Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Momma Musings

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Motherhood is a challenge. Over the years, I’ve realized that nothing is perfect, children don’t always do what you want them to do, when you want them to do it, and sometimes life just isn’t fair.

Learning the best ways to raise children is a struggle. I’m constantly questioning my actions. I try to teach, discipline, and live, by example. I’ve read countless articles, books, and mom discussions about the best way to hold it all together when it comes to parenting. I’ve concluded it is hard…very hard.

I’ve been a mother for nearly a whole decade. I look back over the years and hope that my trial and error approach on this journey results in good values, good morals, and well-rounded children. I still have a lifetime of parenting in front of me, but I’m proud of my work so far. Dealing with challenges and struggles are what makes me so proud. Meeting life’s challenges is what life is all about.

Mother’s Day is just past, and I want to thank all the mothers out there who have inspired me to do my best. I want to thank those who have given me the strength to start a new day, and to shake off/learn from failure. I owe a lot to my own mother, who raised three children, and still teaches me what being a mother is all about.

From one mother to another, enjoy your day. You deserve it!

Toy Moratorium

Monday, April 17th, 2017

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I am putting an end to it! You know what I’m talking about. We recently had a birthday at this household. Yesterday, we had a lovely Easter. So lucky are we to have several reasons to celebrate. My children are adored. It is lovely. HOWEVER. Several rooms in our home too often resemble a Toys R Us in which many farm animals were let loose. But it’s not only toys. Art supplies. Children’s books. Hair bands. They are everywhere!

I try to keep it all organized. I really do. I’ve got great colorful bins, which are now mostly turned upside down for Hudson to use as step stools to reach for things he shouldn’t have. I’ve sung the “Clean Up” song to encourage tidying and admonished the kids for leaving a mess after playtime over and over again.

Eventually, I’ve come to realize the problem isn’t just the mischievous kids. We also have way too much stuff. The kids are lucky to continually get new toys, but we just aren’t discarding them at an equal rate. Even if you have a big house, no one has unlimited space. And no one wants “kids’ stuff” taking over their home.

I’ve undertaken a major decluttering project with the hopes of majorly cutting down on the detritus. I’m trying to be cutthroat about what we really need to hold on to and what we should toss, but emotions do often get in the way. I find myself thinking, ‘I remember when we bought that’ or ‘he still plays with this… sometimes’. Slowly but surely, I’m making progress.

I will be imploring our dear friends and family to refrain from adding to our toy collection. I’ll take clothes— the kids will always wear them at some point. Or I’ll accept gift cards or cash to save for them for when they’ve earned a big treat. But if we get a toy from you these days, it might go straight to Goodwill. I love that so many great organizations accept children’s toys. We, however, do not.

Losing My Cool

Friday, February 24th, 2017

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Charlotte has been in rare form this week.  Some of it is due to the fact that the poor girl is coming off of another cold that seems to have settled deep in her chest.  She’s frustrated and phlegm-filled and just ready to feel better.

But her frustration seems to have manifested itself in the form of a complete unwillingness to do anything she is told.  No diaper changes. No getting dressed.  No shoes.  No car seat.  Nothing necessary to get out the door and on our way in the morning.  And of course, showing up later than usual at school might as well be the end of the world in terms of her reaction.  Do you see a pattern here?

This morning, I lost it while trying to get her into the car and snapped.  I yelled loudly.  At a two year old.  And she started to cry instantly. And I apologized.  And told her brother I was sorry too.  And then backed away and let her dad finish buckling her in.

I took a few deep breaths and thanked him for stepping in.  The fact is, strong willed kids can get the better of us every now and then.  Sometimes, the best thing for moms and kids is for mom to take a time out, too.


Dishing It Out

Friday, January 27th, 2017

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Rory told me the other morning that he hoped his friends liked his new shoes so they would let him play with them on the playground.

I was floored.

I asked if his friends excluded him often.  He told me they did, and proceeded to share a lengthy story of how three of his classmates had precluded him from playing in the treehouse with them.  Except he didn’t use words like “preclude.”  He just said they told him that he could not play in the treehouse and that it made him very sad.  I asked if he told anyone else, like his teachers, or if he’d told his friends how their actions made him feel.  He said he did not.

He seemed so forlorn when he told me that I mentioned it briefly to my husband, who promised to ask his teachers at the end of the day.  Actually, I said I’d ask, but we were delayed in getting to school that morning and, as a result, I wasn’t able to pull his teacher aside to ask quietly in a way that wouldn’t embarrass him in front of his friends.

So Rory’s daddy asked at the end of the day, and learned that we have nothing to be concerned about.  Rory’s group of friends apparently has quite a habit of teasing at least one friend on any given day.  But the “honor” of being left out/teased/excluded rotates with regularity, is never long lived, and, at least according to his teachers, never truly ill-spirited.  And, more often than not, Rory is on the giving, as opposed to the receiving end (although that didn’t make me feel a whole lot better, either).

Hearing about Rory’s power struggles, even if entirely fictitious, engaged a new level of parenting concern that I hadn’t really felt before.  Every parent wants to think of their child as well-socialized and well-liked.  While my concerns were a bit over-blown in this particular instance, I am certain it won’t be the first time that I feel compelled to intervene in a situation where I really ought not insert myself.  Thankfully, having felt my heart break in response to this first instance, I’ll be better prepared to stay strong and help my little man through it the next time.


Monday, January 9th, 2017

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Everywhere you look in “modern parenting”, you see comparisons between what life is like for a parent now compared to what it was a generation ago: “I stayed out until dinnertime and Mom had no idea where I was.” “We never had rear-facing car seats.” “We drank all the soda we wanted!” The implication is clear—mothers and fathers of today put a lot more care and concern into raising their little people.

For the most part, I think it’s true. We sometimes hover. We sometimes obsess. And obsession can be a bad thing. On the other hand—is it such a bad thing to care? Given my nature, I’d probably take my concern for my kids to an extreme no matter the era. I’m happy being a helicopter. It’s who I am. I own it. I wish others would, too. At times the parenting culture/media makes us feel like we should be ashamed that we’re not more laidback.

When you know better, you do better. It’s good to keep extra eyes on your kids in an unsafe world. It’s good to cut down on processed foods. We know so much more about car safety than we once did. Parenthood is always evolving, as it should.

I look forward to the day Haley or Hudson tells me I don’t “get it” when it comes to take care of my grandchild. Chances are, I won’t.

In Full Swing

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
The lazy days of summer are certainly far behind us now. Between school, extra-curricular activities for both kids, appointments, family obligations and play dates, our family has been “go-go-go” all month long. We have another busy week ahead, culminating with two holidays very important to us for different reasons—Diwali and Halloween.

It’s hard to believe October is nearly over and soon we’ll be staring down the barrel of Thanksgiving. But it’s a good thing. Children are busy creatures, and they need activity. They need structure and something interesting to focus on, or they will find trouble! At times, there’s so much for everyone to do, you feel like it will never get done. Once it does, you’ll be thrilled to have a moment to breathe, only to hear “I’m bored!” from pitiful little faces. Busyness ebbs and flows in a family, but never where you want it.

You may have heard the saying about parenthood: “The days are long, but the years are short.” Ain’t that the truth! I know this school year will torpedo ahead. I’ll continue to be busy, and one day I’ll look up and it will be Spring. And then the next school year will start, and the next, and the next, until before I know it I’ll have full-blown teenagers on my hands. I don’t wish it to go slower or faster. I only hope that I will fully appreciate every day of growth and wonder.

Book Worms

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
There are many things I wish I had done differently raising my children, but one thing I’m proud of is that my children love books. From the first day we brought Jack home from the hospital until present day, my husband and I make it a point to read to our children daily. We do it for learning, but also for the snuggles that come with it. No matter how tired my children are, they refuse to go to bed without reading a book.

Tonight our family went to the school book fair. Jack and Tate had both been looking forward to this all week. They each perused the selection of books with their classmates and made their own wish list. They presented their wish lists to me complete with full explanations about each book and where it was located at the fair. They put in some serious effort. I know they love books, so I was happy to listen and encourage their excitement.

Jack is a great reader. He’s currently reading the Harry Potter series at bedtime. He’s so consumed with the stories that I find him late at night, hiding under his covers, reading via book light and enjoying his books. Tate’s reading started off wonderfully a couple years ago. Then he got into a rut and only wanted to be read to, which is okay. This year, school has helped him to read on his own again and he’s back on the reading wagon. He still loves to be read to at bedtime, but will pick up books on his own too.

I hope my kids continue to enjoy reading as they grow up. It’s great seeing them get so excited over books the same way they are with toys. I also hope that, in the future, reading textbooks comes as naturally. Watching my kids read is one of the best feelings I’ve had as a mother.

Science Lab

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Jack’s teacher asked for parent volunteers to help out in his science class. My husband and I got to help Jack, and the rest of his class, dissect owl pellets. It sounded gross, but definitely interesting to our nine year old.

I wasn’t exactly sure what an owl pellet was, but I learned it’s basically a hairball filled with bones. The owl coughs up the hairball because it can’t be digested. Have I completely disgusted you yet?

Each student pair got a dried (and sanitized) owl pellet, tweezers, picks and a magnifying glass. The students were nervous at first, but soon they all used their kit and fingers to pull apart the owl pellet and examined the contents. Each team had a bone-sorting chart with species-specific pictures of skulls, jaws, teeth, vertebrae, limbs, hips, ribs and other bones to help identify their findings.

Jack and his partner enjoyed finding all types of rodent, shrew, and mole bones. The pellet was about the size of a small egg. Inside there were three full skulls, a dozen ribs, numerous teeth and vertebrae. It was gross at first, but quickly became fascinating to the students. Each student glued their bones on a piece of paper and labeled their findings.

It was amusing to hear the students talk among themselves. Some students shouted, “Wow, look at this skull!” or  “Ewwwww look at those sharp teeth.” I think all of Jack’s classmates really enjoyed their lab. It was fun to be hands on and helping out in the classroom. I was a little hesitant about owl pellets, but it was neat to watch Jack and his friends learn in their science lab together.

Magical Moments

Monday, August 29th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I too often fret that I am not squeezing every ounce of joy out of my children’s childhood. That I’m not giving them enough in terms of magical experiences. That I’m not taking traditions far enough. That I’m letting seasons go by without capturing enough perfectly staged photos that demonstrate their happiness—“Haley 5, Hudson 1, Afternoon at Petting Zoo, August 2016”.

It’s a common feeling among my parenting peers. Parents these days worry about absolutely everything, and want to get it just right. It’s an admirable—if silly and somewhat pointless, sentiment.

Well, this past weekend I was somewhat successful in creating a few meaningful moments. I took the kids to the US Open here in New York City for their annual Kids’ Day. Not only is it a beloved (and free!) event in the Big Apple, but also the tournament is something I enjoyed immensely as a child. By taking the little ones there, I felt I was not only successful in organizing a great summer outing, I was passing on a meaningful tradition.

But the day was a little less magical than I had hoped. Kids’ Day was a much simpler affair when I was a kid. Now, there’s a lot more fancy entertainment that has nothing to do with tennis. Don’t get me wrong—the kids had a good time overall. However, it was hot. Really hot. We had to wait on long lines in the sweltering sun to do any activity. And it was crowded. I have to be honest—I don’t love crowds. Parking was an expensive, interesting experience. There were enough annoyances involved that I thought to myself, “maybe not next year.”

And that’s okay. I tried. I think it’s important to remember that some children’s adventures are not really designed for the preschool set. The years go by fast, and we want to get it all in, but I’m starting to think waiting until your youngest is elementary age to fit in all the “fun stuff” is a smarter strategy. This just might be the Age of Great Times At Home. And maybe these pictures won’t be perfectly staged. Maybe they’ll be silly and messy and show off the chaos of our life. Fine by me.

Welcome to the Club

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Over the weekend, a dear friend of mine welcomed her first child. As I gushed over the baby’s adorable face on my phone, I thought about what it means to be a parent.

There are myriad memes on social media pointing out how little non-parents know about parenting versus what they think they know. It’s unbelievably trite but true: you just don’t know what it’s like to be a parent until you are a parent.

That’s not to say every non-parent is clueless. There are aunts and uncles, real and honorary, who join Mom and Dad on the adventure and definitely learn a heck of a lot. But it’s not the same.

And now I get to see my friend transform into a different version of her—the sleep-deprived, constant low-level worry, full of monumental love version. I look forward to the way our conversations will take on a different tenor now. She gets it.

She’s in the club now. I welcome her with open arms.