How to get your parenting mojo back

Mojo: a power that may seem magical and that allows someone to be very effective, successful – Miriam-Webster Dictionnary

In high school, I passed Calculus with an A+. I was no math whiz – I went on to scrape by in algebra and geometry, and my mathematical hopes were dashed when I crossed paths with statistics in university.

But that A+ was an incredible high. I would sit down with my calculus homework every night, excited to solve those little puzzles. The x’s and y’s would zip across my brain’s neural pathways with sparks flying. I would scribble down the answers and hoot with joy at my genius.

Something magical was afoot.

When we excel at a task, we often say we have mojo. Oh sure, we’re also working really hard, and we can’t attribute all of our success to magic. But talk to any Olympian or successful business owner, and they will describe a magical moment when they won the race, won the bid, or conquered a challenge.


People often describe parenting as the “hardest job you’ll ever do.” In some ways, this is true. We aren’t resuscitating patients in the ER, or saving people from burning buildings – we’re doing something a lot more monotonous, with very little positive feedback. And so finding your “mojo” in parenting can be tricky.

I think I lose my parenting mojo on a regular basis. My whole life has been about hard work; I train myself to do something, I repeat that skill over and over until I have mastered it, and then I am done. It’s a clear, linear path to success.

In contrast, parenting is like entering a corn maze. You are often lost, sweaty, and cursing your way through it. Occasionally you will find a bright and open spot in the middle of the maze – a sense of calm amid the confusion. You will sit in that place to rest for a while, until it’s time to find your way back out. Sometimes you can get lost in that maze for days or weeks.

How do we stop ourselves from going in circles around the parenting maze? How do we all find those magical moments in parenting that will keep us fueled through the hard work?  It’s not simple, but here are a few tricks I’ve learned along the way.

1)  Get together with friends who have kids – nothing makes us feel better than to commiserate with other parents. None of us knows what we’re doing, and it’s so comforting to flounder in that failure together.

2) Get together with friends who do NOT have kids – it’s an amazing opportunity to focus on life outside of parenting. The conversation won’t revolve around sleep schedules or your child’s behavior at school – you may find yourself chatting politics or social issues! Imagine that!

3) Do something creative: if you can't find your parenting mojo, then go find some magic in another area of your life. We live in a world full of opportunities! The other day I decided I wanted to try ballet, despite the fact that the last ballet class I took was 30 years ago. And guess what? There IS such a thing as a beginner adult ballet class! Think about a skill you’ve always wanted to learn, and then go find a class.

4) Get out in nature: if you want to experience mojo, there is no better place than the outdoors. Our kids need nature too. Try hiking, camping, or paddling – wherever you can, seek peace and quiet, without the distraction of our fast-paced world.

5) And speaking of a fast-paced world, try turning off your technology for a day or two. I'm all for gadgets and social media, but in moderation. There is no better way to stimulate your creative mind than to shut the computer down and turn to a different task - drawing, painting, whatever!

I hate to tell you this, but your parenting mojo will not always be accessible. It’s impossible to parent children and feel that magical connection at all times of the day. In fact, you may only experience fleeting mojo – the moments when your child does really well at school or in an activity, or when you witness their kindness towards a friend, or when you are snuggling with them in bed after a long day. Make those moments what you seek – your mojo will find you in the end.

Ottawa: Come Play with Peekaboo Beans

*The following is a sponsored post from Peekaboo Beans, a wonderful Canadian company making ethical children's clothing for children who love to play!

For some moms, heading back to work after maternity leave is an easy decision. But for others, more time at home with the little one (or ones!) is the best choice for the whole family. Money is often an issue, which is why many mothers (or in the case of some families, fathers) look for income opportunities that allow flexibility to stay at home with the kids.

Peekaboo Beans, a Canadian children's clothing company, wants you to learn more about work opportunities for stay-at-home parents (dads, this includes you too!) Peekaboo Beans sells adorable clothing that:

  • kids love to wear
  • holds their value
  • is made in an ethical fashion
  • is great for children with sensitive skin 
  • is free from harmful toxins
  • is super comfy and FUN to wear!

Here are two amazing opportunities this weekend to have FUN and LEARN MORE:

Meet Peekaboo Beans Breakfast

Join Peekaboo Beans Founder & CEO, Traci Costa this Saturday from 9-10am at La Charette (460 West Hunt Club at Merivale) for an informal breakfast and coffee chat to learn about the Peekaboo Beans Independent Play Stylist opportunity. Traci will talk about what it looks like to own your own rolling retail boutique and it’s earning potential. If you LOVE it as much as we do, you can stay for a day of training! (optional)

As an Independent Play Stylist, you can have a home-based business and be the parent who can juggle family and career with confidence. Better still, you can:

- Sell a children's clothing brand that you can feel good about

- Be part of a mission that believes in PLAY and nurtures children near and far

- Be part of a community of parents, friends, coaches and other support people

-Achieve your ideal work and life balance with Peekaboo Beans! 

Register by clicking here

We can't wait to meet you!

Ottawa! Come Play With Us!

Bring your kids and join Peekaboo Beans stylists, customers and our Founder & Director of Play, Traci Costa, for a Pop-Up Play Date this Sunday. 

When: Sunday November 29th, 9:30am - 11:30am
Location: Monkey Around Play and Learning Centre, 1650 Queensdale Avenue, Ottawa

Hope to see you all there!

Connect with for more information.

“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.” ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce


Prepare to be Dazzled: Christmas Lights Across Canada

Christmas lights are going on all around the city. My toddler loves pointing out all the brightly lit houses as we drive by. We tend to get our lights up and on by December 1st, although our backyard tree has been twinkling away for a couple of weeks now. The shorter days can make us all a little grumpy (ok, fine, it might just be me,) but I smile every time I look outside and see our little tree lit up. It's tough when the sun goes down at 4:30 p.m.

Despite the warm and rainy weather we've been having, preparations are underway for Christmas in downtown Ottawa. Crews are busy getting lights ready for the Official  Illumination Ceremony on Parliament Hill on December 2nd at 7 p.m. This is a launch that marks the 31st edition of The Christmas Lights Across Canada (CLAC) program*, which will run from December 2, 2015 to January 7, 2016.

Parliament Projection show

The program was launched in 1985 to highlight landmarks along Confederation Boulevard, including Parliament Hill, National Capital Commission (NCC) sites, national museums, institutions, monuments, embassies and other prominent institutions. These beautiful light displays add vibrancy to the Capital during the LONG winter months and kick off the holiday season in Canada’s Capital Region.

Ottawa Lights

In December, most provincial and territorial capital cities hold an illumination ceremony, and I love to think of all the lights going on together across our beautiful country.

Not only will you see the town sprinkled with 100,000 extra lights this year, but there will be a new winter lightscape projection show that will be presented on Parliament buildings every night from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. through until January 7th. Just like the amazing show that gets put on every summer, you will see a projection onto Parliament, including holiday images, lights and enhanced pyrotechnics. The kids will be blown away!

Winterscape Ottawa

Come join Kids in the Capital on December 2nd as we watch the illumination ceremony together. There will be a large screen which will air holiday wishes from all 13 Premiers and
a performance by Measha Bruggergosman. PLUS, free hot chocolate and Beaver Tails - yum!

Fireworks Ottawa

So to help get out of your November funk, let's brighten things up a bit and celebrate the beauty of Canada!

Will you join us on December 2nd? 

*This is a sponsored post from the Christmas Lights Across Canada Program brought to you by the Government of Canada. All opinions are our own.

An Epic Holiday Outing in Ottawa

*This post is sponsored by Shenkman Arts Centre, who we LOVE for their amazing children's programming. It's true that Kids in the Capital may be a little biased about Orleans...perhaps because the whole team lives here!

What do the Shenkman Arts Centre, pizza and Santa's Parade of Lights all have in common? On November 28th, these three things will come together for the ultimate family holiday experience in Orleans!

Shenkman proudly presents the Mermaid Theatre production Goodnight Moon & Runaway Bunny. Halifax's Mermaid Theatre has earned international acclaim for its unique interpretations of the works of Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), Leo Lionni (Swimmy, Frederick & Inch by Inch) and Sam McBratney (Guess How Much I Love You). They bring books to life on stage, using puppets and original music. A huge hit for children ages 3 - 8.

The Runaway Bunny

Our copy of Goodnight Moon is so well-loved. The binding has come loose and the little board book has been chewed many times by a drooly toddler. But at 3 and 6 years old, my girls still get a kick out of this bedtime story. And although we haven't read it, I hear that Runaway Bunny is equally charming - a story about a little bunny's pretend tale about leaving home.

Goodnight moon

The show starts at 4 p.m., but you may want to get to Shenkman a bit early to check out their annual Baz’Art Holiday Sale. This art event is FREE and starts at 11 a.m. (you may find some great Christmas gift ideas!)

And if THAT weren't enough, Orleans has its annual Santa's Parade of Lights running that evening! To make the Goodnight Moon & Runaway Bunny show extra special, Shenkman is putting on a pizza dinner for concert goers before you head over to see the parade.

So whether you live in Olreans or out in the West end, you definitely want to plan to spend the whole day in this part of town.

Buy Your Tickets

Head over to the website and you'll get all the info. Tickets are $26 for premium seats and $21 for regular. The pizza dinner is $5 per person. And of course, our beloved Parade of Lights is free for all!

Will you be there? Comment and let me know, as I'll be there too!


The Holidays in Ottawa: 25 things to do under $25

My brother lives in Calgary and posted this article on his Facebook page the other day. What a great idea!! I wanted to go one step further and gather TWENTY ideas for under $20 for the entire family. That proved rather difficult, as many activities added up to $23 or even $24. So voila, 25 things under $25! Keep in mind that this is probably biased towards families with 2 children, but I'm positive you can sneak in 3 or 4 children without a big additional cost.

The following list of activities and events are those that you can do in the weeks leading up to the holidays, and the weeks you have off together as a family (at least I hope most of you are getting some vacation time!) Have anything to add? Leave a comment and tell me what it is!

1) Vintage Village of Lights at the Cumberland Museum: Go back in time to experience an old-fashioned Christmas. Cost: $18 for a family pass (2 adults and all of your children!)

2) Christmas Lights Across Canada (CLAC) program: a new sponsor on the blog, this program will be launched with an official illumination ceremony held on Parliament Hill on December 2nd at 7 p.m. Stay tuned to the blog for more details in the coming days! Cost: FREE!

3) A walk through Confederation Park and hot chocolate. If you miss the illumination ceremony in #2, you can still head downtown and see the lights! There will also be a brand NEW projection show playing on Parliament Hill, and I can't wait to tell you more about it with the launch! Cost: under $20 for 4 hot chocolates

4) The Ottawa Farmer's Market Christmas Market. Some delectable delights can be found at this central market in Ottawa. If heading down to Lansdowne isn't your thing, there are Christmas markets ALL over town including North Gower, Cumberland, and even one at the Canadian Museum of History! Cost: FREE, unless you spend a lot of money on gifts and treats - can't help you with that one :)

5) Sledding: there are hills all over the region, and here's a handy map on the City of Ottawa's website. I've heard Walter Baker Park has some great sledding!

6) Snowshoe or hike in Gatineau Park: Gatineau has one of the largest trail networks in North America with 60km of snowshoe trails! Cost: this will vary depending on whether you own snowshoes or not. Day passes to Gatineau Park will run you $17. If you have young kids, a short winter hike might be a better option.

7) FUNHaven: I've never been, but this is apparently the best place in Ottawa to beat the winter blues (and entertain the kiddos while they're off school). Cost: you load a card and spend what you want on games, as there's no entrance fee! Give each child $12 and set them free.

Me at Toy Mountain last year!

Me at Toy Mountain last year!

8) Volunteer at Toy Mountain: I had a chance to support this great cause last year, and I would highly recommend you check it out as a family (especially with older kids who understand the significance of volunteer work.) Email for more information. Cost: your time.

9) Skating on an outdoor rink: is there anything more romantic than skating outside in the winter? Your little puffs of breath in the air, the bright stars....and ya, okay, the freezing toes and whining children. Do it anyway - it's a great memory for them :) There is a lovely rink at Lansdowne and the Governor General's Residence Cost: Free, but you need skates. If you don't own skates, borrow a pair!

10) Build a snow fort! Cost: free!

11) Taffy Lane: there's no website for this, but here is Taffy Lane on Google Maps. This is a street in Orleans that goes light-crazy every year, and people drive from all over to catch a glimpse. It's super tacky, but news flash: kids love tacky!! Cost: FREE!

12) Christmas carolling: Gather up a few families in the neighbourhood and sing your heart out! Choose some easy carols that younger kids can sing along to, and make sure to dress up! End the evening with a warm mug of cocoa back at your place. Cost: free 

13) Santa Claus Parades: here's a good roundup of parades around town. The picture above is our evening out last year at the Parade of Lights here in Orleans. If you look closely you'll spot a little pug in my arms :) Cost: a donation to the firefighters if you wish to make one.

14) Visit the Mint! Get a sneak peek into where hand-crafted coins get developed and made - a great activity for your budding engineer! Cost: $15 per family on weekdays, and $11.50 on weekends

15) Almonte's Light up the Night: You might know how much we love Almonte here at Kids in the Capital. I lust about moving out there! This is a fantastic night, hosted by none other than Wayne Rostad! Cost: free!

16) Wagon rides at Byward market: this market come alive with Christmas spirit over the holidays. You can get a free wagon ride, and listen to local carolers from choirs all across Ottawa. Cost: Free!

17) Cut down a Christmas tree: we try to do this every year - there's something so special about a real Christmas tree (although yes, yes I know some of you love your plastic!). It's the experience that counts, and there's nothing better than a cold walk through the woods and hot chocolate after carrying your tree back to the car. There are places all around Ottawa, but our favourite is Briggs Trees out in the East end. Cost: Depends! Do you want a Charlie Brown tree or something more majestic?

18) Elves of the Estate: do your kids love to dress up? Get them a pair of Elf ears and head over to Billings Estate for a party with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Saturday December 19th, 2015, from 10am to 4pm. Cost: $16 per family

19) Mayor's Christmas Party: this annual bash is held at Ottawa City Hall and is a fun-filled afternoon with skating, free beavertails, live performances and more. Cost: free, and OC Transpo rides there are free too!

20) Olde Fashioned Christmas in Manotick: I've never been, but this event looks fantastic! Shop for crafts, see Santa, get a wagon ride or listen to carollers! Cost: free, unless you want to do some shopping and eating!

21) Photos with Santa: Santa Pierre at Place D'Orleans has been around for many years, and is a favourite for young children. I've never been successful at getting my kids to sit with Santa, but we still enjoy going to look at him from a safe distance ;) Cost: digital photos for $15

22) Go see a movie! I have so many wonderful memories seeing movies with my parents over the holidays. Rainbow Cinemas ($25 per family, cheaper on Tuesdays) and Cine Starz ($20 per family) are great affordable options.

Gingerbread House

23) Build a gingerbread house: Sure, they're messy, and your kids may end up eating all the candy pieces, but still fun to do, right? If you're REALLY crafty, you could get your own molds and bake it all from scratch, or you could be lazy like me and buy a kit from Bulk Barn! Cost: varies, depending on how big and elaborate you want to get!

24) Visit the National Gallery of Canada: it's not the first museum I think of for young children, but people of all ages can appreciate art. Cost: $24 for the family

25) Too tired to do any more activities? Stay home, put on Elf and pig out on homemade caramel popcorn. Stoke the fire and hug your loved ones.