Posts Tagged ‘stay at home moms’

Celebrating Me on Mother’s Day

Friday, April 29th, 2016

celebrating me on other's dayCelebrating Mother’s Day can look very different for different moms. Some will go out to brunch with their family. Some will spend the day doing a fun outing with the kids. Many moms will be so busy celebrating their mothers, grandmothers, or aunts that they will forget that the day is also about them.

As a stay-at-home mom who spends the majority of my waking hours with my children, I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do than spend Mother’s Day all by myself. I absolutely love being able to spend so much time with my children daily, but having a pampering day by myself seems like the most rewarding way to celebrate.

Last year, that is exactly what I did. It was a day of no diaper changes, no meal preparation and full of me-time. My day did however include many check-ins and nursing appointments with my 6-month-old daughter. I still managed to squeeze in several activities that were all about me. I started the day by taking myself out for a cup of fancy coffee. The mall was my next stop. My husband met me there with my kids so I could nurse my daughter while our son played in the mall play area. After nursing her, I went off by myself to explore the mall. To be honest, I felt a little lost without my kids in tow. My first instinct was to shop for clothes for my kids, but I stopped myself. I instead found a place in the mall to get a pedicure that took walk-in appointments. I enjoyed getting my feet pampered while watching the other mothers and daughters getting pedicures together. I made my way home to nurse my daughter before her nap and went jogging all by myself. It felt strange not pushing kids in a jogging stroller as I ran. The rest of the day consisted of relaxing in front of the TV and having dinner made for me. Celebrating me on Mother’s Day was the best gift I could give to myself to help me recharge for the year ahead.

This year, I think I will up the game and make an appointment for a massage!

Sarah Cole is a writer and stay-at-home mom of two busy toddlers who looks forward to pampering days.

Baby-friendly Jobs

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Baby-friendly jobsI returned to work when my daughter was around 3 or 4 months old. While I was primarily a stay-at-home-mom, my employers offered me a small amount of work that I could do from home in the evenings. I wrote blogs, managed their social media and website, that sort of thing. While the work could be done at home, it was hard to stay connected and up to date that way, so I started going to the office meeting every Monday morning. My daughter came with me.

As young as she was, she was no trouble during the few hours that I was there. I’d wear her in a ring sling or settle her in between us all in her bouncer. This allowed me to stay in touch with the current workings of the office without sacrificing my time with her. I’m fortunate to work for wonderfully understanding and accommodating employers, but I’ve come to find that I’m not the only mom who made bringing baby to work work for them.

A good friend of mine works in the back office of a yarn shop that a family member manages. Her daughter has gone to work with her every day since she was just under 3 months old. She’s now nearly 2. When she was very small, her mom generally wore her while she worked. Now that she’s older, she stays with mom in the office or out in the main shop, where there are nearly always grandmother-type women who are more than happy to keep an eye on her. It’s like one big family. Benefit of a community yarn shop, I suppose!

I’ve heard of a woman who returned to work part time at the front desk of a gym. Since she was only working a few hours at a time and mainly was interacting with gym members, her bosses didn’t see an issue with her wearing baby during that time. The baby boutiques in our area are also places I frequently see children accompanying working moms. In that atmosphere, you almost expect it! Another friend of mine does this, working two days a week with her little one right there by her side.

What I’ve seemed to notice is that family-owned and other small businesses seem to be more open to the idea of working with baby.  If you worked for somewhere like that before baby and want to return, talk to your bosses and see what they think. They very well may come up with an option that suits everyone.

If you’re looking for some new part time work, the atmosphere I would look for is that of a smaller company, a job that may not have a lot of direct customer contact or phone work, and a job that may already cater to families, women or parents. Quiet office work (book keeping, etc), baby boutiques, locations that offer on-site child care (YMCA’s, JCC’s, etc), or even something like house cleaning can be potential baby friendly positions. Nannying for other children is another great way to earn income while still staying at home with your own child. Yet another option to consider is pet services. Walking, yard clean up, and/or pet sitting may also be ways to incorporate work and baby. There are even large companies that welcome babies!

As baby grows it may not be as easy to continue to take them to work with you. Much depends on where you work and what the temperament of your child is. At that point, you may need to consider child care during work hours. But it sure is nice to know that many women manage to stay in the work force and bring extra income in for their family while keeping their littles at their side.

I know I’ve only scratched the surface here on mom/baby friendly options, so if you’ve got a suggestion, let’s hear it!

Kate Cunha is a mostly stay-at-home mom in the Pacific NW. She’s in favor of anything that supports a strong family and the mother/baby relationship and hopes to see many more mom friendly jobs in the future.

Taking a Sick Day

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Taking a Sick DayThere’s a commercial I keep seeing on TV for a cold medicine that begins with a sick person sticking their head into a room and asking someone for a day off. Then the shot cuts to a toddler looking blankly back at their parent, and the announcer says, “Moms don’t take sick days.”

I especially love this commercial because it also has a dad version. Yay for those dads who give up so much to stay home with their kids. They deserve some recognition, too.

Moms and dads don’t get sick days. But we are all inevitably faced with that awful sinking feeling you get when you wake up in the morning and realize you feel like crap. In another life, a quick call or email to your boss confirmed that you were not needed and should stay home and get some rest. But now you’re a parent, and before you lies perhaps the hardest 8 hours you will ever face.

Most of the time, I have no shame in tapping out and asking my husband to stay home while I recover. That’s what his sick days are for! But occasionally he will have a meeting or deadline that means he can’t take off, and I’m on my own. Here are my time-tested strategies for taking a sick day when you can’t get one.

  • Babysitting exchange. It’s great to have a support network of other moms, especially when you don’t have family nearby who can take your kids for the day. My experience with any mom of two or more is that after two, a few more kids doesn’t really make a difference.  If you know a mom who can hold her own with a few more kids around, call her up. When you’re well, keep her kids for the same number of hours another time. If you have three or more kids, you may want to divide and conquer with a few different friends.
  • Hunker down. If you can’t call in reinforcements, a great strategy with younger kids is to go to a space that is safe for them, such as a playroom or baby room, and shut all of you inside securely with a baby proof lock or doorknob cover. Get out some toys, snacks and a sippy cup if applicable, and know that if you lay down and fall asleep for a bit, everyone will stay contained and safe. But this may not work if your toddler is an escape artist!
  • Go to a fun place and wear them out. If you’re not contagious, sometimes the best strategy is to wear your kids out and hope for a long nap. An indoor play structure, library play room, mall playground or enclosed park are great places since you may not go often and it’s all new. Even though going out may be the last thing you want to do, if they are good and worn out, a long nap may be in order for everyone.
  • Bring out new toys. If you rotate toys or have anything in the garage or attic, now is the time to get it out. You can also get a ton of ideas from the web of how to turn ordinary items around the house into toddler toys. Set up a fort in the living room or use a baby gate and make a hall fort. Sometimes, even taking well-worn toys into a different space can give them new life. 
  • Use the TV. Yes, I know. Screen time is not recommended for anyone under 2, and in very small doses for 2s at the most. But a sick day is not a regular occurrence, and your priority here is to keep everyone safe and try to recover. The TV is great for this kind of situation, especially since the less your children watch, typically the more they will be spellbound by it. Netflix has a kids’ feature so you can be sure they won’t accidently end up watching a season of Orange is the New Black, and the episodes will automatically que up without you having to do anything. For small kids, shows that have fewer cuts or changes in camera shots impact them less than fast-paced shows like Spongebob. I loved Pingu since there is no dialogue and it’s stop-motion instead of animation. Kipper is another good one for small kids.

Clearly I’m not the first one to have this problem–Babycenter has this list of 40 ways to entertain a toddler while lying down. The very fact that this list exists should make you feel better already!

However you get through a sick day, don’t guilt trip yourself and don’t be ashamed to ask for help. As moms, we often joke that we did our job if everyone is alive and fed at the end of the day, but when you’re sick that really is the only goal you should have. Try to get some rest and remember to drink lots of water.

What are your tricks for surviving a sick day? 

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mom of three who has sat through her fair share of park days while nursing a mean case of mastitis. She lives and writes in Queensbury, New York.