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The Mommy Files

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The #CasualtiesOfMotherhood

Sultana Patail


Motherhood is the most difficult yet rewarding job I've ever had. 

Any of you who read my blog probably would have pieced that tagline together about me by now. However, now that my cute bundle of joy is more of a fragile, over sized Amazon package, let's just say some new challenges have arisen. Therefore, this piece isn't to celebrate the cute, rewarding moments of motherhood - no. This one's for us. So let's call a spade a spade. Let's talk about the #casualtiesofmotherhood.

Casualty #1: Loss of Time
Loss of time has got to be THE biggest casualty. Somehow a 24 hour day becomes 12, and the workload triples. And to those non-believers who think today's generation of parents are just poor time managers - think again friend! We plan, time, and coordinate everything down to the wire. And no I'm not just talking bedtime routines and feeding schedules. I'm talking about giving an extra 20 minutes for a walk to the gym that should only take 2 minutes, because somebody's chasing his shadow; Planning an extra 5 minutes in the mornings knowing that as soon as one foot's out the door for work, you'll have to turn right around because somebody just 'POOPED!'; 10 extra minutes getting out of the garage because somebody has crawled into the front seat to play with all the buttons; 15 extra minutes after somebody has mischievously turned his bowl of food upside down so he can yell "OHH NOO!"; and my personal new favourite - 5 extra minutes allotted during the morning diaper change because somebody has discovered his pee pee and screams bloody murder if he doesn't get to hold it like a grown-ass man to start his day. All of these moments, while hilarious in hindsight, add up to hours. So please, friends, co-workers, non-parents, don't judge us on punctuality. There are forces at work stronger than us. 

Casualty #2: Your S.O.
The flame that once burned brightly between you and your significant other, will probably be all but outed. Your little one will require all of your attention. And yes, you will fight. You'll fight over your different styles of parenting; the scale will tip between good cop and bad cop; you'll roll your eyes at the division of tasks that aren't always so equal. But I promise you, a day will come, when you will regain your connection, and perhaps reach for your partner in bed one night ... only to find a slobbery, perpendicular, mass of hot mess in between you both. (haha, just kidding, it get's better I promise.)

Casualty #3: Clothes
Your clothes will be ruined either by food, vomit, or some other lovely bodily fluid. I suggest living in perma sweats at home, or becoming a nudist. 

Casualty #4: Self-Care
R.I.P that cute girl you used to be, for just a little while anyway. I don't want to speak for all on this one because I've seen some fabulous looking mommy's (when I creep them online jealously). However, the mass majority of us may start to look like our mothers - hair in a bun, 5-minute make-up, any clothes that are still clean (see casualty #3), and cave woman eyebrows because who knows when last we got to our waxing lady.

Casualty #5: Privacy
This one's right up there with loss of time. Privacy of any kind, especially in the bathroom, is unheard of, because they'll finnd youu. They just don't have a concept of personal space. They want to see what you got and whether or not it's the same as theirs. I can't even knock this one because it's so damn funny. The silver lining here is I now have a prompt toilet paper tear-er and towel hand-er ready at a moment's notice. My only advice here is get up early, and get that solo time in before they're awake. And husbands? If the door is closed, stay out please. That's our personal hiding time, thanks.

Casualty #6: Your Home
My mom once advised not to invest in any expensive pieces for my home until my children were grown. Now I understand why. Laundry and toys are our new home decor, little food finger prints cover our walls, and yes I have literally shed tears for spilled milk on my freshly clean bed sheets. I've come to accept that cleaning with kids is like brushing my teeth with Oreo's. But it is what it is. I take solace in knowing that a messy home is usually a fun one.

Casualty #7: One of Your Arms
Because for years you will hold them in one hand as you cook, clean, put on make up, and do literally everything else with your other arm.

Thank God they're cute, huh? 

We are strong, hear us roar - Mothers unite! ;)

Baby Sign Language 101

Sultana Patail

There's a reason why we as parents, make the silly faces and become party to the sometimes nauseating baby talk - we're trying to communicate with the cute little squishy thing we made. 

Long before they enter the world, we poke, prod, read, and play music at our bump, trying to get a reaction. Once they arrive, we look for any sign of interaction. We decode their incoherent babbles as "da-da" or "ma-ma", insisting that they're geniuses. Even their smiles are boast worthy - despite the fact that it's usually just gas. The bottom line is, we want our babies to communicate with us. Which is why many new generation parents are flocking to baby sign language classes as a resource.

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Being no exception, we recently signed our little guy up for a 6 week baby sign language course through My Smart Hands. Naturally, we got mixed reactions from family and friends

"Is it doctor recommended?"

"Does he have a hearing problem?" 

"What's the point? He'll talk eventually."

This kid's hearing is so sharp he can hear me opening a chocolate bar down the hall; and yes, he will talk eventually without this class. But for those who are in it, 'eventually' can seem like an eternity away. 

The idea is to teach them how to sign, because they understand much sooner than they can speak. Babies truly are sponges that learn, grow, and retain information at a rapid rate. By teaching them this skill, if they can't say it, they can sign it. There are multiple benefits - it eliminates parents' frustration because they understand their baby's needs more easily; it increases their cognitive development as they have to associate a word with a sign and preform it; and - contrary to popular belief - helps them verbalize their words sooner.

Having completed our course, I can say we had an excellent experience. Classes consist of 45 minute sessions, in an interactive and playful environment, which both parent/caregiver and baby attend. The first level class covers every day words such as more and milk, as well as specific foods, family members, emotions, animals, and transportation. Signs are taught through interactive instructions and demonstration, as well as songs. We were fortunate to have the lovely Gina McCubbin as an instructor who was helpful, responsive, and encouraging throughout our course and beyond.

So was it worth while? I'd definitely say yes. I had my moments of doubt, as I consistently signed to a confused baby. Although he knew something was up, he mainly just laughed at my motions. However, with Gina's encouragement and reminders that babies don't typically reciprocate until about 12-18 months, I kept at it. And I'm happy to say that we now have a signing baby! In the past he'd cry for something. Now, he'll clap to indicate when he wants more food, shake his head no when he's full, and squeeze his fist when he wants milk. So I know how to remedy the situation immediately, ultimately easing my frustration.

All of the textbook pros aside, it just feels amazing to be able to communicate with our baby. So, if you're contemplating baby sign language classes for your little one, I highly recommend My Smart Hands. With classes offered year round, and the option for private sessions, My Smart Hands was very accommodating. Reach out to for more information. 



Devo Kai

Sultana Patail

Happy birthday to my friend and fellow mommy, Mae Moreto. Today we look back on a simple yet memorable day - A day with one of the loves of her life. It's the little moments that make our lives worth celebrating.

Growing Pains

Sultana Patail

For days, weeks, months now, I've been watching my kid try to crawl. I never thought much of it before I was a parent. It just seemed like another milestone that babies inevitably pass. However, when you watch it day in, and day out, it is kind of a big deal. 

In these past days, weeks, and months, I've tried all the parenting tricks. Bought the crawl mat, placed the toys in front of him, got down on all fours with him, tried moving his arms and legs in succession. The most I got was a few amused, confused, and blank looks, as if to say "lady, why the hell are you trying to crawl?"

Finally I started leaving him alone. And sure enough, yesterday he reached his breaking point. He got to the point of such extreme frustration that he cried, screamed, and banged his fists down. I fought all urge to help him, and just observed instead. It worked. His frustration pushed him to finally crawl (shuffle crawl that is), and spew out a bunch of new baby words such as 'da-da'. I was in disbelief that these two things happened simultaneously - not because of extra help, or example - but just out of sheer frustration.

I couldn't help drawing the parallels to us as adults. Why do we struggle in school, careers, or relationships etc, despite guidance, advice, and positive influence? Why do we wait until we hit rock bottom to really get started? Why do we finally leave that 9-5 for our passion, only after long periods of unhappiness? Is it because we have to reach that point of sheer frustration before we're motivated? 

Maybe, for some of us. Observation of my 7 month old alone tells me that it's ingrained in our code. It's in our human nature to let frustration propel us into success. So, if you're struggling right now, don't worry. Your breakthrough might be after your next breakdown.