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  • Tue, September 25, 2018 9:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    At MumNet, we're fortunate to have the support of some incredible volunteers. Today Kristine, a long time leader, and member answers the same five questions we always ask, about her MumNet experience.


    Name: Kristine Laco

    Group: Etobicoke MumNet II

    Why did you originally join MumNet?

    I originally joined at the suggestion of the When Baby Comes Home group run by Public Health. As our daughter was born after the registration for September, I was contacted by a member and told to keep tight, because I’d be able to register next time. That member held a group in her house for those of us on the waitlist. I remember discussing ‘What do you do for yourself every day?’ I thought I had nothing to contribute because it felt like I did nothing for myself. When all I had to say was, “I shower every day,” it was greeted with a round of applause and a lot of women wishing they could say the same. I felt part of a community that day. I loved that group so much that I was first in line at 5 am the next registration date!

    What do you love most about MumNet?

    The people you meet. You never feel alone in your parenting struggles when you have MumNetters around. There is always a shoulder to cry on that will be crying on your shoulder with the same stressful story. For those of us without family in Toronto, MumNet becomes an extended family.

    Why was being a MumNet Group leader important to you?

    I have been a leader seven years at MumNet and have been part of the MumNet mum’s for sixteen years now. I love the opportunity to introduce new mothers and members to the support network that has changed my life. It gives other mothers a chance to relax and let someone else take care of them when they feel that all they do is take care of others.

    What is one thing MumNet taught you?

    MumNet has taught me I am not alone. The mothers I met sustained me through post partum depression, my mothering insecurities, deciding not to go back to work, and now through the stress of having teenagers. Our homes and children are different, but I always feel understood and supported at our sessions and beyond.

    What would you say to other moms considering joining MumNet?

    Get registered! You don’t have to wait in line at 5 am anymore, but it is worth the effort of getting out of bed and to your computer. Not only will it change your experience of community in a world where personal connections are harder to make, but you will also be helping others through one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences they will ever be part of as you help yourself.

    We still have space in many of our Fall groups! 

    Register here and join a supportive and fun community today!

  • Mon, August 27, 2018 11:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    At MumNet, we're fortunate to have the support of some incredible volunteers. Today Daniela, a past leader, answers the same five questions we always ask, about her MumNet experience.



    Name: Daniela
    Group: Roncy I

    Why did you originally join MumNet?

    A friend told me it was one of the highlights of her mat leave. Enough said.

    What do you love most about MumNet?

    The awesome community of moms I am part of. I now have people I can go to and ask, what's this rash all about? How can I get the babe to sleep longer? Will I ever sleep more than four hours in a row again? What's the best product to deal with [insert random baby issue here]? We also plan nights out sans babies, which are always lots of fun.

    Why was being a MumNet Group Leader important to you?

    Walking into my first MumNet session was scary, and the leaders made me feel welcome and supported. I wanted to be able to do that for others. And I love organizing stuff.

    What is one thing that MumNet has taught you?

    Everything changes. Right when you think you have this whole parenting thing down, your kid will do something different. Enjoy the highs and ride out the lows. 

    What would you say to other moms considering joining MumNet?

    As Nike would say, Just Do It! It's a great (non-intimidating) way to meet people. And we serve coffee.

  • Tue, July 31, 2018 7:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Originally written by Tellent, an online community and resource for professional women to pursue flexible careers.

    Jennifer shares the ups, downs and challenges of her journey back into the workforce after a five year career break. The first step is often the hardest and her story will help you take yours.

    I have three children – ages 3, 6 and 8. I returned to the workforce after my first maternity leave (I was with TD Bank). However, after my second child was born I found I really wanted to be with these two little people more than 3 hours every night. Also, truthfully, I worried whether I could manage the stress of work coupled with the demands of raising young children. And I knew we wanted a third child in the near future.

    So, although it was an extremely difficult decision with clear financial implications, I decided to leave the paid workforce and be a full-time mom.

    By the way, this was never something I’d dreamed I’d be: a stay-at-home mom! I have three university degrees. I had been working hard to take risks and advance my career. I quite enjoyed my work, the social aspects and the salary.

    Once I had been at home for 5 years, I started to fret about the possibility of staying out of the labour market too long.

    Five years had always been my magic number (for no particular reason) and once I was in my fifth year, I got the urge to make some progress towards finding a job. I guess I got antsy and anxious about how long it would take if I waited too much longer. Also please note that I have a PhD in procrastination.

    With my two older kids in full-day school and my youngest headed for daycare, I felt the moment might be here. Now, I must qualify this “moment” was a very messy, icky, complex feeling. It wasn’t like I skipped down the yellow brick road with confidence and certainty. I felt excruciatingly guilty, confused, pressures to stay home and a lack of direction about where to begin!

    I had no mentor. I felt lost.

    I participated in the Rotman Back to Work Program, which provided a catalyst for me to overcome some of the obstacles I had placed in my own way (e.g. questions about what employers might think about my labour market absence, feeling isolated since most of my friends were working moms, doubting my prospects for success).

    I also found an excellent interview coach who helped me break through my fears of the interview process. She taught me how to respond to a variety of commonly-asked questions and how to navigate some of the really tough ones. We did a few lengthy practice interviews and I started to get my groove back. She’s also a mom, which for some reason really helped.

    I also considered the LinkedIn profile creation process to be lots of fun. At first I hated it because it forced me to invent/re-invent myself in a way that was so public and uncomfortable. But I had to get a professional headshot for the page (which made me feel more professional), and I also had to start thinking hard about my skills and talents to write the profile.

    Be ready for the emotions – all of them…and the intensity of them. Here’s a nice little preview (self-doubt, regret, guilt, anger, excitement, nervousness, giddiness). You could be in for a wild ride that way, but you’re truly not alone in this regard. Almost all women in the Rotman program experienced these emotions, and some even shared them openly which helped all of us learn and grow.

    Be proud of your story and own it. Many people will respect you having the courage to take a labour market absence. Indeed, there’s every possibility they’ll be delighted to snatch you up when you tell your story with purpose. This doesn’t mean being arrogant or boastful, of course. In some interviews I was asked my greatest professional regret, and I often answered that, at times, I’ve regretted leaving the workforce. That’s being honest and that’s ok too. In fact, I’m currently employed with the organization where I said that exact remark in my interview.

    For more information about the Rotman Back to Work program click here. They are now offering the Back to Work program at $1500 for those who register before August 17th. The next Information Session will be on August 8 from 10-11am at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, 105 St. George Street.

    Read the original post on We Are Tellent


  • Tue, July 17, 2018 12:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)




    At MumNet, we're fortunate to have the support of some incredible volunteers. Today Kimberly, a leader and past board member answers the same five questions we always ask, about her MumNet experience.




    Name: Kimberly

    Group: Bloor West MumNet II

    Why did you originally join MumNet?

    I joined MumNet because I moved to the neighbourhood when I was 38 weeks pregnant and I didn't know anyone. My new neighbour suggested it and I started in my group in January when my daughter was just 12 weeks old. That was 7 years ago! I am still friends with the moms I met that year. 


    What do you love most about MumNet? 


    I love that MumNet has given me such a sense of belonging and community. I can't go to the local grocery store without running into someone I know. I also love that I have a regularly scheduled fitness class every week. It's consistent and something I can count on. Over the weeks you get to know the other women in your group and friendships develop – you find people to have coffee and go for walks with, friends who will make you a meal when you're sick or talk you through a really tough day. I can't think of anything better for a mom's mental health. 


    Why was being a MumNet Group Leader important to you? 


    I became a MumNet leader because I felt ready to give back to the group that had given me so much. At the time, I was also feeling ready for a challenge and it was nice to have something to focus on each week. 


    What is one thing that MumNet has taught you? 


    MumNet has taught me to appreciate that there are many different ways to be a good parent and there is so much to learn from other moms. 


    What would you say to other moms considering joining MumNet? 


    I would say "You have to join MumNet!!!" It's such a great way to meet other moms who are going through all the same challenges and triumphs as you are. It's an opportunity to get out of your house each week, exercise and enjoy some time with other adults. Also, it's helpful to get your baby used to being with other people and it gives them a new place to explore and learn. There are so many good reasons to join MumNet!


    Registration is open now for our fall term at MumNet! Take a break with your fellow mamasMumNet is your chance to exercise and connect with other moms in your neighbourhood! Connect over issues that are important to you and your kids and make life-long friends in the process.

  • Fri, July 06, 2018 1:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    MumNet is thrilled to welcome a new member to our team as Program Coordinator (formerly Office Manager). Natalie Castellino Higginson has a background in publishing as a producer and photo editor for Maclean’s magazine, and is a freelance photographer and videographer. She is passionate about perinatal mental health and is an advocate for increasing awareness in her community.

    Natalie is thrilled to bring her passion and skills to MumNet, an organization that made a huge difference in her life as a new mother. She has taken over the info@mumnet.ca email so drop her a note and say hi!


  • Thu, May 24, 2018 8:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Employment Opportunity (Part-Time / Contract)

    Program Coordinator

    MumNet is looking for a Program Coordinator to join our organization. Our Program Coordinator (formerly Office Manager) is a critical position as the first point of contact and the face of our organization to all of our members. Key responsibilities include…

    • Supporting the Executive Director in the day to day operations of the MumNet organizatio
    • Establishing, organizing, and implementing procedures and efficiencies for office management for the MumNet organization 
    • Supporting the organization through the use of technology such as our website, database, social media channels and planned communications

    Specific accountabilities can be broadly broken down into two categories as follows:

    Office & Online Administration

    • Managing the online registrations for all MumNet groups
    • Managing the MumNet database and online financial entries (payments)
    • Ensuring the MumNet website is kept up-to-date
    • Managing the MumNet inbox and phone number; assisting in all enquiries and issues
    • Liaising with MumNet group leaders as needed
    • Organizing and distributing administration materials each term (registration links, training documents, etc.)
    • Preparing, updating, and distributing all organizational contacts (leaders, admin reps, key contacts) in a timely manner
    • Promoting MumNet membership enrollment at events and groups through poster distribution, networking, and sharing social media posts
    • Updating contracts for facilities
    • Participating and attending fundraising initiatives as needed and assisting at the AGM

    Staff & Volunteer Management & Support

    • Liaising with Board members, leaders, and admin reps as required for term statistics, workshops and training sessions, guest speakers, member information, and other events
    • Distributing communications to group leaders, members and alumni
    • Overseeing hiring and evaluation of childcare providers
    • Managing police records checks for childcare providers
    • Arranging First Aid and CPR training for caregivers every three years
    • Ensuring all legal and insurance-related compliance standards are met (childcare worker: child ratios, emergency protocols, worker qualifications, etc.)
    • Providing general administrative support to the Fitness Manager, Childcare Manager and Executive Director to ensure smooth execution of policies

    A bit about us…

    MumNet is a registered not-for-profit charitable organization, founded and run by volunteer women. Our Board assists with the leadership and general promotion of MumNet to support our organization’s mission and needs. Our employees are critical to the success of the organization in their ability to manage daily operations and implement strategic priorities as determined by the Board.

    Our time commitment…

    The Program Coordinator will carry out responsibilities from home, up to 20 hours / week over a 42 week period, per year. Interested applicants must have a home computer, cell phone and internet access.

    Our membership registration occurs in September, December and February, and planning and administration requirements may culminate around those times. Specific time commitments may vary depending on ongoing initiatives.

    What we’re looking for…

    • Excellent customer service attitude and skills
    • Strong communication skills, ability to help manage communications to volunteers, employees and group members
    • Database experience (creating/managing/running reports) and website updates
    • Experience with Word, Excel, and mainstream social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram)
    • Effective in streamlining processes, capacity to generate new and efficient ideas
    • Ability to work independently from home, without a lot of direct leadership
    • Passion for promoting MumNet in our local communities
    Experience with volunteer management, non-profit boards, website design and/or development and marketing would be considered assets for the position.

    If this sounds like you, please email Dominica Larkin, Executive Director at dlarkin@mumnet.ca with your questions and contact details. Join us, and help us bring MumNet into our third successful decade!


  • Wed, April 18, 2018 9:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Guest Blogger: Julie LeJeune, Founder of Wish and Give


    We start out so well, don’t we? What parent hasn’t enjoyed the loving generosity of a baby sharing a drool-soaked treat? Yet, as we grow, we seem to have a tendency to forget the joy that we get from sharing. Babies inevitably hit the “mine” stage—grabbing toys from other toddlers and demanding that mom and dad do everything for them. After a rough day of “he took my toy” or “she’s touching me!” it can feel like they only think about themselves. But then there are glimpses of hope. They have moments of mutual kindness. And then there are those positive stories of older kids doing amazing things to change their community or world around them.

    How do we direct the conversation from selfishness to altruism in just a few short years of parenting? 

    One solution revolves around refocusing birthday celebrations. Naturally, you would think this is the time to be selfish; it's their day! They typically receive praise, gifts and a party. And as parents it's a natural time to spoil them. 

    So how do you spoil them without… spoiling… them? Their birthday is the perfect time to tame some of the focus off the self and opening their eyes to the power of generosity and compassion.  In the fall of 2017, I created a way for kids to use their birthday to give back to their local community: Wish and Give. By organizing your party with Wish and Give, your guests can contribute to a charity or non-profit of your choosing—something your child cares about—and participate in a group gift for your child. It’s a great opportunity to eliminate the deluge of “stuff” and turn the focus on giving back. You and your child can choose a charity together by searching by postal code directly on the site to find the cause you’re passionate about. It’s a great way to learn about the amazing grass roots organizations right in your back yard. 

    The joy you’ll experience from seeing your kids share their birthday with a cause they care about is amazing! In the fall of 2017, when the hurricanes were destroying community after community, my son choose to give back to a charity focusing on hurricane relief: he was only 5 turning 6! Can you tell how proud I am? Another little girl turning 8 used Wish and Give to support Ovarian Cancer Canada because her Grandma is going through cancer treatments. Amazing! Kids really can give back and create a better world around them!

    It's amazing to see what kids can do in their own way. I’m confident that by creating opportunities for kids to exercise their generosity muscles, we are on the road to raising a generation of caring, thoughtful young leaders for the future. The best part of my job? I get to see what these kids are achieving first hand through Wish and Give! 

  • Mon, January 29, 2018 9:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    At MumNet, we're fortunate to have the support of some incredible volunteers. We're starting a new blogging initiative where we ask them the same five questions about their MumNet experience. To kick things off, one of our Group Leaders, Heather, shares her responses.


    Name: Heather
    Group:
    Swansea MumNet II

    Why did you originally join MumNet? 

    My neighbour Kathy convinced me it would be a good thing!

    What do you love most about MumNet? 

    The great relationships I’ve developed.

    Why was being a MumNet Board Member important to you? 

    I love to lead so it gives me a chance to use those skills.

    What is one thing that MumNet has taught you?

    There is something magical about the structure of MumNet…it really fosters true connections.

    What would you say to other moms considering joining MumNet?

    Do something for yourself and give it a try!

    --

    Interested in trying it out? We offer a free trial session for those who aren't sure if MumNet is for them. Contact us to book a trial at one of our 15 groups throughout the city or, if you know you want to join, register today!

  • Tue, December 19, 2017 7:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Guest Blogger: Rosanna Breitman, Mediator/ Conflict Resolution Specialist


    By mid-December, as the exhausting fall routine grinds to a close, our minds start to shift to the upcoming reward for all of our hard work – the holidays! We imagine festive gatherings, luxurious sleep-ins, cozy days spent at home in PJs curled up in front of a blazing fire, and overall, a genuine feeling of peace and well-being. What could be better? But for busy moms with young families, the reality can often be quite different from the fantasy. As holiday time approaches, the stress of trying to create magical moments for one’s family can often feel overwhelming, especially when relationship conflict is a contributing factor. 

    Unfortunately, when we start to feel that we bear too much responsibility for making everyone else happy over the holidays, it’s all too common for holiday joy to morph quickly into resentment. This is especially true if we also feel that our partner isn’t lifting a finger to make things any easier – or worse, if they're actively making things harder.

    There’s no doubt about it: We get shortchanged, and so do our relationships, when we, and/or others, seem to decide by default that 100% of the responsibility for creating holiday magic falls on us. Deep down, as much as we may enjoy making others happy, we need to feel that others care about our happiness too. And it’s hard to feel that way when our time “off” is spent working to accommodate others’ needs, non-stop – especially when those around us seem to expect it, or take it for granted.

    So, how can we manage ourselves and our relationships to ensure that we stay on the “joy” side of the imaginary holiday line, rather than crossing over into resentment territory? Herewith, a few suggestions:

    1. Be kind to yourself. 
      Before you even begin to think about what you need from your partner and/or family, give some serious thought to the health of your most important relationship – the one you have with yourself. Be clear on your own needs and prioritize them – otherwise, it’s too easy to spend every minute on what you think you “should” be doing for others. Remember, if you don’t advocate for yourself, it’s unlikely that anyone else will.

    2. Deconstruct the stress. 
      If you’re feeling “too much” pressure, try to get a handle on where it’s coming from.  To what degree is it self-imposed?  To what extent are you internalizing the expectations of others?   Understanding the source of the stress is the key to managing it. 

    3. Have others share the load. 
      Don’t “hint” or wait for your spouse and kids to offer to help plan and execute the festivities – be direct! Clearly communicate your vision of fairness. If you could use some help decorating, shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, cleaning, packing, shovelling, entertaining, etc…ask!  Even little kids can help out, and once they get into the spirit, they’ll often enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes with helping.

    4. Be active, not passive, in setting the schedule. 
      You and your partner may have different ideas of how you want to spend the holiday. Maybe you’re a social butterfly who wants to book up every evening, and they’re more of a homebody. Or perhaps they want to spend a weekend with college friends…the ones you can’t stand. The key here is compromise. You can each accommodate the other to some degree and/or agree that you don’t have to do everything together as a family – whatever works for you. The  important thing here is that it should not just be
      you doing all of the accommodating. Speak up tactfully for what you want, or you may end up drinking from a keg and listening to reminiscences about the good old days in the frat or sorority house.

    5. Negotiate difficult situations in advance. 
      Holiday gatherings with extended family can be stressful. If you can’t get out of spending time with difficult relatives, discuss specific problematic people with your partner or a trusted family member in advance, decide on a stress-management strategy, a time limit for your appearance at the gathering, and an exit plan in advance. And stick to it!

    6. Plan a reward. 
      To help get you through a situation that you anticipate will be tough – for example, if you must spend a weekend with in-laws you can’t stand schedule a stress-releasing night out with friends or a relaxing massage (or both!) the next day.

    7. If all else fails…avoid!
      If ditching the occasional office holiday party or festive family dinner reduces stress and allows you to carve out an extra few hours of holiday peace and/or avoid someone you truly can’t deal with, who are you really harming, as long as you’ve given polite notice of the fact that you’re “feeling under the weather”? 

    8. Lose the guilt. 
      If, in the end, the holidays aren’t perfect, so what? As long as you’ve put forth a reasonable effort, good enough is good enough. Accept that simple fact, and you’ll be much better off.

    Bottom line: Making others happy and being kind to yourself are not mutually exclusive. Remember, managing your relationships over the holidays starts and ends with the most important relationship of all – the one you have with yourself.  Take care of that, and the rest will follow.  Happy holidays!

    --


    Rosanna Breitman is a well-known Toronto mediator with over 20 years’ experience helping clients resolve their disputes in a fair, respectful, and child-oriented manner. In addition to her divorce mediation practice, she has also had extensive experience mediating workplace, school-based, and other interpersonal disputes, coaching individuals and groups on negotiation and conflict management skills, and speaking and presenting at teachers’ professional development workshops, moms’ groups, and community social service organizations.

    Rosanna will be the Bits + Bites speaker at MumNet's Annual General Meeting on the topic of “How to advocate for your child.” Join us for this event on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at Louis Cifer Brew Works, 471 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K 1P1, at 7:00 pm. Members are FREE to attend. Non-members are $20. Get your ticket today!


  • Sun, December 17, 2017 8:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Guest blogger: Triona Coakelin of Tucked in Tight Sleep Coaching


    It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be challenging as the excitement and change of routine lead many babies, toddlers, and older kids to become sleep deprived and grouchy enough to out-grinch the Grinch.

    There's no reason to let the holidays rob you of that sweet, deep slumber OR your holiday fun. Triona Coakelin from Tucked in Tight Sleep Coaching is here to share her top 5 holiday sleep tips to help you sleep soundly through the holiday chaos.

    1. Keep bedtime routines constistent
      This is important, little ones thrive on routine, so keep that bedtime routine consistent during the holidays no matter where they sleep. My favourite routine? Bath, PJs, snuggles with book and song, and in to bed wide awake.

    2. Keep things familiar.
      If you are travelling over the holidays bring your sleep sack and little lovey that your little ones loves, the familiarity will give them comfort. White noise (to drown out those fun parties downstairs!) and blackout blinds will be your friend in creating a consistent sleep environment.

    3. No need to skip naps!
      Show up at that party a little bit late if you need to, or bring a pack n' play for naps on the go, but don’t be tempted to skip the nap or you will have an over-tired, cranky little one on your hands!

    4. Prepare for recovery
      When the festivities are over, plan for a couple of quiet days at home to get sleep on track and go back to early bedtimes. After all the excitement is done, early bedtimes will help everyone get back on track for better sleep in the new year as well.

    5. Most importantly………have fun!
      It’s okay to be more relaxed with sleep schedules to make time for holiday fun. Give yourself permission to say, "yes" to special holiday shows, events, and parties. Just keep your child’s sleep schedule in mind when picking a show time or a start time for the holiday party you’re hosting.

    Above all, enjoy spending time celebrating the holidays this season!

    Follow Triona and Tucked in Tight on Facebook and Instagram for more family sleep tips.

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