This working mom is cramping her kids social lives

November 27, 2009

I walked my kids to school today, which is a rarity lately. Even rarer, I walked with them right to their classrooms today. And while I was there, two different moms approached me to arrange playdates for each of my kids.

I guess this kind of playdate arranging is normal for the mommies who gather for pickup and drop off. But the only way to talk to me usually is to call or email me, so I am not part of this outside-the-classroom arranging.

So when I appeared today, a couple moms saw a chance to pounce, which is great. My kids would love these playdates. We don’t need them perhaps like other families, since my kids play at the aftercare program every day instead of playdates. But still, playdates are an important social interaction for kids this age. And unless I go out of my way to set things up for the weekend, they just don’t happen for my guys.

So happy to set up a couple playdates this morning, I am now worrying that the fact that I’m a working mom is seriously hurting my kids social life. Are they left out because I can’t do many playdates, or because I’m not at school to see the other mommies to set up casual playdates?

Another working mommy dilemma…


I can’t stand the rain — anymore

November 25, 2009

I moved to Vancouver 15 years ago, and when decided to move here from Ottawa, all my friends said they’d hate to trade Ottawa’s sunny but cold winters for the gloom and rain of Vancouver’s winters. But I scoffed. I would be fine.

And mostly, I have been. I’ve pushed through the clouds of winter by rowing (before kids), then biking (this past year) through the winter. And whenever the sun came out, I revelled in it, and felt happy enough to not feel down when it wasn’t sunny.

But this year, I think I may have reached a breaking point. It feels like forever since I’ve even seen the sun. And it’s getting to me. Yes, we’ve had days without much rain, and yes, I’ve gotten outdoors, the kids have played outside, yadda yadda. But this year, my mood is starting to match the sky. I feel overburdened, a bit gloomy, I’m grumpy a lot and can’t remember the last time I had a good laugh. I’ve had enough.

I can’t stand the rain anymore (follow that link — it’s a great song!). Bring on the sun, and fast!

Walking my kids to school, sort of

November 19, 2009

On the days when I work from home, I like to walk my boys to school in the morning. It’s the only chance I have to get to their school while it’s still in session (they go to an aftercare program after school and that’s where I pick them up) and see what’s going on, see the other mommies, and catch up. So I like to walk them to the classroom door, look quickly around the class, check notices, all that stuff.

But my kids make all that hard. We walk to school regularly, and I often take a couple other boys who live along our walking route to save their parents the walk when I can. And so all the boys run ahead of me, only stopping to wait for me to cross the street, then running on ahead. Our last two blocks have no streets to cross, and I can’t keep up with the boys. So by the time we get to the school, they’re already inside.

The other day, I walked four boys in, two of mine and two neighbours. When I reached the school, I checked to make sure the neighbours both got to their classrooms, but both my boys were long gone, having run up the three flights to their floor without waiting for me. And of course that’s fine. I know they’re at school and safely where thy should be. But now there’s no point in me climbing the stairs to their floor, so I miss out on all the social stuff with the other mommies.

It’s great they get the exercize of running/walking to school, but I miss the chatting outside class that we used to have in kindergarten. Ah well…

My kids barely know Oscar the Grouch

November 13, 2009

I grew up on Sesame Street. I thought everyone did. When I was my kids’ age (ie under 9), we had three choices of tv, so if we were allowed to watch, we were allowed to watch one of the few kids shows on. And Sesame Street seemed to be a big choice in our house. Did you know that this week, Sesame Street is 40? So it’s been on the air almost as long as I’ve been alive. Geez, I’m old… But I digress.

I learned my numbers and my letters from them. I learned Spanish from them. And my favourite bit

was when the pie man was at the top of the steps to count to 9 and then fell down with all the pies.

But my kids don’t know Sesame Street well at all. They’ve heard of it, they’re mildly familiar with Oscar and Big Bird. But they didn’t grow up watching the show. They watched Dora and Bob the Builder. I’m not saying their current choices are bad (although now they’re into Ben 10 and a bunch of other stuff I like less). But they have so many choices of kids tv, that Sesame Street doesn’t even rate on their radar.

I am told that Sesame Street was started because lots of inner city kids were entering school without a basic knowledge of numbers or letters, and that kids who watched Sesame Street had a head start on kindergarten. It makes sense — it’s a big reason why most of us send our kids to preschool if we can afford to.

But in this day and age (yes, I know I sound like an old curmudgeon!), kids today have too many choices, and Sesame Street just doesn’t cut it for them as much. Which is a shame, since it’s still a great show. And okay, Mr. Hooper died (so sad!), but I hear Gordon and Susan are still there. And I bet Big Bird is still the only one who’s seen Mr. Snuffleupagus. After all, they’re still the people in my neighborhood.

Amazing customer service from Foxy Jewelry

November 10, 2009

Disclaimer: I am not getting paid to say this, and I wasn’t offered any samples if I blogged this.

I went to a big craft show last month with a friend on a Friday evening. It was so lovely for us to get away from husbands and kids and just have a grown-up night out. I don’t do enough of that.

The show had lots of homemade/artisan food, clothes, and especially jewelry. I don’t normally enjoy a lot of shopping (my personal mall tolerance is only 30 minutes before I go buggy!), so usually shop rather purposefully. But this show was all about strolling around and having fun looking and trying, and my friend was all about the jewelery. She wanted to try on every necklace and ring there!

Well, her jewelry enthusiasm rubbed off, and I got into the spirit and chose a couple baubles for myself. We both picked necklaces from one busy counter, Foxy Originals Jewelry. Apparantly they’re all the rage among the younger set, but to me they just had nice pieces at reasonable prices. So I bought a necklace, as did my friend. They packed it up in a pretty pink bag and I stuck it in my purse.

A few days later I was wearing the right colour for my new necklace to match, so I pulled it out of the pretty pink bag. But there was something wrong with the chain’s clasp. It wasn’t attached to the chain. I could still wear it, but the clasp could fall off and be lost very easily.

So I found Foxy’s website, and emailed them a photo of my chain, asking if there was something they could do. And here’s where the amazing customer service came in. I got an email back within a couple hours. They apologized, asked for my address so they could send me out a new chain. And to make it up to me, I should also chose anything else from their collection for them to send me as a free “I’m sorry” gift. Wow! So I did, and within a few days I was mailed a new chain and another necklace. No charge, no fuss, no complaining.

I was so impressed I wrote this post.