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Here at Step2, not only are we moms but we are also grandparents who love spending time with our grandchildren. There are many stories we look forward to sharing with you with our installation of “We’re Grandmas Too” which is a series based off of “We’re Moms Too.” We look forward to sharing the love, joy, and laughs being a grandparents brings.
My middle daughter (the one who was so kind to bear the only grandchildren I have so far even though I have five adult children, ahem) called me about a month ago. “Mom, I have some frequent flyer miles that are going to expire soon,” she said. “Would you mind watching the kids while I take a little vacation to visit (name of her oldest sister who lives in California)?”
What? Are you kidding me?! Would I mind spending time and playing with my adorable little grandkids who live out-of-state and who I hardly ever get to see?
“Of course, honey!” I shot back without even a nanosecond of hesitation.
“Oh, and I forgot to mention,” she continued. “(Name of her husband) will be out of town, too. He’s got to go on a business trip the same time I’ll be gone.”
Now I have to confess, this gave me slight pause. Three young children (ages 5, 3, and 1)…24 hours a day…for 8 days…all by myself. (Remember, I’m no spring chicken. And I did skip some of my gym sessions recently. Ok, maybe all of them. But only for a little while. Ok, maybe for about five years.)
All of a sudden, I got a little nervous. (Who am I kidding? I got a lot nervous!) Did I have the strength and stamina to keep up with them? Would they miss their parents? And how in heaven’s name would I manage to finagle those darn car seat straps on my own?
Don’t panic, I said to myself. I figured if I could just keep them all out of the hospital and the house from burning down, we would be ok. After all, I knew my daughter wanted this break. Nay, needed this break. It’s a lot of hard work raising young children, and it’s good for a young mom to get away every once in a while.
“Oh, I’ll be fine!” I said, perhaps a little too enthusiastically.
The day finally came for me to start my babysitting gig. But there were rules. “Don’t spoil them too much,” my daughter instructed. “Try to keep them on schedule. No junk food. And whatever you do, don’t let them walk all over you.”
“Ok, bye honey! Have a good time!” was my weak response.
You see, I’m a pushover…especially when it comes to my grandchildren. I just look at their beautiful little faces and I simply melt. In fact, I become putty in their hands. Pure putty, I tell you. And they know it.
So I did my best. I really did. I didn’t spoil them…too much. I kept them on schedule…pretty much. I didn’t feed them junk food…at least not too often. (Does whipped cream out of a can count? It is a dairy product after all!) And I didn’t let them walk all over me…at least not most of the time anyway.
We also did some pretty fun things together.
We built super-duper stuff out of Legos.
We colored neat pictures of boats and ships and things that go toot-toot.
We took nice, long walks.
We went to an awesome neighborhood park.
We blew lots and lots of bubbles (outside).
We played ball.
We planted beautiful flowers.
We went bowling and even got a couple strikes.
We went to swimming lessons.
We made healthy, organic pancakes.
We set the table real nice.
We made (lots and lots of) popcorn.
We watched both funny and classic (G-rated) movies.
We read many great books.
We splashed in really sudsy, bubbly bubble baths.
And we cuddled. A lot.
The kids and I enjoyed a very busy week. There were no meltdowns. No traumas. No broken bones or burnt houses (allowing me to achieve my goal). In fact, we had a fantastic time together and grew much closer, if that’s even possible. But I have to admit I was truly bone-tired by the end of my stint. “How does she do it?” I would ask myself of my daughter as my head hit the pillow every night.
When my daughter finally came back home, she literally sprinted up the stairs to hug her kids. Which made me quite happy. You see, even though I really wanted her to have a good time, I didn’t want her to have too good a time, if you know what I mean. In other words, I didn’t want her to suddenly think she was missing out on other things while raising her children as a stay-at-home mom.
Quite the contrary. Even though she enjoyed her trip very much, she truly and genuinely could not wait to return. She was rejuvenated, refreshed, and renewed. She was ready to be back with her children and continue parenting again.
Sometimes all a young mother needs is a little break once in a while. It doesn’t have to involve jet setting across the country (although that certainly is also very nice). Maybe just an hour or two for a manicure at the local beauty shop. Or a cup of tea at the corner café. Or a chick flick with a friend at the neighborhood theatre.
A few hours can and will make a world of difference. I should know. I raised five children who were all less than two years apart — and that’s all I wished for some days.
So if you’re a busy mom who sometimes feels a little overwhelmed or underappreciated, please don’t be afraid to ask for a break. Let a kind and willing neighbor babysit for a few hours. Take a friend up on her offer to exchange playdates. Or by all means, call your mom (or mother-in-law).
I’m so glad my daughter called me. I hope she’ll call again. But first, I need to go renew my gym membership.
This post was written by Maria Isabella. Maria is a mother, grandmother, published author, and award-winning writer with over 30 years’ experience in the advertising, marketing, and publishing industries.
By Step2 on May 6th, 2013 | Posted in We're Moms Too
Written by Sara S.
My husband has been working nights for the past few weeks. It took a bit of time for the kids and I to get used to it. Meanwhile, they began sneaking into my bed during the night… knowing that I have been too tired to kick them out.
Ryan started coming into my bed in the middle of the night and I wouldn’t notice it or I would be too tired to send him back to his own room. For goodness sake, there is plenty of room in the king bed for me and a five year old. But that’s where I was wrong.
Somehow Grizz started coming in too. I thought it was Ryan because Brady never would get out of his bed at night without calling out – “Mommy where are you?” Mommy where are you?” I am pretty sure that meant – “Mommy come get me or Mommy come here.” Grizz has a phobia that adds disruption to sleep. He won’t put his feet under the covers because he is convinced there might be spiders lurking under there waiting to bite his feet; so the safest place for his feet is on top of the covers.
The bedtime visits have escalated and now I have two bed bugs. One comes in around 1am and the other one stumbles in sometime later. I woke up the other morning to Brady sleeping with his feet in Ryan’s face. Both fast asleep.
I think it’s time for them to share a room. At least then they can crawl into bed with each other.
I remember crawling into bed with my parents. It was the safest and happiest feeling. If they said “no,” and sent me back to my room I remember feeling so sad and scared. Those memories make it harder for me to be stern with my own kids and send them marching back into their own cold and dark rooms.
I will be strong when Chris is done working nights and we can enforce the kids sleeping in their own beds!
Sara is an on the go – down to earth Momma, married to a Marine and the mother of two get dirty wild and crazy, play in the mud boys. She loves Michael Jackson, dancing and spending time with her family. She is honored to be able to teach her little guys about the world around them, about kindness love and the human spirit. For fun, she loves to make jewelry, shop, ski and spend time outdoors getting dirty with her boys. Sara is a Sr. Product Manager at Step2.
By Step2 on April 1st, 2013 | Posted in We're Moms Too
Written by Tena
While taking a quick glance through my personal Facebook page earlier in the week, I passed over a post that caught my attention.
The post was a picture of an adorable little boy who is the son of a good friend of mine from high school. He looked about my son’s age and the post was:
“Potty chair, check. Big boy under pants, check. Potty watch, check.”
I did a double take of the post. Until that moment, I had never heard of a potty watch, and I needed to learn more about it.
I commented to the post, “What is a potty watch?” and realized (moments after posting) that I didn’t have time to wait for her answer. I needed to find out for myself. I went to Amazon and searched for “potty watch”. I read several reviews and the product description. A few minutes and $10 later, I had a potty watch on its way to our home.
Since then, I’ve been telling others about the potty watch and I don’t even own it yet. I’m just so excited by the concept that I cannot keep my mouth shut.
Because of my role here at Step2 I am always reading up on the power of social word of mouth and have seen it from the business side happen quite often. This was my first conscious experience of being influenced, socially, to purchase a product sight unseen. Now, I cannot stop my mind from wandering and pondering and I want to know more!
What products have you purchased for you, your children, or your family that you’ve made as a result of word of mouth? Have they lived up to your expectations? What would you recommend that others buy?
Here are my list of products that I would recommend to any and everyone:
The jury is still out on the power of the potty watch for me. It shipped out yesterday and is due to arrive today. I clearly was so excited that I inadvertently ordered a pink version for my son, but I’m certain he won’t mind.
Tena and her best friend (and hubby) had their first child in July, 2011. Their little guy has a congenital heart defect and he is one tough little cookie; don’t ever think about calling him sick though – “his plumbing is just different.” Tena is an animal loving vegetarian and is excited to teach her son about compassion and the importance of volunteer work. She secretly hopes her son will be left handed like his momma. She is the Online Marketing Director for Step2.
Being a parent is a joy within itself. There are plenty of ups and downs that go on while raising a child but along the way there will be many laughs. As a parent, one will experience plenty of embarrassing moments. Here at Step2, we are parents too, which means we have plenty of embarrassing moments we would like to share with you.
Step2’s Embarrassing Parent Moments:
When my daughter was just a few weeks old, we stopped at a local coffee shop to warm up a bottle of milk. After I fed her, my husband picked her up out of my arms and to take her for diaper change. Before he could even grab the diaper bag, she passed gas that turned into a terrible blowout (a new type of blowout that I was unfamiliar with pre-kids). It must have been the way his hand was positioned, because it ricocheted out of the top of her pants (not having her in a onesie was parent fail #1 of this situation), hit my husband’s white shirt, then gushed onto the floor of the coffee shop. Between the mess and the smell, I was mortified. Looking back, it was kind of funny! – Ashley
Although I am not a parent, my mom has had plenty of embarrassing incidents. I was too young to remember this, but my mom often tells me of the one time I got lost in the mall as a toddler. At the time, I had an infatuation for Barney. We were in line waiting to meet Barney and I decided to make a run for it to go on a hunt for the purple dinosaur. During the time, this was a scary event for my mom; however, she did end up finding me hiding in a circular clothes rack in one of the department stores. Again, this situation was not funny at the time, but it is funny to joke about now that I am an adult and no longer a little trouble maker looking for Barney. – Nicole
A few weeks ago I had an appt to get an eye brow wax. It would NEVER be my intention to bring my boys back to the spa area BUT Daddy was busy and they can to come. I knew it was going to be quick so I told them to be quiet and just sit and watch. Remember is spas how everyone has to whisper right? Well Ryan wanted to sit on my lap and Grizz wanted to good view so he shimmied right up to the table (he is eye level). Grizz was asking all sorts of questions like “eye brows waxed?” Is that hot? Mommy does that hurt? All of a sudden Ryan passes gas rather loudly. He laughs, Grizz laughs and tries to take credit. I look at the esthetician and apologize for the behavior and also because we are in a really tiny room! It was hard to be quiet after that. – Sara S.
My 20 month old has recently discovered the “fun” of pushing his little hands into my tummy fat. I’m sure it feels like play dough to him. Fun for him – embarrassing for me (name asked to be withheld – she can handle the embarrassment in front of her little one but not in sharing this with the Step2 world J)
Do you have any embarrassing parent moments that have happened to you lately?
By Step2 on March 4th, 2013 | Posted in We're Moms Too
Written by Ashley
I firmly believe my yellow lab Peak knew I was pregnant before anyone else. Before I even saw that plus sign, Peak had already edited his behavior. His typical jumping upon my arrival home from work came to a halt and he’d lay his head on my belly when we I slept. This lasted the entirety of my pregnancy (and to this day his puppy tendencies are finally gone!).
You might think we’re crazy, but my husband and I often refer to Peak as our first born. Knowing that not all dogs mesh well with babies, we feared how he would react when our new roommate arrived home. I asked my OBGYN multiple times how I could prepare the dog for the new baby. I also asked friends with pets and kids. The best advice I received was to have someone bring something of Chloe’s home to Peak before bringing Chloe home.
My best friend of 20 years took Chloe’s little newborn hat to our house the day she was born. When she walked in, she let Peak sniff it. You see, Peak has an addition to anything fabric – he is constantly stealing socks – so this was a brave move. Anyone who knows me has heard countless stories of where we’ve found socks in the house – post digested. So when Jackie showed him the small fabric hat, she assumed he would steal it and run off with it, only to be seen again a few hours later on the floor in the corner of our bedroom. Rather, she was stunned by his reaction. She told me that after she placed the hat on the kitchen floor, he gently walked over to it, sniffed it, and left it there.
This made me feel better about their upcoming meeting. To me, this said, “I smell Mom. That thing must finally be here. I guess I’ll give this big brother thing a shot.”
Chloe met Peak at 4 days old. I was first to enter the house. My husband is the alpha in the dog’s eyes, so he waited to come into the house after me as to show Peak that we are equals. I walked in and Peak immediately put his nose to my belly. He looked up at me with his tail wagging as to say, “Ok lady. Where is it?” I then brought Chloe in in her car seat carrier. I placed the carrier on the ground and let them “meet.” Of course I was scared that he would hurt her, but by letting him sniff and “get to know” her, it showed him that she is an extension of us.
We actually captured this meeting on video.
The first few nights she was home from the hospital, he would wake up with us when she cried for her nighttime feed. He would sit on the nursery floor as we tended to her. But just like any sibling, the crying got old to him and by the forth night home, when she cried he would lift his head up in the bed turn to my husband and me as to say “Again?!” and then lay his head back down.
Fast forward six months. He’s always giving her kisses and now that she is starting to grasp things, she “pets” him. Of course there have been some parent fails, like the time he dropped his toy on her forehead and left a little red mark above her eyebrows. I get it. He just wanted to share his toy with her.
We are so lucky to have a pet that is good with kids. I know not everyone is this lucky, but we had to make a conscious effort with the introduction so everyone could learn how to play nice. Their meeting was truly one introduction that made a lasting first impression on all of us.
Ashley is a self-proclaimed fashionista, social media maven, and proud new mama. Together with her husband, they welcomed their first child last August. They also have a fur-baby named Peak, an 80-lb. yellow lab whom they adopted during a ski trip in Denver. She is the Social Media Manager at Step2 and you may have recently communicated with her if you’ve chatted with Step2 on Facebook or Twitter.
By Step2 on March 1st, 2013 | Posted in We're Moms Too
Last March, we began a weekly feature on the Step2 blog called We’re Moms Too. Each Monday, 1 of 6 moms who work at Step2 gave you a look into their personal life as a mom and/or grandma. During the holidays, we took a short hiatus from We’re Moms Too, but we are now back with more fun (and funny) stories of parenthood.
Joining We’re Moms Too for the second year is Ashley, Sara, and Tena. Ashley, Social Media Manager, went from mom-to-be in 2012 to a new mom of a 6 month old baby girl Chloe. Sara, a Sr. Product Manager who is the mother of two young boys, has many more stories to share of their get dirty, wild and crazy play times this year. Tena, Online Marketing Director, is enjoying the changes from having an infant to a now rambunctious toddler running around!
We are excited to welcome Meghan, Marketing Director, to We’re Moms Too in 2013. Meghan is a mom to three little girls, all under the age of 5, who are best friends and worst enemies at the same time. Meghan, married to her husband of 8 years, loves to travel, try new foods, and has recently become a big fan of Downtown Abby. It’s a real treat when she and husband get a babysitter and over-order at their favorite sushi restaurant.
Beginning next Monday, We’re Moms Too will be moving from a weekly feature to a monthly feature on the Step2 Blog. Follow these four moms the first Monday of each month as they navigate dirty diapers, battle the terrible twos, kiss boo boos, and boast about their love for being moms.