Tag Archives: childcare

Food allergies

I was thrilled to see these shirts for kids with allergies. It’s a brilliant concept and of course a mother came up with it. Brava!

DontFeedMe

Having my mother-in-law care for my son for the first 5 years of his life was such a gift, especially when we learned he had a dairy, egg, and nut aversion. I imagine how challenging and scarier this would have been if I didn’t have my mother-in-law attending allergist appointments, grocery shopping with me, and preparing avoidance diet meals for my son while he was in her care.

When I think about the times my son traveled with my mother-in-law and was with relatives who knew he had food allergies, but didn’t really understand what that meant – this shirt would have been super handy.

As soon as either of us said he had allergies, friends and relatives would ask about nuts and gluten. Yes, a lot of people are allergic to these items – but gluten wasn’t on my son’s list. People just weren’t clear in what he was avoiding – and this shirt would have been crystal clear and helped them pause before offering him any food or treats.

If you have a multigenerational event coming up and you have a little one (I’m thinking under age 7) with allergies, I think a shirt like this would give a parent (or grandparent) a bit of calm as the little one wonders about during the multigenerational festivities.

If you have allergies or a child with allergies – how do you educate friends and relatives about this?

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Teacher Accused of Putting Sleeping Pills into Toddler’s Sippy Cups

Anyone else outraged about this news story?

For parents and many grandparents, the idea of entrusting precious babes to strangers is pretty terrifying – I know it was for me.

The comments on this news story magnify the investment grandparents also have in the quality of care for their grandchildren.

ToddlersDrugged

When I talk with other families who have a multigenerational household or have grandparents as caregivers (aka – granny nannies), the top reasons are:

  • More flexibility with childcare schedule.
  • Feeling more comfortable and secure with a family member caring for the child.
  • Less guilt, for the working parent (typically the mom), about being away from the child.
  • Easier to trust that love will prevail – even in the most challenging childcare situations.
  • The grandparent will not drug the kids to take a nap! (Ok – it’s not that specific – but parents feel the grandparents will not intentionally harm the grandchild.)

Nanny News Network lists 10 great reasons why a Granny-as-Nanny could be a potential option if it hasn’t crossed the minds of parents seeking childcare.

Having a granny nanny may not work for many families – or it may not even be a viable option due to health of grandparents, relationship issues, location/proximity, level of childcare needs, and other factors.Anytime a parent entrusts their child to a caregiver – they are always taking a chance.

The biggest thing, I think, parents should remember is to always trust their intuition when it comes to their children.

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Too stressed to have sex?

Cleaning out your inbox for your work email takes a bit of time, especially when you let things pile up. (Whoops!)

During this clean-up process, I came across an email thread between a working mother friend and me. The email message was from March, and you’re probably wondering why I would still have that in my inbox. Well, a big chunk of the thread was about sex.

My friend, let’s call her Sally, sent me a link to a blog post entitled New Study: Working Parents Too Stressed to Have Sex.

What? Yes, I was going to have to read this post right away.

Sally and I both agreed as working mothers we are both stretched and sometimes wearily look at our task lists. Neither of us is overly concerned about the state of our houses. Neat is good, immaculate is overrated – so we feel liberated in not keeping that front going. Sally and I live in different states and we have leaned on each other by sending text messages to help get us to the gym and applying some friendly peer pressure.

We both have leadership positions in our work organizations, and Sally feels a tad bit more stressed than I do in this area because she’s in a male-dominated field. To combat this, Sally has contracted me to do some leadership coaching.

We agreed that sometimes we are overly plugged into work through technology, so we have been encouraging each other to have some “unplugged” downtime – such as dinner, exercise time, time out with friends, wooing the spouse moments,  cocktail hour, and bath/story time.

As we discussed this blog post, we were both patting ourselves on the back for being open and honest about the aforementioned challenges. We were thrilled neither of us were trying to wear a super-working-mother cape because that is not who we are trying to be. We want as much work/life balance as possible, thriving families, girls’ nights out, and healthy relationships with our respective spouses.

Then Sally went back to this section from the article:

“This survey finds that despite successful careers, our work is impacting our personal lives in unhealthy ways.  Working moms, particularly those with young children, are exhausted and stressed by a workday that for many never ends because we are tethered to technology 24/7,” Sachs said. “It’s no surprise that moms who are toting buzzing BlackBerries in their bags chock full of work emails, can feel tapped out and not eager for sex. Stress kills the libido.”  

Sally said to me,

“I’m not sure if I’m getting a gold medal in the bedroom.”

My response,

“Who said we needed to be Olympians in that area?”

This moved our email discussion to childcare challenges and how that does play into the on and off button of our libidos.

Sally has a full-time nanny and I have a full-time granny nanny (my mother-in-law). Sally does worry about her nanny getting sick or getting a better offer to work with another family. I have brief moments of worry that my mother-in-law may run off with a leather-clad motorcycle rider, but I’m sure she’d give me proper notice before she would leave her grandchildren.

If one of Sally’s children (she has two) is sick, Sally typically misses work because her husband is a key player in his organization, so it’s difficult for him to get away. If one of my kids is sick, my mother-in-law usually takes care of everything because (1) she ran an in-home daycare for many years, (2) she used to be an EMT (3) she raised three of her own kids and she knows exactly what to do, and (4) she is invested in helping my husband and me raise our children and not have to worry about childcare while we are at work.

Sally said she has considered having her own mother be a granny nanny, but she knows they could not live in the same house. I totally get that. I also know that multigenerational living is hard work and depending on how healthy that living arrangement is, a couple may or may not be going for the gold in the bedroom.

The wrap-up to my email thread with Sally ended with me saying, “Hey, you’ve got to set your own libido goals. Shoot for a realistic target and go for it. Don’t listen to a study to tell you how often you should be having relations with your husband.”

Sally’s response,

“So you’re saying I should take up archery?”

images 1, 2
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Mom WAS here and all WAS right with the world…

My mom has left our nest, and this seemed like the shortest visit ever!

The kids and I dropped her off at the airport today and all four of us were sad. My mom hated to say good-bye, my daughter looked bewildered, and my son cried loudly for approximately 10 minutes. I just sighed, gave my mom a tight hug, and drove west. It’s a weekday and we had stuff to get home and do.

When my *MIL travels, we have to do the granny exchange because we rely on my MIL for childcare. I breathe easily when I know my mom is coming to town because she’s MY mom, but I also get a bit jammed up because life is in progress, and  it’s often hard to get my mom up to speed on what we need her to do and how we need her to do it.

My mom is a vivacious southern belle who says what she thinks at all times. She likes things tidy, presentable and looking good. This I love. At the same time, she’s whimsical and does not often adhere to a schedule. That drives me bonkers.

Me & mom on the swan paddleboat

Me & mom on the swan paddleboat

When my mom swoops in to take over the granny-nanny role, hubby and I just let things slide. It’s a gift to us that my mom is willing to help us with childcare, and it’s not worth it to us to try and get her to do things the “regular” way.

I don’t spend time comparing my mom and MIL. That’s just silly (and would make me check-in to a mental health facility).  They are two different people. One raised me and one did not. One I’ve known my entire life and the other I have not.

What I do compare is  the way the “moms”  make me feel in helping me with my children. I’m more easygoing and relaxed with my mom in regards to my children because my mom knows me and I don’t feel judged! We have many common interests and enjoy some of the same activities. There are also things we agree about in raising and caring for children. If there are things on which we don’t agree, it is very easy for me to talk to my mom about it, get emotional, talk about it some more, kiss and make up, and then move forward.

On the other hand, my MIL and I have a very good relationship and we can talk about most things, but the structure is very different.  If I see communication obstacles coming up, I will slow down and try to talk it through. If that does not work, I’ll try to send an email. And if THAT is not working, I’ll get my hubby involved.  I pride myself on being a problem-solver, but I do I recognize my hubby may be the best person to deal with any specifically tough  or touchy conversations because this is his mom and he has more experience with her than I do. There are also cultural differences in experiences, language and communication styles and honestly speaking – I can be too impatient to stop, think, and process things with my MIL, so my hubby can be the informal mediator.

In the meantime, I’ll be counting the days until my kids and I get to hang with my mom (and stepdad) this summer, and it’ll be worth the wait.

BTW…my MIL was due back in town tonight, but her flight was CANCELLED. So, hubby is on “granny-nanny” duty tomorrow because my schedule is FULL!

How would you describe the ways  you communicate with your parents and in-laws? What is your comfort level in either situation?

(*MIL = mother-in-law)

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