Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, Tooth Fairy, and the perfect parent.

    I call myself  "The Childcare Queen", but I am NOT a perfect parent, and I never professed to be.
I make my share of mistakes...HECK!  I usually start the day with a snafu or two, just to get my blood running!
Recently, I have been feeling some pressure about my parenting choices.  We all have our "support" people and a few bystanders on the sidelines that would prefer to criticize and nitpick.  I've got mine, too.  And lately, mine have been really loud!!  So, I admit it, I have allowed them to influence me and I've had a few moments of doubt.

"Am I a good mom?"  "Am I doing the right thing?"  "Am I making the best decisions for my kids?"

I have found myself making a few questionable parenting decisions lately because of the scrutiny I have been under.  And you know what?  I can't defend or consistently enforce the decisions I have made under duress.  They weren't my decisions.
   "So where do you go from here, Your Majesty?", you ask?  I am acknowledging that I have made some mistakes, was influenced by outside forces that really don't matter to me or my kids, and then, I move forward. 

I remember my goal:

To raise productive, moral adults who are emotionally and physically capable of creating their own happiness.

And I get back to my job.  Back to parenting and helping other parents and caregivers do the hardest job in the world.

Let's face it, when all is said and done, my kids and I are the only ones that can truly say whether or not I have done a good job.

And they don't get to answer until they have their own children! ;)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Win a $50 Target gift card!!!

We've all seen it...we've all had 'em, too.  Bad parenting moments out in public. Now, I'm not talking abuse or neglect, but the kind of moments we can all joke about-maybe it takes a while, but eventually they are funny.
    When my big kids were younger, I used to point these "bad parenting" moments out to them when were shopping.  It usually went a little something like this:  "Do you hear that child sreaming?  Did you hear what his mommy said/did to him?  And what do you think your mommy would do you acted like that in the store?"  Those were some of the best conversations.  And the funniest.
I am always paying attention to parenting styles and discipline choices when I am around parents and children.    When I see "interesting" parenting moments I fight the urge to intervene and offer advice, or sometimes, to take a picture.  Now I'm giving you the chance.
Catch one of these "interesting" parenting moments on video or take a quick photo.  It can be your moment or a friend, family member or even a stranger!  If you don't know the person, make sure you leave their faces out of the video or picture or simply get their permission.  OR if you are REALLY techno-savvy you can blur their faces before you upload your video.  Once you have uploaded it to The Childcare Queen facebook page, add a caption and spread the word.
The entry with the most "Likes" on November 30, 2010 wins the Target gift card!! 
You can enter as many videos and pictures as you want.  

(* REMEMBER:  If you don't have permission to post faces...make sure none are visible before you post.)

Contest ends November 30, 2010.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stop forcing our little girls to grow up so fast!!!

Last week a 6 year old from Madison Heights, Michigan was kicked off her cheer team after her mother complained about the appropriateness of one of the teams' cheers.
    This story is just one example of how society is trying to force our little girls to grow up too fast. First it starts with high-heeled shoes for toddlers, then it's shorts and skirts that barely cover their bottoms, and bikinis for babies.... Now they are marketing make-up to "tweens" and selling padded "training" bras. Don't be fooled. Putting your child in these items does not make her fashion forward. It erases part of her childhood. And this is a slippery slope, because once we say yes and compromise on letting her be a little bit grown up, we lose a bit of our little girls. This organization and many more like it across the country are WRONG for turning what should be a fun activity for little girls into something about body parts and crossing the line into sexuality. I applaud this mother for putting her foot down.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The REAL Childcare Queen...

    I have found myself not writing as often as I would like for one reason and one reason only....I keep trying to write like an expert instead of just telling you what I know and what I have learned...which is why I'm an "expert" in the first place!
    So I am making you a promise, and I'm promising myself, too:  From now on, I will write to tell you what I think you and other parents and caregivers like you need to know.  Not because some expert decided you should know it, but because after raising and helping to raise children for over 20 years, I know.



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Poor Product Quality or Irresponsible Parenting? A Harsh Look At Product Recalls.

Modern stroller and crib designs have been in use for at least a decade, so why are so many current stories of amputated fingers and infant deaths just recently surfacing? Is it because parents are relying too much on products or companies or even government to keep our kids safe? Do parents fail to do their OWN due diligence when it comes to the protection of such precious little ones? There are many other factors to consider when figuring out the increase in product recalls. Those include, but are not limited to; access to more information, larger media presence, and greater media influence with the infant and child product market has undoubtedly quadrupled in the past 20 years. Each one of these could be responsible for the seeming increase in child product recalls, but what about the role of the parent in all of this? Parents should be the first and last line of defense when it comes to the safety of their children. At certain times, this seems obvious. Keep the knives and matches and chemicals out of reach, of course, but what about when buying a high chair? Do parents stop to look at the design and think about how their child could be hurt using this product? When shopping for a stroller or a crib, do parents envision how they will use these products in everyday life and stop to think of the danger it may pose to their child? Sadly, it seems most modern parents just assume that if a product is for sale, it has passed some rigorous level of testing. On the other hand, they may think if they do a little online research and look at a small sampling of parent and expert reviews then that is adequate and should be enough to protect their child. What is missing is the active, hands-on, common sense approach to buying products for our children. Certainly, there will be times when manufacturers mislead, confuse and confound consumers as to what products are made of or what may be harmful to children. However, parents should take a long look at the mechanisms of the products they buy and use common sense when deciding if this product should make it into their home. If a product looks as if it could pinch a child’s finger in a hinge, or feels wobbly when fully constructed, parents should not rely on the manufacturer or some government agency to convince them that the product is safe enough for them to take home. Parents need to go back to relying on their own judgment as much so, if not more than, the opinions and approvals of others, even if those others are presumed experts. When parents begin to vote with their dollars and stop buying products based on the reputation of the manufacturer or advice of some agency somewhere, manufacturers may finally get the message and start making products of high quality, not just products that pass any given test.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Stay at Home Mom vs. Working Mom...the battle within.

Stay-at-home moms (SAHM's) are better mothers than working mothers.  They love their children more.

     I am currently a SAHM and I struggle everyday to balance all the details of my home and family.  Laundry (with 6 people-we have A LOT of it), dishes, cooking, shopping (on a budget that would scare a single person), and all the appointments that come with 4 kids (Doctor, Dentist, Allergist, Orthodontist).  I try to do what I can to take care of many of the home improvement projects since my husband HATES doing them and I still try to carve out a little time for my writing.  My kids are healthy, happy, do well in school and never have to come home to an empty house.  I always have a snack waiting for them and am ready to help with homework while I cook dinner and keep the "baby" from tearing up their papers and my "just-picked-up" house.  I make things like personalized socks and duffel bags for their basketball teams.  I volunteer in their classrooms and go to just about every school function.  I hand-decorate their birthday cakes and throw lavish (yet frugal) parties for every birthday, including my hubbies.
     I get a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment from taking care of my family full time. 
So I should feel like the perfect mom, right?
I still wonder if I'm doing the right things, making the right choices....Was I too tough on her? Should I have grounded him longer?  Did they get enough veggies today?  Did I work hard enough on potty training with the baby?  Did I do everything I can to show my husband how much I appreciate how hard he works for our family?  I have just as many doubts about being a mom as I did when I worked outside the home, and I haven't even mentioned the crap I get from the outside world about being a SAHM.

Some people I know don't agree that I am "working" when I stay at home to take care of my family.  I think they imagine me home, with my feet up, airing my freshly painted nails and popping bon-bons into my mouth, while watching some incredibly interesting movie or show.  If they could only see me, unshowered, lugging laundry up and down the stairs, cleaning up "Lord-knows-what" off the floor or ceiling or furniture or the baby.  I get the comments about when am I going to start working again and haven't I had a long enough "break". Or worse, they expect that I can't ever have anything important going on and think they can drop by anytime or ask me to do this favor or that favor.  Why not?  I stay at home, I can't possibly be doing anything.   HA!  They have no idea what I do all day long and they never will.
All I can do is just keep doing what I do because I know that SAHM's are good mothers because they work hard, love their kids and do the best for their families everyday.


Moms that work outside the home are better mothers than SAHM's.  They love their children more.

I left my job as Development Director for the state office of a national non-profit organization almost 2 years ago.  Before becoming this "expert" SAHM, I was a working mom for many years and a working SINGLE mom for 4 years.  I worked full time in some pretty stressful positions. With a degree in marketing, I have done everything from radio to event management. When I worked in radio and did events , I quite often worked well past 5pm and weekend work was the norm.
    We, my 2 children and I,  left the house before the sun rose and stumbled back home long after it had set.  I would nap on the couch while they ate whatever I defrosted or picked up for dinner that night.  I would catch my second (or third or even fourth) wind during bath time and we would laugh and giggle and catch up on how their days' went.  I somehow managed to get them to all their doctor and dentist appointments without losing my job.  I was still able to make it to some school functions and my kids had great birthday parties where all their friends had a great time.  We took fun vacations and they were involved in sports and other activities and I went to every practice and every game...except when I was out of town, for work.
    Working gave me a sense of pride and accomplishment.  I enjoyed the people I worked with, had a tremendous support system that helped me care for and love my kids, and the pay wasn't so bad, either!
Working allowed me to give my kids access to things they might not have had access to.  Gymnastics, basketball, video games, family vacations.  And I was able to give these to my kids because I worked hard to provide a better life for them and I believe I was a better mother because I was able to have a positive and lucrative outlet for all my creative energy.
   The downside was that my kids missed me and had to spend a lot of time with caregivers or friends.  They were never able to come home after school and rarely was I able to drop my youngest off at daycare without a clingy, crying goodbye.  But she was always happy when I picked her up and had nothing but fun and happy things to tell me about her days.  They were happy, well-adjusted kids and I was a happy, albeit exhausted, mommy.
I am still amazed at all I accomplished when I worked outside the home and all that all working moms accomplish everyday.  I was a good mom. I got a lot of criticism from some people about working too much and my kids complained occasionally about missing me, but we were very happy overall and my kids had a great life because I worked.
Moms that work outside the home are good mothers because they work hard, love their kids and do the best for their families everyday.

    As you can see, I am the worst person to try to debate this topic with.   
I have lived both sides and I know the TRUTH!  

The best moms are the ones that work hard, love their kids and 
do the best they can for their families EVERYDAY!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why "Ferberizing" didn't work for us.

Don't know what Ferberizing is, check this out:

Now that we're on the same page, let me tell you about MY experience with this method of teaching your child to go to sleep on their own and stay in their own bed.

My daughter, S, turned two years old in December and STILL won't sleep through the night.  I admit, some nights, like tonight, I feel desperate and would try just about anything to get her to sleep by herself, but then I remember this story.
    Months ago, we tried the Ferber Method to help her learn to go to sleep by herself.   After five nights of letting her cry at up to 45 minute intervals, I witnessed a scene that changed my mind forever about this "method".
    My two girls, S and G, were playing nicely together and decided to go into S's room to watch a movie.  As soon as G took S to the threshold of her bedroom, she began screaming and was terrified to go into her room. It took two days before she would go into her room again without crying and screaming. 
Needless to say, I am no longer a fan of the Ferber Method.  I am sure Dr. Ferber meant well, but I believe this method fails to take into consideration that most children cry for a reason and if you are able to meet the need that they are trying to get filled, they will stop crying and go to sleep. 
Fast forward to this month, three weeks ago to be exact.  We started a brand new bedtime routine and began putting S to bed in her own room, on her own.  This time, instead of leaving her to cry it out, we sat in her room in a chair across the room.  When she tries to talk to us, we just remind her we love her and it's time to go to sleep.  After about 8 nights of sitting in the chair, we moved to sitting outside her door.  I am very pleased to report that after about 12 nights, we only had to sit outside her door for about five to ten minutes and now I can reassure her from my bedroom across the hall.  Most nights she sleeps all night, and on the occasions when she does wake up in the middle of the night, all she asks for is a drink and goes right back to sleep! 


I am so very proud of her!  She has been a real trooper and she is proud of herself, too.  She loves to show people her "big girl bed" and tells her Nana how she slept all night in her own room with no crying!!
I am proud of my husband and myself, too.  It was hard and we were often tempted to give in a nd just crawl in bed with her or bring her back into bed with us, but we stayed strong and helped our little one learn how to rely on herself and find a way to comfort herself back to sleep.

    I realize Iam not the first to try this method for getting your child to sleep by themselves.  I am not claiming to have invented this, I am just bragging about how well it worked for us!!  ;)