Mothers and Life Insurance

Posted by Mattie on May 2, 2011 in Motherhood

Today we had to renew our life insurance. It is the sort of thing that most people don’t want to talk about, but pretty much have to do. No one wants to be left out onto the street, right after a loved one has past away. But this is a weird conversation to have. Hey honey, how much am I worth to you? And for how long are you going to feel this way?

Even worse, what happens to our kids if something happens to both of us? This is a hard thing to think about, because none of us want to leave our kids. Sure, we can set it up, that someone we trust can take care of our kids. But, that pill, is very hard for me to swallow. I want to raise my kids. I want to be there for them. I want them to depend on me. I don’t ever want them to feel alone.

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Mothers and their lack of Time!

Posted by Mattie on Apr 29, 2011 in Motherhood, Womanhood

Everyday I think of something I want to share and never have time to write anything. Today that stops. Tomorrow I will continue. Mothers never have enough time. I wish we had a button that we could press, to stop everything around us. So that we could do anything else. I wish I had more time in a day to get things done. I wish some days could be longer, while other days shorter. I wish people would stop asking me to do things. I wish I didn’t have to live my life by a list. I wish I had more time for me.

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Mothers and Hallowe’en

Posted by Mattie on Nov 8, 2010 in Motherhood

I know, I know. Halloween was weeks ago. But I have been busy.

When I was a kid we use to plan out costumes, one maybe two days in advance. No monthly prep and no parent was ever involved. Other than making sure the costume wasn’t promiscuous. But that didn’t ‘t happen either. Once you hit the teen years. Its over, now you give out candy. Life is a circle of events, sometimes you get, and sometimes you give.

The only times I really got involved was when they were too young to do anything for themselves. Now we have a budget and they are do and decide as much as they can for themselves. Life is what you make it. The sooner they figure it out, the better for all of us.

I don’t consider Halloween a holiday, more like a North American yearly custom of breaking out of your inhibitions! Just joking. It is fun to dress up. And some people really go all out. I admire that. I like exotic face painting. But a cat or a bunny is all I can really do effectively.

My best Halloween was when I was a gypsy. I wore my mother’s patterned silky dresses and my sister was Kojak. (Google if you are younger than 40!) Now that was fun. My parents never came out with us. It was our time to enjoy. Imagine that?

Times have changed, we would never let our kids out alone. So now, we all go out, spread out, give the kids a lot of space and drink our beers when they aren’t looking!



Mothers and Fashion

Posted by Mattie on Oct 28, 2010 in Motherhood, Womanhood

Fashion is the new health issue.

I used to wake up in the morning and think what am I going to wear today? Is anything even washed? By the time I got the kids ready to go out the door, I pretty much still had my pyjamas on, or something that looked like it. Having worked in the fashion industry my whole professional life, I became embarrassed at how I was now representing myself.

Once my head got above water and I started to breath again. I decided that I needed to think about myself more. I needed to realise who I had become because I was no longer a career person and was now a stay at home parent. Just like food and exercise, my self-awareness had become a part of my life that I had neglected for some time now.  I know that most people don’t think that fashion is a health issue. I agree, it is not, but feeling good about you is a health issue.

After researching about the proper foods and running my heart out, I still felt lost. Sometimes I ran so hard and so far that I felt that I was trying to run away from or to something. When I finally bought a cool and functional running outfit, things started to click for me. I missed the fashion in my life. And if I missed it, maybe other mothers were in the same boat.

Getting a wardrobe together isn’t easy. Life is overwhelming enough for us, and most of us just don’t have the time nor budget to make mistakes. Hopefully, my experiences can help make your life easier. There is definitely an inner strength when you look in the mirror and feel good about yourself.

The clothes you wear reveal things about you to the public that you may or may not be aware of.  It is always important, but not detrimental, what you wear because people naturally look at you and come to some sort of conclusion. Why not take the time to make sure that you succeed in setting the impression that you want. None of us are perfect. But how can you feel good about yourself, when you walk out of your house looking dishevelled?

Yes, we have exceptions, when it becomes more important for your children to be in school on time, than getting your outfit just right. You don’t need to buy a whole new wardrobe to reinvent yourself. You don’t have to be a slave to fashion to be stylish. All you have to do is sort it out.

Think about it. What is your style? Are you yoga laid back? Are you city chic? Are you a part time professional? Or are you plain Jane, just wanting to wear new clothes. Or, perhaps just like all of us, our bodies changed and our old clothes don’t fit anymore. No shame in that. Bodies change, dispositions change and so does our lifestyle. Being a mother involves change and adaptation.

Here is how I have learned to set myself up and teach other mothers to do the same. I have limited space, yet an extensive wardrobe. It is simple and you can do it too. Organization is a key element of having control of how you look and feel.

Focus on sections of your closet at a time. It takes time to build a working wardrobe. Time to make physical changes and time to make psychological changes. If you do too much, too fast, you will be overwhelmed and turned off. Clean out the shelves first, then the hanging clothes, work in that sort of direction. Being organized is a mindset.

Let it go. Clutter brings you down, move on. Clean out your clothes. I know that you have heard it before, but just do it. Plain and simply, if it is worn out and/or does not fit properly get rid of it immediately. Give it to charity or the garbage man. Don’t be a prisoner of clutter. Stop wasting your time and energy on things that don’t work for you. Look at your new space. Now you have made room for the new you, the mother.

Identify what is missing. What do you want to wear that you don’t have? I like nice outerwear. I hate wearing my “rain” gear when it rains, but the reality of North Vancouver is that I have no choice. So I look for the best quality jacket in the most complimentary colour to add to my wardrobe. This is an investment. But that doesn’t mean we can’t spurge on some fun items, just not too many. I prefer a few great items that work for my lifestyle, so that I don’t have to spend all my morning time thinking about clothes. I have set myself up to succeed.

Edit your wardrobe consistently. Every 3-6 months when you see something you don’t like, put it aside and revisit it upon clearance time. I am not saying throw everything away. I am saying periodically think about your wardrobe and then don’t think about everyday.

Find your favourite shops. Who has time to window shop anymore? Find the stores that sell the styles that you like and have the sizes that make you look good and only visit those shops. If you are consistently not finding what your are looking for, then take it as a sign and try something new. Yes, in the beginning it takes time, but in the end, you will be happier with your purchases. Eventually you also will figure out when they put things for sale.

I have been doing this for years and have now stared teaching my daughters. When you go to the shops, try many things, but only buy the one thing you like most that you need. Don’t buy three of four items, just because they are on sale. Save that money for indulgence. When you really like a sweater, but it is not on sale yet. Love your clothes and they will be good to you.

A wardrobe does not have to be a prison sentence. Find the colours that work for you. And play around with combinations. Buy few cheap trendy items for fun.  An expensive item must have quality, flexibility and be flattering, no exceptions.  Buy all year round items that work with seasonal items like long sleeve T’s, a great pair of jeans. Take the time to get the fit right. You are worth it.

Having control over your identity and changing your persona based on your priorities and moods is empowering. No one needs a lot of clothes. A great wardrobe is made with variety. Wearing the same thing twice is not a sin. The challenge is to wear the same thing differently. If you find something that you like, keep it and use it. Don’t save it. I believe there is agelessness with reinventing yourself. Do it in stages and don’t try to do it in one day. Embrace it.

Think of a wardrobe as an investment in your image and well-being. It is not about what people think of you nor being better than anyone else. It is about how you feel about yourself. Don’t try to be perfect. We don’t use the word perfect in our family, because that concept does not exist and therefore, impossible to live up to. Good enough works for us.

One of the best seeds that I can plant in my children is that they should always try always to be good to themselves. Hopefully, when I allow myself some indulgence, they can learn about self-esteem.

For more fashion tips go to my fashion blog; www.mattiealamode.com

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Mothers and A Fever

Posted by Mattie on Oct 25, 2010 in Motherhood

Two weeks ago I had a 100-degree fever for 2 days. It threw me for a loop so I haven’t written since then. It took me this long to get back into the blog groove.

When my kids have a fever I have to stop everything that I am doing and take care of their needs. That is the choice I made when I decided to have kids. When my husband has a fever the world comes to an end. Was that a choice that I also made?

Fevers suck! I felt so tired and delirious, trudging through my day. Pick up this kid, drop off that one. Soccer photos and birthday parties, I need to get to bed. Being polite is so hard when I feel sick and tired. But for real this time.

Can’t you tell with my glossy eyes? I am not my usual miserable self. I have an excuse this time.

Mothers don’t really catch a break. We don’t get weekends off, or sick leave. We have to negotiate our day off. I wish I could call my family and leave them a voice mail. I am not coming in today. I will call you when I am feeling better. Don’t call me.

But that will never happen. I rest and I do a chore. I rest and then I do another chore. If I am lucky, I can get out of the bedtime routine and get to bed early. Hopefully I will be contagious and no one will want to be near me!

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Mothers and Home Depot

Posted by Mattie on Oct 15, 2010 in Motherhood

I just got home from Home Depot. I spent almost 2 hours looking for fixtures and matching light bulbs. You can use this for that and that for this. They need to have a special customer service person that deals with mothers and only mothers.

We have so very little time and so many other things to do. As soon as I walk in there, I feel like 100 pounds has just been dumped on my shoulders. I guess I could send my husband, but external light fixtures need a woman’s touch.

Sure the handy man knows what to do or where to go or is afraid to ask. But not me! As soon as I walk into Home Depot, I want someone to take me by the hand to every aisle that I need to be, none other. I don’t mind walking. I don’t need a chariot.

Then, I want to know everything there is to know about the products that I need. Then, I want to leave as fast as I got there. And, I do not want to come back to return merchandise.

Thank goodness my kids are in school now. I used to do my chores with my kids and that was an insane experience. I always brought home the wrong product!

Now, I need an electrician…

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Mothers and Canadian Thanksgiving

Posted by Mattie on Oct 12, 2010 in Motherhood

Another Thanksgiving has gone by. It is a nice holiday at a good time of year, setting the stage for Christmas. I use this holiday as a summer wardrobe cut off. By now I need to start putting away that summer mode and dress for the new season.

I grew up in Montreal, so dressing for the season is what we do. I currently live in North Vancouver, which means dressing for a season is optional. But that is mostly the weather’s fault. Enough about fashion.

Since I am first generation Canadian, we never really appreciated Thanksgiving dinner as a family holiday. It was a three-day weekend. A freebee. Coming from a large Greek family we did big dinners for Christmas, New Years, Easter, and on a regular basis. We didn’t need a reason to make us all sit together to eat. We did it as a custom.

Now that I live across the country from where I grew up, I miss that. I am not sure that we would still have those big dinners. Each family has gone its own way. I miss those first generation years.

Now that I have my own family, we still don’t do the big Thanksgiving dinner, except it is not that big. My husband is an immigrant from England so he never had to say thanks to the pilgrims. All in all my kids are in my own childhood boat. I don’t think they missed it when they were younger as they didn’t know the difference.

Once they got into elementary school and the teacher would ask who had turkey this weekend? They would ask me what did we eat for Thanksgiving? My reply would be something like “steak or hamburgers”. Slowly, I figured we needed to get into the Canadian tradition of saying thanks.

Since my mother has moved here, she likes to do a proper Thanksgiving dinner. Except the kids are young and none of us really like leftovers. So my mother and I have decided we will do a whole chicken. The kids won’t know the difference. And, I won’t have to deal with the leftovers.

They funny thing is that when we finished dinner, my husband said to me; “That was good turkey.” I guess it really doesn’t make a difference as long as we all eat together.

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Mothers and Velcro Shoes

Posted by Mattie on Oct 1, 2010 in Motherhood

The other day I went shopping with my kids to buy new shoes. School has started and they need new running shoes that fit. Buying shoes should be fun for ladies, but these kids are so picky.

After finalizing the agreement of going shopping, which entails cooperation and no candy what so ever, we were off with the understanding that shoes will be bought today.  Now that they are old enough, they should be able to get through a relatively short shopping experience without having to be bribed. Relatively short happens to be in their hands. I will make sure that the shoes fit, they have to agree upon the style.

Here we go…

I am a fan of not many cheap shoes and few good shoes, because they have growing feet and they have growing feet. After taking about 15 – 20 minutes to find a style that they liked, it now became impossible to find shoes for school age children with friggen laces! They have the fancy ones that look like they have laces, but they don’t tie up. There were more shoes (over size 12) with Velcro than with proper tie up laces.

Call me old fashion, but how are kids suppose to learn to tie their own laces if they don’t have any? How are kids supposed to be vibrant, when they can slip on their clothes without any effort like a senior citizen? How are kids going to take care of themselves and feel good about their personal achievements when they don’t know how to tie their shoelaces?

I can’t believe how ridiculously hard it was to find a good pair of shoes with proper laces.

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Mothers and the NOISE!

Posted by Mattie on Sep 28, 2010 in Motherhood

The worst thing about being a mother is the NOISE. That awful sound that kids make when they are tired, wired and bored. I can change poopy diapers all day long. I can even deal with getting in my car 20 times a day, just to drive 5 kilometres.

But when my kids start bickering, squealing and thumping around the house, I feel like I am going to loose my mind. I feel like some one has thrown my head into a washing machine of symbols, violins and drums. I feel like the thin straps of sanity holding me together are deteriorating and snapping one by one!

I can only attribute this to the fact kids are inside the house TOO much. I try my best to kick them out, but it rains here a lot and in the summer it is too hot. The best place for fresh air is in the forest with its natural canopy to shield them from the rain or hot sunshine.

But who wants their kids roaming around in the woods by themselves? With sickos waiting for a kids to slip up. Not me. I know that I am overreacting, because the stats tell me so. But how could I live with myself if something happened to my children?

So we use electronics to keep our kids busy today. They have learned how to embrace technology in a way that I will never achieve. So I guess that is my justification.

Sometimes we go to the mall. At least the kids are moving.

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