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Our New Adventure

Dear lovely readers,

As you know we have been a bit quiet at Mommy Culture recently. As much as we enjoy sharing our stories and opinions about parenting and other topics, we have also been working on something more close to our hearts and something we have always been passionate about.

We are very excited to present “Thai Pongal” a children’s book in English and Tamil to help them understand the customs and traditions of Thai Pongal (Tamil Harvest Festival). For more information and to purchase the book, please contact us at theculturechest@gmail.com. Thank you for your support.

That moment when your kindergartener talks about school lockdowns

The first time I heard my 3 year old daughter talk about hiding in the bathroom at school I was confused, but definitely not frightened. I often have to put the pieces of her stories together to understand the context. Even though she is a well-articulated child, she is still a super excited little girl who likes to ramble on about a million things at once, some imaginary stories mixed in.

So when she mentioned that they had to hide in the bathroom for a drill it really did not click in. It was only recently when she used the word ‘lockdown’, it finally occurred to me what it was. Oh that terrible word that we have come to hate in recent years from all the mass shootings in schools down south.

When your 3 year old tells you that she had to hide in the bathroom for a lockdown drill it conjures up the worst images. It finally sank in for me. My little girl is now out in the world facing real-life situations. There is no safe bubble anymore. There are issues like stranger danger, bullying, peer pressure and of course school lockdowns to worry about. I just can’t imagine the poor children in a kindergarten class trying to understand why they have to hide quietly in the bathroom on the dirty floor contrary to what they are normally told, and the teacher who feels the responsibility of these little lives under her care.

Thankfully my daughter did not seem scared. Perhaps they did it like a game. I highly doubt the kids in her class realized what they were actually preparing for – a random act of violence by someone with an utter disregard for people’s lives.

It is mandatory for all publicly funded school boards in Ontario to establish a lockdown policy and conduct lockdown drills. I never had to go through a lockdown drill growing up so it makes me feel really sad to know that our children have to prepare for such situations. I dread that moment when I may get a call that the school is in lockdown. I pray that it will never happen as it is a parent’s worse nightmare. But of course, we must prepare ourselves for the possibility of such threats to our children as they are now a part of their reality.

…Saumea…

O Canada!

O Canada, our home, our paradise. This land we call home has taken us in with open arms and given us the wings we needed to fly high. Any immigrant will vouch for this. We left our home land for many reasons and walked into this country without the language or knowledge of how to survive. This country that I call home now, gave me everything. It gave me freedom, it gave me education and it gave me a great community. I am who I am because of what Canada has done for me. I hold my head high and proudly say that I am Canadian. Pride and joy fills my heart to know that I belong to this wonderful country. I am a Canadian citizen and I love my country. Happy Birthday Canada! To many years more.

Do you have mommy guilt?

As mothers we tend to feel guilty for taking time out for ourselves especially when there are very young children dependent on us. I’m no exception to this. I love to take time out for myself whether it be to exercise, or for a night out with the girls. But many times I do feel guilty about leaving the kids behind especially because my son is still an infant.

However, something another mom said recently just stuck to me. This momma said “I don’t feel guilty when I take time out for myself because I’m a great mom to them when I’m with them”.

First of all I admire her confidence. It’s wonderful that she felt like she was completely devoted to her kids and was doing a great job.

I realized that this is how every mom should really feel. When we are with our kids we should really “be with them”. Instead of tuning out on TV shows, cell phones or getting buried in household chores, we should really spend time observing, listening and participating with our children. It doesn’t mean that those who do get buried in their chores don’t care about their kids or are any less mothers. But perhaps the guilty feeling many of us have when we take time out for ourself has to do with trying to juggle multiple things.

When we are with our kids there is always cleaning, cooking and house chores that prevent us from interacting with them more than we want to. What if those chores are made to wait? What if the cooking was all done on the weekend and you only have to reheat your meal in half the time? What happens when there are no distractions getting in the way of you simply sitting there doing puzzles with your child all day because that’s all he/she wants? Perhaps it may be a little easier for us to take a little “break”  without feeling guilty.

I know it’s easier said than done as I am one of those who always try to juggle multiple things at once. No matter how much we plan ahead kids always throw a curveball. A house with children always needs cleaning..there’s always someone who is hungry, who needs a snack or a drink..there’s always laundry to be done. But if we remind ourself to put some of those chores on hold once in a while and just devote the time to getting down to the kids level and doing things with them that they really want then maybe we an eliminate those guilty feelings when all we want to do is spend some time alone without the kids.

As mothers we should definitely not feel guilty about taking the time out for ourselves, however we may wish to spend that time. Those “me” times are important for us to rejuvenate our minds, better ourselves and ultimately be better parents to our children.

Safe sunscreens for 2015

Every year as the weather warms up and sunny days get longer we start thinking about proper sun care for ourselves and our children. Over the years regular drug store favourites like Coppertone and Banana Boat have come under scrutiny for containing toxic chemical ingredients. With the switch to more mineral based sunblocks that contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, there is a myriad of choices that makes choosing a safe sunscreen daunting to us parents. (check out our previous post on safe sunscreens for your little ones).

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has come out with its recommendations again for the best sunscreens for kids. These products do not contain potential hormone disruptors. As before, the recommendation is to stick to products containing zinc and/or titanium and stay away from those containing oxybenzone or vitamin A.

Here’s a great post on 9 safe sunscreens for kids from EWG’s top picks some of which can be picked up at the drug store.

Also, make sure to check out EWG’s sunscreen guide for 2015 for a more exhaustive list of sunscreens for the whole family.

9 Safe Sunscreens For Kids

  1. Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Mineral Block Face Stick, SPF 50
  2. MDSolarSciences Mineral Lotion For Face and Body Sunscreen, SPF 50
  3. Babyganics Mineral-Based Sunscreen, SPF 50+
  4. Honest Sunscreen
  5. Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream, Chamomile and Calendula, SPF 30
  6. Thinkbaby Sunscreen, SPF 30+
  7. Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen, SPF 30
  8. Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Sunscreen For Kids, Unscented, SPF 45
  9. TruKid Sunny Days Sport Sunscreen, SPF 30+

Enjoy your sunny days safely!

…Saumea…