How to Live in a Small Space with Kids

Most people think having a family means needing more space – often a home. My family has proven this to be untrue. We comfortably live in a small condo downtown – 5 of us in a 500 square foot apartment! And we make it work well for us. Owning a home is great for some people. But if you’re like us and cringe at having a monster mortgage and the constant up-keep that a house can entail, then I want you to know that there are other options. It is possible – great even, to live small, even with a kids. How do we do it? Here are My Family’s Golden Rules for Living Small

  1. Don’t buy things we don’t need or love Sounds simple, but in a small space, you really have to be selective about what you bring in. Really think about if it will make your life better or just add stress.
  2. Constantly reduce things we aren’t using If you haven’t used it in the last 6 months (or year for seasonal things) then get rid it.
  3. Buy furniture that serves double duty Our couch is a pull-out bed. Our kitchen island serves as a dining table and desk for the kids.
  4. Limit kids toys – and constantly reduce Kids constantly get gifts and lost interest frequently. You’ll need to go through them from time to time to see what should stay and what should go. It’ll keep tidy up time quick too.
  5. Don’t buy kids specific furniture You don’t really need a change table, crib or toddler bed. We used an existing table, a co-sleeper and a regular bed
  6. Make the most of vertical space Outfit your closets with stackable bins or shelvig that goes all the way up, to make the most of your storage.
  7. Don’t have a baby shower! People will buy you things you don’t need or want and you’ll feel like you need the space to keep it all. It’s much better to buy what you need yourself and what is right for your small space.

In order to be a great parent, you have to be happy. And I believe that it starts with how you chose to live your life. If you want a low-stress lifestyle, live small. We do it and so can you!

Parenting Lessons from Laryngitis

So I had the fun experience of taking care of my kids through laryngitis, where I lost my voice completely! Don’t worry it’s no longer contagious over the Internet! As there are sometimes good things that come out of bad situations, it made me realize a few things:

  1. You don’t need to yell at your kids If you like yelling, then go ahead! No one’s going to judge you (unless they see you of course.) 🙂 But yelling often just makes us angrier and only escalates the problem. By yelling at our kids, we teach them that raising your voices gets you your way – not a nice lesson. Try lowering your voice instead and see what happens. It kind of freaks them out! Pretty hilarious to see. They’re really wondering what they’ve done! It makes them listen very carefully. And they keep their voices down as well (a bonus).
  2. Action is better than words Speaking less means more action. Like moving them instead of repeatedly asking them to stop jumping on the bed. They don’t get the attention they’re seeking through behaving badly. And they learn quickly what behaviours are ok through the consequence of their choice.
  3. It’s hard not being able to say what you want This one goes out to all you toddlers out there (you know who you are!) The ones who know what you want, but can’t express it. I’ve felt your pain. And yes, It’s very frustrating! If you experience the loss of your voice, you’ll see that it’s not easy being a small person (a very nice lesson indeed for us big people). I hope being fed and carried around make up for it.
  4. Speaking fewer words makes them more meaningful When you have to pick and chose what you say, it cuts out all the unnecessary stuff we say. And there’s a surprising amount of it! It also makes you a better conversationalist by both being a better listener and providing a more thoughtful response.

In conclusion, thank you very much laryngitis. You’ve somehow made my life a little better.

Top 10 Reasons Why Moms Need Yoga

I’m a strong believer in everyone doing yoga, but especially moms (and soon-to-be moms.) I practiced yoga during both of my pregnancies (and afterwards) and experienced several benefits. Here are my top 10:

  1. Being mentally and physically stronger Yoga’s a total body workout. And it’s not easy – you may even sweat a little! By getting through something challenging physically, you’re making yourself strong mentally as well.
  2. Improving flexibility You prepare your hips for the stretching necessary during birth. Life with kids is also easier if you can bend and pick them up with ease.
  3. Developing a deeper connection to your body You start to listen and trust what your body tells you, which really helps with giving birth.
  4. Eating better You’re not gonna wanna eat a burger after yoga! Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly have better eating habits. And the decreased stress levels associated with yoga make you less prone to eat emotionally.
  5. Practicing for birth Yoga teaches you to breathe through discomfort, which will help you get through contractions when giving birth. And possibly reduce your need for interventions.
  6. Being able to exercise late in pregnancy As long as your doctor says it’s ok and you modify where needed, yoga can be practiced right up until you deliver.
  7. Being able to workout sooner after delivering You don’t have to wait the 6 weeks for you doctors ok to start some simple, gentle stretches after birth when you feel ready.
  8. Less back aches and leg cramps during pregnancy Yoga improves your circulation and keeps your muscles strong. Stretching your back and calf muscles regularly decreases these common discomforts of pregnancy.
  9. Teaching yourself to relax and be gentle with yourself Being pregnant can be an anxious experience and is definitely a time that we need to be gentle with ourselves. Yoga teaches us to relax, which will calm you during pregnancy and will help you to relax in between contractions during delivery. New moms also need time to slow down and relax, as well as be gentle and patient with our new bodies as we regain strength.
  10. Releasing tension in neck and shoulders from breastfeeding Nursing is tough on our bodies and with the loss of strong core muscles during pregnancy, we are often hunching over, causing more strain in the neck and shoulders. Yoga releases all of these tensions and helps build back a stronger core.

I know that’s 10 reasons, but I still have 2 more (and they’re probably the best ones!):

  • You feel amazing How awesome is that during pregnancy, to actually feel good? And even more important when you’re a mom.
  • Time just for you You need time to remember that you’re more than a mom. And that you need to to take care of yourself too.

I hope that encourages you to do more yoga, or try it if you haven’t yet.