Keeping up with Mrs. Jones

I know lots of moms. Some are crafty, some are incredibly active and others are unbelievably excellent cooks. Then there are the ones who make the whole work/life thing look ridiculously easy. It's that last set of moms that get to us. The ones who seem to have the perfect children, house, marriage - the ones that make us question how we are lacking in our own lives.

And all those thoughts are causing problems.

Researchers have found that moms feel that they are under pressure to keep up with other mothers, and oftentimes this leads to depression.

This is going to have to stop.

We've talked before about changing your inner mommy-logue and altering your negative thoughts, but we moms have to work on not comparing ourselves to other moms. Instead, we have to work together. We need to leverage our collective mommyness.

Once upon a time, I issued a grandparents challenge to teach my son the skills I don't have. Now I'm issuing a similar challenge to myself. I need to figure out the areas I normally shy away from (Sports. It'll be sports.) and see if there is a way to introduce them to my son. This might be through organized activities or something we learn together, or even with some help from another mom. 

I'm not doing this so that he can be better than another child, but to broaden his interests in life. No one should be stuck with the legacy of their parents' hobbies/sports teams/university because they were never given the opportunity to develop their own tastes.

What can't you do that you wish you could? Play piano? Speak another language? How will you give that opportunity to your child to see if he or she is interested in it? Tell me in the comments.

Falling in love 101

When my son sees two people kissing, he often says, "Those two people are kissing and then they will go and get married." Evidently my sex talks with him have paid off. (Just kidding.) When I ask him about the leap from kissing to married, he shows me the various wedding pictures of my husband and I kissing right before we tied the knot.

I told him that Mommy and Daddy spent a long time together before we actually got married and there were lots of steps in between the first kiss and our wedding day. He then told me that he would get married one day, but he wasn't sure who the person was going to be yet. (I've assured him he has plenty of time and not to feel rushed.)

As it turns out, people aren't making time for love anymore. And we are now at the point where the subject of falling in love and long-term dating have become topics of study in college.

Several universities are offering classes in building long-term relationships. Evidently, students are so academically minded or focused on their resumes, or they are unsure of how to interact in person (without technology) that they need some additional help. Although some of these classes don't offer credits (so no one could really major in love), it's still time out of a student's busy schedule to learn about what they've missed along the way.

From time-to-time, I have thought up various classes that I think should be taught in college, but one on dating has never crossed my mind.

But maybe it is a good idea - even at my son's school level, they are not allowed to hug inside the classrooms. (It's really cute that they've found the loophole and walk outside the classroom together to hug each other hello or good-bye.)

Is dating a lost art or is this a bad idea? Tell me what you think in the comments.

Another reason to reduce screen time

On Fridays I let my son take his LeapPad to school with him so that he can play it in the afternoons. This is the compromise I've come up with as the school shows movies on Friday afternoons. I normally would not have a problem with movie time, except that the school often shows movies that are PG and not appropriate for my son to watch.

Since the school doesn't seem to have a set schedule of what movie they will show when (or any plans on changing their movie policy for only G-rated movies), I've opted him out of this activity. My son is quite happy with this exchange as he found the movies "upsetting" and enjoys his quiet time with his LeapPad.

Of course, I know that I am simply replacing one type of screen time for another. But at least this way, he won't be in tears upon pickup because he saw something in a movie that was scary.

As if I needed another reason to limit his screen time, a recent study in Scientific American has been published about the benefits of parents limiting both amount of time and content. This study, by Dr. Gentile and his research team, was particularly interesting because it started as a survey around parents' interactions with their children's media use. Seven months later, the researchers uncovered some surprising results, finding that the parents who were more involved in screen time limitations had children with less sleep deprivation, less risk of obesity and were getting better grades overall in school.

The causality is not that hard to explain: Every hour a child spends on a screen is an hour less spent on homework/sleep/exploring the world around them. But it is interesting to see the results of those hours accumulated over such a short (only seven months!) span of time. 

This information is not likely to make me change my stance on Fridays. After all, I know the content on my son's LeapPad, so he can still enjoy his media time.

What's the last thing you let your child watch? Tell me in the comments.

Let's go bowling

I suck at bowling. (Actual bowling - I rock at Wii bowling.) I lob the ball a bit too far down the lane, I don't take the time to line myself up and I often get gutter balls. But every time I've gone bowling with my son, I've had a blast.

And I am not sure why that is. Admittedly, my son is very good at bowling - he has even gotten a strike and beaten me several times. (In my defense, the stoppers over the gutters help.) So, maybe my enthusiasm for bowling comes from watching him truly enjoy playing the game.

So, I was a little sad to see that there are fewer bowling alleys than there used to be. You can blame the decline on people not having the time to join leagues or the rise of entertainment centers taking over traditional alleys, but for our family, we rarely go bowling because I never think of it as a weekend activity.

To change that, I am making a list (no surprise there). This particular list will be all the stuff we really enjoy doing together as a family, but rarely do. I hope to have lots of uses for this list:
  • As an answer to those weekends when we don't have any scheduled plans. I am fine with everyone having our own downtime, but it's good to get out as a family.
  • As a reward for my son when he accomplishes something big - he gets to pick the weekend plans.
  • Rainy day fun.
  • When we have family/friends visiting and need to figure out a group activity.
I'll start my list with bowling, and add in the arcade (for as bad as I am at bowling, I am surprisingly good at skee ball).

What would be on your family activity list? Tell me in the comments.