I have a post up over at Great Moments in Parenting today! Come read about my trip to the store with 2 preschoolers, a baby and a purse full of pads…
I was recently approached by another blogger to swap posts. I was excited because this is the first time that a blogger has approached me first. It’s a good feeling as a blogger.
Today Kaitlin from An Apple Per Day is sharing with us how to introduce swimming to young children.
I love the water, and our family is really lucky to have a swimming pool in our back yard. When we decided to start a family, I wanted to make sure my kids had the opportunity to enjoy the water as well. Safety was also a big concern, so swim lessons were in our plans for the kids.
Beginning lessons. I found out that formal swim lessons are best started when a child is around 3 or 4 years old – by that time a child has developed sufficiently to hold their head, follow directions and listen to an instructor. But getting my child around the water can start much earlier. When he was around 6 months old, my child was considered ready for a Mommy and Me class, which helped my baby get oriented to the water. In the meantime, there were plenty of informal things to help my child get used to the water. Here are some great resources with more information:
Always being held. The basic starting point is that when a baby or toddler is in the water, they are always being held, or within arm’s length. One of my boys was adventurous and a water baby from the moment he was around the water, but I didn’t let him wander off, even though he wanted to. I always held him. He might squirm and want to be on his own, but I never allowed that.
Early lessons. I started with bath time to let my child get used to the water. I let the baby see the joys of water trickling around him, and I smiled a lot as I showed him how to splash. Next, my husband and I took him out to the pool. My husband held him, sitting near the pool, while I went into the water and splashed and smiled. My husband then moved over and sat down next to the pool. When my baby reached out for me, I gently took him and held him in my arms while I was in waist deep water. I let his toes dip into the water, and he kicked and giggled. He loved the water from then on.
Each at their own pace. While one of my boys was a water baby from the very first, the other one was much more cautious, and I didn’t force him. During bath time he was not quite sure about the water. The research I had done indicated it was best to let the child set the pace on getting comfortable with the water. When we took him out to the pool, he was just fine sitting in my husband’s arms for a much longer time. We sat with him for about three days before he decided he was ready to get closer to the pool.
Lessons in a swim class. I considered trying to teach my kids to swim, but the boys were so headstrong, I decided lessons with an instructor would be a much better solution. Trying to get them to clean their rooms was enough power struggle for me. I wanted to make sure the lessons were good, so I went and watched a swim class, and even asked the instructor to show me his credentials. It was amazing to see how well behaved my kids were with an instructor – he was very businesslike, and each lesson followed what appeared to be a carefully crafted plan. The kids learned floating, treading water, basic water safety, and different swim strokes.
As I watch the boys splash and play in the pool, I smile, because their confidence around the water will serve them well for their whole life.
Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.
With more than 50% of married mothers working outside the home and almost 70% of single mothers joining the workforce (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics), being a working mom in the United States is becoming more and more the norm rather than the exception. Be it for personal or economic reasons, there is a huge community of female professionals that head to work each day to pursue career goals and contribute to the financial provision of their families.
The emotional and physical challenges that working mothers face can weigh heavily on our endurance, patience and general joie de vive, and while we continue to push through, some days the mommy woes eclipse the sun and we find ourselves in a very dark place. Missing out on special school presentations, watching our children favor a day care provider over our own care, moving from one to-do list to the next as we run at top speed all day long…it’s far from an easy path. Equipping yourself with the proper tools to survive as a working mom is a vital part to achieving harmony both at home and in the office.
1. Claim your Mission: As mothers, we tend to be a little cliché when we say “everything we do is for our kids.” While there is fundamental truth and intentional purpose in that statement, we don’t always follow a path that really allows us to meet the needs of our children. This is one area in which I particularly struggle. A self-professed workaholic, I have to deliberately be faithful to my mission of family first. I am quick to say “yes” to new projects that might have a long term impact on my children, but sacrifice their short term needs. I have to tread lightly when new opportunities arise and make sure any decisions I make are taking me closer to my family rather than a step away.
2. Set Boundaries: Once you commit to your mission and start running new professional opportunities through a stringent test to determine whether they’ll aid your mission or detract from it, you can begin to create a simple series of boundaries that continue to help filter your choices in the workplace. These boundaries will be different for every person, so there’s really no right answer here. The right answer is what works for you and your family. Nothing more, nothing less. For me, I have a strict boundary set to not take jobs that require me to be constantly available via phone and email. I also avoid jobs that require travel more than a couple of times a year. Lastly, I refrain from putting myself in the running for promotions or high-level moves that would increase my workload and professional anxiety. While my little heart loves the thrill of the ride, my family does not enjoy the quick temper and exhaustion that comes with over commitment, deadlines and corporate responsibility.
3. Build a Support System: This is one area that I found to be seriously lacking in the working mom department. We so often overlook our own needs as we scramble to meet the needs of everyone around us that we don’t even consider how we might need to be supported. Hopefully as a working mom, your family supports you in your efforts, but what about taking it one step further? I recently decided to start an online community called Working Moms United. Designed as a safe haven for the burnt-out working mom, our little family of like-minded mamas is growing by leaps and bounds as we all work to support and encourage each other as working parents. It’s my dream to see this network grow into regional support groups that meet regularly and to be able to host a national conference annually to bring all working moms together for some rejuvenation, social fun and refocused energy. You can join the Facebook community or follow us on Twitter to connect with other working moms who understand what it means to excel professionally while also raising a family. Support yourself and support others!
Despite our best efforts, we’re all going to have bad days as working parents. We’ll miss our children desperately, feel like we dropped the ball and crave just two minutes where we can sit still and not worry about what needs to be done next. Those days will come and go, but hopefully with a great support system in place and a little more discernment in our professional environment, we can continue to take one step closer to a more manageable life as working parents and those dark moments will pass quickly. At the end of each day, pat yourself on the back! You are a strong, courageous working woman and a fabulous, beloved mother!
Welcome to the chaos! I’m Katy, the writing Mama behind Chaos & Kiddos, a blog dedicated to helping working mothers claim a more manageable life as they seek to achieve balance and order in both the professional arena and their home lives. In between juggling twin toddler boys, a rowdy teenage stepdaughter, a handful of fish, a newly acquired snail, one rescue pup and a self-entitled bull dog with my husband of almost 10 years, I also work full time in sales and run a boudoir photography business in Virginia Beach, VA.
Call me crazy, but life is good. If you’d like to learn how to make life more manageable as a working mom, be sure to visit me on social media and subscribe to the blog!
Every morning I walk our two cockapoos, Mattie and Murphy, around the neighborhood. Not only do the dogs do their business, but I get a little exercise. In addition, it’s my visiting time with my sister-in-law, Kim, who passed away a few years ago. We all knew Kim had cancer, but she wasn’t expected to pass so suddenly. When we got the phone call that she had fallen and was in a coma, we were in shock. We booked a flight to New Jersey that night.
When we arrived at the airport, we had just opened the door to our rental car when we got the call. It was her husband John telling us that she had passed. We were too late. My husband Scott and I sat in the car in tears, hugging each other. We had just spoken to her on the phone that week, trying to convince her to come and stay in our house in Florida. In exchange, we’d go north for a week and take care of her house and her daughters. She’d been understandably depressed and told me she wished she could just unzip herself out of her body. The body she was in was no longer hers. The cancer had spread and she was using a walker to get around. She had braces on her legs that she hated anyone to see. She was right. This was not her. I understood her need to unzip.
Kim was a kindergarten teacher. She had always loved kids. She was the kind of teacher who bought things for her class with her own money. Her school district wasn’t very wealthy so Kim made sure her classroom was the best the kids could have. She was the best aunt our kids could have ever had. When Scott and I first married, Kim spent a lot of time at our apartment. She became like another sister to me. When our kids were born they nick named her “Mimi.” She was like a second mother hen watching over our chicks. We all loved her.
She drove a maroon MG, which she’d pull up to our house with the top down. Music blaring, she’d be singing along to the radio. One year she moved to Atlanta with her cousin. I cried for three days. I couldn’t even talk to her on the phone for a week. I am not a fan of goodbyes.
When Kim married she moved a state away so we didn’t get to see her as often. Her two daughters were born three years apart. I wish we’d been closer during that time. My in-laws eventually moved into Kim’s house and unfortunately there was a rift between my husband and his mom. He referred to her as “Kim’s mother.” It’s sad that crazy things are blown out of proportion and folks don’t speak for years. Then you can’t even remember why no one is speaking.
That’s when I said to my husband, “It’s time for us to take a drive and visit your family.”
His response was, “Why?”
“Because I miss your sister,” I told him.
“But my mother will be there.”
“I know, and I miss your sister. That’s why we’re going”.
We drove nervously to make the family visit. It was strange as everyone acted like we’d just been there last week. The distance between us all shrunk immediately. That’s when we saw how bad things were
for Kim. She sat on a loveseat facing the French doors. That was her perch. She was wobbly with the walker and hated for anyone to watch her walk. It was heart breaking. After our visit things between us were much better. Still, if we didn’t call, we never heard from her.
During one phone call, Kim was crying her heart out. “You have to promise me you and Scott will be there for my girls. Please! Please!” She begged. She was sobbing. If we were closer I’d have hugged her and never let her go. As soon as one of her daughters would enter the room she would flip right back to happy and laugh. I don’t know how she did it. They never knew the pain and sadness she felt.
A month before she passed I told her, “I am so grateful that we all made amends. It was one of my biggest blessings in life. I really missed you.”
She was quiet for minute and then she sniffled, “Aww that’s really nice. Me, too.”
I still can’t grasp the fact that she’s not on this earth. I can almost accept that she is gone, but that last little realization won’t come to me. Every morning when I walk the dogs, a little orange butterfly joins us for a part of our walk. I always say “Oh, it’s Mimi! Hey Meems!” and I talk to her. I tell her that we talked to her daughters and I tell her about their lives. I tell her about our days. I think my neighbors probably are a bit afraid of my mental state, but I don’t mind.
Then the disbelief creeps in again and I tell myself, “She’s just around the corner. She’s so close, just on the other side.” And the butterfly flitters away. “See you tomorrow, Mimi! I really miss you,” I whisper.
And then I cry.
Today I am honored to have ToveMaren, from Mama in the Now, guest posting on my blog. Tove is a mom to four boys who still finds time to blog about Motherhood, finding the balance between work and home and living in the now. Today she is sharing with us some serious words about honesty.
When Being Too Honest Hurts:
We go through life managing one relationship after another. Our entire day is a constant dance, bouncing from one human-encounter to the next, and each time we are faced with interactions that can either make or break our day.
I feel that relationships between family, friends and coworkers are often strained if a few simple “rules” are not followed. My immediate family always poked fun at me growing up, because I prefer to avoid conflict. The greatest punishment my mother could give me for fighting with my sister was for the two of us to “talk things out.”
I have always been intrigued by the power of the spoken and written word. A few misplaced words, careless additions or deletions can truly color someone’s mood and change the direction of a conversation. It is because of this fascination with words, that I tread lightly and treat them with utmost respect.
I have recently encountered several women in my life who have run into situations where a rouge word or two redirected a conversation and things just went south from that point. I feel that we often times err on the side of honesty, when sometimes a little restraint might have saved a situation or perhaps even a relationship.
You don’t have anything nice to say. Your grandma was right with this saying. Sometimes the bigger person keeps quiet, however hard it is not to have the last word.
What you have to say will hurt the other person. Stop, think and turn the table. Would your words hurt if they were directed at you? If so – rethink what you were going to say.
What you say will only make YOU feel better. Sometimes we have words burning to get out; we are itching to speak our mind. If your words serve no other purpose than to make yourself feel better then they probably will not be well-received, and that is when conversations take a turn for the worse.
What you say is not true. This one should be self-explanatory, but in the heat of the moment truth and what we believe to the truth may be two very different things. Stick to the truth and you never have to remember anything… think about it!
Your relationship is as good as it gets. Friendships are fluid and change as we grow closer or further apart, and that is OK! Trying to talk when words fall on deaf ears, or “clearing the air” when the air is as clear as it will ever get is simply wasted energy. “Talking about things” can be like picking at a scab. The constant digging will prevent the scab from healing – and will eventually leave a scar. However, with time comes healing, so leaving things alone for a while may actually repair the friendship.
Things aren’t broken – don’t try to fix them. The transparency into peoples’ lives through social media can easily lead you to believe that your friendships are not fun/ supportive/ sincere enough. Your friends don’t throw you parties like your neighbors’ do, or your dinner parties pale in comparison to those held by your coworker. If you were happy with your friends until you looked at your Facebook newsfeed, then all is well. Keeping up with the Jones’ or what you perceive to be their reality is an exercise in futility, don’t waste your time. Your friendships are perfect for your needs.
I truly feel that relationships and friendships will improve if everyone pays closer attention to how messages are delivered and received. In the end, our interactions with each other are simply based on words and actions – powerful words. When your mother told you to “watch your words” as a child, she really meant it – in perpetuity.