Archives for ‘Parenting’

The Loneliness in Motherhood

September 29, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Parenting

There are weeks where I go for long stretches of time without seeing anyone except my children, husband, trainer at the gym, and the preschool/daycare staff. On Monday morning I tell myself that this is what I want (so much to do and look at all that time I have to be productive!), but by Friday evening I find myself feeling melancholy and rather lonely.

I wonder how common this loneliness is among mothers, especially in the early years when it’s so much work to get the kids from point A to point B. A few weeks ago I tried to address this by posting on Instagram that I was looking for someone to meet up with in my area, someone who would be interested in looking for a nice spot and taking pictures in the sunshine. I left late (sadly, a standard practice for me) and then took a detour because I saw the clouds rolling in and I so desperately wanted to find a spot that wasn’t overcast. I really crave that golden light of the morning and evening.

 As I wound my way back toward our meeting spot I started to cry. I was crying about the gloomy weather, but even more than that I was anxious thinking that I had missed the chance to make a connection with someone that could turn into a genuine friendship. And then I cried even more thinking about how strange it would be for her to meet up with some woman from Instagram who showed up 45 minutes late with red rimmed eyes and flimsy explanations about what was going on.  Read more →

One Day Per Week

September 16, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Adventures, family, Parenting

We went through a period where That Husband was working every single day of the week and I was emotionally depleted by the lack of family-togetherness time. It was really hard for me to enjoy my time with my kids when I was constantly jumping back and forth between meeting the needs of one or the other. I craved an easy afternoon where we would laugh and play and be in love with each other, all of us together in the same place . TH could see that the everyday working arrangement wasn’t a good long term strategy for our marriage, and so he promised me Saturdays as a family day. So far he’s been able to stick with it and we are all so much happier! The kids get to interact with him and show him their newest skills, and I get to go to Happy Hollow and have someone to chat and sit with as the kids do their kid things.

Speaking of Happy Hollow, once we figured out we were going to spend time together, we had to agree on what to do. Not an easy task when one partner likes to explore and try new things and the other likes routine and predictability. I want to sit down with the Red Tricycle emails and plan a different sort of outing every weekend, focusing on all of the food festivals that have a little something for the kids and a little something for me too. TH has won out for now, and most of our Saturday mornings of late have been spent at Happy Hollow, a little park and zoo not too far from our house. We can wear the kids out, feed them lunch, keep them awake in the car, and have some quiet time to ourselves in the afternoon. T1 loves it there, so much so that every time his teacher asks him what he has been up to he describes trips to Happy Hollow. Even on the weekends when we don’t go :).

I’m not a huge fan of zoos, but I do have a soft spot for the meerkat exhibit. Those little guys are really committed to being on the lookout at all times.  Read more →

Like, Aren’t We A Bit Early For This Milestone?

September 05, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Parenting

If I asked T1 to title this post, that might be how he would write it out. Last week my four-year-old came home from preschool sounding about a decade older than he really is, introducing every other sentence with “like.”

We saw this a few months ago with even. “Even I had a nightmare last night.” “Even T2 wants the milk.” “Even I drew this for you at school.” I used my default approach for these little quirks and didn’t draw attention to it, hoping it would go away. The even overuse seems to be something he’s moving past, but the introduction of like makes me nervous because it’s so pervasive throughout our culture. We, his parents, use it all the time ourselves, though not as often as I think the generation below us does (how much worse is it going to get for those who will be in college in 20 years?). It is hard for me to describe an experience I had with Person A to Person B without peppering my speech with “I was like” and “She was like” and “It was like, the best thing ever.”

My understanding is that there are two basic schools of thought when it comes to linguistics:

  1. There are rules, and the only correct way to speak and write is to obey the rules.
  2. Language is a product of the environment it is spoken in. Dialects and linguistic trends become valid over time as they are regularly reproduced in everyday use.

If the second description is true, then I don’t need to worry so much about T1′s new habit. The old guard will fight against it, kids will be marked down for using it in their speeches in class, and eventually it will become a generally acceptable practice. He will need to learn boundaries and try to curb it enough to match societies expectations in order to achieve his personal goals, but I don’t need to assume this is going to hold him back in a permanent way.

If it’s the first description then… what do I do? Like, what are the other parents out there doing?

How I’m “Making It Work”

August 04, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Parenting

I’ve been following Julia’s Moms Make It Work series for several months now, but had been hesitant to contribute because there was a very specific approach I wanted to take in writing my post and I knew that it wasn’t going to be appreciated by everyone. I was tagged on Instagram by someone who wanted to hear my perspective, and I decided that even if she was the only one I would give in to my inclinations and write out my account of our parenting approach, schedule, and how we balance it all.

Click here to read my Moms Make It Work post on My Life in Transition. It’s my attempt to talk openly and practically about the ways we juggle parenting and childcare, not just how I feel about it, but what I am physically doing to make it all come together.

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Children and Foreign Grandparents

June 20, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Parenting, Travel

 

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We have been in Poland for about a week, with another week to go. TH’s family is as lovely as ever, and once the (grueling) flight from the States to Poland is over I always feel we shouldn’t wait so long to come back again.

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I anticipated a really awful flight, and the kids actually exceeded my expectations. It was overnight and they slept for a good portion of it. We bought a seat for T2 and put her in a car seat and that made things a lot easier. I also expected jet lag with two kids to be tough, and it was. The kids have been sleeping in the same room for several weeks now, but here we have been unable to get them to settle in and sleep through the night if they are together. I’m grateful that my in-laws are providing us with several days in Berlin without the kids. We are craving some serious re-connection time as a couple.

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One thing I didn’t anticipate was how hard this trip would be for T1. Previously he was very young, either not talking yet or just learning to speak, and he didn’t seem to mind the language barrier so much. All speech probably sounded a bit confusing to him! Now though he seems really thrown by the lack of English and strong accents. I confess I’m not sure how to walk the line between affording him space to be shy and autonomous, and pushing him outside of his comfort zone in order to be polite and attempt to form bonds with these family members who love him so much.

We’ve talked about different options but aren’t sure what will be best. Maybe we keep the current approach, visiting for two weeks every 1-2 years, and see how things develop. Try to prioritize video conferencing more often. Long summers in Poland for the kids at some point? Are there things we can do now to prevent the same disconnect for T2?

It’s been really hard for me to watch all of this unfold, because I feel like one way I can express love and gratitude for my inlaws is to encourage my kids to engage with the in meaningful ways. But T1 is his own person, and I can’t force him to feel and think and act in ways that don’t match with what he wants. I hope this is just a stage, like most other things with kids this young.

Do I have any readers with family who live internationally and speak a language that isn’t spoken by their grandchildren/nieces/nephews/etc? How have you made it work?

      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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