A Quick Guide to Probiotics for Kids & Toddlers

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are good bacteria that can be found in food or supplements. Among others, these good bacteria can help with things like:

Within your body, you have your own community of germs called a microbiome. This germ community, also called microbiota, is made up of good and bad bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

When the balance of good to bad bacteria in your microbiome gets tipped, infection or illness can occur. For example, let’s say your toddler is sick and needs to take an antibiotic. Using antibiotics will kill infection-causing bacteria, but it also eliminates some of the good bacteria that keep the bad bacteria in check. This leaves the door open for other bad organisms to multiply and take over, which may cause secondary issues.

Are Probiotics Safe?

Since probiotics are naturally occurring and found in the body of live organisms (including us humans), Health Canada treats probiotics as a food ingredient rather than a medication. However, probiotics are generally safe, and doctors often suggest them to help with digestive problems.

The most commonly used strain of probiotics contain lactobacillus, bifidobacterium or saccharomyces – or sometimes, a combination of the three.

Does Your Child Need Probiotics?

You may be wondering if your child really needs probiotics, and in general, most doctors would say yes, they can be a great supplement, but aren’t mandatory.  Since most of the science surrounding how probiotics impacts children has been observed in relation to tummy issues – it is best to take a probiotic for a digestive issue (colic, diarrhea, regurgitation, etc.) and to consult your family doctor or pediatrician if you are considering using a probiotic to treat a different condition.

How to Pick the Best Probiotic

A general recommendation is to choose probiotic products containing the genus Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium or Saccharomyces boulardii, some of the most researched probiotics. But you may have to delve deeper, as each genus of bacteria encompasses numerous strains that produce different results.

According to Gail Cresci, PhD, RD, an intestinal microbe specialist with Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, “Ideally, look for a product that’s been tested for whatever you’re looking to address. It might say it helps with IBS, but you wouldn’t take that same product if you were taking antibiotics. You would want a product that helps with immunity. That’s where a lot of people get confused.”

“I’d probably stay away from store brands and pay a little extra for the name brand that’s been studied,” Dr. Cresci adds.

What you should look for is a probiotic that has lots of clinical data to back up that it works, clearly indicates what specific issue it treats (for example, “colic” instead of “gastrointestinal health”), and is produced by a trusted source with lots of experience.

Canada also has its very own clinical guide to help outline what probiotics are safe and effective to use. You can see the full list here.

To learn more about the benefits of probiotics containing the genus Lactobacillus, visit BioGaia.ca.

 

Mommy Connections Alumni, Bronwyn Hannelas, shares how she packed for a One-week trip, with 1 Baby, 1 pre-schooler and NO checked luggage.

 

 

For March Break our family of four flew to Vancouver for a week.  We spent time chasing waves on Tofino’s sandy Pacific beaches, atop snowy mountains, cycling in Stanley park and touring the city centre. Even with baby in tow we managed to avoid checking any baggage here’s how.

Maximize your Carry-on Limit

Since baby flew for free, we were left with a carry-on allowance of 3 pieces plus 3 small bags. I forwent a purse and opted for a diaper bag instead, the camera bag also did double duty holding some snacks and small toys.

Okay let’s get real with a 3.5-year-old and 15-month-old snacks and toys were inevitably stuffed everywhere but in clear ziplocks to maintain some sanity.  Wearing my daughter in her carrier also avoided the need to find space for that essential but bulky item.

Bring that Stroller

We gate checked our umbrella stroller for free. I travelled alone with the two kids on the flight over and the stroller doubled as a luggage dolly- a real life saver.

Any modest sized stroller that folds seems to be fine and I even saw a couple doubler strollers being stowed at gate.  Just beware as if its too bulky you could be looking at additional fees to check it.

Limit Shopping

We ended up being that family at airport rearranging suitcase contents and shovelling snacks into our kids mouths after our suitcases had mysteriously expanded past acceptable dimensions on the way home.

We planned to buy nothing, but I was the first to crack when I feel in love with Pinterest-worthy dessert bowls at a farmer’s market. We also did a Value Village run to replace some soaked sneakers and succumbed to ‘mom please’ requests for new dollies..

Forgo the Hotel

With Air BnB over a traditional hotel you can scout out a family friendly home that offers more options for meal prep, enclosed backyards and can seriously limit what you need to bring. We made sure to ask questions about high chairs, cribs and kid-friendly dinnerware ahead of time.

While visiting Vancouver Island the home we stayed in had an enviable toy collection that included ride-on toys- a definite hit with our littles. Our lovely hosts also passed along this outgrown rain suit for our daughter which was perfect for the ocean spray on the island’s sandy beaches.

 

Plan Activities Ahead

Limited luggage for us meant a trade-off in spontaneity. We brought hiking attire for some planned modest treks but opted not to bring swim suits. This meant having to forego the local pool on a rainy day and instead discovering free train rides and a cherry blossom festival at the local mall. Both kept the kids active indoors for a couple hours.

 

Minimalist travelling requires some additional planning and trade-offs much as it does in our daily family life in our small Toronto home. Ultimately though, keeping things simpler meant having the space and money to focus on taking in more new experiences.

 

Bronwyn Hannelas lives in Toronto’s west end with her husband and their two young children. She writes about trying to live a simpler life with less stuff at www.smallhousebigcity.com

 

The box arrives on your doorstep at the start of the week (on the day you choose) and they might as well have called themselves Food Fairies because they consistently deliver convenience, freshness and 3 less “what’s for dinner?” instigated arguments each week. As a busy working mom HelloFresh checks many boxes for what I need to keep healthy meals simple and affordable during the week. Here is my top 3 reasons why HelloFresh wins out week over week for our family and how it helped my marriage! 

Time Saver. 

Weeks when HelloFresh is coming I save myself about 3-5 hours on the weekend. Hands down this is the best part for me. 2 hours grocery shopping (even if I do it online I still spend some time organizing, making lists and online shopping) and 1-3 hours meal planning and food prepping. This time can be spent cleaning the house, doing crafts with my kids or even escaping the house for a solo workout! Then each night of the week there is more time saved, since most meals take 20-35 minutes from start to served and no one has to run out for that one critical thing you forgot!

Money Saver.

I am one of those moms who puts $50-$100 extra into my cart when I am grocery shopping. Even with a list I am the worst. Something is on sale or catches my eye and I think “oh better get it!” … don’t even get me started on my Costco hauls! The mid-week run to the grocery store for one thing I forgot can turn into $50 fast which all add up. I find that using HelloFresh saves me money (and mid-week trips to the store!), the portions are large and give us enough leftovers for lunches AND I appreciate that the exact ingredients, in the exact amounts needed, are all there. Plus, at the end of the week I have zero food waste, half used cans or bottles in the fridge. 

Marriage saver.

Before HelloFresh I dreaded those mid-day texts from my husband that reminded me (as if I didn’t already know!) that I wasn’t organized in life ….”What’s for dinner?” makes me freeze in panic and then angry that I need to have the answers. Now I just flip him the email of the week or sometimes even let him use the app to pick the meal selections. After a few months of HelloFresh delivering delicious meals he started to check out the visual recipe cards and started making 1 meal a week… then 2 meals and now he makes ALL 3 MEALS each week and it is win-win for us.

Bonus is that the visual recipe cards make it easy for kids to help and get involved in cooking. My kids love unpacking the weekly delivery box and putting the brown bags away in the fridge. Some nights they will help with simple prep and they love being part of dinner making.

This month with Mommy Connections you’ll automatically save up to $69.99 with 50% off your first box using the promo code HELLOMOM50 on hellofresh.ca

 

Guest Blog Post From Mommy Connections Alumni, Kirsti Stubbs from Embrace Life Simplified

Written By: Bobbi Jo Gaetz

Rewards can be great, but we don’t want to have to use them all the time to motivate kids to do the things we ask of them. Research has shown that a group of children who were provided extrinsic motivation (that is, rewards) to work on a puzzle stopped working once the rewards were stopped. The children who were not given rewards kept at the task. Rewards can sometimes decrease the enjoyment of an activity. We also want to avoid the trap of having children respond to our directives with, “What am I going to get?” and have to enter into negotiations for every task. What we want children to experience is the thrill of learning a new skill, completing a task, or putting in their best effort. The qualities that lead to success, such as grit, persistence and self-confidence, are not created by requiring rewards, but through practice and sometimes, mistakes or failure.

So, how can we motivate children to do things without rewards? Here are some ideas:

  1. Make it a game. If you are trying to encourage your child to do something, think about how it could be turned into a game or race. “How many toys do you think you can pick up in 1 minute? I think maybe 3 (underestimate). Let’s find out! Go!” It also helps if you share in the task to encourage participation. You can also bring “pretend play” into tasks, such as pretending to be a waiter to clear the table.

 

  1. Give choices. When trying to get your child to complete a task, offer them choices for HOW they could complete it. Rather than, “I will give you a cookie if you are good while we are shopping”, try “We aren’t going to get any treats today at the store, but I could sure use some help. Do you want to help me find all of the juice we need or all of the cereals?” Or, offer your child the choice of brushing their teeth before or after they put on pajamas. Then offer praise for a job well done.

 

  1. Rephrase. When your child is dawdling before going to bed, you could say that if they hurry, there might be time for an extra story, rather than telling them they will get a story if they hurry up. You are trying to teach them the value of time and what great things you can do with extra time.

 

  1. Accept “good enough”. As parents, we often have expectations that tasks are completed as we would do them. However, our children do not have the same skills or patience. The bed may not be made to our standards, but if the child is happy with their performance, that is what is important. Praise the effort, not the outcome.

 

  1. Tap into intrinsic motivation. By having conversations about how they feel while doing tasks and when they have completed it, a child is able to realize their own pleasure at working at and completing a task. This helps avoid you always having to say, “I am so proud of you” and to help children rely more on their own feelings of self-worth. You could say, “I think that was kind of hard for you. What does it feel like now that you are done?” or “What part did you like the best?”

 

If you are using rewards to try to stop negative behaviours, instead, try to determine what is underlying the negative behaviour. Is the child hungry or tired at that time? Meeting the child’s need through more proactive strategies has a better likelihood of eliminating the behaviour rather than causing other behaviours to arise to meet the child’s need.

 

Don’t get me wrong. There is a time and place for rewards. Rewards are best when used sparingly and for a short period of time and for tasks that the child may be really struggling to get going with. One example may be to initially encourage a child to work on sleeping in their own bed. The child may require increased motivation to override their desire to be with you in bed. It is still important to pair the reward with the discussion about how they are feeling about their progress and success so that the reward can be quickly faded and replaced by intrinsic motivation. Rewards can also be offered for yucky, bigger jobs that no one wants to do without a reward. The point is, to build successful traits in your child, generally try using other strategies than rewards.

 

Bobbi Jo Gaetz, B.Ed, M.Ed, R.Psych.

Bobbi Jo has worked in the field of children and adolescents for 25+ years. As a psychologist, Bobbi Jo has worked in a variety of clinical, school, and treatment settings providing assessment, consultation, and intervention for children and youth. She supports children with behavioural, emotional, and/or social difficulties, including children with diagnoses such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, and learning disabilities. Bobbi Jo also conducts assessments based on the child’s presenting needs and has taught at the Masters level at the University of Calgary in cognitive and neuropsych assessment. Currently, Bobbi Jo works in private practice as well as within the mental health system for children and youth.

 

Cooler weather is around the corner, and we are thinking ahead with tips to stay healthy and hydrated as the air gets drier and our immunity goes down. We’re sharing our top fall picks for your skin and health from Life Brand at Shoppers Drug Mart – always a convenient and affordable option for moms.

Moisture balance

Moisturizing lotions are essential once the cold, dry air arrives, and on top of that indoor heating sucks moisture from the skin. We’re fans of the Life Brand lightweight moisturizing body lotion as it hydrates and protects skin, and is also fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. It is recommended you apply your moisturizer within three minutes of showering for best results.

Keep your face soft and smooth with Life Brand moisturizing cream containing ceramides and hyaluronic acid. Ceramides are naturally occurring molecules that penetrate the skin to attract moisture, while humectants help retain the moisture. The sustained-release formula means your skin will stay hydrated all day long, but it won’t clog pores.

 

Don’t forget your hands

Life Brand’s facial masks are always a favourite, so we were excited to try their new hand mask – and this did not disappoint. With nourishing ingredients like shea butter, avocado oil, jojoba oil and sweet almond oil, it left our hands feeling soft, hydrated and oh so silky smooth. We’ll be using this on high rotation once temperatures dip.

 

Immunity boost

Support your immune system and combat cold season with a boost of vitamins C and B, antioxidants and electrolytes. Try Life Brand’s Effervescent Vitamin C Powder; each packet contains 1000 mg of vitamin C, and helps to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins. You can take one when you feel the first inklings of a cold – but with delicious new raspberry and lemon-lime flavours, we’ll be getting our vitamin-C fix daily.

Your child’s first day at daycare can be both rewarding and emotional. It’s that first step to your child becoming independent and learning how to socialize with peers.

There are many benefits to your child attending daycare …

If your child is a picky eater, you might find they are willing to try new foods and mirror their friends eating habits. You’ll also find that your child falls into a routine and starts sleeping better for you at night – a full day of playing and learning can be quite tiring!

Despite all the benefits we could list, it still doesn’t stop the tears and endless flow of Kleenex from coming. It’s ok! As parents this will never stop. For every milestone our child reaches, there will be more tissues to pull out.

What we need to know as parents is that our child is safe. Whether they are at daycare, friend’s house, school, or gramma’s – we need to know that our children are protected.

As children get out and explore the great wide world, there are just some things you can’t avoid – colds and flu, scrapes and bruises, and of course head lice.

We have band aids for the boo boos, cough syrup for the cold, but what do you have in place for head lice? Here are some tips to help prevent head lice from infesting you and your family:

Head Lice at Daycare: Our Top Prevention Tips

  1. Know what to look forhead lice are small reddish-brown bugs measuring between 1mm and 4mm in size. They live on the human head only and can’t survive off the head for more than 48 hours without a blood meal. Head lice lay eggs on one side of the hair shaft. These eggs are caramel in colour and hard to remove without a proper head lice comb.
  2. Get on a routine – it’s important to check for head lice at least once a week. This can be done with magnifying glasses, a proper head lice comb, or a hand-held zapper. It’s important that you check the hot spots where head lice commonly lay their eggs. This includes behind the ears, nape of the neck, and crown of the head.
  3. Be prepared with the right tools – should you discover head lice on your child, it’s important to know how to safely remove them. Many over the counter products no longer work because head lice have evolved becoming more resistant to pesticides. Having a good head lice comb is your best defense. Look for long metal grooved tines that pull the head lice and eggs from the hair shaft quickly and painlessly. Having an Super Hero Head Lice Shampoo or Super Hero #1Time Head Lice Solution on hand saves you time and money. These products are eco-friendly and safe for your children.
  4. Cleanse the environment – it’s important to give the areas your child has been in contact with a good clean. Vacuum carpets and upholstery, and use a Super Hero Spray Away environmental cleaner for jackets, back seats of cars, chairs, and sofas. You can toss bedding and pillows into a dryer on high heat for 30 minutes or more to dry out any rogue head lice. For items that can’t go in the dryer, place them into a garbage bag and keep it isolated for 48 hours to starve the head lice.
  5. Educate – The last tip is an important one. Talk to your daycare provider to find out what their protocol is for head lice and do your part by following their protocol so that if your child does get head lice, you can take the right steps to protect the other daycare staff and children from getting it too. If your child is old enough to understand, teach them about head lice and what they can do to prevent it. The best way to stop an infestation in its tracks, is to be proactive. Educate yourself, your daycare, and your children, to help prevent a small issue from becoming a big one.

Hopefully these tips are useful to you whether you are a parent, teacher or daycare provider. Remember that head lice have been around for centuries, they aren’t discriminating … as long as you’re human, you can get head lice! If you do get head lice there is nothing to be ashamed of. The key is to be proactive to help stop the life cycle and prevent it from happening in the future.

Dawn Mucci is an entrepreneur, franchisor, writer, singer, songwriter, published author, corporate citizen, and company spokesperson for LiceSquad.com. She is passionate about franchising and life and has been recognized for creating a unique franchise concept and product line. Dawn is known for making things happen and gives back to the franchise industry and her community by sitting on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Franchise Association and the Board of Directors for the Children’s Aid Foundation of Simcoe County, and as a member of the Life Saving Society of Canada. Dawn can be contacted at dawn@licesquad.com.

The one thing that is completely not exaggerated about being a new mom is the astronomical amount of sleep you will lose. You never get those precious hours of slumber back. They are gone forever like shirts without throw-up on them and long morning showers.  In fact you are so used to being tired that you actually can’t remember a time when your life wasn’t full of 2am screamings and 4am diaper changes.

So when your husband buys you and your mother in law an all-inclusive trip to Aruba you start packing, immediately. Most likely the reason he booked you the trip was to butter you up for “getting cracking” (his words, not mine) on a second baby, but you drink the Kool Aid and don’t look back.

Of course it would be hard to leave my nine-month-old bundle of joy behind, although not as hard as it was for all the “backseat mothers” in my life. The moms who just absolutely love giving you that unsolicited advice on, well, everything. “Oh wow, I could never leave my baby at nine months. Good for you that you could do that.” Or “I took my baby with me for all my vacations. That’s just what you do as a mother.” But boarding that Sunwing jet without a baby in toe felt totally terrific.

Twenty minutes into the flight I was enjoying the complimentary champagne and looking through the duty free catalogue ready to treat myself to some new designer shades for my sun-filled sojourn.  Upon arriving at the hotel, we were greeted with trays of chilled bubbly and high-end hospitality.

After we checked in and were branded with our blue wristbands, we went up to our room where the vacation truly commenced. The Gulf view from the terrace in our oversized suite was unreal. (See picture.) That night we stuffed our faces at the most luxurious buffet ever, I mean there were literally 20 different kinds of seafood and we didn’t have to make any of it. And the chocolate fondue fountain and ice cream bar, I felt like that little girl in Willy Wonka who inflated as she ate all the candy. That night we walked around the beach, took in some island music and were back in our room in bed by 8pm, Law and Order on the TV in the background.

I was fast asleep before Jerry Orbach made his first pithy comment. Life was truly grand. When I woke up the next morning, my entire body was in the exact position as when I laid down, the remote control in the hand above my head. I looked like one of those chalk outlines from a crime scene. My mother in law, who aside from her overuse of mothballs and constant ribbing about my disinterest in cooking, is actually one of my favorite travel companions, lay in the bed next to me, snoring peacefully away. The knock at the door reminds us our complimentary room service has arrived allowing us to enjoy our coffee and eggs on our balcony overlooking the epic view.

Throw in naps on the beach, uninterrupted workouts at the gym and more naps on the beach, this was pretty much the breakdown of our weekly activities.

Oh and we did manage to fit in a few Facetime calls to my husband and son in the midst of this hectic schedule. And yes I did find some solace in seeing my husband’s heavy eyes as he coaxed our mischievous son not to eat his cell phone during our conversation. On the last day of our excellent oasis, packing up the myriad of top-notch toiletries I had collected, I couldn’t help but feel a touch of sadness. Leaving paradise would definitely be hard.

But when I saw my husband and son standing in arrivals at Pearson later that day, it felt good to be home. I held my precious baby and kissed his rosy cheeks, and was almost able to ignore the wetness I felt on my stomach as he peed on me, clutching chunks of my hair in his chubby little hand.

Here are a few tips if you’re thinking of a trip of your own:

– Written By Sarah DiMuro

Sarah DiMuro is a writer, actor and comedian who’s already planning her next trip to Aruba sans toddler. She’s appeared in television shows and commercials throughout North America. Sarah also used to have a blog for a lifestyle magazine in New York City where she flew all over the country on blind dates looking for her first love. The catch? She was a virgin! Well she met the love of her life and they have been together for over 10 years. A few months ago Sarah teamed up with the Toronto based organization, Rethink Breast Cancer, to create the vlog, First Baby, Then Breast Cancer, where she is chronicling her recent experience with the big C. You can check out the vlog on Rethink Breast Cancer’s YouTube channel: Rethink Breast Cancer

Ready-Set-Summer Beauty

Summer is here! Besides family trips and activities with the kids, don’t forget to take some time for yourself to look and feel your best. Get ready for summer from head-to-toe with a few fresh and affordable beauty ideas from Shoppers Drug Mart.

Face refresh

For a quick face detox, try new Life Brand Detoxifying Bubbling Mud Face Mask. It contains bamboo charcoal powder and tea tree oil to remove excess oils (a common culprit with warmer weather) and deep clean pores. The mask bubbles when applied, which creates an oxygenating foam layer on the skin.

 

Quick clean

We love the convenience of rinse-free micellar cleansers, and now we’re just as obsessed with these micellar facial wipes. They gently remove makeup and cleanse skin, and are great to packing for weekend getaways, camping trips or even your beach bag (goodbye post-swim raccoon eyes)!

Also great are PC Baby Wipes – perfect for family trips, and busy moms will appreciate the flip-top lid.

Lip service

Keep your lips soft, smooth and hydrated with a lip balm & scrub from Quo Cosmetics. The scrub exfoliates dead skin, while the lip balm containing shea butter, jojoba, rose hip oil and avocado oil leaves lips moisturized and lightly tinted. Mango, watermelon and pomegranate are the deliciously perfect summer scents.

 

Smooth legs

Shorts, skirt and swimsuit season means keeping legs silky and smooth. These Life Brand 3 Blade Pivoting Razors contain botanical moisture strips with aloe and shea butter, ideal for sensitive skin. This four-pack is $8, so stock up for the season!

 

For more information about Life Brand, Quo and PC Baby products at Shoppers Drug Mart, visit shoppersdrugmart.ca.

Beach days are right around the corner, mamas (fingers crossed)! And we, for one, cannot wait for the sun, popsicles, and beach days! When you have a baby, though, things become a little more complicated. You can’t just slather them up with any old sunscreen and head out the door. We are advised not to use sunscreen on babies under 6 months and most toddlers would never make it that easy!   That is why I am in love with my Full Body UV Swim Suit by January Baby!

You would think that the market would be flooded with options but its pretty scarce especially when it comes to full body suits, which is a must for babies in order to keep them protected and safe!  All January Baby suits have a UPF rating of 50 +, which means the skin is only exposed to 1/50th of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, per  The Skin Cancer Foundation. This ensures your little ones will be safe to play in the sun and you will be confident enough to let them.

Some of the great things about this suit is that it covers wrist to ankle but also provides full neck coverage, which is great because my baby, like most has very sensitive skin. The suit is a polyester/spandex blend and comes in a variety of cute bold colors from sizes 6m to 4 years. (In the photos above, Asher is wearing the color navy with an aqua stripe, which I think looks great with his complexion—so flattering)! The suit has an easy to use zip in front, which makes getting a wet squirmy baby in AND out a breeze. The suit does have a lot of room to grow but actually fit snug. Although I currently have to roll up the legs and sleeves quite a bit, it isn’t that bothersome since I know he can use it longer.

Overall, we really love our Full Body UV Swim Suit! I actually wish I had one when my first son was born – so those sunny days when we did go out I could have spent a lot less time worrying about him and lot more time enjoying him.

The suit can be purchased online at www.JanuaryBaby.com,  Mini Mioche, and Baby on the Hip!

If you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo, she is an amazing woman who is the queen of tidying. She is also the woman who had given me increased headspace to survive the day to day of being a mom.  As Wikipedia explains:  Kondo’s method of organizing is known as the KonMari method, and consists of gathering together all of one’s belongings, one category at a time, and then keeping only those things that “spark joy” and choosing a place for everything from then on.

I first discovered her through my husband. I noticed he was head down in his Kobo head every night and I was curious to know what book he was into (note: we are both avid readers and like to share a good book). I was confused/shocked/impressed when he showed me the title The Art of Tidying Up and explained it was a ‘how to’ book. This was very different than our usual fiction genre.

He was so excited to put the lessons into action – I went along the ride and got so much out of it.  It’s a whole process of organizing your life and tells you which order you need to start. For me, it was my biggest problem area – clothes, purses, shoes and jackets. As women, clothes can be our best friend (skinny jeans that fit!) and worst enemy (why aren’t the spanks getting rid of my lumps and bumps in this skirt!).

My closet was typical – I owned real estate in almost every closet in the house. My formal dresses hung along with my son’s 17 Habs jerseys (hubby is a fan), my jackets in basement storage by the boxes of diapers and the shoes – sigh the shoes.  This category makes me sad because I was so thankful when my feet didn’t grow after pregnancy (a fact that I was terrified about) but they were just forever changed – something about their shape or width or the bones – I have no idea. But it means that my favourite and most comfortable heels, boots, wedges or sandals never fit the same. Yet I held on to them, like art – to be adored from a distance, but never to be touched. Collecting dust, but looking beautiful. Sigh (again).

Okay, back to tidying! We sent the kids off to the grandparents’ house and started the process. Here’s how it went down:

Step 1: pull items from every corner of the hours and place them in one room. This was a feat on its own. It’s very terrifying to see your closets empty and all clothes and shoes piled up to the ceiling. Yikes!


Step 2:  touch each item and see if it sparks joy for you. No talking, no rationalizing, no negotiating. This was HARD. I kept breaking this rule telling myself, “what if I lost the baby weight”, “I love this sweater even though it’s pilled”, “This dress is so pretty, even though it fits funny”, “if I throw everything out, I won’t have any clothes: .  Marie’s advice here is to focus on what we want to keep versus what we aren’t keeping. So 4 hours later I had 7 garbage bags of items that didn’t spark any joy in my life.

Step 3: Put all of your ‘joyful’ items back in the closet with the KonMari method. This whole process was already great, but then we got to put the very plentiful pile of clothes back in the closet – pants and shirts in this very specific vertical way where you can physically see all of your clothing options laid out. It even applied to socks! She explains that the socks shouldn’t be folded over on one another but rather laid flat. It took some getting used to, but it actually does make a difference.

So It’s been about 3 months since we started our Mary Kondo ways – we’ve since  done our paperwork and then will move onto books next  – I was a bit skeptical at first, but I LOVE it. My closet is no longer ‘barfing’ clothes all over the place, our bedroom has been SO much cleaner and I can pick my outfits for work or play in 60 seconds flat. Seriously. No more trying on 100 outfits – everything in my closet is a fav outfit and it fits!

The largest benefit has been clearing my mind of the extra clutter of what to wear or the shame of throwing piles of clothes onto a closet (or shove them under the bed before a playdate)  and always trying to clean up after myself. It allowed me to have mindfulness around meal planning and just keeping the children alive and happy – what a novel idea!

Written by Karen Bhangoo

Karen is a busy mom of two kids, trying to not just survive each day with them, but thrive by living in the moment and finding the positive. Professionally, she’s a communication or marketing pro working for over a decade in public relations, sports sponsorship and internal communications. She is happily married, appreciates a good grammar joke, and adores Oprah.

 

 

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