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Jen Robbins

That Kindness Challenge

By | Community, Jen Robbins

After talking about all the rude things that people say (boy did my social media blow up!) it created a bit of a negative energy, having people revisit some of the more hurtful things that they go through.  Venting is always cathartic, and sometimes we can share a perspective, but it can also lead to more complaining and that never really leave you with a good feeling!

So a good friend suggested that we flip the switch and I’m all for it!

This week, say something nice to someone!  It can be a stranger, a text to a friend, a phone call – anything for the sake of making someone else smile.  It doesn’t have to be huge, but do it on purpose! Tag #ThatKindnessChallenge if you want to share it with us so we can create a new, positive energy!

And….. go!

Laundry Laundry Laundry

By | Community, Jen Robbins

At my house, if there is not something in the washer or dryer – you are getting behind.

We are always washing something in this family of 5 humans + 2 dogs.  The pillows, the sheets, the clothes, the shoes.  I throw everything in the washer.  And then of course, there’s the wash the washer cycle.

If I had to sort through everyone’s clothes and put everything away, it would never ever do.

My laundry hack is to do a load of just one person’s laundry.  Then if it doesn’t get folded immediately (RARE) they have their own basket to go through or even fold themselves.  My children don’t have much in the way of white or delicate clothing so it’s fine to throw it all in together.

My towels aren’t folded delicately in a linen closet nor are my dishcloths.  Towels go in a big basket in my bathroom because we use so many, and if I kept them in the hall closet there would be a lot of wet naked people walking around this house.  Dish cloths and towels are dumped in a drawer.  Many would coil in horror upon seeing my drawers but as long as things are tucked away and easy to find when I need them, I am good to go.

Do what works!  Sometimes it’s all about survival mode and laundry is technically never done (unless you are a nudist).

-Jen
#ThatSurreyMom

Rude Questions

By | Community, Jen Robbins

“Was that an oops baby?”

“When are you going to get married?”

“Do your kids have the same father?”

Just a few of the questions that have been asked by seemingly friendly people, not realizing that life is complicated and your simple question could come across as well, RUDE.

Most of us are just making conversation when we ask things like, “so when are you due?” without thinking.  Or maybe we are trying to find common ground.  For example, maybe you yourself had an unplanned baby and you assume that someone else did too… but the reality might be that they struggled for years to have that baby.

Maybe you’re dying to get married, but you’re struggling through some issues with your partner.  It doesn’t feel great to be asked that question unless you have an answer.

Questions about pregnancy or babies can be dicey. We don’t always know who is struggling with fertility.  And of course, if you don’t know for sure if someone’s pregnant – DON’T ASK!  (Don’t worry, we’ll let you know!)

You should never be afraid to start a conversation, but taking a moment to think about your question and just who you’re asking might be a good idea.

-Jen
#ThatSurreyMom

Lost & Found

By | Community, Jen Robbins

I feel the pain of parents everywhere when I see a lone mitten hanging on the fence, a hoodie on the sports field, and the overflowing lost & found bins.

I hate to be all, “WHEN I WAS A KID”… but when I was a kid, we weren’t allowed to lose things.  I’ve tried to ban losing costly items but it hasn’t worked out for me yet!  Of course when we were kids it was a little different: we got one new sweatshirt for “back to school” shopping and maybe one on our birthday.  (By the way, I always tried to wear my cool new Esprit sweatshirts on the first day of school and usually nearly died of heat exhaustion).

As a parent who is frequently digging through the Lost & Found at school, I often wonder how kids manage to lose things like one shoe or even a winter jacket (didn’t they notice?)!

I am an empath, so really seeing the thousands of dollars stacked up in the bins at school is really painful, so here is your reminder to check those bins!

Who else goes crazy in June? And how is it June?!

By | Community, Jen Robbins

How did it get to be mid-June so quickly?

June is one of our favourite months because the weather turns lovely and the days are long… but for parents it’s a real difficult one as the amount of things going on will leave your head spinning.

There’s the end-of-the-season wrap-ups, dance recitals, play performances, and team tournaments.

At school, there’s field trips and special year-end lunches and celebrations, and of course Sports Day!  In our house we have a “grad”, so there’s planning their activities and of course, wardrobe shopping for everyone (photo op!)

Lots of extra birthdays at school as those summer babies’ parents scramble to get their children’s birthday’s celebrated at school.

There’s the mad rush to get teacher gifts.

Last but not least, making sure child care and vacations are all lined up for the summer.

It’s almost time to ready, set, relax… just a few more weeks!

-Jen
#ThatSurreyMom

Treat No Self

By | Community, Jen Robbins

Phewwww!  I was sure so glad to get this notice.  It says that due to allergies, the class will not allow celebrating birthdays by bringing in treats… Perfect!  These days our kids get enough treats here, there and everywhere… times 10 on your birthday.  I’m willing to give one treat day up.

I’m sure that classroom management of birthday treats is crazy between the allergies and what children are allowed to eat, and then there’s dealing with the silly antics that can come with a morning cupcake loaded with sugar, more sugar, and loads of Red Dye #3.

Of course lots of moms love whipping up a special treat for their special one and Pinterest yields lots of ideas to spark the creativity, so if it’s truly something you enjoy, that may be a bummer!

-Jen
#ThatSurreyMom

Snowflakes and show dogs

By | Community, Jen Robbins

You may have heard about the movie Show Dogs, which was pulled due to a major flaw in the plot in this movie aimed at kids.

The main character, a dog voiced like Ludacris, must win a dog show.  Part of the criteria is an examination of the dog’s genitals, and the dog is urged to go to his “zen” place to get through the discomfort.  This is alarmingly similar to the tactics that child molesters use, according to experts.

Sooo… this plot point was called out and the movie company did the right thing and pulled the movie and issued a re-shot version (have no idea how they can perform such magic?!?).

Reading an article about this on social media, I broke my rule… NEVER READ THE COMMENTS.   “Wah wah, what a snowflake generation, it’s just a dog in a movie!”

Just a movie?  Just a dog?  The dog is totally humanized.  Sure, kids know movies aren’t real.  But the message is still there.  What if the movie were telling a child with a peanut allergy to just eat more peanuts?  Would that be still “just a movie”?

I’m personally surprised this movie was ever released with that scene.  We need to ensure all the messages are consistent for our kids: you’re in control of your own body!

If they need some raunchy humour… farts are still good for a laugh for kids of all ages!

 

-Jen
#ThatSurreyMom

Fangirling at 40(ish)

By | Community, Jen Robbins

Have you ever sent a message to a celebrity?

Sometimes I find myself tweeting or commenting on celebrities’ social media post – as if they’ll ever see it, and then there is some serious excitement when you get that “like” on a comment or a tweet!

With social media and binge watching, it sometimes feels like you really “know” celebrities.  I recently binge watched “The Good Place” on Netflix.  Follow that up with Kristen Bell’s funny appearance on Ellen and next thing you know I’m watching her Instagram stories and feeling like I’m sitting there on the set!

I guess I let the excitement that they’re working on Season 3 get to me and felt compelled to send her a DM saying “I love this show!  You’re so funny on the show, and on Ellen, and you’re one of the comedy greats!” or something over the top.

I believe the kids call it “fangirling”?

Anyway, I got to wondering how many DM’s celebrities get?  Do they respond?  Is it really them or do they have an assistant shuffling through them?

I felt a bit silly as a grown woman sending what amounts to fan mail… but hey!  I’m really just sharing some positive vibes! I’m just going to keep going along my merry way and messaging whoever posts something worth responding to!

-Jen
#ThatSurreyMom

Raising Quitters

By | Community, Jen Robbins

For some of us, there’s no question.  We have a little soccer/baseball player or ballet dancer.  There might be some moaning and groaning when it’s time to go to practice or wake up early for a game, but give it a few minutes and the joy of the game or activity takes over.

My eldest did not take to soccer immediately.  At our first few games and practices, I could see the difference between the assertive, ball-focused 6 year olds and those who needed some “coaxing”.  He fell into the latter category.  In fact, he wouldn’t even go on the field during games.  We kept at it as we saw sparks of interest (and we didn’t have much going on with the other two just yet).

Now, at 12, he plays for the love of the game on a silver team and knows anything and everything about soccer.  So he’s my athlete.

Skip to the next one, who played soccer for the love of sitting on the sidelines chatting with pals.  Early mornings = tears.  Rain = tears.  Hail = tears.  “My shoes are too tight”, “It’s too cold”, “I can’t find my shinpads”, “Do I have to?!” Sigh.  And each year we’d say, this is your last year.  But come September, he wanted to play again!

And on to #3.  Wow, did I want a girl athlete!  And as we started earlier with each one (after all, the third one is half price!) I kept thinking, well my eldest didn’t start being serious about soccer until he was 7 or 8… let’s just push through!  So, Coach Mom and the Comets pushed through U6 and U7, and then we had to call it quits.  Because the pushing was not leading to any breakthroughs – just emotional breakDOWNS! No matter how cute a 6 year old looks in full soccer gear, if their heart’s not in it, do we keep getting up at 7AM on a Sunday morning to hit the pitch and battle or negotiate it out?  (I’m not proud to admit that Tim Horton’s made a lot of money on the promises I had to make to get those cleats on feet.)

We want our kids to find their “thing” and their passion, so when they show an interest in something we want to immerse them in the sport!  We also want them to stick with a sport or an activity and develop a sense of commitment and teamwork.  At 5, 6 and 7 – do they actually have the capacity to even understand the concept of commitment?  Why are we pushing so hard?

So, my daughter is now “retired” from soccer and likely all other sports, as she told me recently, “I don’t really care about chasing a ball.”  You have to respect a girl who knows what she wants.  We’ve also tried ballet (too slow), hip hop (I only like my own dancing), acting (I already know how to act) and piano (I like making up my own songs).  My middle son has moved on to basketball, which I love because there is less equipment to buy and then find before games, and no half hour warm ups. Bonus: inside sport!  He’s taken up parkour which will be useful for a career as Spiderman.

So am I even a soccer mom if only one of my kids plays soccer?!

Saving the world, one chip bag at a time.

By | Community, Jen Robbins

I’m so sure I’m going to enviro-hell.  I am so guilted by the environmental impact of children – starting with the diapers and wipes as a baby and then entering into cheap plastic toy hell with all the goody-bags and Happy Meals and Kinder Eggs.

I try to find appropriate homes for the things we no longer want; I store away toys that are missing pieces (because one day, that piece will show up), until one day I simply give up and turf anything that no longer interests my kids into the garbage because I’m just sick of all the stuff.  (And I’m cheap!  I do not buy STUFF!  How does it seep into my household?!)

Anyway, I am a pretty avid recycle police, making sure the correct things are recycling and correcting my fellow neighbours when they tell others that they can definitely recycle Styrofoam and other such blatant recycle fibs.  (They might TAKE the Styrofoam if it’s in your recycle bin, but it just messes up the recycling system and costs us more down the road.  You’re doing it wrong.  Don’t I sound like a fun neighbour?!)

So I was over the moon with giddy recycle nerd happiness when I heard that all kinds of new things are going to be accepted at the recycling depot.  Chip bags, granola bar wrappers, ziploc bags, bubble wrap and those net bags that carry your avocados will all be recyclable at one of these locations!

Lucky for me, one is very close to my home.  My system is that I turf everything into a cardboard box in my garage, and when it’s full it goes in my trunk.  Then, I drive around with it for 7 to 10 days.  (Even though I stop at the Shoppers NEXT to the recycling depot every other day for milk, it only occurs to me as I am pulling away that I was supposed to pop in).   Eventually, at some point, I pop inside and dump out the glass jars, batteries, lightbulbs, and old cords/electronics in their area inside the recycling depot.  Now I can just add the “flexible plastics” (that’s what us official world-saving recyclers call those chip bags) and reduce my garbage size!

I’m not going to lie, part of the motivation for recycling is because we literally fill up our giant garbage bins every 2 weeks, even though I mad compost and as briefly mentioned above, recycle HARD.  It’s embarrassing! So aside from being committed to recycling everything in this piece, I’m going to work on being more committed to no waste where I can.  No little bags, no to-go coffee cups, as little packaging as possible!  I hope you’ll join me!