Sheryl Jesin


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Do you believe people are doing their best?

I shared last week that I am currently listening to the audio version of Brene Brown’s new book “Rising Strong”.

There have been so many amazing nuggets of information that I am learning from this book.  I plan to share some of them with you here!

Brene asks a question in the book:  “Do you believe that in general, people are doing their best?”.

I’d like to know – Do YOU think people are doing their best?

This is a tough question!  My knee jerk repsonse to this is no – everyone can do better.  I often think that I can do better – I can be more patient with my kids, kinder to my husband, more efficient with my time, a better coach, daughter, friend etc.

Brene shares the answer of her husband – he said that if we believe that people are doing their best, it will make our lives more peaceful.

How does this work?  If you start believing that other people are doing their best, you can stop judging them.  You can start accepting them for who they are, and showing more kindness to them – and this will make you feel at peace.

For example – if my kids are jumping on the bed and running around screaming and chasing each other and basically having fun but driving me crazy before bed, I can chose to be annoyed and frustrated with them.  On the flipside, I can assume that they are doing their best.  They are acting like kids and maybe I haven’t created a restful bedtime atmosphere – maybe I haven’t specifically spelled out my bedtime expectations.  Once I stop judging their behaviour, I can enjoy the moment I am having with them – and perhaps even receive some joy from their enthusiastic and fun-filled spirits.

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A peaceful moment after crazy bedtime shenanigans

Brene asked hundreds of people this question in her research for the book.  She learned that people who answer yes – people who believe others are trying their best – are people who set boundaries in their lives, who practice self-care, and who take care of themselves.  Because they take care of themselves, they are able to extend compassion towards others.  It is hard to extend compassion to other people when you are burnt out, putting yourself last and doing things you don’t want to do.  When that happens – you tend to believe that other are NOT doing their best.

I know as busy moms, we tend to not set clear boundaries, overextend ourselves and become resentful.  I definitely do this from time to time!

I know that I want to truly believe that other people are doing their best – and I want people to believe that about me too.  I want my life to be more peaceful.  Brene reminded me about the importance of self-care.   I am going to continue to work on adding practices of self care to my life and only saying yes to things I truly want to do.

I’d love to know what you think about this topic.  Do you think people are doing their best?

I’m putting together my next 21 day health and fitness challenge.  We start January 4th.  If you have been wanting to start taking better care of yourself – this is the perfect opportunity!  Join my supportive community of women who support each other on their journies towards better health.  Be a part of our group – work out everyday for 30 mins from the comfort of your home, learn about portion controlled clean eating and enrich your mind, body and spirit!  If you want more info, please shoot me an email at sheryl@ikor.com and I will get back to you ASAP with the details about the challenge. 

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How do you wake up at 5am?

Yesterday I wrote a blog post on why I enjoy waking up at 5am, and what I do when I wake up early.

Today I am going to write about HOW to make it happen – it’s easy to say that you want to wake up early – but how do you actually force yourself to get out of a warm cozy bed…especially in the fall/winter when it is cold and dark?

Here’s what I do:

Just do it!

I cannot force myself to go to bed early.  I really just cannot.  I can’t make myself go to bed early just so I can wake up the next morning at 5.   When I did my five day 5 am challenge, before the first day I just went to bed at my usual time (around midnight).  And I set up alarm for 5am and just got up.  I knew I would be tired by the end of the day, but that was good thing!  I literally could not keep my eyes open past 10pm the first day.  And that made getting up the next day that much easier!  The second day I was asleep by 9pm – which to me is perfect as it gives me 8 hours of sleep.  So – don’t force yourself to go to sleep early.  Instead – force yourself to wake up early for the first few days, and you will then automatically start going to bed early.

Find accountability partners!

For me – this is KEY!  I posted on Facebook that I was doing a 5 day 5am challenge and was looking for some friends to support me.  A few responded, I got their cell phone numbers, and now I send out a text to them at 5:30am every morning and we tell each other what workout we will be doing.  I feel accountable to them – and I will not let them down!  It is much easier to talk myself out of an early wakeup if no one is counting on me.  But when my friends are counting on me – I get up and I get to it! If you need an accoutability partner – that is what I am here for!  Add me as a friend on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sheryjesin and we can exchange numbers – I would love to add you to our accountability group.

Get ready the night before!

I know I will be working out first thing when I wake up, so I get ready for that.  For me that means laying out my workout clothes and planning which workout I will be doing.  Picking out my outfit only takes a few minutes, but I would rather do it the night before to save time.  Also – I find when I wear a cute workout outfit, it motivated me to push a bit harder.  Does that happen to you too?  LOL.  I will also spend 10-20 mins before bed tidying up, emptying the dishwasher, picking out the kids’ clothes and making at least part of their lunches.  It feels good knowing these things are done and it means I have more time for ME first thing in the morning.

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Do you wake up early?  Do you have any tips to add on how you make it happen?


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Should you wake up at 5am? Yes!

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A couple weeks ago, I completed a 5 day early wakeup challenge.

I challenged myself to wake up five days in a row at 5am.

Why did I do this?

I have noticed that when I make an effort to wake up earlier than the kids, my day goes much more smoothly.

I feel relaxed.  I feel at peace.  I feel energized!  I feel like I can tackle anything.

Just having a few moments of silence before my very noisy household wakes up can make the difference between a good day and a bad day.

You might be wondering – what do I do when I wake up so early?

Here’s how it goes:

  1.  Read for 15 mins – Every day I set a goal for myself to read for at least 15 mins.  And I’m talking reading a book OR listening to an audiobook…scrolling Facebook or surfing the net does not count.  Lately I have been into non-fiction personal development books.  I like books that are motivational, inspiring and that can help me become a better parent, wife, coach and human being.  The book I am reading right now is called Rising Strong by Brene Brown.  I am actually listening to it on Audible as an audio book.  Brene Brown herself is the narrator and I love hearing it in her actual voice.  She is a social scientiest who has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulternability, shame and worthiness.  She shares stories of people being brave, failing and getting back up.  I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more cultivating wholeheartedness and rising up from struggles.
  2. Drink my pre-workout drink and then workout for 30 mins – Let’s be honest – it isn’t easy to get going at 5am…I am not going to lie.  But – when I drink my pre-workout drink it gives me a burst of energy so that I can power through my workout.  I workout for 30 mins in my living room.  It is dark at 5am and I am glad to not have to leave my nice warm house to go to a gym or a class.   It feels SO GOOD to move first thing in the morning and I like to workout then because my workouts are important to me, and I know I always have time for the things I do first.  Plus, it is nice to take a shower right after and get dressed instead of sitting in my pyjamas or sweaty workout clothes all morning/day.
  3. Make my to-do list for the day – 5 am is a great time to get organized for the day.  I write down my to-do list so that when pockets of free time arise during the day, I am ready to be productive.  I need to write things down to organize my brain, and plus it feels awesome to check things off!
  4. Take a few minutes to express gratitude and write down positive affirmations – Both of these things are daily habits that I have been working on.  I take a couple minutes when I wake up and also before I go to sleep to list out things that I am grateful for.  This can be as simple as having fresh food, a house to live in, and three healthy kids.  I am amazed by how this practice makes each and every day a little bit happier.  I also take a couple of minutes to write down positive affirmations.  A few affirmations that I have been enjoying lately are: ” I deserve and receive massive amounts of love every moment of every day”.  “I am one with the universe – the universe is awesome and so am I”.  “My heart is open and love pours in and out”.  And – “I respond with wisdom, love, firmness and self control when my children trigger me”.  I know these might sound cheesy – but try reciting these each morning and see how your day improves!

So what do you think?  Could your day improve by waking up a little bit earlier and making time for things that are important to you?

I truly belive that what you do first thing in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day and even for the rest of your life.  Do you agree?


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4 month update

I can hardly believe that my baby girl is 4 months old already. How has time gone by so quickly? The newborn days are behind us now, and each day she gets more fun and more interactive.

I won’t lie, these past 4 months have been challenging. For the first 8 weeks, I barely slept because she barely slept. At night, she would be often up crying, and nothing would soothe her other than intense bouncing and rocking. This was no easy feat in the middle of the night. She would sleep during the day, but only if I was holding her or wearing her in a carrier. Thank goodness for babywearing or we would have been hungry with no clean clothes to wear.

At around 8 weeks, I took Alex to see my chiropractor. She specializes in pregnant women, babies and kids. She is extremely gentle. I took Alex three times, and at each visit Alex was crying when we got there for whatever reason. Hungry, tired, or both? I’m not sure. As soon as my chiropractor started her adjustment, Alex quieted down immediately and fell asleep. Coincidence? Or not? All I know is that after 3 adjustments, Alex started sleeping better. I am so thankful for that. At around the 8 week mark I also fully cut out dairy from my diet. I believe that has been helping too.

Now we happily co-sleep together, with no bouncing or rocking needed. When she wakes up at night, I hear her before she has a chance to cry. I latch her on lying down, and we both drift off to sleep. There is nothing better than that! As long as I am diligent about getting into bed early enough, I do not feel tired the next morning.

Juggling all three kids and maintaining some semblance of order in our house is no easy feat. Just the laundry alone is never-ending. I give a lot of thanks to my wonderful husband and my helpful mother and mother in law. My husband has been invaluable in his assistance with the older two boys and both grandmothers have been available at all times for sleepovers with the boys and pick ups from school. I am also so grateful that both boys are in school full-time – it gives me time to rest during the day and keeps them happy and occupied. It truly takes a village!

Even though things have been hard, I want time to slow down. I want to savour ever cuddle and snuggle and laugh with each of my kids. As Dylan has said often: “We will never have this day again.” How wise he is at only 6 years old.

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Dropping a nap

How do you know when your child is ready to drop a nap?  It’s a common question, and there is no easy answer.  Here’s a quick recap of my experience with naps with my 2 kids.

Months 0-6 – during these early months, my children napped whenever they were tired.   They nursed and slept “on demand’.  I generally nursed them to sleep either on a bed (if we were home) or in a carrier if we were on the go.  I kept an eye out for signs of sleepiness and always tried to nurse when they seemed sleepy, and if they were tired, they would usually fall asleep easily when nursing.  If they seemed tired but didn’t fall asleep nursing, I would hold them and bounce on a yoga ball (if at home) or bounce in a carrier if out, and they’d usually pass out within minutes!

Months 6-9 – with both kids, a fairly predictable nap pattern began to emerge.  They napped three times a day – usually 2-3  hours after waking either in the morning, or from a previous nap.   The last nap was usually a cat nap around dinner time.  During this stage, naps were mostly at home and sometimes on the go in a carrier or the stroller if we were out and about.  Kids were nursed to sleep.

Months 9-12 (or a bit longer) – at this point, both kids napped twice a day – usually once around 9 am and then again around 2 pm.  I still followed sleepy cues and would nap them a bit earlier or a bit later if necessary.  At this point, naps were almost always at home, and kids were nursed to sleep.

Months 12 – approx 2.5 years – naps dropped down to once a day, at around 12pm.  At this point, naps were almost exclusively at home, as I found they slept better in the quiet of our house, and I used the downtime to do things around the house.  Kids were nursed to sleep.

It’s always hard to know when a child is ready to drop a nap.  I found that there were two predictable signs – either the child wouldn’t nurse to sleep easily at naptime, or bedtime was getting really late.  When I noticed these signs, I would try to drop a nap and observe what happened.

There are also signs that a child is not ready for dropping a nap.  If you’ve tried dropping a nap, and the child is falling asleep at an old nap time either in the car or the stroller, or the child is super cranky around dinner time, it is possible that he or she was not ready to drop a nap, in which case I’d recommend reverting to the previous nap schedule.

Also, it doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”.  Some kids benefit from a transition period – where they nap some days, and then don’t nap other days.   This can be hard as you really have to pay attention to your child’s sleeping cues, and you have to be really flexible with your schedule and be ready to nap your child when they need to sleep!

I should add that I personally have never been a big fan of carseat naps – I prefer my kids to nap at home so I can either get things done around the house, or nap with them!!

Also, as you can see from the above, the main sleep cue I use for my kids is nursing to sleep.  We don’t have a long, drawn out naptime routine.  If we are home, we go into a quiet room, turn on a sound machine, lie down, nurse, and usually the child is asleep within minutes.    An added bonus is that I get a few minutes of rest when I lie down with them.  When they fall asleep, I can sneak away. When I hear them waking from a nap, I always go to them quickly and try nursing again.  Quite often, they will fall back asleep and the nap is extended.  (I should add that my kids can nap without me, even though nursing to sleep is their main sleep cue.  Dylan was the star napper at his daycare and Jake can easily get Ben to nap by cuddling together.)

I’ve mentioned before that nursing to sleep has always been a wonderful experience for us.  I know it goes against all the advice that traditional “sleep experts” espouse.   I stopped listening to those experts a long time ago, and I’ve never looked back!

How have you been able to tell that your child needs to drop a nap?  Do you have a nap time routine?


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Co-Sleeping and Scare Tactics

Picture this – a baby and his mother, peacefully slumbering beside each other.   When the baby stirs, the mother gently wakes, and nurses the baby back to sleep.  Both mom and baby feel secure, safe and rested.   What could be more natural, or more comforting?

Well, the city of Milwaukee feels differently.  News of their ridiculous new ad campaign, depicting a baby sleeping next to a knife, has been spreading through the blogosphere this week.  The ads were even mentioned yesterday in one of Canada’s national newspapers, the Globe and Mail. The ads controversially state that sharing a bed with a baby is as dangerous as allowing your baby to sleep with a knife.

I hate to break it to you Milwaukee, but parents and their babies have been bed sharing since the beginning of time.   If it is as dangerous and you make it out to be, explain to me how the human race has survived?

Thankfully, Annie who blogs at PhD in Parenting has provided an intelligent response.   You can read it here.   As Annie points out, co-sleeping is statistically as dangerous as travelling by cars.   So does that mean that we should stop taking our kids with us when we drive?  Should we walk everywhere?  Or should we just try to make both driving and co-sleeping as safe as possible?

Dr. Sears also has an excellent response to these ads.  You can read it here.   As he so aptly says:

Every night millions of mothers and babies the world over sleep close to each other, and the babies wake up just fine.  Instead of alarming conscientious parents, like the recent shocking and insensitive ad campaign in Milwaukee did, as reported in the Journal Sentinel, sleep advisors should be teaching parents how to co-sleep safely.

So what is safe co-sleeping?  Annie at PhD in has great information in her post entitled “Co-Sleeping Safety“.  I highly recommend reading it in its entirety if you are considering co-sleeping, or if you currently co-sleep and want to minimize the risks involved.

Milwaukee – my family will continue to co-sleep safely, because it is what works best for us.  Everyone is happy and well-rested and your scare tactics won’t work in this house.


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Co-Sleeping with Two Kids

When Dylan was born over 3 years ago I just assumed he would sleep in a crib.  Every baby I knew slept in a crib (or so said their parents).  Dylan, however, had other plans for us.   He wanted nothing to do with the lovely crib in his room with the beautiful bed skirt I agonized over at Pottery Barn Kids!  He also wasn’t a fan of sleeping in the brand new pack ‘n play that we set up in our room.  Dylan was happiest sleeping snuggled right next to me in our bed.  I struggled with this the first few months and wasted many hours trying to get him to sleep on his own.  After doing a lot of reading and research online, I discovered that many parents co-sleep with their kids, here in North America and especially around the world.  By the time Dylan was 6 months old, we gave up on the crib and began to happily accept our sleeping companion.  At a year, we dismantled the crib and put a double bed in Dylan’s room, and haven’t looked back since!

When we found out I was pregnant with Benjamin, there was no doubt in my mind and Jake’s mind that we would co-sleep with him.  In fact, we didn’t even set up the crib this time – it remains in storage.  It has been so easy this time without the sleeping struggles.   Benjamin’s sleep has really been a non-issue since day 1.

During the first few months after Ben was born, I’d put Dylan to sleep in his own room.   Then, Ben would sleep in the swing downstairs for a few hours each evening.   When I was ready to go to sleep, I’d bring Ben upstairs into bed with me.   Dylan would usually wake up at some point in the night and climb into bed with us.   And Jake would join us too!  I was always sure to keep Ben near me and away from covers, pillows and everyone else.   We have a king bed and we found the four of us fit quite easily.

Ben and Dylan in bed together back in May...my spot is between the two of them!

We kept up this sleeping arrangement for probably 5 or 6 months.  Everyone slept quite well!  During the summer, we were up at the cottage and the sleeping arrangements changed a bit.    At the cottage, we had one room with a queen bed and one with a double.  I didn’t think it would be comfortable or safe to have four of us in a queen bed.  So, I’d put Dylan to sleep in the room with a double, and Jake joined him when he was ready for bed.  The two of them slept in that room all night.   Ben and I shared the queen in the other room.   When it was just me and the kids at the cottage without Jake, Dylan would start out in the double and then join Ben and me in the queen at some point.

We kept this arrangement when we came back home in September.   Dylan and Jake sleep in a double in Dylan’s room, and Ben and I sleep in the king bed in my room.  This way, each child has an adult to snuggle with!  Ben wakes a few times a night to nurse, but always goes right back to sleep.   Dylan sometimes wakes up to pee, but otherwise sleeps well.  I should add that I now put Ben to sleep in our bed and sneak away once he is sleeping.  He doesn’t move much when he sleeps and I listen carefully on the monitor – if I hear him stirring I quickly go to him.  He also naps in our bed – I nurse him to sleep and then sneak away.

Today I told Dylan that when Benjamin gets older, the two of them will share a room and a bed.   Dylan was really excited!  I’m not sure when this will happen – perhaps when Ben is 2?  Then Jake and I will have our comfy and spacious king to ourselves again.   But for now, our sleeping arrangement maximizes everyone’s sleep, and meets the needs of both the kids and the adults in our family.  I wouldn’t change it for anything!