All posts tagged support for moms
All posts tagged support for moms
by Katie Newingham
If you’re a mother who underestimated the prep time involved in planning a family vacation the first go around and now you’re nearly obsessive compulsive about it, you’re not alone.
I boarded my first plane with a 1-year-old, no stroller, no pack-n-play and only five diapers. I didn’t realize the time it takes to get a crying baby to sleep on a plane or the stress and pressure that follow from the eyes of the other passengers looking my direction in hopes that their stares would somehow soothe my baby.
I also didn’t expect to run out of diapers while on the last leg of our trip, our daughter to have a major blowout and listen closely, planes do not carry diapers. I learned to be resourceful and made a diaper out of a blanket and a sanitary napkin, but by the end of it I nearly swore off family vacations that involved air travel.
Hawaii changed everything…
Then my husband received a call from his boss saying we would be traveling to Hawaii as a family for two weeks on the company as a thank you for driving through a blizzard to meet with clients. Of course while there, my husband will have to work, so I will be without transportation and I am 7 months pregnant, with a 2-year-old but it’s Hawaii…right!
With a month to plan, I immediately made sure we would have a car seat and a pack-in-play in the rental car upon arrival. I will never travel again without a stroller, so I decided to bring a slim-line umbrella stroller to tow my 2-year-old around in the airport.
The 48-Hour Travel Time Principal
Traveling internationally taught me to pack enough in an overnight bag for 48-hours. It doesn’t matter if your planned travel time is a few hours, plan for the worst when you have children. Any kind of storm, or mechanical malfunction can land a plane for 24 hours and it’s up to us to pack enough snacks, toys, water and comfort items to get our kids through these times.
My plan of action started with a travel itinerary that includes both EST and the actual time in Hawaii. This is so I can try and keep as close to her schedule as possible on the way there and the way back. The itinerary also includes a day-by-day breakdown of what we’ll do when we get to Honolulu including directions to local Costco.
Next, I planned very carefully my daughter’s carry-on backpack. Each item in her bag had to be something that could hold her attention: DVD player with favorite movies, paper and crayons for coloring, favorite small books, 7 diapers and wipes, protein bars, dried fruit snacks and a 12oz empty water bottle to be filled once we make it through security.
My carry-on will include 2-3 outfits for each of us, as well as a toiletry bag, 7 more diapers and extra wipes, protein bars, fruit snacks, non-refrigerated milk boxes, water, blanket and stuffed animal.
Checked Baggage is for Toys
Toys are more important than clothes. We all want to look nice every day of our vacation, but wouldn’t you rather have a happy and stimulated child who sleeps well at night, so you can have some time alone?
We are allowed to check one bag per passenger, so here’s how I packed each one. Both my daughter’s clothing and mine will be packed in one large suitcase. I packed light, non-wrinkling dresses and shirts, shorts, a pair of jeans, layering pieces like cardigans and lightweight throw-over sweaters plus a jacket for rainy weather and a few sets of pajamas for each of us. We do have access to a washer and dryer in our unit!
My husband’s suitcase will be filled with his clothing, work related items, etc…
This is the most important lesson: The third suitcase will be filled with toys!!! From a kickboard to blowup rafts for the pool, snorkeling gear, puzzles, coloring books, DVDs, activity books, stuffed animals. Whatever fits goes basically and she gets to help pack this suitcase.
Attire on the Plane
We’ve all been in the airport as a beautiful mother with three children walks by in a flowing dress and heels. We all want to be her right? I tried this on my last vacation. I wore a bohemian printed maxi dress and cardigan to the airport for my 5-hour trip that turned into a 12-hour trip. Though it was comfortable on the plane, it was not comfortable walking for miles through the airport corridors. But my wakeup call happened when I stepped off the plane and the temperature was in the 40s with a dress and sandals on – NEVER AGAIN!
Now in the back of my mind I humorously think that well-dressed mom walking through the airport is trying this out for the first time and if everything goes off without a hitch she may try it again, but the moment she gets stuck in airports all day, she’ll go back to her most comfortable pair of jeans, tennis shoes and t-shirt.
Be sure to follow my adventures in the series “In Flight: 7 Months Pregnant, Toddler in Tow, 14-Hours to go starting Monday 7am EST.“
As my daughter moves in to the “terrible twos,” my husband and I have been forced to have that conversation; the one that starts out with “Are we, or aren’t we going to spank her?” To be honest, I’m the one that brought it up. I think my husband just assumed we would.
Most people feel strongly one way or the other about spanking, timeouts or other types of discipline. I on the other hand have to be convinced through research that whatever I do to discipline my children will have long-term benefits, and isn’t just the easiest way to get short term results.
So I set out on a journey this month for some direction.
Experts say some of the benefits of spanking include teaching children boundaries, immediately stopping bad behavior and keeping children safe from harmful situations.
This reminded me of a story my husband told me about when he and his friends were 8 years old. They decided it would be fun to go into the shed and play with matches. What they didn’t know was that a five gallon gasoline tank was behind the lawn mower and could ignite at any moment. His father caught them just in time, throwing them from the shed in case of a spark. Later my husband got a spanking he will always remember and when things settled down, his father told him how much he loved him and was scared for his life. The whole experience taught him never to play with fire!
But even if we decide to spank in certain situations, what about those day-to-day battles of will where spanking might not work?
I decided to join a six week parenting workshop for more answers and a broader view. Jessica Shields Flowers, parenting coach and owner of Ripple Effect, advertises with us and asked me to come to her series on Conscious Discipline® for research purposes.
Conscious Discipline® derived from the latest brain-based research that takes into account where the parent is at mentally and emotionally before taking into account where the child is at developmentally. The parent is supposed to evaluate themselves and their child’s development before taking action.
In just two weeks after applying some of the basic concepts, I noticed my child showing less aggression and more obedience.
I learned about my own triggers: juggling too many things at one time, stress in relationships and lack of sleep. During these times I’m more likely to become agitated with my daughter’s whining, which is usually an indicator that she’s bored and needs some one on one time.
Through sharing common experiences with other couples, I learned to take a breath and think about what my child really needs. When she’s noticeably not listening, I can get close to her, put my arm around her and speak directly to her: “I know you want to go on a walk. Right now, mommy has to cook dinner.”
There will be times when spanking may be necessary, but it’s the last tool in my belt as far as I’m concerned.
Ultimately, most parents will be on a lifelong journey to learn how to parent their children. The greatest piece of knowledge I’ve gleaned from my research is that parenting is best done with a humble heart and the ability to admit we don’t have all the answers. Also, when we blow up at our kids or react inappropriately as parents, we should respectfully ask for their forgiveness, so they don’t learn the wrong behaviors from us!
Coming up in November: Who’s that Girl? & Be Present (Cathy O’Hara), Attention, Please! (Courtney Buxton), Suddenly Stiff: James’ Battle (Dr. Melissa Nelson), An Attitude of Gratitude (Lynn Ely), Celebrity Makeup Tips Moms can Apply (Kelly Knox), Family Activities that Burn Calories (Amy Welch), Getting Great Family Photos (Courtney Richardson), Healthy Holiday Eating Tips (Dr. Brandon Heath), Serving with Gratitude (Angela May)