people I know, I do sweat. Soapwalla Deodorant Cream "utilizes superfine vegetable powders, clays, and lavender, peppermint and tea tree essential oils to absorb moisture, inhibit bacteria, and ensure a long-lasting and highly effective experience."

Soapwalla Deodorant Cream smells minty and delicious, is vegan and free from chemicals, aluminum and petroleum, so you can feel good about slathering it on your armpits and let me assure you, you will need to slather it on.  The first few days I wore Soapwalla deodorant cream, I started to find that I had the slight stench of sweat as the day came to a close, but after generously applying it to the entire armpit (as suggested by Rachel) I found that it was much more effective, apparently I had been a little stingy with the product the first few days.

Overall, I found that both Soapwalla Luxurious Moisturizing Body Oil and Deodorant Cream I tested out lived up to their claims, smelled great and worked well.  Rachel was super helpful and happy to provide any additional information or guidance I needed.  I had a great experience with Soapwalla and rate them a 4.5/5.
Coupon Code:
Want to try out some Soapwalla Products? Save 10% off your purchase (valid through July 15) by entering coupon code MSB10 in the comments section on the Etsy purchase page.

Benefits of Essential Oils:
Rachel was kind enough to provide the following details about the benefits of some of the essential oils used in the Soapwalla Luxurious Mouisturizing Body Oil and Soapwalla Deodorant Cream.  As a knowledge junky, I found this information very useful, I hope you do too.

Lavender: renowned for its skin healing properties and antiseptic properties. Benefits a host of skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, rashes, scars, etc.
Tea tree: an incredibly potent antibacterial and antiseptic oil. Tea tree is unique in that it is active against all three varieties of infectious organisms -- bacteria, fungi and viruses. Heals skin rashes, balances oily skin, reduces dandruff.
Evening primrose: a rich source of gamma linoleic acid, an Omega 6 fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. Anti-aging, nourishes and balances the skin.
Carrot seed: Remedies and moisturizes dry, mature, or wrinkled skin. Some believe that it removes wrinkles and rejuvenates the skin by removing toxins. Reduces skin irritation and balances redness.
Sea Buckthorn: A miracle oil, typically used to treat sun-damaged skin, ulcerations, scar tissue, wrinkles, eczema, burns, etc. Some small studies have proven its ability to combat wrinkles, acute dryness and other symptoms of prematurely aged skin.
Rosehip Seed: rich in Vitamin A, essential fatty acids, linoleic and linolenic acids, and Vitamin E, all of which reduce pore size, diminish the effects of skin aging and result in firmer, smoother, and more youthful skin with greater elasticity.
Jojoba: Jojoba oil is actually a wax,  not an oil, and absorbs easily into the skin. Jojoba is also non-allergenic and non-comedogenic (non-clogging), which makes it ideal for those with sensitive skin as it won't irritate the skin. 
Lemongrass: tones skin and acts as a gentle antiseptic. It's a natural insect repellent and can reduce headache and other muscular pain.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

coming soon...

My hubs was recently telling me all about foam blocks that his friend had for her daughter and I've been keeping my eye open for them ever since.  I was so excited to find them on the CSN Stores website, which includes over 200 online stores, so you can find just about anything from a new bed, to toys and strollers for your kids or health and fitness items for yourself.  The blocks should be arriving soon, I can't wait to try them out with the boy and post a review!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Memories 3: Age 6/Grade 1

I was a big sister to two by the time I was six; my brother was 4 and my little sister was just a year old.  Before my sister was born, my brother and I fought like cats and dogs about whose room the baby was going to sleep in.  We both wanted her.  Of course the obvious solution was that a boy would sleep in my brothers room and a girl would sleep in mine.

As a child, I had no idea what I was in for, I started sleeping in the spare bedroom within a few months of sharing a room with her.  The spare room was the only downstairs bedroom and thinking of it now, surprisingly, I don't remember being worried about that at all.  My point being, I was independent.

I styled my own hair, while the other girls flaunted perfectly parted braids or sleek ponytails, I had my own unique hairstyle.  I would gather my bangs up into a ponytail on the top of my head; my hair is thick and coarse so it stood straight up and I loved it.  I would be so proud to tell the other girls that "I did my own hair".  I remember my Mom begging me on picture day to just wear my hair down - I thought that it was a ridiculous idea, "I wear my hair like this everyday, why would I wear it different for pictures?"

I dressed myself each morning, picking my own clothes and unless it was inappropriate for the weather, my Mom let me wear whatever I wanted.  Apparently I had quite gaudy tastes, lots of bright colours all at the same time; my Mom's motto, "if she doesn't care, why should I?"  There is one particular outfit I remember that I loved.  Tights and a matching sweater all in a purple acrylic knit, I wore it day after day after day.

But then again when I was on mat leave, I sometimes wore the same pants day after day too...

This is post 3/15 and is part of Mommy's Piggy Tales 
Make sure you check out all the other great posts here!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I want to start by saying HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to my hubs, my dad and to all the father's out there; today is your day.  Enjoy the laughter of your children and bathe in the warmth of your families' love.  Today its all about you and I hope that its everything you could wish for.

Wishes in and of themselves are an interesting concept; they are about hope and desire, yet they are not bogged down by expectation.  Wishes are akin to dreams in that they hold the potential to connect us to the deeper, often untapped corners or our soul.  I'm obviously not talking about wishes for material goods such as cell phones, purses and televisions.  I'm talking about wishes that makes us vulnerable, wishes for good things for good people, wishes for success taking the road less traveled and wishes for the strength to change the things that seem unchangeable.  I'm talking about struggle and the hope that helps us keep pressing forward.

These days, I seem to be struggling myself with a bit of blueness, a flatness seems to be coming over me and clouding out a few of brighter moments. Quite simply, I am tired.  I love being a Momma and everything it entails, but I also miss myself, just me.  At my work they talk about a work-life balance, and my wish for myself, is a stronger Momma-Amber Balance; blogging has helped.  It's given me back my voice, given me a place to shout out my thoughts and my experiences to the world, but I need more, blogging is only the first step.

Next, I need to take back my body, claim it as my own.  I feel as if my body was the boys' for so long, but the boy hasn't breast fed for three months, so its time to move past that.  Overall, I had been doing pretty well, I lost the majority of my baby weight, without much effort, but over the last month or so, I've been eating junk food.  I've gained about 5 pounds back and it has to stop.  For Me, for My well-being and for My sense of worth.  I need to take care of My body not for the boy, but for Me.

Step 1: Cut back the junk food.
Step 2: Exercise.

Why does it seem so hard to do things just for me these days? I'd do anything for the boy in a heartbeat, but I'm no longer the top of my own totem pole. That being said, maybe this Momma-Amber balance I seek is really more of a goal than a wish, something I can work towards, something I can make happen, rather than something that I hope the universe can guide me towards.

How exciting, when I started this post, attaining balance felt almost unattainable, now it feels more like a challenge that I CAN rise to meet.  Thank you blogging, for yet another lesson in life.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Memories 2: Preschool/Kindergarten

I watch as the teacher carefully pours the smooth, silky liquid into the jar, then seals it up tight.  She tells us its whipping cream, just like we eat at home, but if we are patient, it will become butter.  It seems ridiculous, even to a kindergartner; it looks like milk, not butter.  But as we passed that little jar around the circle, each eagerly awaiting our chance to gleefully shake the jar, it started to transform and we started to believe.

It's so easy to believe when we're young.  We believe in Santa and we believe in the good of the world and we believe in ever-lasting fairy-tale love.  Don't get me wrong, I still believe in those things but when we're young, we have the veil of innocence.

My gramma didn't bake cookies with us, and I never remember being invited over for a sleepover, but I do remember one specific lunch at her house.  It was sunny, and I was at the table.  She must have been bringing lunch to the table because I remember her walking around as I told her I was married.  That I absolutely LOVED a particular boy in my class and that we would be together forever.  I don't remember her response particularly, but I do remember her wise smile as I'm sure she marveled at my naivety.

If you look closely, you might notice that my front teeth look a little shiny in this picture; I have silver caps on my front teeth.  As a result of my sickness as a child, I had no enamel on my teeth and thus they all needed to be capped.  The white caps just didn't stick on those front two teeth and so began my life with silver caps.  They add a certain sparkle to my smile don't you think?

The last memory I have from my preschool/kindergarten years is of art.  I'm not particularly artistic, I like instruction and boundaries but painting with marbles in a tin can, that was amazing.  The freedom and randomness of shaking the cookie tin and hearing the tiny marbles leave their magical trails of colour all over paper circles ready to take home and be hung on the fridge.

Thinking about being so young, so eager to learn and experience life, it excites me.  It reminds me that the hubs, the boy and I have so many adventures to come.  Although I want to hold onto every moment with the boy, I look forward to each and every step in our journey together.

This is post 2/15 and is part of Mommy's Piggy Tales 
Make sure you check out all the other great posts here!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Corel Paint it! Review & Giveaway

Back when I was in university I worked in a photo lab.  I loved it.  It was methodical, precise work and it would become boring and dull eventually, but for a time, it was perfect; mindless yet stimulating at the same time.  I like to believe my time in the lab gave me an eye for photography.  I've never had any training, but I've looked at pictures, tons of them.  It got to the point where I would find myself looking through the lens ready to snap a picture, but knowing that the result would be poor I would stop myself.  I'd seen that picture before, maybe not exactly the same, but close enough and I knew it would never look on paper the way it looked through the lens.

The hubs bought me Nikon F55 SLR Camera for Christmas a few years back and though I love it and I cherish that he bought it for me because he knew how much I wanted it, I rarely use it.  It's the digital age and as much as I value the beauty of capturing a single moment on film, with a young child, I want to capture every moment.  I don't want to censor my memories because film is expensive, I want to snap pictures as the fancy strikes and I want the moment I press the button, the be the moment the camera snaps the photo.

Because even the photos that might otherwise be garbage, still have so much potential when they're digital.  Like this picture for example, despite my best efforts to take a photo of the boy and me, I kept cutting the top of my head off.  But, when I "convert" it to an oil painting, it looks kind of neat (and life-like) if you ask me.
oil painting
It was super easy to do, using Corel Paint It! I literally uploaded the picture and pressed a single button.  The slogan on the box is "your photos automagically painted" and I was amazed how true it seemed.  I sat here trying to find the word to describe the transition in the picture and it was right there on the box in front of me the whole time.  It's kind of neat, as the photo is "painted" you see little brushstrokes, glimpses of the "painting" with each stroke.  It does take quite a long time for the photo to paint and the resutling file is quite large but I think its kind of fun, so I can handle all that.
colour pencil sketch
I have no artistic ability at all, but this "color pencil sketch" kind of looks like I drew it.  It would be neat on my desk at work or would be great on a notecard.  Seriously how cute would a "sketch" of your little one be on a thank you card.  I think I might have to make at least a couple.
detailed watercolour
The "detailed watercolor" was the third style of painting I tried.  I think it might be my favourite of the three, but I'm really having a tough time choosing.  This style might be nice to hang like a picture, but given the photo I chose, I really want to make invitations for a dinner party or lunch or some sort of food at least.  I don't really entertain, and when we do we usually coordinate via email, but this "painting" is seriously inspiring me, weird I know.

Overally, I think that Corel Paint it is a very easy to use program, I wish that it had come with a legend or key, some sort of instruction defining all the buttons in the program.  Labels came up easily with a mouse roll-over, but personally, I like to see everything laid out in front of me at once, but that's just me.  I also found the program bogged my computer down a bit (not that its the quickest computer on the block by any stretch), but it didn't freeze my computer and as far as I'm concerned that's what really matters.  Overall, I give Corel Paint it a 3.5/5

In addition to providing me with a copy of Paint it to review, Corel would like to send one of our readers a their own copy to use in their home.  You can also download a free trial of the program on the website.

Enter To Win:
A free copy of Corel Paint it!

The First Entry is mandatory; all other entries will be disqualified if it is not included.  Please leave a separate comment for each entry, six chances to win total.  

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Giveaway closes Wednesday June 30 at 8pm.  Winner will be determined by a random number generator. Winner will be notified via email and the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new name will be drawn and contacted.

Congratulations to our winner,
comment #4 Birdson

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Memories 1: Birth

I felt like this should be easy; but my recollections of the early years aren't really my memories, they're the snippets I've heard recounted, or the photo I've gazed at in the albums.  It makes it hard for this post to be coherent, what follows is a bit of a mish-mash.  Although the stories are about me, they aren't my stories, at least not yet.

First a little context; My parents met in High School, they dated and broke up but ultimately ended up back together.  My Dad is Chinese, and was raised by a widowed immigrant Mother who disowned my Dad when he married my Caucasian Mom.  Within a few years (when my brother was born) my Popo (grandmother) took us all back, and accepted her mixed family.

My Mom tells me that my Dad named me before they were even pregnant, I was going to be Amber if I was a girl and Aaron if I was a boy.  I never understood why I wasn't Erin if I was a girl, but I'm glad I wasn't, Amber suits me much better.

I was a chubby baby, bordering on chunky.  At 9 months I was 26 pounds, but I would lose most of that weight.  I had meningitis; they suspect it was due to ear infections, suspected to be a result of a tumble down the stairs months earlier.  But regardless, by the time I left the hospital, I was back into newborn diapers.  They say I was lucky to survive without brain damage, that if my parents hadn't brought me to the hospital in the middle of the night, well, I wouldn't have been so lucky.  But I was, and for that I'm thankful.  My heart goes out to all those who were not as fortunate as our family.

I talked early and I walked early.  I was about 10 months when I said my first word, "Hi!"  I used to sit in the kitchen doorway in my jolly jumper and everyone would walk by and say "hi Amber".  One day I answered them - I've never looked back.  As for walking, they say that the longer a baby crawls, the better the motor skills later in life; I'm a klutz and I started walking, no make that running at 10.5 months, perhaps there is some truth to those assertions.

In some of my favourite early pictures, I'm in the backyard, I'm wearing a little pink dress and I'm surrounded by Doberman puppies.  We had our doberman, Morgan through my teen years and I will always love and cherish her.  Though she loved us all, we always had a special bond.  I was one of her babies.  I'm a mother now, I understand what that means.

P.S. I'm going to try and scan some pictures from my Mom's house!

This is post 1/15 and is part of Mommy's Piggy Tales 
Make sure you check out all the other great posts here!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

An Evening Stroll

Since before the boy was born, I've had this ideal picture in mind: an evening walk, time the entire family can spend together, doing something fun and healthy.  Taking a moment to enjoy the beauty of nature and the love of family.  It sounds beautiful doesn't it?  There's even a large park, right across the road from our home.

I think the three of us have gone for an evening walk exactly twice, and the boy is over 14 months old now.  In the begining, we were just too tired, and as the boy got older, routine became more important, getting him into his bath, jammies and bed in good time continues to be important if we want him to sleep through the night.  Now that I'm working, by the time dinner is made and we've eaten (the boy consistently eats for about 45 minutes) there's usually only about 20-30 minutes left before its time to truck upstairs for a bath.

Last night I decided 20 minutes was enough time.  We could go for a short walk, we didn't have to be gone forever.  When we asked the boy if he wanted to go for a walk in the stroller he got super excited and bolted for the door, immediatley pointing outside.  Apparently he liked the idea.  We were out for about 30 minutes and it was great; we stopped and smelled some buttercups, fed the ducks, catfish and the boy gluten-free cheerios before strolling back home and starting the night-time routine.  We were about 15 minutes later than usual, but everything went smoothly, everyone was happy and we had a chance to spend some quality time together.

So this brings me to my conundrum; I know that 20-30 minutes walking together is healthier and more exciting than playing with the same old toys at home and I know that walking now will encourage a healthy lifestyle as the boy grows and yet, we still have such difficulty making it happen.  Why is it that putting on a load or laundry or sweeping up the kitchen or some other irrelevant chore continues to trump a good 30 minutes of quality time with BOTH parents?  Don't get me wrong, one of us plays and engages with the boy while the other does chores, but we both work full-time and aside from dinner time and bath time, the 20-30 minute window after dinner is really the only weekday time that the three of us can potentially enjoy together.

I understand that circumstances are always changing, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that circumstances are sometimes just excuses.  I want to implement an evening family-time walk because nothing, truly nothing, is more important than love and family.  The boy doesn't care if there are chores to be done, he'd rather spend quality time with his Momma and Daddy and we should give him that, whenever we can.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Akumu Ink

As much as I love all the absolute adorableness of our everyday baby clothes, sometimes I just want to mix things up.  Akumu Ink is a Canadian online t-shirt company that can help meet that need.  Their designs are "heavily inspired by everything coming out of Japan from its cute pop icons to its terrifying horror movies."  The staff of two, designs, markets, prints and ships their t-shirt themselves.  Wow!

When Dora offered to send me a t-shirt from their new Little Monsters Line to review, I jumped on the chance to try out something a little different.  This new line includes t-shirts and hoodies for children, t-shirts for toddlers and onsies, hats and bibs for infants.  The designs are cute, though they are a little reminiscent of Halloween; I'd love to see a few designs that lean more towards the Japanese "cute pop icon" side of their inspiration.  That being said, the existing designs are great, I personally had trouble picking between the Mummy (because I'm a mommy of course) and the Reaper tee for the boy.  What do you think of my choice?

amuku Ink
Akumu Ink shirts are printed on American Apparel and are made of very soft cotton.  The boy is quite long in the body and this t-shirt (size 2T, though he fits an 18 month perfectly these days) still went over his diaper and past his hips.  The neck opening is generous and easy to get on and the printing on the shirt is very thick and seems to be well adhered.  Our t-shirt has been through the washer and drier a few times and it still looks great and its even softer than it started.

Unfortunately, due to strict US Laws, Akumu Ink cannot ship their Little Monsters Line to the United States, please see their FAQ's for more details.

Amuku Ink t-shirts are a fun and creative way to help your child express themselves, without traditional icons like dinosaurs and butterflies.  They are well constructed and seem to be holding up well in the laundry.  I rate them a 3.5/5.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Guilt. We all have it. Men, Women even children, no one is exempt. defines Guilt as “a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.” It’s that last part of the definition that speaks to me, that I suspect plagues parents the most; the imagined wrongs that we carry around with us. The feeling that we are letting down or even failing our children or our families.

  • I feel guilt because I work full-time; I spend 9 out of every 10 work days away from my son.
  • I feel guilt because I like working.
  • I feel guilt that I’m thinking about blogging when I should be thinking about working.
  • I feel guilt that I haven’t planned dinner for this evening and I’m worried that the meal won’t be as nutritious and healthy as it should be.
  • I feel guilt that sometimes I just want to be alone; No hubs, No boy just me, a hot bath and a book.
  • I feel guilt that sometimes I’m too soft on the boy.
  • I feel guilt that sometimes I’m too hard on the boy.
  • I feel guilt that I was cranky last night and didn’t fully embrace my evening alone with the boy.
  • I feel guilt that my own dietary restrictions affect the boys food choices.
  • I feel guilt that I buy the boy too much and worry that he will become materialistic.
  • I feel guilt that I can’t provide my cats with the level of love and attention they were used to before the arrival of the boy.

 I could keep going, but really there is no need. You’re a parent too (I assume) and you have guilt too.

I know most of these things are just the struggles of parenthood, of the challenges we face as adults living our lives. I do my best not to let these feelings run my life or overtake my perspective. In fact, I’m a bit of an eternal optimist; my glass is always half full. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel guilt or that I don’t give in to it sometimes, it just means I don’t let guilt guide my life or the direction it takes. 
  • I am strong.
  • I know that I am giving all that I have to be the best parent I can be.
  • I know that the boy feels the love that I have for him.
  • I know that my intentions are always good, even if the outcome is less than ideal.
  • I know that there is nothing more important than family.
  • I know that despite the fact that sometimes it’s a bumpy ride, I am on the right road for me.
  • I know that guilt is only one emotion of many and I can’t allow it to overshadow the others.
  • I know my life is full of love and laughter.
  • I know that negativity benefits no one.
  • I embrace my life and I know that every experience and every struggle is just another step in my journey.

Do you struggle with guilt? Or do you have another emotion that occasionally gets the best of you? How do you keep yourself from giving in to the negativity?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Parenting vs Babysitting

The hubs and I play on Softball team, In fact we met on the team 9 years ago, I was playing third and he was playing shortstop.

This year we decided to take turns and play one game a week and stay home with the boy one night a week.  It's a great balance, we get to enjoy something we did before the boy arrived, but we also get one night of one-on-one time with the boy. 

Last week when it was my turn to play, one of the guys asked if the hubs was babysitting.  Another girl on the team retorted back, "No...he's parenting".  She went on to explain that when her children were young, it had been one of her pet peeves.  The double standard in society where a mother parents, but a father babysits...well it really irked her to say the least.

I'd never paid any notice to the distinction, but the truth is she's right.  Parenting is about the responsibility of raising a child whereas babysitting implies a temporary instance of watching over a child.  So why is it that when we talk about someone other than ourselves watching our children we call it babysitting?  I'm not judging you.  I do it too.  A lot.

I often say "it's the hubs turn to babysit"; does that somehow imply that his care is inferior to my own?  That its parenting for me but not for the hubs?  I don't think so, its certainly not my intent.

I think its simply that babysit is a more commonplace term, it easily fits into conversation and everyone knows what it means.  I suspect people might find me a little off if I said, "its the hub's turn to parent tonight."  It almost seems more derogatory to me, as if I'm implying that he doesn't parent the rest of the time.  That's not my intent either.

Perhaps we need to stick less to labels and more to descriptions.  I'm a fan of "watching the kids", despite the fact that it is more of a statement than a term.  I don't think there's any denying however, "it's the hubs turn to watch the boy" is an honest statement without negative connotations.  And its not awkward, its a perfectly reasonable thing to say.

So what do you think the correct terminology is when it comes to your spouse watching the kids while you have some Momma time?