Mommy’s Helper

As any work-at-home parent without full-time care can tell you, summer can prove to be a difficult time to get work done. Especially if the children are school age as parents are used to having time to get their work completed without the kids in the house.

The last few summers I have struggled with balancing my work time and fun time. Summer is supposed to be a time filled with fun activities that you can’t do while the kids are in school. Especially in Seattle — we love to take advantage of the nice weather and be outside as much as possible. I have found it difficult to fit my work obligations in between our normal daily activities given the constant child interruptions. Even with Will’s nap I was only getting about 20-30 minutes of uninterrupted time. I would stress about being behind on my work and not spending good quality time with the boys doing fun activities.

This summer I decided to learn my lesson and hire a “mom’s helper.” Our regular babysitter (and across the street neighbor) didn’t have a job this summer, so we worked out a schedule for her to help me out. She comes over two afternoons a week between 2 and 5 pm. She has about an hour with Jack to help him finish his summer learning or reading and play before she gets Will up from nap. Then they go outside to play.

We have only been doing it for two weeks, but so far it is working great. I have told them to act like I am not home (unless there is an emergency). I close my office door and work on whatever I need to get done. So far I have been able to get drafts of my posts written the week before, plan content for several months and do research. On the days she doesn’t come, I am able to get some quick work done, and then spend time with the boys doing fun activities. This way I don’t worry about being behind.

I had to get over the idea that I was paying for a babysitter while I was at home. My consulting work more than covers what I will pay her and the stress relief is worth more than that. I am so much less stressed and we have already been able to do some fun activities like going to a movie, making tie dye T-shirts and having lunch at the park.

How are you managing kids and work from home in the summer?

300th post & Getting Critiqued

celebrating.jpgThis is my 300th post. Is it possible that there have been that many? I have been blogging for two and a half years. What better way to celebrate this momentous occasion than to get critiqued by a leading Mom blogger.

Critique

Today, Melissa Culbertson from Momcomm is critiquing our blog. It is an exciting day. I have been working hard on it for the last year, including a huge redesign last fall. I can’t wait to see what she thinks, make sure you read it.

Welcome to new readers who have clicked over from Momcomm. At “The Will to See” I write about the blurring line of motherhood, covering topics like parenting, mom technology, family time, and GI and vision issues. Please look around and hopefully you will become a fan and follow us. I have just completed Momcomm’s Content Brew course (Click here to view more details), so there will be lots of new content coming. But to introduce you to The Will to See. here are a few of my all-time favorite posts.

Favorite Posts

Classroom Snack Police

Splat Goes the Lasagna

If You Give A Mom…

Ode to Gravy

Coming Full Circle

You know you’re a mom when

The Eyes Have It

A Mother’s Intuition

A New Normal

Feedback

I would love to get your feedback, whether you are a new reader or have followed us from the beginning. What do you like about The Will to See? What don’t you like? (Please, constructive criticism only.) Are there topics you are interested that are not addressed or require more attention?

It is my hope that The Will to See can become a great resource for our readers.

Find Me At ShePosts

I am a contributing writer for ShePosts. It is a site that focuses on online women’s publishing, following the trends, events and people within that space. ShePosts  was purchased last year by one of my favorite bloggers, Kristen Howerton from Rage Against the Minivan, and Deb Rox. They are working hard at revamping the  site and brining on additional writers, like me!

I hope that you all will follow my work on ShePosts as well and as always, I appreciate your readership.

Classroom Snack Police

Does a teacher or school have the right to tell a child that they can’t eat something their parent packed for them? Is it ever OK for them to overrule the rights of the parent?

At our school, a few of the teachers have adopted a fresh fruit- or vegetable-only snack policy. While I applaud the idea of teaching our children to pick healthy snacks, this policy is riddled with flaws and elements of irony. As an example, in order to be compliant with the policy, you cannot send dried or canned fruit, it must be fresh. (Disclaimer – I have not been directly impacted by this policy but my friend’s child has, which is why I am aware of it).

Earlier this year, our friend realized that she didn’t have anything fresh to send with her child to school for snack, so she sent dried cranberries. At snack time the teacher told the child he could not eat the snack and would have to sit and watch the other kids while they ate their snacks. As a result, the child was left hungry and faced the challenge of trying to stay focused the rest of the morning before lunch, instead of being refreshed and ready to learn. Isn’t it better for the child to have something in his stomach to help promote focus in the classroom? Aren’t we taught that children do better at school when they are well fed?

Now I don’t think you should be allowed to send just anything for snack, like cookies or other sugar-based snacks, but let’s be reasonable. Healthy is not narrowly-defined and not one-person’s opinion; healthy snacks come in many forms, like a fruit cup or applesauce or whole wheat crackers and hummus, right? With such a restrictive policy, this teacher is spending a disproportionate amount of time as the snack police instead of being the teacher. The teacher actually said she enacted this policy to eliminate the need to “approve” each child’s snack each day as it was taking away from teaching time. It appears that her own policy is not meeting her objectives given the amount of snack approving and denying she is admittedly still doing on a daily basis.

My thought is why put yourself in that position to begin with? Why not send a letter home at the beginning of the year stating that the “snack policy requires a healthy snack and it is strongly encouraged that parents send a fresh fruit or vegetable.” If a student repeatedly brings unhealthy snacks then send the note home again asking the family to follow the policy and then let it go. Parents should be afforded the ultimate decision on what snacks are right for their children and their decisions should be respected until their actions prove otherwise.

It is always my plan to send healthy snacks, but there will be times on a Monday morning when I realize because I couldn’t make it to the store on Sunday and that I am out of fresh snack options. My guess is that I am not alone.

Have you run into policies like this at your school? What do you think, should the snack police be allowed full reign or have they overstepped their jurisdiction?

 

This post is the first of a new parenting blog I am writing for Girl Power Hour under the title Mommy See.

Big News!

No, I am not pregnant. My big news is that I have been invited to be a contributor for a website called ShePosts. It is a site that focuses on online women’s publishing, following the trends, events and people within that space. ShePosts was purchased last year by one of my favorite bloggers, Kristen Howerton from Rage Against the Minivan, and Deb Rox. They are working hard at revamping the site and brining on additional writers, like me!

This is a different style of writing than I am used to, more journalistic. But it will be good for me to expand my writing skills and will prove useful as I write my first book about Jack’s eating challenges. This will also help me extend my reach and continue to build my network of followers.

On Monday my first post was published covering Ryan Gosling memes. Memes are social ideas that are copied by many different people, some actually going viral. In this case the memes include photos of Ryan Gosling and have funny phrases added to them. They all begin with the phrase “Hey Girl.” The crux of the story was that a new meme focusing on Ryan Gosling’s love of mom bloggers had been created.

I hope that you all will follow my work on ShePosts as well and as always, I appreciate your readership.

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