Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thank goodness for traveling grandmas

Hubby Hawks and I are thinking about how to spend our vacation time for the year -- where to go, whether or not to bring the kids, how long we might be able to stand to be away from them. Every vacation we've taken since having the boys has involved my mother who is gracious enough to come along and help out so we can enjoy some sense of "vacation" while on vacation. Is this a common occurance? How does anyone travel with kids (sans grandma) and truly relax?

In March, a national survey conducted by Synovate showed two-thirds of moms say “yes” more often to their kids while on vacation. The survey showed that once at the vacation destination, it’s kids who are “calling the shots,” especially when it comes to indulgences like extra pool time, eating more sweets and sleeping in later. The survey also pointed to a shared interest in cruising by parent and child. Moms and kids alike chose cruising as their second vacation destination of choice, preceded by Orlando. But to today’s multi-minding moms, who are mentally juggling work, home and self-care needs more than ever before (and have 20% more on their mind at once than do their male counterparts), deciding whether to bring the kids along can be a roadblock. Is vacationing with the kids really a vacation? Is there guilt involved in leaving them behind? Nearly one in three parents has never vacationed without their children, according to another 2008 survey commissioned by Kayak.com. The findings should be a call to vacation marketers that moms need to know more about kid-friendly vacation options that allow parents to truly “vacation,” guilt-free, but that also provide opportunities for kids to let loose. In the Synovate survey, Moms’ top reasons for taking their children on vacation included: to provide new experiences (79%); to relax and have fun (66%); to get away from the stress of work, school and home (63%); and to spend one-on-one time with them (44%). It's a fine line and tough decision. I miss my kids during the workday when I can't be with them. At the same time, when I've got days off, I want to relax...but with my family. Is it possible to have the best of both worlds?

What if we all had a mission statement

To leave the world a little better than it was when I entered.

It’s a lofty goal. But at the same time, a mission statement. Are mission statements ever supposed to be checked off the to-do list along with “get paper towels” and “bathe children?” I think not. It is a guidepost. Something to strive for. Something that will cause other good things to happen just because it is out there, begging you to come towards it. And in trying, you are able to feel good about so many other things. That’s my mission. That’s the reason for my statement.

And I’d like to go so far as to claiming that even in two years of motherhood, I have made a positive impact on the next generation. I witness daily a growing, evolving pair of future leaders. I see their compassion in application when they decide to share a toy -- or a hug -- without a prompt. I see their little wheels turning with ideas, eyes growing wider when they’ve stumbled upon something new. I see their problem-solving at work, inherent abilities that I dare claim to have something to do with. I am proud.

Monday, April 28, 2008

For the Love of the Cart

I have a confession to make. I'm addicted to Target. I love taking 20 mundane minutes to walk the aisles with a cart and convince myself that "I need that." And then 20 minutes turns into an hour and I walk out with a new toothbrush holder and a Lip Smackers flavor I haven't tried yet and I'm giddy. I loved going to Target mid-morning on a weekday when I was on maternity leave. I wheeled my baby around with the stay-at-home moms and pretended to be one of them. Acting the part. Knowing they could see right through to my inexperience -- my newbie-ness. "Welcome to the real world," they must have thought, seeing me study the bottle selection and gaze wide-eyed at exersaucers. Of course I'm talking about the first time around. The second maternity leave left no time for Target grazing. Nurse this one, chase that one, nurse this one, chase that one...became my rhythm. Now I chase both. Constantly running, all of us -- at home, at play, at work, at school...keep up, keep up, keep up...my new rhythm. But not at Target. There, on the smooth clean white linoleum, I stroll, with my red cart. I let myself fall out of step with the rhythm. I take time to ponder those Lip Smackers flavors and whether it's time for a new throw pillow. And I love every minute of it.