Sunday, November 27, 2011

Are We Modern Women Or Behaving Like Our Grandmothers?

Julia Rothman for The Washington Post
I'm a stay at home mom. I have a lot of friends who are stay at home moms. I'm sure each of us decided to stay home to raise our kids for different reasons, but the fact is that all of us are what I think of as quite modern women who are highly educated and yet our careers were put on hold (or said goodbye to) in order to be full time mothers. 

I find it interesting how many families these days seem really happy with what is in many ways a very "traditional" arrangement with dad going to work and mom staying home. I remember when I was in my 20's and married to my first husband, I brought up the idea of staying home when we had children and he seemed completely put out. He not only didn't want the pressure of being the sole breadwinner, but he turned his nose up at the idea that his wife might no longer be the fancy fashion designer he married but would instead be "just" a mom. 

Obviously, he and I were not meant to be.

But the idea that just a decade or two later, so many women would be home raising their children fascinates me. Not only are so many of us staying home, but many are doing things our own bra-burning mothers might consider a step backwards and are actually homeschooling, knitting, canning, making our own cleaning supplies, and baking our own bread. Is today's mother ruining everything our grandmothers fought for, or is she actually starting some sort of new revolution? 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

5 Ways To Excite Your Kids About Fruits And Veggies

Our daughter, at 6-months old, enjoying her beets!
She didn't eat them again for 4 more years
When my children were much younger, they ate a wide variety of foods. Friends marveled as they chowed down lentil soup or grilled salmon. I patted myself on the back for their choices of fruit or yogurt as a dessert. However, as they've grown older, they have winnowed away just about everything. My son eats almost no proteins now except eggs and chicken nuggets. My daughter eats almost no vegetables except peas. While they still do eat a lot of fruit and yogurt, the whines at dessert time when I don't have something chocolate are beyond annoying. I'm not worried, as they are both healthy and growing, but I do want them to develop good eating habits!

Recently I got into a conversation with Kia Robertson who runs a site called Today I Ate A Rainbow and happened to mention the trouble I was having getting my kids to eat a variety of foods. Kia very generously offered to send me her Rainbow Kit and we have been using it for a week now. Wow!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Labels Are For Clothes, Not For Children.

A few months ago I began contributing to Citrus Lane's Parent Advisory Board and blog. I love Citrus Lane's mission to help make new parents feel more at ease with the amazing task they've signed up for. It's right up my alley. Last week I wrote a post for them about labeling which I wanted to share here as well (slightly expanded).  

Comparing them only drives them apart.
Instead, focus on their individuality.
One of the first things I learned as a mother of twins is that people naturally want to label and compare things. With twins it’s often people’s way of figuring out who is who. “Kaitlin is the one who likes puppies and Pearle is the one who likes horses.” In part it’s people’s way of connecting and making conversation, so I don’t take offense. But I have always felt it important to gently correct and enlighten.

When my kids were little, my son was the type of child who needed to observe a situation before he proceeded, whereas our daughter would rush right in. Because they are the same age it was unavoidable that we would hear, “So, she’s the outgoing one and he’s the shy one!” When this sort of thing happens repeatedly, the children can begin to take on the roles assigned to them. My daughter could easily have become the child who felt she had to always help her brother make friends or speak up for himself. And my son could easily have begun to think of himself as shy and introverted when in actuality nothing could be further from the truth!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Connection, Not Combat, Gets You What You Want

image via Adam Tow
For the second time in a week the concept of using martial arts in the context of relationships was mentioned to me. Not as a way to fight, but as a way not to. So many of us push against that which we disagree with, getting louder and louder, upping the battle in an attempt to make the other side yield. In the end, there is no winner. How can there be a winner when both sides aren't happy with the outcome?

My father studied T'ai Chi for a number of years when I was younger, often embarrassing me greatly by practicing the slow, meditative movements in public. One of the methods he practiced was a style of self defense called "Sticky Hand" or "Pushing Hands". My husband, just before we were married, jokingly asked my father in an email to teach him this method as a way to help our marriage. Little did he realize how accurate his request was.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

No matter how much they love one another, too much time
together makes them sick of each other!
As a mother of twins, one of the things I spend a good deal of time focusing on is how much alone time each of our children is getting. This isn't something only parents of twins deal with, although in a number of ways it's more intense when you have twins. 

When I had a full time nanny, it was pretty easy to split the kids up and get one on one time with them. But these days my help is sporadic and I have started working a lot more than I used to, so the kids have been spending day after day together without a break. It's beginning to wear on them.

No matter how much you love someone, you need time apart to remember how wonderful it is when you are together! I've had a lot of guilt over how much I have been working lately and the fact that my kids are taking out some of their frustration on each other isn't helping matters. This weekend I had some time to think about all of this and begin to make some changes.

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