When I was pregnant with my first child, I decided I would keep working. My job as a writer/editor enabled me to work from home, and, while it didn’t pay a lot, it did provide decent insurance coverage for my family. My husband, then an independent contractor, also worked from home. Our ability to work where we wanted and flexible schedules, in theory, gave us the perfect scenario for keeping our jobs while raising our children.
Before my baby was born, I arranged, what I thought at the time, was a pretty sweet setup. I would work from home four days a week and come in to the office for one. I could be at home with my child and still work. On those days I had to be in the office, my husband could take care of the baby. What kick-ass parents we would be. Killing it in the workforce and as parents.
My family spends much of our day outside, mostly to keep our two boys from climbing off the walls. On those days when the weather is too gross to be outdoors, I often turn to engaging experiments and projects to pass the time.
You don’t need much to spark the little scientist in your kid: just some objects you have around the house and some curiosity does the trick.
If you have kids who have slept for at least five straight hours since birth, first, tell me your secret, then stop reading. OK, you don’t have to stop reading, you can laugh along with the rest of us, miserable, tired parents.
I am not sure who passed on the this sleep aversion to our children. I blame my husband for my oldest’s bizarre nightmares and sleep walking episodes. I am probably at fault for our youngest being wide-eyed and ready to party at 3 a.m. Either way, we have long accepted our fate as perpetually drowsy parents. And because, we don’t know of any kids who suck at shut-eye more than our brood, I decided to turn my attention to the animal kingdom. Yes, fellow, exhausted parents, these creatures will make you thank the stars (which you are probably up staring at because your kid is still awake) that you have human children. Continue reading →
Difficult, stubborn, strong-willed, a free spirit. All of these words describe my oldest son. He is only four, yet he often pushes me over the line between parent and child. I am not ashamed to admit I have lost my cool on occasion. I have found myself sucked into battle after battle. I resented him for not being a more easy-going child. On many days, I was just hoping to make it to bed time before becoming emotionally exhausted and physically aching.
If you have a child like mine, I am sure like me, you looked for ways to change his or her behavior. You read the blogs, sought guidance from your own parents and shared your struggles with your friends. All have good intentions. Phrases like “positive reinforcement” and “be stern, but fair,” are constantly buzzing in your ear. You try everything to get your kid to change, to just be a little easier. To be like your friends’ kids. Maybe you see a change, and maybe you don’t. Maybe when things don’t work, you question everything you have ever done as a parent.
I was that parent. I asked, “Why me?” When it seemed like I spent day after day trying to reason with my son. I turned my frustration out on him, and that just made things worse. It was a horrible cycle leaving everyone tired and unhappy. I thought, if only I had more help, if only my kid was easier, if only I had more peace and quiet.
Thanksgiving is nigh, and that means lots of articles, essays, poems and prose on all of our blessings. I am, of course, grateful for my two beautiful children. I could write a whole post about how wonderful they are, and most parents would nod in agreement. We can like and share the precious moments and everyday gifts, gushing about our little angels.
But, what about the things us parents are really thankful for. You know, the stuff that probably won’t make the greeting card aisle. I thought those things are worth celebrating.
Once you reach a certain age, you need to adhere to an accepted level of adulting. Sure, it would be totally fun to sit home in a robe all day drinking White Russians, but we can’t all be “The Dude.”
Society expects something of us grownups, and we can’t get away with the stuff we did in college and our 20s.
There is however, one exception. Parenting. Yes, having children entitles you to a hall pass for screwing your responsibilities. While most folks would not get away with these bad habits, somehow, those of us with spawn are not judged (or at least not as much).
The first time I embraced the benefits of letting kids use a mobile device was when my family flew to St. Thomas with our toddler and infant sons. I knew my nearly three-month-old wouldn’t be much of a challenge, rock him or give him the boob, and he would be good to go. My two-and-a-half-year-old, however, was probably going to have a hard time staying calm on a three-plus-hour flight. Fortunately, because of the awesome luck of my husband, we were the owners of a free iPad. I am not sure if we would have bought a tablet, otherwise, but I am glad we had one at the time.
I doubted how long the tablet would hold the interest of my toddler. Although we did allow him to watch television at home, he never stayed focused on any show for too long, often stopping to go play with his toys. Not so with the iPad. My son found certain apps, like puzzles or drawing games captivating, and easily maneuvered from one to the next. For someone with little prior experience with devices, his mastery of the tablet was impressive. Of course, that is no surprise to most parents today. We are raising digital natives. Continue reading →