I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. - Mother Teresa

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Happy Mother's Day...

It's the end of Mother's Day and like so many other things that populate my ever growing "to do" list, I intended to do this earlier.
I wanted to say something great, something witty & inspired that conveyed my love and admiration for mothers.  At the very least get it posted before the clock struck 12.  I have always had respect for moms but since becoming one, it has increased ten fold and I am regularly humbled by the women I have met as part of this "club".  What mothers are capable of never ceases to amaze me and I am regularly inspired by all that they do.  Comparatively writing a blog seems like a small thing however, with an infant at home right now I am exhausted.

Being a mom requires you to constantly make trade offs and decisions.  Some of mine can be described as more significant (how do I ensure my child hits her milestones, did I read enough to her today?) than others (do these pants even match this sweater? do I write a blog post or go to bed?)  However, not a day goes by when I don't question some (if not all) of them, often wrestling with the guilt that accompanies some of my less than perfect choices.

Time is an interesting variable.  It has the power to mercifully erase the memory of days when I should have chosen differently than I did.  It also has the ability to do the same for days I register small victories and everything went smoothly.  There are so many things that happen over the course of raising a child that it would be impossible to remember them all.  The unfortunate thing is that I tend to regularly remember what didn't go as planned, the times when I fell short.

The above seems to be a common refrain I hear amongst other moms, most recently one in particular.
At the risk of making this too personal but in the spirit of Mother's Day I hope she knows that although more of the "do-over" days may spring to her mind, as the "kid" in this situation I remember more of the "wins".  The memories my brain has chosen to carry include homemade strawberry milkshakes and time jumping through waves on the lake. Keeping that in mind, today I chose to procrastinate, instead of writing this post in a timely fashion I opted to have time with my family eating chocolate cake and singing Baby Beluga in the backyard.  Based on my albeit limited experience I suspect that my daughter will benefit most from times like this and though I may eventually not remember all of them, she just might and that makes it all worthwhile.

To every mom, I hope whether or not it was a day of sunshine and shakes, you were able to do whatever you wanted with your little person(s),  regardless if you or your kid were wearing matching pants.  Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Gently Used but Certainly Loved.

My daughter is growing up.  Full disclosure, she's only 4 1/2 months... but she's definitely grown. Already there is a box of clothing which no longer fits her.  My husband has given me strict instructions (& rightly so, otherwise I would have kept it all) to only hang onto a few items with which I cannot bear to part.  We may be blessed with another child, we may not, there's also no telling if it would be a girl or a boy so at this point I'm really only saving things that hold meaning and memories for me.

Friends and family have been very generous and spoiled her with gifts.  Much of it is the clothing that now fills her wardrobe but there is however a portion of  her closet that contains "pre-loved" items,  or those thoughtfully handed down from others. Many of these items are almost brand new (several actually are), most of it has been a huge help to have.  I'm not all that fussed if my kid isn't always matching or in something new, sometimes "new to her", works really well.  She tends to spit up (a lot) and so extra outfits, even ones lightly marked are always welcome and help minimize the seemingly endless amounts of laundry.  That being said,  I don't want to sound ungrateful but sometimes there are a few things that really should just be "retired".

At Christmas a family friend gave us a bag full of clothing.  Each item was wrapped individually in tissue, clearly saved with the utmost of care.  The card described the selection as "gently used" but "certainly loved" and although to some it could be viewed another bag of second hand clothes, to me it was a very personal gift. Given how hard it's been for me to pack up my daughter's early clothes, I quickly recognized the sentiment attached to these pieces which made the gift even more special.  Some of those pieces have become favourites in our regular rotation.

Much of the clothing that I've boxed up is destined for The New Mom Project.  Going through it all has made me reflect on how truly fortunate my family and daughter are.  During my involvement with NMP I see firsthand what gets donated for our "Canadian Baby Boxes".  Although not many (if any) bags of things individually wrapped turn up,  much of what comes in carries with it the memory of it's previous owner and the promise of a new start wherever it  may end up.  Blankets that brought home new babies, favourite sleepers and first photo outfits, many of these will no doubt become regulars in the rotation at their new home.  Unfortunately there are also some that are past their "best before date" and the volunteers at NMP are left to dispose of.

Part of our mandate is to provide families with a "healthy and loving start". In my humble opinion, stained shirts, anything broken and missing shoes don't do much to promote that.  If you wouldn't want to remember your child's first smile in a discoloured onesie, why would you expect someone else to?  It doesn't have to be in tissue paper, but the same mantra of "gently used" and "certainly loved" should certainly be kept in mind.  Remember, every child deserves to feel special, like they matter.

Although we are appreciative of all the support, before making a donation, take a moment to ask yourself, "if it still fit, would I put my baby in this"?   Let your answer be your guide as to how you proceed and if there is any confusion, let our guide provide you with an answer...

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

All You Need is Love.

I'm only human, I make mistakes.  I am also a new mom so I make a lot of them.  While on maternity leave with my first child I've been fortunate enough to get involved with "The New Mom Project" and most likely by default, start writing a blog for them.  I am not a computer person, social media and I are acquaintances at best, hence the intro about mistakes.  If you are reading this expect that I will make them here and please be forgiving as I learn.

The last statement could double as the silent prayer I wish for my daughter each night as I put her down, a mother's quiet apology for all of the missteps, bad timing and "should've known better" moments throughout our day together.  I can only hope that she knows how full my heart is with love for her, how desperately I want to figure it all out so that the next day will be better.  She won't know how late I stay up to read the books I felt I should've finished when I was pregnant or to survey the blogs & websites I wish I had more time to digest.  When she was just over a month and wasn't sleeping unless it was on me, in my frantic and type A state I consulted many friends and women I knew who were also mothers and usually to more than my seemingly self indulgent singleton.  Everyone had a book or a system that they swore by, as the advice poured in so did the opinions.  If I co-slept the child would never leave my bed until they were 9, a nap schedule was key and at 2months I was lagging behind by not already having one implemented.  Even when my friends were supportive, the books they brought or recommended only heightened my anxiety and served as a constant reminder of everything I was failing to do.

Almost at my wits end (okay I was already past it), one friend graciously showed up not only with her own 1 year old son and husband in tow but bearing food and the sleep books I thought I so desperately needed.  They are great parents and my friend is a great mom, I figured in order to be somewhat close to what she was I should pore over whatever she read, or else suffer the consequences.  I figured she too might be horrified that I hadn't already combed through these books and it took everything I had to remain vulnerable & honest about needing the help.

On their way out she casually mentioned in passing "remember, you are all she needs".  That one sentence was able to release me (not entirely, but most days) from the "shoulds" and the self inflicted unattainable standards I and most moms are guilty of inflicting on ourselves. That night as my daughter slept on me, things felt different, felt lighter. I enjoyed how peaceful and serene she was and was grateful for the close bond I felt with her.

My daughter is now 4 months and although she still cries, it seems to be less or maybe it's just because I am a more experienced caregiver.  During the meltdowns, I run through the checklist, hungry, wet, tired, cold/hot, bored, a tag poking her? Nope. So I just hold her, tight enough that she knows I'm there, until she's able to calm herself down.  Taking my friend's advice I figure the best I can do is watch out for the obvious threats and be there for her.  To be enough of a presence that she knows she is surrounded by love & security.  You know what?  Of all of the baby sleep/behaviour/general interest books both read and unopened that line my shelves, her advice has been the most sound and it works.  All you need is love.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Tuesday Thornhill Drop Off!

Hi everyone!
Due to popular demand, we have scheduled our next drop off location in Thornhill! Come and join us at the Early Years Centre at:
7755 Bayview Ave, Thornhill between 12-1pm on Tuesday March 18th.

We will be accepting "next to new" and freshly laundered items to fill our Canadian Baby Boxes, such as; blankets, newborn - 12 month sized clothes, diapers and wipes, unopened toiletries, carriers and other baby related items.

Please continue to focus your donation on the first year of life, as we all know babies grow so quickly. 
We hav received amazing baby gear so far and have delivered over 30 "baby boxes" with more requests coming in every day.

Global News' Susan Hay will be in attendance filming for her show. 
Thank you for supporting our project! We look forward to meeting everyone on Tuesday!

Thursday, 27 February 2014

CityTV shines light on moms in need in Toronto

The New Mom Project is excited to have been showcased on CityTV News this evening, February 26th 2014, with Videographer Audra Brown.  We are very proud of the work we are doing to help those less fortunate in our Toronto community. 
Thank you to our generous donors who have kick started our Canadian Baby Box by providing lots of baby essentials. We are always in need of newborn and small sized sleepers and clothing, as well as blankets and hats.  Other items like carriers and strollers are needed as well.
We have made connections with amazing agencies in Toronto that provide services to mothers in need. Our Canadian Baby Box is being distributed to mothers and babies through several of these agencies this week. 
We are so hopeful for this project to flourish and are inspired by the generosity of the Toronto mothers and grandmothers we have met so far.
Thank you to Sara Butler for being a "doer" and helping me make this idea a reality. 

Saturday, 22 February 2014

West End Drop Off Announcement!

Our beautiful volunteers hard at work.
We are so thrilled by the overwhelmingly positive response to The New Mom Project.  This has taken off faster and more furiously than we could have imagined.  This certainly reflects the serious need for services like what we are trying to provide.  So many people have responded with donations and interest in volunteering.  We will be announcing a volunteer orientation meeting in the near future due to the large number of people passionate about helping us.  

Several people have also expressed a need to have drop off locations throughout the city.  We would like to announce that The New Mom Project is pleased to partner with Mommy Connections West Toronto and offer a West End Drop Off for donations of gently used or new baby items. Unfortunately, we are not accepting car seats.
 Mark your calendars for Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 between 11am-12:30 at the Swansea Town Hall.  Please check out Mommy Connections on Facebook, as they provide great programs for families as well.

Some contents of a Canadian Baby Box as made by TNMP.

Many thanks to Meri Perra and the great people at BunchFamily for helping us spread the word about this initiative. We are very proud of how The New Mom Project has inspired people to care about the less fortunate families in Toronto.  
Our goal of providing marginalized families with a Canadian Baby Box is being realized.  
We are very encouraged to be finding like-minded individuals who believe that families come first.  Thank you to everyone who has helped get this project started. 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Drop Off Monday!

A huge "thank you" to everyone who has shown an interest in The New Mom Project.  We are overwhelmed with the great response and encouragement.  We are very motivated to continue to strive forward and provide marginalized families with our baby kits and other necessities.
Due to the large amount of people who wish to make a donation, we have organized DROP OFF MONDAY as a chance to accept these items.  Our volunteers will be on hand to accept your gently used items,  this coming Monday February 24th  2014.
Please join our Facebook Group -The New Mom Project- for more information, location of the Drop Off and how to arrange a pick-up if you are unable to make it on Monday.
We hope you are all as excited as we are about this Project. We believe this is going to make a significant impact on the quality of motherhood in Toronto.