Archive for the ‘work-life balance’ category

Tanning Mom — do as I say, not as I do

May 21, 2012
Patricia Krentcil looks pretty scary. When she got charged with child abuse because her 5 year old got sun burned, it's an over-reaction by the media. Tanning is not appropriate for kids, obviously. Patricia Krentcil clearly has a tanning addiciton. Good parenting is about setting a good example.

Patricia Krentcil, the famous tanning mom who is charged with child abuse because her 5-year-old daughter got sunburned.

I feel empathy for Patricia Krentcil, the tanning mom charged with child abuse because her 5-year-old red-headed child came to school with a sunburn.The authorities over-reacted to Patricia Krentcil’s bad example for her five children.

Since when is a sunburn is considered child abuse? If anything, the tanning salon is guilty of negligence for allowing a 5-year-old into a tanning booth. If that happened at all. Mom says the kid stayed out in the sun too long.As the mother of four children, I understand the need for parental self-indulgence, and the results of insufficient “me-time.” I became cranky, depressed and resentful when I spent little time and money on me.

With five kids, hiding away alone in a tanning coffin sounds like much-needed peace-of-mind for Patricia Krentcil. All caregivers can benefit from “me time” to make us better parents and keep the marriage going — in activities that aren’t self-destructive.

Tots-to-teens can see through parental hypocrisy of, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Tween and teens abhor hypocrisy and will call parents on it. Kids absorb unspoken messages when we tan until we bake, drink until we fall down, smoke until we hack, and eat until we waddle.

When kids witness addictive behavior in action, they’ll feel the impact for the rest of their lives. They’ll understand addiction as something to turn to in times of despair and depression. They’ll experience the anger, helplessness, disappointment and frustration of addiction in those they depend on. They’ll either see addiction as inevitable and acceptable or an evil to be avoided.

The real message from The Tanning Mom is parents need a break from their kids, that sets an example worth imitating.

Me and we time

June 27, 2011
For parents, the most valuable investment in your family is your marriage. Take time to spend together because parenting is all about family. The stronger your family, the happier and better-adjusted your children will be. You are the role model for how to take care of yourselves and sustain a marriage.
“We time” is an essential investment in a family’s well-being and preservation.

I remember my last few hours of “me time” in June: the baby was down for her morning nap, the boys were at their last day of preschool and my oldest was in first grade. I thought, “What should I do with this time, probably my last uninterrupted moment until September?”

I got myself a snack that I didn’t have to share, sat in the recliner and treated myself to an hour of reading a book. It was my last uninterrupted daytime moment until September. My daughter calls this “me time.” Mothers and fathers — especially full-time mom/dads — need
“me time” to be better parents. Me time makes us more patient, loving and kind.

Couples need “we time” to stay connected, to forgive each other for being imperfect and to have fun together — one of the best ways to preserve marriage.

Bob and I created “we time” at least one weekend a year, and week-long vacations alone together every few years. We hoodwinked relatives (usually my mother), asked single friends to come for the weekend, hired nannies, and traded childcare with other families to re-connect and have childless fun. We also went out on dates at least once a month.

I recommend a regime of “we time” to all parents. Kids grow up and leave home. Marriages can erode and leave home without regular nourishment.

“We time” was money in the marriage bank. If both parents are employed, “we time” is just as essential as it is for domo-gurus (stay-at-home moms/dads).

I worried for our marriage when our nest emptied after 25 continuous years of parenting. Regular doses of “we time” along with frequent tune-ups (marriage therapy and marriage encounters) and intensive workshops helped our marriage survive and thrive.

The first 20 years of marriage and raising little children creates the most stress on time, money and your relationship. Hang in there. Schedule “we time” and “me time” this summer. It’s an enjoyable investment.

How to live happily ever after

April 11, 2011
a strong marriage is the most important thing to a family. Children need both parents. Parents need each other. Families work together when there is no divorce. keeping a marriage going is one of the most important aspects of family life. Parents must take time together to have fun without the children.

A marriage starts out with high hopes of living happily ever after.

You know the grim reality — about half of all marriages fail.  The best investment we can make for our children is to defeat that statistic.

HOW? Work at it. Working at marriage can be fun — especially spending time together without the children. I recommend parents leave the kids home and go out on monthly dates and to go away annually for at least a weekend. The excursions can be simple, frugal and fun.

After having fun together, practice these three relationship basics.

1. Show up. Make home, marriage and family a priority. Some pursuits might have to be put on hold while raising children. Do what you say you’re going to do. Have family meetings.

2. Pay attention. Notice each other. Talk to each other. Be fully present. Give each other compliments, do little things for each other without needing recognition. Tune up your marriage in therapy and at workshops. Treat a marriage like a car that needs regular maintenance. If you don’t take care of it, it will fall into disrepair.

3. Tell the truth. Nothing undermines a relationship faster than if you can’t trust that person because they can’t be depended upon to tell the truth.

Children grow up and go away. Marriages can also go away if you don’t feed and water them regularly.

The first 20 years are the toughest years of marriage maintenance for two reasons:

1. You’re young and can be self-centered,  selfish, impatient and have high expectations your partner will anticipate and fulfill all of your needs. I started out this way and it took about 20 years to grow out of those mistakes.

2. You’re focused on the children, advancing in a career and making ends meet. Combined with youth and mistaken expectations, and neglecting your connection by not spending time together, marriages can wobble and break.

After 20 years, the kids and you have grown up and your career and income are more stable. It also helps if you both agree on money, sex and kids.

Schedule a monthly date TODAY and set up child care or trade with friends so you can get away for a weekend alone together. Have fun!

Finding ME time for moms in the work-life balance

May 11, 2010

Both parents being employed outside of the home adds another layer of stress for families. I advocate spending less, wanting less, having less in order to have MORE time, freedom and opportunities to nurture your children. The younger your children, the more they need you and the less they care about stuff money can buy.

Eventually, I went back to work outside of the home with three to four teens at home and went back to school for a master’s degree one course at a time. I knew where I had to be and when every minute of every day.

I found balance by avoiding rushing, being in the present moment — wherever that was — and letting go of worries about what was to come or had happened.

The only way I could work-go to school-be a mom was was to have lots of help, defined as:

1. Regular cleaning help. I rarely cleaned;
2. My husband took over grocery shopping. When and if I shopped, it was for sport, a special occasion and without a list. Talk about freedom!
3. My teenage son drove his little sister around after school, which made a huge difference.
4. My husband supposedly took over orthodontia, but he couldn’t get his arms around the regularity. If I had to remind him, I might as well do it myself rather than manage him.
5. Everyone pitched in on cooking, and I minimized it as much as possible. I still did the planning, left notes and started the crock pot. I LOVED coming home to dinner on the table, ready to eat. What a luxury.

The biggest factor in work-life balance was the parameters of my job. I worked 8 miles/15 minutes away and had flexible hours. No one told me when to work, except for weekly deadlines to publish the newspaper. For half the week, I could schedule around children’s needs. Even on a deadline day I had options.

Having some ME time was essential . I enjoyed getting my master’s degree after being home with four kids for 17 years, so it was “me time.” Me time is essential in the work-life balancing act of moms and dads.

What’s your strategy?