Posts Tagged ‘lessons learned’

Both Ends

Friday, June 17th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
I have perfected sleeping sitting upright.  At least three times in the last two weeks I have nodded off at my computer while trying to finish work late at night.  Fortunately, I have not yet fallen asleep on the actual keyboard, but that could be coming.

Work life balance is a complete misnomer.  It is a fiction that we tell ourselves to try to stay sane in the daily effort to organize chaos.

Why do we do it?

Because the chats with Rory on our way to school and work are fantastic.  Because the hugs when I get home for bedtime are divine.  Because there is value in our children knowing and understanding the sacrifices that we made to be there for them no matter what, but still being very good at what we do when we are not at home.  

Does that make having to explain why I have to go to work on the weekend easy?  Of course not.  But I make sure to explain that I get paid to help people solve problems, and sometimes problems don’t happen on timelines we can control.

For now, Rory seems to get it.  I know that razor thin balance will shift over time, as will his willingness to accept my inability to be omnipresent.  And I know I will repeat the same coming to terms with it a year or two later with Charlotte.  Whether it will always be this busy, I have no idea.  My only hope is that if things do stay this way, they will realize and appreciate all that goes in to keeping our little family afloat.  Even if that recognition is 30 years down the road when trying to find their own balance– that will be just fine.

And The Oscar Goes To…

Monday, February 29th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I hate to admit it, but I did end up tuning in to Hollywood’s most glamorous night. My feeling about these awards shows is that they are simultaneously pointless and kind of fun. My favorite part is the red carpet. I love analyzing the dresses, the hairstyles, and the jewelry—and deciding who looked the best and let’s face it, the worst. Haley caught just a glimpse of the revelry on TV as she headed to bed and was instantly charmed with the high fashion. Like mother, like daughter!

Watching the show and the admiration heaped on the performers got me thinking about my own little actors. Kids sure are good at putting on a show. There are the moments they intend to perform—the impromptu signing, dancing, and magic shows I’m grateful to witness on a daily basis. And then there are the acting moments designed not for entertainment purposes, but for the kiddos to get whatever it is they want. Haley begging for dessert, Hudson freaking out over a diaper change—oh, the drama! The acting is truly Oscar-worthy!

It’s funny that children learn how to alter their behavior to suit their purposes from such a young age. They only get better at it over time. I suppose that’s part of the human condition. I know I have many more years of dramatics ahead of me. Good thing I love a great performance.


Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
I had lunch plans with my friend this week. We tried to get together last month but our busy schedules conflicted. We finally found a time that worked, and I was really looking forward to getting together. She invited me to her new home for lunch, and I was excited to see catch up and see her newly decorated home.

At the beginning of the week the weather forecast mentioned the chance of unseasonably warm temperatures and of severe storms. I didn’t think much of it because we always have thunderstorms. Apparently, I should have paid more attention, because the forecast called for severe storms and tornados on the day of our lunch date.

This morning I noticed weather conditions worsening. By mid day, I received a call from the school that they were dismissing early for the approaching storms. It was very chaotic. The kids were excited to get out of school early, but teachers and parents were doing their best to get the distracted kids home safely. We usually take bad weather in stride, but tornadoes are nothing to take lightly.

So after weeks of planning on quality time with a good friend, I found myself collecting flashlights, important documents, and my kids into our tornado “safe place” as the tornado warning sirens were blaring. Obviously, I cancelled my plans. I sat in my laundry room with two young boys wearing bike helmets. It sounds ridiculous, but keeping my family safe comes first.

Sadly, a tornado did strike a town 10 miles from us. It caused a lot of damage and heartache. A church was destroyed, the high school and several neighborhoods were damaged, trees down all over, and power outages for thousands of people. Thankfully, no injuries were reported.

This is just another example of life’s interruptions. Even though our plans are firm, life throws us a curve ball. I was really looking forward to spending time with a good friend, but I know I can easily reschedule. Days like today put things into perspective. I’m very lucky the tornado didn’t hit our home and nobody was hurt. I’ll take that over lunch any day.

Looking Back at 2015

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
As the New Year approaches, I always think about the year and what we enjoyed and what we endured. It began with my husband starting a new career. Initially, I was a little worried about the transition, but once we figured out the new routine, it’s been great for our family. Although he is away from us more than we’d like, it’s taught us how important quality time together as a family really is.

Tate started Kindergarten in the fall, uncertain if he would like his new school. Within days, he was comfortable, and he continues to perform well. He’s made new friends, he’s learning all kinds of new things, and best of all he is happy. Tate came a long way. He is still feisty, but he is much more well behaved.

Jack took on a little more responsibility this past year with schoolwork, as well as sports and dedication to both. He is learning to manage his time better and striving towards his goals. He’s learning that things don’t always go his way and sometimes that’s life. He’s helping more around the house and making his mother proud.

I’ve learned a lot myself over the last year. With a husband traveling for work, and two busy kids, my job as a mom is more important than ever. I’m doing my best to keep Jack and Tate in line and encouraging them to excel. Our days are long, but the years are flying by. I’m looking forward to 2016 and all it has in store for us. Happy New Year!

Master Calendar

Monday, July 27th, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
There is a moment at some point fairly early on in your child’s life when you realize that in order to survive the weekend (or any day at home), you had better have some semblance of a plan in place.  Meals, naps, activities, visits with friends, etc:  all are necessary elements.  At least they are when one of your brood is a mini-tyrant toddler. . .

I have found that having at least one “planned” activity each weekend day helps break up the monotony of the days and also keeps Rory from going stir crazy.  Some weekends, however, I over-book us.

This weekend is going to be one of those.  We have a play date Saturday morning and then drive an hour out of the city in the afternoon to visit some dear friends who just bought a new house out that way.  On Sunday we have swim lessons in the morning and  a visit with another old friend in the afternoon.

I know that by Sunday evening I will wish deeply for another day of rest.  But I am thankful to be able to spend the time giving the kids a varied and diverse set of experiences, so I suppose my own relaxation is worth the sacrifice.  Especially because a well-exercised and entertained kiddo is an extra sleepy kiddo come bedtime. . .

I hope everyone strikes a good balance of rest and activity this weekend!


Monkey See. . .

Friday, October 24th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
While attending a parents’ meeting at Rory’s daycare this week, Rory’s daddy was chatting with one of Rory’s closest friends in his classroom– a little girl whose name always makes Rory’s face beam. They chatted about the fact that they have been known to roll around together during playtime. They also discussed how cute it is when they say good-bye to each other at the end of the day.

And then this little girl’s mom informed Rory’s dad that one of her favorite sayings at mealtime is “Do like Rory do. . .” Which–apparently– means that she wants to put her bowl of cereal up to her face and drink all the milk out of it. Or just put her plate/cup/container up to her face and eat directly, without any utensils.

Needless to say, Rory’s dad was a little embarrassed. After confessing that he was the one who had taught Rory to drink the milk out of his cereal bowl, Rory’s classmate’s mother quipped (politely of course), “well, you now you’ve taught her, too.”

When he relayed this story to me last night, I certainly felt badly that Rory was passing along his less civilized behavioral traits to others. I don’t like thinking that it is our son teaching other kids bad habits. Then again, I’m sure he’s picked up at least a few unsavory skills from his classmates, too. On the whole, the exchange reminded us how much toddlers learn by example, and stressed to us the importance of making certain that every example we set is a good one.

Lesson Learned

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Last year, Tate took swim lessons and unfortunately, he didn’t like the teacher nor the cold pool. He started out determined, but quickly lost interest. Learning to swim is important to our family. At a minimum, we want our kids to be safe around water. Ideally, we want them to enjoy the water and be comfortable swimming like we both did as kids.

This year, Tate took two weeks of swim lessons with a local instructor who teaches swimming every June. She came highly recommended by friends. We were very excited to get a spot reserved for Tate. Right away she held Tate’s attention and helped him get over his fear of water. Jack and Tate even learned more advanced skills like diving. Jack was a return student from a couple years ago and he still remembered her phrase “paddle, kick, and blow bubbles.”

The teacher requests that parents do not watch the lesson until the end of the week. We drop the kids off in the pool area and go back in to get them when their session is over. Watching through the fence is off limits, as well. The children get distracted and it takes away their concentration, especially for the younger ones. On the last day, parents and grandparents are welcome to view what the kids have learned. I knew Tate was doing much better this year because after every lesson he told me how he was swimming under water. I was thrilled to hear this news and could not wait until the last lesson so I could see his progress.

I enjoy taking pictures of our kids’ milestones. I wanted to get some great photos of Tate swimming. So when I discovered I forgot the memory card to my camera, I was very annoyed at myself. I was so upset that I had missed the opportunity to document what is clearly a major life event for Tate. After a few minutes of anger, I forced myself to let it go and I cheered him on. It was actually nice not to worry about getting the “perfect shot.” I know there will be other opportunities to take swimming pictures.

Lesson learned: it’s not so bad to give up a little control every now and then and enjoy what is happening right in front of me. I’m glad I was able to see Tate jump in the water and smile as soon as his head popped out instead of always hoping I captured the right light, angle and focus. It’s the little things that make being a mommy so special.

The War over Star Wars

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
After years of obsessing over Thomas the train, Jack has moved on to another obsession: Star Wars.  His enthusiasm for Star Wars far surpasses any obsession he’s ever had.  He goes a little nuts even just hearing the marching band play the theme song during a football game on TV that’s playing in the background.

Jack’s Christmas list has the words, Star Wars, covered all over it.  He especially loves Star Wars legos.  As I mentioned before he loves to look through his catalog and relentlessly ask me how much everything costs and if its affordable.  I guess it’s nice he asks.  He also loves to watch the original movies.  I have no problem with him watching movies.  I do have a problem with him wanting to watch the movies twenty times a day.  The boy can’t get enough of it.

I told Jack we have limits with certain things, one being the TV.  As much as I love TV myself, there are plenty of other things to see, do, and create in our house.  Today, Jack had a friend over for the afternoon and enjoyed every minute of it.  Of course, they played “Star Wars” and invented their own light-saber battles and missions.  After his friend left I asked Jack how much fun he had acting out his play rather than staring at something acting.  He agreed.  I’m hoping the War over Star Wars between the two of us ends and he can win his own battles.

Perfectly Imperfect

Friday, November 11th, 2011

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
When I was little, I was incredibly hard on myself. I got hysterical if I got a B on a paper, or if I struck out in a big at bat. And I very clearly remember my mom sitting me down one day in the midst of my hysteria and telling me that no one is perfect. We basically banished all mention of the word “perfect” in the house for a long time after that.

As an adult, I’m still incredibly hard on myself. I’m a raging perfectionist. And if I really get on a tear, few things meet up to my exacting standards. It’s not one of my finer qualities, though it does drive me to do some unbelievably amazing things…

So I’m not thrilled to say that this may be one of the things Andrew has picked up from me. It manifests in a couple different ways… Like how he tries to “beat me” to the house from the car, unless I ask him to hold my hand and walk with me. He races kids around the playground and usually chooses to race the ones who he KNOWS he’s faster than so he can win.

He also gets incredibly upset when he doesn’t win video games. He has this iPad app where you can race Lightening McQueen or Holly Shiftwell against other characters from Cars and Cars II. He literally gets hysterical if he loses. “EVERYONE IS BEATING ME UP! I LOSE EVERY TIME!” he sobs.

We try to tell him that he’s not going to win every time. That we still love him, regardless of whether he comes in first, last or anywhere in between. Look at the Mets and the Red Sox – they lose all the time and people still like them!

He doesn’t want to hear it. And I’m not sure how to get through to him.

This morning I had a trial. He wished me good luck before I left the house. I scooped him up and told him I really, really wanted to win. I asked if he’d still love me if I lost. He thought about it…annoyingly for a full minute…before saying yes. I asked if Hubby would still love me if I lost. Without hesitation, he said yes (but you’re not going to lose). So I tried telling Andrew it was the same thing if he lost a car race, but my stakes were a little bit higher.

He didn’t want to hear it. But maybe one of these days he’ll understand it’s totally okay to be perfectly imperfect…

Have a great weekend everyone

WHAT did you say?

Friday, July 29th, 2011

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
Kids say some of the funniest things. It’s also horrifying when they repeat some of the stuff that may have come out of our mouths when we thought they weren’t listening. And sometimes what comes out of their mouths just blows you away.

Here’s some of Andrew’s more memorable recent quotables:

(While pacing around the house with his Elmo phone against his ear) “You listen to me, Joe Girardi! I know what’s good for my Yankees! You take A.J. out of this game! He’s lost his stuff. Get him out, Joe Girardi!” (Then Andrew scowls at the phone and announces Joe hung up on him. Not thirty seconds later, Burnett proved exactly how badly he had lost his stuff and blew the lead. Andrew stuck out his tongue in an “I told you so, Joe Girardi” gesture).

The next day while we were watching the game, Andrew hops on his Elmo phone again and starts punching in the numbers. “ROBINSON CANO! You listen to me, Robinson Cano! You get a hit! You no be a dog like A-Rod! Okay, it’s time for you to bat. Bye-bye, Robinson Cano!”

I’m not sure how Andrew knew that Cano was the next batter… I find it hard to believe that he’s memorized the lineup. But Cano steps up to bat and on the first pitch, he connected perfectly sending the ball flying into the bleachers.

I asked Andrew tonight if he had a girlfriend. Usually he delights in telling me that he has multiple girlfriends and that they fight over who can hold his hand. But tonight was different. “Nah. I playing the field, mommy!” (Okay. Really? Who taught my three year old this one? Uncle Mike, have you been corrupting him from Florida???)

I honestly don’t know where he gets this stuff from. It’s pretty hard to keep a straight face when he gets on a roll, especially telling off the baseball players. (Though he is shockingly accurate with his commentary.)

But the moral of the story is, watch what you say around these little guys (and girls). You never know when you’re going to hear it again…