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Entries in parenthood (18)


She'sWrite: Getting Baby Ready for the Big Leagues

Want your daughter to be the next Serena Williams or Michelle Wie? You’re not alone. Many parents are enrolling their kids in sporting programs earlier and earlier, some as soon as four months of age. So how young is too young?

"I know I could be the next Pelé if only my parents would work on my dribbling technique."Some say there’s no such thing. Even if parents aren’t swinging for the bleachers of professional sports, they figure if it can help their kid get even the slightest edge over the competition, what’s the harm? No one wants their little Johnny to be picked last to join the team.

I think it’s great to introduce kids to all kinds of new things, but touting a technically correct way to hold a tennis racket to a 6-month-old is a bit much. The same with soccer programs for kids who can’t yet walk.

This is when people get too carried away in the parental push to give our kids the best and to be the best. Sporting programs for babies aren’t guaranteed to give your kids a head start and some doctors worry it could mean there will be even younger kids withoveruse injuries.

That being said I think organized sports are great, they get you physically active, help with socialization, self-discipline, confidence, etc. etc. Our 3 1/2-year-old Logan is in swimming lessons and last summer he went to a week long Chicago Fire soccer camp with his dad. He loved it so much we signed him up for Lil’ Kickers, another soccer program with classes this spring.

In these programs, there’s no pressure to grow up and bend it like Beckham. It’s organized chaos of flying mini soccer balls where the only goal is to have fun. And isn’t that supposed to be the point?

Go West readers: What age did your children get involved with sports programs? Do you feel like there is too much pressure too early? Or do you think there is only pressure if the parents create that kind of atmosphere?

She’sWrite is the pen name of a journalist who lives in the northwest suburbs with her endearing Norwegian husband. She usually commutes daily into the Loop, but she’s currently on a six-month maternity leave and is at home with her baby boy and 3-year-old son. Every Wednesday on Go West Young Mom, you’ll find her musings about being a mom, career woman, wife and friend, and the crazy juggling act in this curious circus that we call life. She publishes several times a week on her own blog, also called She'sWrite, and you can subscribe there to get email notifications of new posts.


She'sWrite: Being Brown in the Suburbs

I should have known by the look in his eyes. The middle-aged white man looked at my chocolate self, then to my light-skinned baby and back to me. “Excuse me,” he said walking closer. “But is his father white or Asian?”

Photo by Erica Lynn Hang.I paused. Did he just ask me that? Here? In the frozen-food section of the grocery store?

Inhale. Exhale. “He’s white,” I said, feeling my blood rise. Gathering courage to stand my ground for whatever racial onslaught was to come, I said louder, bolder: “He’s Norwegian.”

“Oh.” He responded and walked toward me, fumbling to pull something out of his pocket. Egad, what is he going to do? You know folks are crazy.

“The reason I’m asking is because this is my family.” He pulls out a picture of himself, a round black woman and two very tall biracial boys all smiling in their Sunday best. “The oldest is in college and this one’s in middle school.”

I melt.

“Let me show you my other son.” I whip out my phone and pull up a picture of Logan with his wildly curly hair and caramel skin.

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She'sWrite: And now for my next trick -- being a SAHM of two

This juggling life thing just took a hard left in our house and we’re finding our sea legs. I’m used to trying to squeeze in friends/sleep/laundry/grocery shopping/doctor appointments/blogging/cleaning around a hectic work schedule and being a mom of one.

Photo by iStockPhoto.But for the next six months, I’m a stay-at-home mom. There’s no more down time during my commute to and from the office so that I can blog, email or catch up with friends IRL. It’s a 24-hour-job and with my newest little guy who has a voracious appetite, I’m up every few hours during that glorious 24.

I’ve got to figure out a new schedule, when should we wake up now that I don’t have to waltz into the office at 7:30 a.m.? Sleeping in late for SAHMs unfortunately isn’t an option. (However, so far I’ve been able to take a nap each afternoon with little Ethan, I’m hoping that trend can continue at least three times a week!)

How often can I reasonably expect Hubby to come home early or at least on time? After spending all day with cute ankle biters, by the time 7 p.m. rolls around I’m looking for a breather.

It’s an adjustment to say the least. It’s not as rough as going from being a non-mom to a mom, but it’s an adjustment nonetheless and I’m trying out different tricks to see how I can get it all done.

Right now things have been pretty good as my mother-in-law stayed for three weeks and this week my parents are here, so the first month we’ve had great help. I’m thinking about when the cavalry leaves.

I’ve been getting both boys dressed and ready for the day to see how I can balance the two in a zone defense sort of arrangement. I’d like to hit up the grocery store solo with the boys to see how that goes. For some reason, planning and going on test drives so to speak makes me feel more in control.

That’s the funny thing about parenting though, I’m no longer in control, it’s more like I’m a suggestion box of sorts.

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She'sWrite: Getting Help After the Baby Is Born

My last week has been filled with feedings every two hours, diapers, tiny cries, lots of snuggles, diapers, tantrums from the 3 year old, diapers and more diapers. It can be hard work, but it’s easily manageable largely because I’ve got great help.

Photo by bgottsab on Flickr.As I’ve said before, my mother-in-law is in town from Norway to help us with life after baby. She’s here for a glorious three weeks, then my parents come for a week and my sister says she’ll stay for a few days after that. That means for at least the first month, I’ve got extra hands around the house.

When Logan was born, we also had help. My mom was there for his birth and stayed for a couple weeks, my dad also came for a few days and then my mother-in-law was here for a couple weeks.

Before Logan, everyone told me to make sure that when someone came over after the baby, take advantage and put them to work. I was advised to set up clear expectations before my guests arrived that people were not to be my guests and catered to, they were to help me. After having a baby, the last thing you feel like is being a hostess with the mostess.

For me that help meant doing our laundry, planning and preparing dinner, general pickup around the house and looking after the newborn so I could catch up on sleep lost the night before. The hard part was setting up those boundaries because it can be an uncomfortable conversation, but I figured I owed it to myself and my newly growing family to look out for what’s best for us.

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She'sWrite: Basking in the Christmas Afterglow

ooks like we made it through another Christmas. Another season of long shopping lines, ugly sweaters and stuffing stockings and our tummies with holiday cheer. I’m a bit sad to see it end because I gotta say this was one of the best ever.

Baking Christmas cookies.Yes, that’s Tiny Tim’s voice you hear in the background. (God bless us, everyone.) But allow me to be a little cheesy in my Christmas afterglow.

Since my family lives in Kansas and my husband’s is in Norway, we’re usually traveling for the holidays and being pregnant, that wasn’t possible. Meaning, this was our first Christmas at home, no luggage, no airports, no rental cars, just us and our cozy home.

I admittedly hadn’t prepared much for Christmas because between work, Logan, keeping the house afloat and many visits to the doctor, there wasn’t much time. I was lucky to get a bit of breathing room to get gifts for Logan and our extended family. That meant Christmas Eve morning, I had to jet to Macy’s in the morning to pick up some sweaters for Hubby. He made the same trip that afternoon. We are indeed soul mates.

Other than that, we spent the rest of the day in our pajamas, hanging around the house playing, watching TV, relishing the last few days of being a family of three. Logan and I baked Christmas cookies and I made a roast with veggies for dinner. Afterward, my little guy helped me wrap one of Hubby’s gifts. I told him how it had to stay a secret and that dad would only find out what it was when he opened the present in the morning.

A few minutes later Logan showed off his wrapping handiwork to his dad saying “Dad, you see? This is for you, but you can’t open it until Christmas. And do you know what it’s gonna be? It’s gonna be a shirt, a sweater.”

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