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Letting Go of "Mom Guilt"

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This month my husband and I did something we have not done since before Bean was born 18 months ago. We took a weekend trip by ourselves. When we booked the trip in early July, I was ecstatic. The thought of sipping some sort of fruity cocktail on a beach with my freshly painted toes in the sand kept my imagination spinning for day. But, after the initial excitement wore off, I found myself experiencing something I wasn’t quite expect. Intense guilt. And that feeling was accompanied by myriad thoughts concerning surrounding my insecurities. What kind of mother leaves her child alone for days, willingly? What if something happens to her while we are gone? Or us? Will she be sad? Will she cry for her mom and dad? Do I even deserve a vacation? As hard as I tried to fight it, those feelings persisted all the way up to and during the trip.

 Don’t get me wrong—we certainly enjoyed ourselves on the trip. But the joy was often interrupted by a random thought about my daughter a…

How to Raise a Civic-Minded Child

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I know, the title of this post may be bringing horrible flashbacks to the dreaded eighth grade civics class.  Trust me, I try to block those days out of my mind as well.  But, as a mother who now analyses every way that I can secure my child's comfort and safety, civics has taken on new meaning.  After all, I as a mother can only do so much to improve the life of my child.  I can work to provide food, shelter, and clothing for her (and other material items that she needs). I can love her and provide her emotional support.  But, when it comes to ensuring that the society she grows up in fosters the same nurturing environment that I do in the confines of our home, I have little control.  I have to place my faith in the community around us to instill similar values into my child that I support in our home. 

And I believe that my children should play a role in the society that they live in.  That is why I think it is so important to teach Bean the values of community from a young ag…

Hiking With Baby--Why You Should Do It and Tips For How

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I found out I was pregnant a week before my husband and I set off on our first destination hiking trip.  We had hiked several small local trails before, but this trip—to Colorado—was supposed to be our first escapade into some more difficult trails.  The newly discovered pregnancy didn’t derail the trip.  We made it to Colorado and we completed most of the hikes we had planned.  But, the pregnancy did change the way I felt about hiking.  Every time we came across a particularly beautiful view, I felt like I was sharing it with my unborn child.  Each picturesque scene created an image for me of what this world could offer my beautiful baby.  It was inspiring.

For a few moments on our first hike I do remember wondering when we would have a chance to hike again.  The idea crossed my mind that this newly found hobby might once again be abandoned for other, child-friendly, activities.  Thankfully, that idea was quashed a few moments later when down the mountain came a particularly agile f…

Fun Seasonal Transitions for Kids

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I'll admit it.  I'm a sucker for the season changes.  Every season brings a whole new list of foods, smells, activities, and scenery.  This is especially true if you live in the Northeast United States where the climate treats its inhabitants to four distinctive seasons.    My absolute favorite of the season changes is from summer to fall.  You get a break from the sometimes oppressive summer heat, but can still look forward to relatively mild weather for outdoor activities.  The weather is typically nice enough for the occasional iced coffee (my favorite drink of summer).  The scenery changes from the beautiful green and colorful flowers to the reds and oranges of the fall tress.  Its wonderful.  

The only negative thing about the season change is that it is time to say goodbye to some quintessential summer activities that Bean really enjoys.  No more swimming in her inflatable pool, or running through the sprinklers.  It's ok really.  I know there will be a ton of great f…

Essential Items for a Road Trip with a Toddler

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Road trips are not always fun.Hours of driving in a tiny vehicle can be enough to make anyone miserable.Add in a screaming toddler and things just get worse.But, luckily, some good planning can ease some of this road trip pain. We take long car trips with Bean often.It is a byproduct of having far away family and a hunger to leave the city on the weekends.The numerous road trips have given me multiple opportunities to develop a good road trip routine.I developed a list to make sure that any road trip goes smoothly.We travel with the below list of items on every trip and it has been so helpful! 1.  Car Organizer This is an easy one.We purchased a car organizer for our daughter the first moment we realized that we were going to be habitually taking car trips that lasted over two hours.Our organizer has several pockets and can hold anything from books to sippy cups. Now, those of you with young children may be thinking:My child is too young for this.How will he/she reach any of the items fro…

Just the Two of Us: Tips for flying solo with your toddler

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This weekend, Bean and I successfully completed a round-trip flight from New York to Pittsburgh.It was a short flight for sure, but, a daunting task nonetheless.Now, Bean isn’t altogether unfamiliar with flying.In fact, this was Bean’s third trip via airplane in just 15 months.She is becoming a pro.But, what made this trip particularly difficult is that it was just me and Bean.And, while I love the idea of having quality travel time with Bean in theory, the reality of flying solo with a squirming toddler seemed intimidating. I have flown solo with Bean once before, when she was just three months old.But, flying alone with a baby seems different than flying with a toddler.   When Bean was a baby she was consistently sleeping for long stretches and simply providing her with a bottle would keep her occupied for large chunks of time.But now Bean is a toddler.She likes to move around, and babble, and play.She has definite wants and desires and when she doesn’t get her way she can throw an e…

Far Away Family

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My daughter will be close with her grandparents.This has become a mantra of sorts that I repeat to myself daily as I sit 230 miles away from Bean’s closest grandparent.My own parents live an additional 150 miles away.
Now, I haven’t truly lived at home for eleven years.I attended four years of undergraduate schooling three hours away followed by three years of law school six hours away. And, for the last four years I've been developing my career in a city seven hours away.The distance never really bothered me.But, my feelings began to change once Bean arrived.How was Bean going to develop the relationships with her grandparents that I dreamed for her if we were hundreds of miles away?And it wasn’t just about Bean's grandparents.I started to realize how separated we were from my entire immediate family.Both of Bean’s Aunts and all her cousins were back in my hometown.My own aunts and uncles as well.In fact, my husband and I were all Bean had in terms of family in our current cit…