This month we came back from a winter break spent in Ireland
Our family of five spent the first few weeks of the year in Dublin and Galway, where the kids caught up with cousins, explored outdoors and we largely ignored all school work.
Instead we visited places we’ve never been, took them to places important to us and our history, learned through doing and spent a LOT of time together.
I didn’t log on to social media or write a newsletter during this time. I guess it’s called ‘unschooling’ or ‘homeschooling’ for the kids.
We drove a 9-seater mini van on the opposite side of many narrow and winding roads, cooked using a turf fired range, drank cup after cup of tea, played and watched football and GAA, listened to live trad music and walked over 5 kms most days…usually uphill or against the wind.
Castles! Fairy forts! Green grass! Scones with clotted cream! Open fires!
It sounds magical but of course there were many stressful kid and travel related logistics issues and problems that occurred. More on that another day.
For now, these are the things I actively practice when travelling with kids under age 10, which can conveniently apply to attending events with your kids (something I do often):
• 🚼 Pack one diaper per hour of travel/time away from home in a carry on bag (this was finally the trip when we needed them all)
• 📰 A roll of paper towel/tissue and extra garbage bags tucked into your stroller or bag in case of emergency
• 🍎 Non-perishable snacks and fruit with peels for unexpected breaks or waiting times
• 👕 Extra change of clothes, the one who’s least prepared shall endure the most spills (I believe this is an unwritten rule of parenting)
• ⚠️ Get comfortable with asking for help and accepting it in all forms when it arrives
• 😱 Deep breathing is wonderful but sometimes you need to do a silent scream in a public washroom stall when plans go sideways…repeat as needed.
Moving abroad or travelling as a means to redesign your work, your life and prioritize your needs as a family?
This article from Romper features American families who’ve recently moved to Europe and Africa. It spoke to me and I wanted to share it with you if you’re thinking of changing your work/home location…or travelling in future with young kids!
As a mother of three Dual Citizen kiddos, partner and sponsor of a newcomer to Canada, we’ve relocated multiple times before kids and with a baby to Australia, Ireland and England.
All have required different sponsorship, visa and immigration applications and procedures. Since returning to Canada, we’ve travelled to reconnect with family when our kids were babies, toddlers and now school age kids.
Why should you care? Many parents attending my babies and business meetups and events over the years have relocated from another city or country, people I’ve met and connected with doing remote work or running their own business have shared their personal approaches to schooling or unschooling their kids, structuring their workflows and home life. These things are often intertwined.
Coming back from a longer break spent focusing on my health
I’ve paused writing on this blog since March 2022 – our youngest is now a little over one year old and I’m slowly reconnecting with others but there are many things I did both offline and online in 2022 which I will elaborate on in future posts.
It often seems like not much in the moment but as I reflect back on what I learned, who I met, how I showed up, I’m proud of myself as I didn’t get access to a maternity or parental leave program or entitlements.
As with my first, I was freelancing and working on my business while pregnant but in between being quite sick throughout trimesters and having two older kids at home for some weeks in the summer and working around school, this also meant I didn’t know what the year would look like.
For a while there it felt like I was holding tight, trying to get by, minimizing what I could, wishing my body would let me know what the bigger issue was/is.
It may appear to others in my life that I am always there for my kids or at home, or maybe busy, busy, doing lots of things. But there have been many days and nights where I was lying in bed and my husband is taking care of it all. And oftentimes my mother and father were dropping by or staying over to help us.
In spite of the health challenges and unpredictability of life with three kids under age 7, here is what I got up to this past year:
– Participated in an online mastermind hosted by WE-CAN Project at Queen’s University from January through June 2022
– Presented an online workshop for Worldskills Employment Centre in March 2022 in between newborn feeds
– Took two wheel throwing 5-week pottery courses in May and October 2022 to get our third baby used to being looked after by others, giving my body a break, working with my hands, relaxing my mind and enjoying being in creative flow
– Produced Season 4 of the Mixing Babies And Business™ Podcast, interviewing guests from April to October, then editing, promoting and releasing mini episodes from October through December 2022
– Attempted to write bi-weekly newsletters from Spring 2022 onward, for parents interested in entrepreneurship, flexible and remote work with kids
– Spoke at the Running Remote Conference in Montreal in May 2022 (while babywearing)
– Spent summer with all three kids at home some weeks and the older two in camps during others, visiting a cottage, water park, ‘camping’ in the backyard, hosting birthday parties
– Attempted to sand and repaint our house’s front door and trim during Fall 2022 before it got too cold outside…then the weather turned and only the trim was finished! So this spring I’ll be sanding and painting again
– Watched as our second child started JK at school, joining his older brother as part of a big community of local kids…hard to believe he is turning 5 soon!
– Signed our oldest kid up for hockey and rekindled my relationship with skating for the first time in over 14 years, when he decided he wanted to learn how to skate…which involved getting the whole kit out, finding old ice skates I could use and taking him and the other two kids (including a stroller!) out on the ice to practice during family skate times
– Designed and hosted a Parentpreneur Lounge at Startup Canada’s Conference in October 2022, where I met a few new parents and reconnected with other community leaders
– Hosted two Mixing Babies And Business meetups at Bayview Yards in October and December 2022 for parents and their kids
– Started working part-time in person and remotely for a local bricks and mortar business I’ve been helping over the past few years, once my husband took time away from work to care for our baby from November 2022
– Turned 37 in Toronto with a good friend from college, where I also caught up with a childhood friend and her husband, a new connection made during Collision Conf in 2019 and explored the city…on my own…childfree. Eating, drinking, walking, perusing art exhibitions to my heart’s content
– Celebrated baby’s first Christmas, New Year’s Eve and birthday in our home with his siblings, after getting snowed in! It was a magical few weeks spent relaxing, skating, drinking hot chocolate and marvelling at how much things have changed over the past year
This all seems quite amazing to me reading it back. I was full-time parenting our youngest until mid November and I was sick throughout my pregnancy and postpartum period as I have been since my late teens with migraines, which I’ve had medication for as needed over the past decade.
I’ve spent the past few years switching up the food and drink I consume, focusing on wellness, less screen time, more outdoor time, tracking moon cycles and I don’t often need to track weather changes as I feel them coming. But add in pregnancies, breastfeeding, hormone changes, it’s been a hard time on my body, my mind and it’s also been difficult to manage as a family.
The past few months I’ve been trialling preventative medication which seems to be helping so far but hasn’t eliminated my migraines altogether. It is, however, a huge difference to me right now and I am hopeful about what I can say ‘yes’ to in future.
For now it’s small steps, incremental changes and practicing consistency over intensity.
Is there anything you’ve noticed that you’re doing differently this year or since having young kid(s)?
For us it’s been how we work, how we travel, when we go, where we go, how we spend our time, what we eat, how prepared we are, how flexible we think we are, how willing to accept change and roll with things but there is always something new to unpack and try out.
As always, if you have any questions or feedback, I’m happy to hear from you – comment on the post or get in touch using the links below.
– Amy (+ Family) xx
Founder of Mixing Babies And Business™
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