Friday, October 21, 2016

Staying home with the kids

Traffic is what did me in.

I had it all planned out: I left work a little earlier than normal, I had a route home that avoided the major roads and I was excited. I was going to make it to my son's school in time for curriculum night.

There is never enough time, is there?
A few traffic accidents and 35 extra minutes tacked onto my drive later, and I pulled into my driveway. We had just enough time to visit his book fair before curriculum night ended.

He wasn't upset with me - he was happy to get more books at the fair - but I was upset with me. I had really wanted to be there for him.

It is these types of moments that make me wonder if his life might be better if I was a stay-at-home Mom. After all, most Americans think that children are better off with a stay-at-home parent.

But then, I start to think about my job and how much I love it. And how much easier our lives are with two income earners. What would my son's life be like if I was home for him in the afternoons but we didn't have that extra income?

Like most parents I think about the life balance I currently have and always wonder if it is the right one. There is no easy answer.

But who said having children would be easy?

Are you a working parent who wishes they could stay at home with your children? Tell me in the comments. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Love now = love later on in life

It must have been a particularly bad dream.

My son doesn't have bad dreams very often, but this one was awful enough for him to leave his bed, make his way down the stairs and traverse through the dark all the way to our bedroom. I woke at the sound of our door opening. He wasn't crying, but I did let him climb into bed with me for a moment.

After a few minutes, I took him back to his room and agreed to snuggle him for a bit. When I left him, he was mostly asleep, but at the sound of me leaving the room, he said, "I love you more than anyone."

We all want our children to feel loved, and as parents, we spend a lot of time reinforcing that idea. That feeling of safety and serenity is important for children, and - evidently - can affect them for their entire lives.

In a long-term study (seriously - it is a 78-year long study), researchers were able to gather enough data to show that men who come from warm and loving homes have more secure marriages later on in life. By having participants answer questions about their health and relationships for nearly eight decades, the authors of the study were able to track various relationships and men's ability to manage their emotions in a healthy way.

It's amazing to think that hugs can really last a lifetime.

How do you show affection in your family? Tell me in the comments.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Did not; did too!

Throughout my childhood, there was an invisible barrier in the backseat of the car called "The Liberty Line." The naming of this barrier is questionable, I know, but my brother came up with it (I think). The point of the line was that it was the DMZ of the car and the one spot in the backseat that should not be crossed.
Sometimes they are friends; sometimes the cookies crumble.

The problem with invisible barriers is that if they can't be seen, then they don't have to be adhered to.

At this point, I should probably say "Sorry, Mom," and then thank her and my Dad for getting the minivan so my brother and I could have completely separate seats.

Siblings fight. Even the ones who claim to be best friends as adults fought as children. I was surprised to learn how often children fight: One study puts it at once every 9.5 minutes for the 2- to 4-year-old crowd.

Seriously, I am sorry, Mom.

But all that fighting with our sibling is supposed to help teach conflict resolution. The idea is that parents don't take sides and let their children figure things out.

Which is how we ended up with a Liberty Line.

The problem is that at a certain point - let's call it the point just before a physical altercation - parents need to step in. But that is a very hard moment to gauge. And if you don't gauge it correctly, everyone loses.

Siblings are complicated. Maybe that is another reason why I am still happy with just one child.

What kind of compromises did you and your siblings come up with? Share with me in the comments.

Monday, October 17, 2016

It's OK to give up on the peas

It's dinnertime, and I am preparing two meals. I find that I do this frequently enough that I question my sanity, but not often enough that I stop doing it. I would like to prepare just one meal - one that my whole family enjoys, but that doesn't happen every day of the week, so two meals it is.

Here's what I remember about dinnertime as a child: I never starved. I remember eating whatever my Mother cooked (except for those years I stopped eating meat - sorry, Mom!), but I don't recall a whole lot of really spicy foods on her regular menu.

I have a few dishes with some stronger flavors to them - ones that I know my son doesn't enjoy. He may enjoy them one day, but not right now. And that is OK. I can accept that food preferences are mostly genetic. By all accounts, my husband and I didn't develop adventurous palettes until later in fact, one of us didn't like peas until he was in his 20s. Neither of us is a fan of chard.

So, I am not going to push my son into eating what we eat for dinner every night. Should he try something new occasionally? Yes, of course. But if he doesn't like it then we will just wait and see if his genes eventually change his mind.

What food did you dislike as a child that you now enjoy? Tell me in the comments.