Category Archives: We’re Moms Too

Like you, We’re Moms Too. We get excited for their first tooth, first step, first day of school, and first love. Here, we share our stories about motherhood.

To Decorate or Not – That is the Question

I am the first to admit that Martha Stewart I am not.  Making large dinners is not my thing.  Actually, making any dinner is not really my thing.  My husband cooks for himself and I cook for myself (that is what happens when one of us is carnivore and the other a veg head).  My husband does his laundry and I do mine.  We split meals for our little one and also split laundry duty for daily wardrobe changes.  However, one domestic task I have always enjoyed is decorating for the holidays.

I think the love of decorating the house was passed on by my Mom (who also enjoys cooking, cleaning and laundry so I’m not quite sure why the decorating bug stuck with me).  She was the queen of window stickies and we would decorate our sliding glass and front door with new designs every month.  She also had a small decorative tree that she kept out year round.  We would decorate it for all of the major holidays including Valentine’s Day, St. Patty’s Day, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.  It was so much fun for us growing up, but I now realize how much work that must have been!

I don’t have stickies for every month nor do I have a year round tree that stays up, but boy do I have a lot of Halloween decorations.  Many of my decorations, I inherited from my Grandma when she passed a few years ago.  She loved Halloween.  In fact, her and my Grandfather married on Halloween.  I’ve absorbed the love of the holiday from her and that day also marks my hubby’s birthday so we normally go all out.  Three foot tall witches and scarecrows, dancing skeletons, pumpkin string lights, blinged out Jack-O-Lanterns, and cauldrons typically fill our house from October 1st through November 1st.  However, this year, I am thinking about not decorating for the first time since I’ve been married.

My favorite little boy is now 14 months old and minutes away from walking. The thought of giving him so many extra opportunities and objects to get into (and for us to clean up) sounds about as appealing to me as making Thanksgiving dinner.  I also don’t know if all of these props, which are life sized to him, will scare the daylights out of him.  Plus, are they choking hazards?  I hadn’t even thought about choking hazards!

I know there is a school of thought out there that as parents, you should keep doing what you always have done, tell your little ones no, and ensure that they will listen to you.  I’m just not sure if I subscribe to that school of thought.   I think my belief is more along the lines of avoiding melt downs and toddler tantrum traps if at all possible.  Just like I know that bringing my little dude on an afternoon shopping trip at nap time is not going to go well, I think it might be a smart idea to sit out on the decorating fun this year.

Before becoming a Mom, these were not the things I pondered.  I knew that the most important part of being a parent is to raise a happy, healthy and independent adult, but that is big picture.  The devil is surely in the details and I never realized that the option of decorating the house vs. not decorating is a big decision with the possibility of equally big consequences.

So now I have to know (so I can judge myself against you J) – did you/do you change the way you decorate for the holidays to accommodate your one year old?

 

About Tena

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.

Raising Girls vs Raising Boys

Having raised, or in the process of raising, two girls and two boys, I get asked “which one is easier boys or girls?” I can only answer this question using my own personal experience and observation. I should also add that it also depends on their individual personalities.

I’ve often heard girls mature faster than boys. I will have to agree with that statement. I have a 16 year old daughter who thinks she’s 21 and a 21 year old son, who acts like he’s 16.

Here are just a few of the differences:

GIRLS:
As infants both my girls were criers and very fussy. However, my girls were easier to potty train.

When they were younger and had play dates, they loved playing dress up, playing house, playing with dolls, mimicking words and dance steps to most popular song at the time, laughing and giggling. At the end of each play date, they were more affectionate by hugging each other goodbye.

Heading into their teen years there was a great deal of drama. In my house it started at age 13 and ends?? Well, I am not exactly sure when it end. It seems like everything is a crisis these days. They are more likely to share their feelings and go into details. There’s always drama.Whatever is going on good or bad you’ll know about it. Who said what and why and who’s mad at whom is usually the topic of conversation.

Going along with sharing feeling, my girls are more sociable. They like making new friends. They have friends that come and go and some come back again.

Also, my girls are by far more expensive. They love to shop! Shopping with my daughters always turns into a whole day excursion. We must hit almost every store at the mall. I enjoy shopping with my daughters. It keeps me in the loop on the latest fashion. And of course, we always make time to stop at a favorite restaurant for lunch.

BOYS:

My boys were content just being with Mom. They were a lot more energetic as toddlers.

When they were younger they would start out playing a friendly game of basketball, baseball, kickball, soccer, etc. Next thing you know, they are wrestling on the ground, punching each other or using sticks or any other object they can find to turn into a type of weapon. This happened every time they had a friend or group of boys over. It always ended in rough-housing.

My boys are introverts for the most part. They prefer to have one or two very close friends.They’ve had the same friends for years. When I ask if “Is everything okay?,” I usually get the same response “everything’s fine!” When I do get them to open up they are not full of details.

Shopping with the boys is always short and sweet. They know what stores they want to buy what at and where to find it. We are in and out. They don’t like to linger. They don’t like to go shopping unless they have to. I also enjoy shopping with my boys. It’s a good one-on-one time to pry some information out of them.

You’ve heard the saying momma’s boy and daddy’s girl! Well, that holds true in our house.

About Sara R.

Sara is a mother of four. She has two daughters – Jamie age 35 and Taylor age 16 – and two sons – Justin age 20 and Christopher age 14. She is also a grandmother of one – Andrew age 3. She lives in Mantua, Ohio with her husband Bill. She has worked at Step2 for the past 12 years (before that she was a stay at home mom for 9 years). Sara is the Operations Manager for Step2 Direct internet sales.

Juice Box Buddies

A mother’s surprise at the maturity of first grade boys

“I want to learn how to shoot a gun.” Alex calmly told me as I looked through his backpack to determine how much homework he had and to sort through the miscellaneous forms and fundraising requests.

“What?” I asked. The statement had caught me off guard. I was ill prepared to discuss shooting with my six year old. “You want to do what?”

“And, I want to shoot a bow and arrow. I want you to sign me up for Cub Scouts.”

“Umm . . .I don’t think they teach you how to shoot a gun,” I laughed. “They do!” Alex said enthusiastically and pulled a flyer out of the stack of papers I was reviewing.

I scanned the flyer and sure enough, there were several pictures showing children his age in various states of revelry. The top picture showed a child carefully aiming a BB gun. Another showed a child balancing a bow and arrow. Still another showed a child preparing to race at the Pinewood Derby.

“See?” Alex said. “I want you to sign me up!”

A few days later, we attended the information meeting. As it turned out, many of the boys in Alex’s first grade class were also eager to join Cub Scouts. As I chatted with the other moms, I was amused to find that the other boys had also said they wanted to “shoot a gun” and “shoot a bow and arrow.”

As we waited outdoors for the meeting to begin, the boys ran around, jumped, shouted, climbed, pushed, pulled, tugged, fell down and laughed. Each time a new boy arrived, the kids noisily welcomed him into the fold by yelling “Jack is here!! Yeah!!” or “Look it’s Logan!” They would run over to the new arrival and offer a hug or just group around him.

The more boys that arrived, the more rambunctious the group became. Once one boy was corrected and directed to stop doing something (like jumping from the steps), we other parents felt obligated to say the same thing to our boys. We quickly grew weary of interrupting our “grown up talk” to say “stop climbing,” and “stop running” and “no, you don’t need another drink of water!” and “no, you can’t have any gum!” At some point, we seemed to agree that it was simply too tiring to stop the party boy behavior and just started to ignore it. Quite frankly, we were also outnumbered.

As the meeting began, the boys barged into the room full of energy. High spirited, they eagerly took seats in the front of the room. They moved chairs, bounced around, poked, prodded, laughed and ignored us parents. I cringed at the pure chaos of the situation as I took a seat with the rest of the parents (as far away from the juice box buddies) as we could get away with.

I know we were all thinking the same thing. Were the kids old enough to handle scouts? How could they possibly be trusted with a BB gun and bow and arrow? Just then, the Scout Master entered the room. The boys recognized the uniform and immediately settled down. They sat in their chairs attentively and did not speak. They listened as he spoke with them and told them about Cub Scouts and told them about all they would learn. After a few minutes, he dismissed the boys to go work on a craft while the parents listened to the rest of the presentation. The boys left the room quietly barely looking back at us parents.

We watched in wonder and amazement at how mature the boys had behaved. Maybe, I thought, we didn’t need to worry quite so much. Maybe the juice box buddies would be just fine.

About Tiffany

Tiffany is the mother of a curly haired six year old boy who wants to be Batman when he grows up! When she is not engaged in an intense light saber battle, watching Transformers (cartoons and movies), asking her child not to jump from the top step or being told, “you’re playing action figures the wrong way, mom” she contemplates how wonderful it would be if her child were a twin or triplet. Tiffany is the Human Resources Manager for Step2.