5 Things I Will Miss About My Child’s Childhood

by Kim

graduation

 

My oldest son graduated from PreK last week; and for me,  along with celebrating this rather large milestone in his life, came a flood of emotions.   I watched this little boy who I struggled to have (http://2momsonatrain.com/2013/02/26/journey-to-parenthood),  who I sat in the backseat with on our ride home from the hospital, who I rocked to sleep in my arms (more times than I probably should have), walk into a room full of adults, with his head held high, ready to take on the next stage of his life.

For me, I thought about all of the changes that his graduation stood for; and even though I know he will always be my first-born, in September he will start Kindergarten, where his life and our relationship, will change forever.  So as stood there, fighting back the tears, I turned my sadness into thoughts, my thoughts into words, and my words into this post which I call:

5 Things I Will Miss About My Child’s Childhood

#5  LITTLE KIDS, LITTLE PROBLEMS – BIG KIDS, BIG PROBLEMS  This is an easy one… I know that soon I’m going to long for the days of an 8 o’clock bedtime and   5-minutes of extra TV time!

#4  BEDTIME    And speaking of bedtime, for as chaotic as every night seems to be, my boys still need/want me.  Whether it’s them asking me to read another book, sing another song, or even just to lay with them to help them fall asleep; in a few short years instead of asking for “5 more minutes” of my time, they’ll be asking for more time in their rooms, without me.

#3  PICKING OUT THEIR CLOTHES   I remember how exciting it used to be to go shopping for my kids; (yes, even though they are boys, I still loved shopping for them!) but at five and three-and-a-half, I’ve already lost this battle. Gone are the days of cute overalls, polo shirts, even a nice pair of jeans.  If given the choice, my boys would trade in every single piece of clothing they own for a few pairs of sweatpants, some basketball shorts,  some baseball jerseys, and good, old-fashioned, plain, white undershirts.  (I know, I know, try to focus on all of the $$$ money I’m saving!)

#2  HUGS & KISSES   I love being able to hug & kiss my kids wherever AND whenever I want (and I remind them that as their mom, I can do that!);  BUT truth be told, my days of “public” hugs & kisses are numbered, as I know the embarrassment factor is going to come into play and soon I’ll be lucky if I get a kiss on the check, even at home.

#1 – HEARING THEM SAY ” MOMMY, HOLD MY HAND”   Maybe it’s just that I know when I’m holding their hands, they’re safe; and that letting them go, even just to walk in front of me, symbolizes their independence…and ultimately, letting go.

 

 

Tackling First Everythings

By Sara

Last week was the first bus ride for the incoming kindergarten class. I took my daughter Olivia to her new school and as the bus pulled up, every child ran onto it. There was one child that didn’t get on…Mine! She cried and clung to me and my heart ached.

It made me think about how our lives are filled with so many scary first experiences that we have to go through… And the bus ride is only the beginning.

Just think about it:
….sleep away camp is full of fun mixed with being homesick.
…going off to college is exciting yet scary.
…graduating college is a huge accomplishment, yet the fear of the big open world is right in front if you.
…getting a new job is exciting but terrifying.
…getting promoted is rewarding but comes with more responsibility and higher expectations– which can be totally daunting.
…getting laid off, fired or leaving the workforce… All SCARY!
…receiving an award, is an honor yet having to give an acceptance speech can be debilitating.
…having kids! The fear that you are not going to know how to take care of a baby.

But when I look back at all these moments, I only wish I knew at the time, that they were just that… a “moment”. While they feel terrifying, monumental and life changing at the time, they pass by so quickly that we almost forget how scary they were. But all those raw emotions come back to you when you see that fear on your child’s face.

But like most things in life, we take lots of steps forward, and while some steps are more painful than others, we keep climbing and tackling our fears head on. And while we don’t always have mom or dad to hold on too, we find someone to lean on, or find that little bit of inner strength to propel us through it.

But I am glad I experienced all those life changing moments in my life. It made me a better mom and a stronger person. I can speak from experience and can share my “moments” with my kids so they don’t have to feel like they are in this alone. Because of all my firsts, I feel ready to help Olivia take that first step onto the camp bus on Monday.

Let’s just hope I don’t have to be the “first” mom to get on it with her!

Train Mom Chat with Jennifer Muhlrad, President of Montana Datacom

By Sara

I always admire successful women, but I am truly impressed when I meet a woman who runs a business selling electronic wire and cable, plant hardware, fiber optic transmission products, energy control products and more!  I honestly don’t have a clue what any of those things actually are…or do!

But what Jennifer Muhlrad does everyday is far beyond just supplying these materials to the electrical construction industry, she is focused on clearing paths for minorities and women in the construction industry.

Her company, Montana Datacom, is certified as a Women Business Enterprise by multiple Federal and State agencies such as the MTA, Port Authority, and School Construction Authority.  As a business owner, and mother of two girls, Jennifer truly understands the challenges facing today’s minority and women business enterprises (M/WBE’s) and she supports the efforts of those organizations that work diligently to open the doors of opportunity.

We are thrilled to have a Train Mom Chat (#TMC) with Jennifer Muhlrad, who is hip NYC mom, successful entrepreneur and an inspirational leader for women.

jen

 Who was your “working mom” role model growing up? And who is it today?                                                             My working mom role model growing up would be my grandmother Pery Schwartz, although I didn’t know it until I read your question.  She is holocaust survivor from WWII. After the war was over, she went back to school to finish high school. (She did 3 years of high school in 1 year) Then, she went straight to medical school in Cluj, Romania. She graduated with a degree in Medicine in June of 1951.  She moved to Israel in 1962 and practiced medicine.  In April of 1966 she came to the United States, she had to take medical boards again and redo her internship and residency in New York.  She did all of that and practiced as a pediatrician for over 46 years! I think because of her, work ethic has been instilled in me.

I would say that my working mom role model today is every one of us who wake up in the middle of the night to take care of our children and fully function during the day.  I think we have been doing it so long, we forget how remarkable it is to hold it all together.

Your company touts itself as being a “Certified Women Business Enterprise.”  How important is that recognition for your company and for you?                                                                                                                                  I have been very fortunate to be able to take advantage of opportunities that have been set aside for Women in Business in the construction industry.  50% of our opportunities arise from our Federal and State status.  As we grew, our knowledgeable staff and reliable service has allowed us to have great reputation and we have become a leader in our industry.  We are actually a great example of how women and minority opportunity set asides can lead to success.

Would you want your girls to follow in your career footsteps? What do you hope they learn from you?           I want my daughters to follow in my footsteps in the sense that I want them to have something they have built and created, no matter how big or small that they are proud of. I hope they know that nothing is off limits to them and that they can do anything.

What was the one piece of advice someone gave you on balancing career and life that you feel works best?  No one told me this, but I wake up every morning around 5.00 AM and work out.  No matter what type of exercise you do, it gets you moving and ready to conquer the day. I know I am not the only who believes this, because I see tons of people doing it with me at the same time!

As a president of a tech company, do you consider yourself a techy-mom?  If so, what is your “can’t live without” tech device? App?                                                                                                                                                                   I don’t know what I would do without a cell phone with email options and a calendar… It is the only way I can juggle momming and working. I actually don’t need to be at my desk and can be mobile and succeed!

Summer Safety Tips Every Parents Needs to Know

By Sara
With the “unofficial” start of summer “officially” here, we are all so excited to finally get our kids outside for some Vitamin D-filled days, and fun weekend pool parties.  As Train Moms, we are always in search of balance, and in this case it is finding the balance between our kids having fun and being safe.  So we turned to the experts at the Toy Industry Association (TIA) for some great tips to help make summer a win, win for kids and parents.

“Selecting age-appropriate toys and keeping toys labeled for older kids away from younger children is important year-round,” said Joan Lawrence, TIA vice president of safety standards and resident ‘Toy Safety Mom.’ “Children are inquisitive and fast, so active adult supervision during play is crucial.

Outdoor SAFETY Tips:kids swimming

  • MAKE ADULT SUPERVISION REQUIRED. Children should never be left alone near water sources (pools, inflatable “kiddie” pools, beaches, etc.). Water toys should be kept out of sight or out of reach when not being used so children aren’t tempted to play in or near the water alone. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has published a complete set of tips and information to help keep kids safe in and near the pool.
  • INSPECT TOYS REGULARLY and repair (or replace) damaged or broken parts as soon as they’re spotted.
  • ORGANIZE AND STORE TOYS TO PREVENT SLIPS, TRIPS AND FALLS. An outdoor shed should be set up with designated “parking” spaces near the door for bicycles and other ride-on toys; smaller items like skateboards and skates should be hung up or stored on shelves to prevent accidents.

More OUTDOOR SAFETY TIPS can be found here.

 Outdoor PLAY Tips:playground

  • TAKE ADVANTAGE OF NEARBY NATURAL RESOURCES. Research what lakes, rivers, fields and forests are close by, and gather your family for an afternoon of fishing, swimming, hiking, boating, etc.
  • CREATE A PLAY-FRIENDLY SPACE. If you live somewhere with outdoor space, create a child-friendly backyard or deck where your kids will actually want to spend time. Set aside designated play areas – a sandbox, for example, or patch of dirt where your kids are allowed to dig.
  • HAVE KID-FRIENDLY TOOLS THAT THEY CAN USE OUTSIDE. Binoculars, magnifying glasses, shovels, bug catchers, etc., will get your children excited about exploring the great outdoors!
  • BRING THE INDOORS OUTSIDE. Take some toys that your kids love to play with indoors, like building blocks, action figures, doll houses, and role-play accessories, and bring them outside!

More TIPS FOR PLAYING OUTDOORS can be found here.

For more information about toy safety, toy trends, and more visit www.ToyInfo.org.

My Post 3-Day Weekend Confession

by Kim

After a 3-day weekend with my kids I have a confession to make….

yell

HI my name is Kim and I’m a “yeller”!

There I just said it. I was told that admitting it is half the battle. BUT I was also told that it would also make me feel better; you know coming “clean” about what my family already knows to be true… and well, let’s just say it doesn’t.

In the parenting community, we “yellers” go by many other names; maybe you’ve heard of “The Screamers” (No, NOT “that kind”!) or “The Shouters”? Yup close personal friends of ours, in fact, I’m pretty sure we’re all related. (Distant cousins perhaps?!)

It’s just that with a defiant 3 &1/2-year-old, a “Know-it-all” 5 year-old, a husband who truly has selective hearing, and a cat who likes to throw up everywhere (leaving me to ALWAYS be the one stepping in it with my bare feet) – sometimes I’m just not as “calm” as I would like to be.

No matter how cool & composed I try to be, after I’ve said something for the 10th time in 2-minutes, my nerves get a bit rattled, and let’s just say my kids seem to react better to direction given at higher volumes.

Is it bad? H-ll yes! But is it working, (again) H-LL YES!

We’ve got 8-months to go but I already know what I’ll be adding to my list of New Year’s Resolutions!  Until then, G-d, please give me strength just to make it through the summer without loosing my voice!

 

Can you relate? Are you a #YELLERTOO?  Let me know I’m not alone!

10 Must-Have Apps for Moms

by Sara

Let’s face it, if there was app for putting our kids to bed, we would all be downloading it.  Apps truly help get us through our days — they remind us what to do, what to wear, where to be and what to know.  But with more than 1 million apps in the Apple app store, how do you know which apps to download?  We polled our Train Mom readers to get the scoop on must-have apps you can’t live without.

iphone

1. Dark Sky — This app will predict when it will rain or snow — down to the minute — at your exact location. ($3.99)

2. NYT Now — Now you don’t need to feel guilty if you don’t make it through to the entire paper everyday. The newest app from The New York Times is the best way to get caught up on the news. The app features the top stories handpicked and summarized by the Times’ editors. (free)

3. Beep Boop — A fun rewards system… kids get beeps for good behavior, and points get taken away with boops!  You can set goals, fill in your prizes and kids can even add their own pics. It totally works! (free)

4. UV Safe Timer – Avoid sunburns and guessing when to reapply sunscreen. This app provides a location-specific UV Index for anywhere in the world and adjusts for current weather like clouds to provide a more accurate real-time UV Index. An optional timer reminds users or parents when it is time to apply more sunscreen. (free)

5.GrooveBook – As seen on SharkTank, this cool app allows you have all your photos from your phone made into a photo album that is delivered to your door step. (free app/$2.99 a month)

6. Evernote — The app that will keep you forever organized. Keep notes, create lists, set reminders, and even save favorite web-pages. Best part is that your notes stay in sync across all your devices. (free)

7. Grocerytrip — This app extracts grocery items from recipes and creates an organized shopping list. You can even organize the list by grocery aisle. ($2.99)

8. Faces iMake — When it is time for kid “phone-time,” this is a great app that encourages kids to be creative by creating faces using pictures of every-day objects. Kids can share their creativity via email and social media as well as with other app users worldwide in a special gallery called FaceWorld. ($3.99)

9. Mom Maps – Find kid-friendly playgrounds, parks, restaurants, museums, and indoor play areas anywhere you are and shows parents’ favorites. ($2.99)

10. TaskRabbit — Don’t have time to run all your errands, or assemble IKEA furniture, or pick something up from a friend’s house? TaskRabbit will do it all for you. You say what you need, and task rabbit will find someone who is up for the task. (free — pay per service/hour)

Have any other must-have apps for moms? share with us @trainmoms using #momapps

When Mom Guilt Backfires

By Sara and Kim
mom guilt

What is the definition of mom guilt?  Is it the lengths we go to make our kids happy, when actually we are REALLY trying to make ourselves happy?  And let me first say that there is NOTHING wrong with that… except when it backfires.

The best thing I can relate it to is when you throw a surprise party for a friend, to only find out they hate surprises more than anything.  That is how it feels when your mom guilt moment backfires right before your very eyes.  You put a lot of thought into it, you are super excited about it, you reveal it… and then comes the unexpected WHAMMY!   As working moms, we sometimes feel that the little things we do should count the most, but when they don’t we feel worse than if we did nothing at all.  It is a feeling of utter frustration.  But what we have learned most about being moms, is the importance laughing, sharing and learning from everything we do.  This way we can keep  coming up with new ways to enjoy special moments with our kids, and hopefully they won’t all #backfire!

So on that note, here are some of  our most backfired mom moments.  We want to hear yours too.  Get them off your chest.  Trust me, it is honestly liberating!  Tweet us @trainmoms using #backfire.

Our most backfired mom moments:

1. You come home for work with a present for your kids…and they complain that it isn’t the one they wanted! #backfire

2. You come home early from work so you can pick them up from school…and they complain they wanted daddy to pick them up or they want to stay at school. #backfire

3. You spend all day whipping up their favorite meal…and they now don’t like it and won’t eat it. #backfire

4. You have been traveling on business and you get home just in time to put the kids to bed… and it is the witching hour and your kids are in complete meltdown mode. #backfire

5. You take them to a restaurant for a treat…and they spend more time playing under the table than talking to you and eating. #backfire

6. You reward your child by letting them watch ONE show or play ONE video game…but as we no there is no just thing as ONE in a kids mind. Tantrum time! #backfire

Share your most backfired mom moment with us. Tweet us @trainmoms using #backfire.