Dollar Store Toddler Easter Basket Ideas & Why I Didn’t Mind Spending $50

Sometimes, I don’t even recognize myself.

Easter is going to be lit this year.

See, normally I couldn’t care less about Easter (minus the four-day weekend and chocolate everything), as our little family is a big ol’ pile of sinners. I also typically loathe feeling obligated to buy stuff that we don’t need whenever a big holiday rolls around.

But two weeks ago, when I walked into The Dollar Store for dish sponges and came out with $50 worth of Easter bounty for my two year old — I realized that I’m no longer the person I used to be.

I’m one of those moms now.

And for the first time since I was a toddler myself, I’m actually excited for Easter.

Dad & I rocking Easter hard in the 80s.

I finally get it.

I finally get what all the fuss was about. You know, all those times when your parents used to say, “One day, you’ll understand.”

There’s something remarkable about watching your child experience something for the first time.

That first taste of chocolate cake on his first birthday.

Opening presents from Santa Claus on Christmas morning.

Hunting for Easter Eggs after the Easter Bunny stops by during the early days of spring.

I feel lucky, because this is one of those things that not everyone gets a shot at. That isn’t lost on me. These are those rare moments when being a parent stops being scary and frustrating and exhausting, and for a brief moment, you remember.

Through their eyes, you suddenly remember when things were easy and simple and full of magic. You remember the time before — before life showed up and the clouds rolled in. Before you knew what worry and stress and poor life decisions and property taxes were.

So yeah, I take it back.

I am not sorry, for any of this.

Now let’s find out what I spent my money on when I should really be saving for the new baby.

WHAT’S IN MY TODDLER’S EASTER BASKET

1. Paw Patrol MASHEMS

$3.50 each.

For the longest time, my son was absolutely mental for Paw Patrol. He’s mostly moved on to Thomas the Tank Engine now, but once in a while, he’ll decide he’s interested in the adventures in Adventure Bay again, which is why I grabbed a few of these weird, gross little things. MASHEMS are basically just squishy, stretchy toys that vaguely resemble a beloved cartoon character. Mash away, kids.

2. Thomas & Friends Blind Bag

One surprise engine, $1.50.

Thomas is the flavour of the week, and for $1.50, you can’t go wrong. These toys are perfect for hiding inside of eggs, too. Which beloved Island of Sodor weirdo is inside? I can’t wait to find out.

3. VARIOUS Easter Themed Toddler Activities

Paint book, $2.50 | Easter Themed Stickers, $2.75

This one checks off two boxes. Not only are these full of tacky Easter cheer, they’re also good for fine tuning those adorable little toddler motor skills, and a lot better than slapping an iPad in front of him for an hour when I inevitably need a mommy time out. I apologize in advance to my mother-in-law, who will probably be scrubbing tiny paint smudges off of her floors and peeling stickers off her walls for the remainder of the weekend.

4. Random Boy Toys & Book

Book, $3.00 | Bubbles, $1.25 | Sunglasses, $1.25 | Hot Wheels, $3.00 | Bouncy Balls, $1.25 |            Paw Patrol Playing Cards, $2.00 | Washable Markers, $1.50 | Creepy Bugs, $1.25

This pack has everything: reading and art supplies, the need for speed, gross bugs, and cool shades. This collection should keep him busy for around five minutes. Ah, five minutes alone on the toilet — bliss!

5. Different sized Plastic Eggs & Basket

Basket, $1.50 | Plastic Eggs, $3.00

Rain or shine, this kid is going hunting for hella eggs this weekend. I’m more excited for this than the time I got to sleep past 6 a.m. (that was this morning).

6. Candy and Chocolate

Maynards Gummies, $1.50 | Jellybeans, $1.25 | Chocolate Bunny, $1.25 | Chocolate Eggs, $2.50

Obligatory. I could have gone way more overboard than this, but the important thing here is that this is still way too much candy for a two year old to consume on his own, so he’ll need some assistance. I grudgingly accept this role.

Happy Easter everyone, and remember the true reason for the season: the opportunity to buy your child’s love.

I stopped wearing makeup to work and so should you

Since entering the rat race ten years ago, I have held five full-time jobs.

Now before you try to calculate exactly just how much of a professional flight risk I am, peep this stat: up until this year, I’ve never gone a day without wearing makeup to every single one of those jobs.

Sick as a dog?

Full head of makeup.

Hungover to the point where I probably shouldn’t have even driven to work?

Full head of makeup.

Literally about to give birth right at my desk?

Full head of makeup.

I’m talking the whole gamut – liquid foundation, concealer, powder, blush, bronzer, eye shadow, mascara and lip gloss. At this point, I’ve probably put the founders’ offspring from Shopper’s Drug Mart, Sephora and MAC’s through college.

I get up at six o’clock in the morning just to give myself enough time to shower and put on my predominantly drugstore-brand façade that in theory, is supposed to present me as a human female, but in reality, probably makes me look a lot more like Mimi from the Drew Carey Show.

mimi

Screw the extra sleep. Screw breakfast. Time to look club ready as I sit hunched over in a windowless office surrounded by cheap fluorescent lighting for the next eight hours!

When I became a mom, wearing makeup every day to work became harder and harder to justify, but I kept doing it anyway. Force of habit? Maybe. Lack of confidence? Likely. Self-absorption? Most definitely.

I recently started a new job (with a window office!), working for a small communications firm with an all-female roster of unbelievably talented powerhouses. Truthfully, for the longest time, I couldn’t fathom the president’s decision to bring me on board. I felt completely inadequate and legitimately questioned her sanity when it came to the hiring process.

But here’s the rub: when someone takes a chance on you, it’s probably not because they like the way you accent your cheekbones.

And as I got to know these women more and more, they made me realize something about myself that I’m ashamed to admit: I cared far too much about what people thought of my physical appearance, for far too long.

A decade too long, in fact.

See, my new colleagues didn’t care about my uneven skin tone, my blemishes, and oh-so-dark under-eye circles. They didn’t care if I moisturized, powdered my nose, or drew a line across my eyelids. They cared that I showed up, did a good job, and contributed to the company in a meaningful way.

So I stopped.

For the first time in a decade, I actually stopped putting makeup on every morning.

It’s glorious, guys. I’m as free as Alicia Keys, and I only wish I had the confidence – and the courage – to do this sooner.

Now, I get a few extra minutes of blissful slumber each morning. I don’t have to stare at my reflection longer than absolutely required. And the best part is I use the extra time in the morning to eat breakfast with my son before I wrestle him into his coat, pack his bag, and drop him off at daycare for nine consecutive hours.

Look, I’m not against wearing makeup at all – to work, or anywhere else. Not by a long shot. If we’re being honest, I haven’t given up wearing it to work completely: part of my job occasionally requires me to look like I’m not a homeless meth addict, so when duty calls, I’ll run a curling iron through my hair, put on a blazer, and gussy up my drawn, tired-as-all-hell mommy-mug.

And if I get the exceedingly rare opportunity to leave my house for a night out with my partner or my girlfriends, I refuse to subject them or the general public to my blotchy, ghoulish complexion. Besides, wearing makeup makes me feel good – it elevates my mood, and gives me a confidence boost that is so needed during these dark, exhausting pregnancy days.

I’m fortunate. I have the privilege of working somewhere that I’m not required, nor expected, to put on filtered mask every day. Many professional women don’t have this luxury, and I cannot overstate how grateful I am to be part of a team that nurtures this environment.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go let my toddler run his hands all over my face with absolutely no consequences.

Toddler hands don’t have germs, right?

amy-schumer-makeup

Watch Amy Schumer’s “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup” here.

Mommy and the terrible, horrible, no good very sad brain

Somehow, I miraculously dodged the postpartum depression bullet like a ninja wearing a giant diaper-pad after the birth of my son.

I’m not sure how I did it, to be honest.

So many things went wrong those first few months that I should have been thrown into a pit of despair, starting with the unplanned c-section I still get choked up talking about.

Maybe I just didn’t have room for PPD.

Maybe something else was in the way.

Unfortunately, we’re all out of PPD at the moment, but would you like to try the suppressed grief instead?

From the unplanned c-section recovery, to the Great Breastfeeding Battle of 2014, to the most terrifying milk protein allergy hospital ordeal of all time, I still wonder how I came out of that first year relatively unscathed.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, a staggering amount of new mothers aren’t quite so lucky.

As many as 20% of new moms experience varying degrees of PPD, and as many as 80% experience a mild form, known as the “baby blues”. Symptoms include overwhelming sadness, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, sleeplessness and trouble bonding with the baby. If these symptoms persist and are left untreated, this type of depression can last for months, or even years after the baby is born. For the handful of women I have personally known to fight this battle openly, I also know that there are just as many, if not more, who choose to fight behind closed doors.

I happen to know a little about the latter.

When my father died, I shoved it all away. I refused to talk to anyone, and the worst part was that the grief I declined to acknowledge was compounded when I experienced recurrent pregnancy loss a short time later.

So if you’re reading this and you’re going through some pretty heavy stuff – PPD, grief, anxiety or literally anything else – I want you to know that you can reach out to me, anytime. Leave a message below, email me at rebecca@rebeccaford.co, or if you know me in real life, get in touch.

But I also want you to know a couple more things, and I’m not going to go easy on you.

1. You are not brave.
I say this with love, because I know what it’s like trying to do this alone. It won’t work, and it won’t get better, I promise. Fighting alone isn’t you being fearless, it’s you being stubborn. Asking for help takes real courage. Reaching out is brave.

2. Burying your feelings isn’t cute.
I wish I sought help a long time ago, when I needed it the most. Instead of dealing with my feelings in a healthy, adult way, I have always been more comfortable burying them, or burying them at the bottom of a box of wine. As you can imagine, it’s been highly ineffective. I know you may be shocked to hear this, but burying your feelings doesn’t actually allow you to feel anything at all. It masks the pain, and until you feel each loss—I mean really feel it—you will always be stuck in that pit I mentioned earlier. Don’t get stuck there. It’s uglier than you could ever imagine.

Don’t tell me to “get over it” unless you want a drop kick to the back of the head

As I sat in my midwife’s office today wiping away tears that seemingly came out of nowhere, I felt completely humiliated.

It’s been two years. Why can’t you get the hell over it? I scolded myself. Crying in front of complete strangers is easily in the top-three most humiliating things to do in public, next to sneeze-farting and getting your period in a white skirt.

I digress.

We’re just constantly told to “get over it”, and I have no idea whyWe are told this so much that today, I was actually angry at myself for not “getting over” a traumatic birth experience that happened to me two years ago. But feelings aren’t simply something you can turn off, like flipping a light switch, or that time I found out that Johnny Depp hit women.

(You’re dead to me, Johnny).

Bad breakup? Get over it.

Stressed out at work? Get over it.

Simply feeling sad about life? Get over it.

“Get over it” and “move on” are the boilerplate poster children of bad advice, and frankly, I’m sick of hearing them. Believe me, if someone could just “get over it”, they would. No one wants to lie in bed all day with the curtains drawn, wallowing in anger, sadness or grief.

So here’s an idea.

How about instead of asking people, women, moms and everyone in between to “get over it” and “move on”, we say, “Hey, let’s talk about it,” instead?

How about that?


January 25th is Bell Let’s Talk Day, a special day each year designed to bring awareness to mental health issues in Canada. To learn more, click here.

bell_lavie

Great, another mommy blogger

If you’ve clicked on the link to this post, I thank you, from the bottom of my tiny, black heart.

No, truly.

The fact that you have made the conscious effort to read this drivel in lieu of any number of infinitely more interesting activities is a testament to how much you value me as a human being, and — hey, where are you going?

For those of you who are left, welcome. You’ve made it a lot further than most people, mainly those who rolled their eyes/ignored my status as I shamelessly plugged this blog on social media.

So let’s get started.

Why unfit-mom.com?

I know what you’re thinking: Becca, what could unfit-mom.com possibly offer me?

First of all, what makes you think I’m doing this for you? Get over yourself.

I write because I love to write and frankly, this blog may be the only legacy I leave my children.

But if we’re being honest, I feel like a complete failure 99% of the time. Sometimes, I seriously believe that I’m breaking the world record for the number of ways I’m botching parenthood. So if I write anything at all here that makes you feel something, commiserate, laugh, fart, or laugh-fart, it will all be worth it.

In conclusion, I really do hope to see you back here, because frankly, I need the exposure.

And maybe a foot rub, if you’re offering.