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Whether it's young children growing up and needing your time for activities and school or aging parents needing extra attention, the generation caught in the middle of this is being spread thin. The sandwich generation has become the norm for Canadians, bringing packed schedules and extreme stress.
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My thoughts were always about how I couldn't do it anymore, how I sucked at being a parent or how my children hated me. "Can't," "won't" and "don't" were all constants in my vocabulary. I woke up and realized I didn't like who I had become or the road I was going down. But most importantly, I forgave myself.
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It all started when Eve was fairly young and I became more social with her by taking her to playgroups. While the other kids were running around, Eve was attached to my side. She wanted to play with me, not with the other kids.
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If you're like me and you want to be able to cut the financial umbilical cord with your kids, start when they're young. Help them procure a part time job -- even if it's just one shift a week at first. Have them open their own bank account, and teach them how to balance their account.
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With Family Day fresh in my mind, I've been thinking about the way some teenagers are growing up these days. I see these kids all over. They're angry and frustrated, miserable and lost, and it's mainly the fault of their parents who've been letting them down.
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If you tell someone you are planning an unmedicated birth, you are met with a grin and nod in that "uh-huh, you are going to be begging for an epidural" kind of way. If you say you are planning an epidural, they wax poetic about the joys of unmedicated birth. Everyone has an opinion on your birth, and it is almost always going to be the opposite of yours.
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We've seen them make messes, spill and chew up our treasured belongings, and we've put up with their unappeasable attitudes. We've also seen them greet us with as much joy as we can imagine. We hug them, even if some scientific studies suggest not to. Even the largest of dogs -- think small horses -- make the tiniest possible spots on our sofas into their spaces for cuddling us on our sofas.
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Introducing solids to your baby can be both exciting and challenging -- at times it's emotionally exhausting, others, extremely satisfying. If you are well equipped with the best direction and ways to overcome the challenges, I promise you this will be a rewarding time in your parenting journey.
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This year I wanted to do something different for my son's eighth birthday. I'd always thrown big birthday parties for them in the past, but this year, I didn't want to have a birthday party at all. It's always a big production. I end up entertaining 40 kids, working so hard to organize the venue, food, invitations, loot bags. It all costs a fortune, takes more creativity than it should and becomes overwhelming and stressful. Never again, I promised.
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We are very fortunate that we live in Canada, more so Toronto, where we feel it is a progressive, open, accepting city. It is legal for gay people to live freely, marry whomever they love, and start a family. We are a family, just like any family out there. It is not OK to harass anyone based on their sexual orientation or for any other reason.
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If I bump into someone they will ask me, "Where are the kids?!" as if I left them abandoned under a bridge. Somehow it doesn't occur to them that it could be possible that their father is caring for them during that time.
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Twelve years ago my twins were diagnosed with severe autism and I have lived in a constant state of alertness ever since. Therapists liken it to what a soldier experiences in combat. I have to admit that I can relate to the 24/7 heightened alert that never allows your mind or body to rest.
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"Throw the damn books out the window and tune into your children. You can fix it."
If you're thinking about taking a trip with your kids to get away from it all, think again. Know what you're getting into. Know that it might be even more difficult than life at home. Know that it could be messy, tiring and ugly at times. But it's honestly the best thing ever.