We’re back in Costa Rica and that means back to blogging. After taking the summer off to plan and prepare for our trip I am happy to return with this September M.O.M. post. I know, I know it’s October but balancing life, packing, kids and play is not easy and it involves forgiving yourself for things that don’t work out as planned, and planning ahead so most things do! One thing I love about this M.O.M. is her ability to know what is important for her and her family and make the choices so she is set up for success. This mentality allowed her to regain her “ME” time when her twins were just babies, control her work schedule and facilitate a smooth move from Canada to Australia. It wasn’t “easy”, she’s not “perfect”, she just made the right choices for her family and it has made all the difference! Meet LINDSAY everyone!
What is your favourite thing to do on the weekend?
With kids: We love to do outings – like going to a zoo or the aquarium. Recently we have been going to kid friendly wineries with a group of friends. Without kids: going to yoga and brunch with a girlfriend.
What was the last event you bought a ticket and went to?
I went out with a girlfriend to the musical the Lion King a couple of months ago.
Where is your “happy place” or “happy activity” right now?
My happy activity is yoga for sure. Such a peaceful calm break in the day. Saturday morning is my favourite time, really sets a nice tone for the weekend.
How did you find out you were having twins?
We found out we were having twins at our 9 week ultra sound. It was a pretty big surprise!
What was the general reaction from your partner/your family and friends?
My husband and I starting laughing and running through all the things we thought we would need to change in our life! Turns out we are pretty adapatable and didn’t need to make all the changes we thought – we continued to live in our 900 sq ft condo, continued to do ski weekends with friends. The only thing that really needed to change was we needed a bigger car! Friends and family were all very excited and very supportive!
How old are the twins now?
The twins are now 3 years old.
What similarities and differences do you notice at this age?
Although they look exactly the same they have very very different personalities, that have been distinct since birth. They both love to engage in role playing – mommy and baby, they love dress up and they love arts and crafts. They both are good at different crafting activities and one is definitely more extroverted than the other.
How did you make time for yourself when the twins were little?
We had a LOT of help. We were fortunate enough to have family in town that was extremely supportive, and we decided to invest in night help for the first 3 months which made our days more manageable and gave us energy – my husband for his work, and me to get up and about with the girls. I tried to have 30 mins to an hour a day of “me” time where I went for a run, went to yoga or went to run errands.
How have you continued to make time for yourself and your health?
Making time for myself makes me a better mom. Working is important to me, so I slowly re-entered the workforce and created roles that would work for me and my employer. I have been fortunate to work with companies that were supportive of my need for a non-traditional schedule (e.g. working 9 am to 3pm, and working my way to 30 hours over 5 days flex time by the time they were 3). I also try to maintain my exercise schedule, which is tricky and evolving but I am committed to doing activities I enjoy 3 to 5 times a week. I aim for 5 and it usually ends up being 3, 4 on a good week of sleep.
How did you prepare (you and the twins) for your move to Australia?
We made the decision to bring help with us when we moved, and also that I would be off work for the first 3 to 4 months at minimum. We sent our Canadian nanny 2 days ahead of us so that when we got off the flight with 18 month old twins we had someone refreshed and familiar with us to help out. That made a huge difference in having someone to explore the city with as my husband went back to work and also helped us to get settled, find a car and a house without feeling rushed.
What are a few thoughts you can share about moving your family abroad?
The actual move and resettling takes time. If you can bring/hire help I would highly recommend it as it takes the pressure off and lets you and your partner do all the set up errands (car, house, banking, shopping) without adding the stress of kids – which actually makes it really fun! If you can accept that it is going to take time to re-establish and treat your first few months more as a holiday that also helps you get familiar with your new surroundings and enjoy being in a new place.
There are usually great resources about things to do with kids – google and find it for your new spot and start exploring that as well. We have really active toddlers that don’t nap and ask “what are we doing today” every morning, so for us it was key figuring out what would be fun for them too.
What are a few thoughts you can share about living abroad?
We love the experience of being a team and a family unit, away from all other distractions. Not having family to help means you have to have great communication and there is no easy way out on tough days so you learn to work through it.
Living in a new city with a ton to explore has been very fun and we try to take as many opportunities as we can to explore. We don’t feel homebound by young kids – we pack up for the day, weekend or week and have adventures as a family.
We still go on vacations – but make sure they are family friendly and that everyone is going to have a holiday. This may mean brining our nanny for a bit of help or finding places with a kids club where the kids also get to have a break and play. Australia is very family friendly and you usually rent houses instead of staying at resorts, and most cities have toy rentals and great lists of family friendly things to do. There are zoos and aquariums everywhere!
What have you learned about balancing both work and family life?
I have learned that employers are more flexible than most people give them credit for, and that if you are a good worker people will work around your requests – but you have to not be afraid to ask and tell them what will work for you. I have been very open about my needs and my limits (for instance I know I cannot work more than 28 to 30 hours a week – that is my capacity) and have found places to work that support this. This enables me to have time with my kids, still work, and also to have me time.
Has being a mom given you any insight or changed how you approach work now?
It hasn’t really changed the way I work as I have always looked first for places to work that match my interests and I have always been upfront about the importance of my life outside of work. I think practices those skills before I had kids put me in a situation where I was working in supportive environments and I wasn’t aftraid to be honest about what I needed.
And Finally: What was your favourite Halloween costume for the twins so far?
Haha! I am not a big dress up person so I always find Halloween challenging! My favourite costume is anything easy 🙂 The girls are dressing up as Disney princesses this year since we have all the gear and they love it.
WE’RE NOT IN THIS ALONE!!
Each month we feature a mom of multiples and share how they handle life and all the unique situations that come with parenthood. Check out previous M.O.M posts here.