By now, we’ve all read about the helicopter parents who ruined Old Colorado City’s Easter egg hunt, but was it really overzealous parents or just poor planning?
A few years ago, I took my daughters, then four and one, to a local Easter egg hunt held at a large public park. There were hundreds and hundreds of kids, and it seemed like a ratio of four adults per kid—most adults holding various cameras, camcorders or phones up to record their tots having fun searching for eggs.
Five minutes after the bullhorn announced the start of the hunt, the tens of thousands of mini chocolate eggs were gone, my kids having scored exactly three cheap chocolate eggs each. They were thrilled with their meagre haul. I was incensed.
I wasn’t mad because my kids didn’t get enough chocolate, I was mad because many small children didn’t get even a single egg (my four-year-old helped the smaller kids around her find eggs, once she had three of her own). There were eight-, nine-, and ten-year-old kids with baskets overflowing with the eggs – an embarrassment of waxy, foil-covered chocolates.
And there were those kids’ parents, praising them for having bowled over tiny tots in their race to collect, what? Six dollars worth of stale chocolate?
What were these parents thinking? Why did none of the parents around me use this as an excellent opportunity to teach their children about sharing, empathy, and just plain personal restraint?
Ever since then, I’ve organized my own egg hunt, for my daughter and her friends, at a small park. Each parent contributes a few filled eggs or five dollars, and I set up a few minutes before the barrage of minivans drive up. We stay and play in the park afterwards and the kids have always been quick to ensure themselves that everyone has their fair share.
Want to plan your own Easter egg hunt? Check out these great YMC tips on hosting a great egg hunt.
With the newness of the lunch routine that started in September long worn off, many families are now buying their lunches (parents and kids alike) out of boredom with their regular packed-at-home fare.
Doling out cash for chow every day adds up, and there’s a cost to your health, as well as your budget. We often make much poorer choices eating out than when we pack a fresh lunch from home. That’s why mom-to-five, Cristi Messersmith, has adopted the bento lunch system when packing her children’s lunches, and often her own.
Messersmith blogs at bentonbetterlunches.blogspot.com, where she posts photos, descriptions and instructions on the daily lunches she makes for her kids. “My kids are pretty picky, and with their list of likes being so short, packing lunches could easily become a tedious chore for me,” she admits. “Packing meals bento style helps me keep my kids' school lunches fresh and fun by presenting familiar foods in different ways.”
Bento-style lunches, like Messersmith’s, use cookie cutters and creative arrangements to make lunches more appealing, and usually integrate plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. “They don't need to be to be fancy to be fun,” explains Messersmith. “A handful of grapes arranged in a ring around a cherry tomato looks like a flower, add a slice of cheese cut in a butterfly shape and it's a garden theme. Alternating rolled up slices of lunch meat with cheese or veggies on a colourful skewer makes it seem like party food.”
Karen Humphrey blogs at notesfromthecookiejar.com, and says for her family it’s all about thinking outside the box. For instance, instead of using bread, she makes big batches of homemade buttermilk biscuits. "You can stuff them with lunch meat or cheese, hummus and veggies, or just spread them with butter. Cut small, they’re great for little hands, or you can pack two for larger appetites,” she says. Karen also blogs at chasingtomatoes.ca—check out her recipes for Three Seed Biscuits, Cheddar and Chive Biscuits and Buttermilk Biscuits.
A creative lunch begins with great tools. Do you have the right lunch box equipment? Invest in small reusable containers with good seals, and you can buy larger, more cost-effective packages of yogurt and dips. Buy a good quality Thermos for packing soups, stews and pastas. Fill with boiling water and seal for a minute before filling with hot food, and it will be the perfect temperature by lunch time.
There’s a huge discussion happening on Maureen Turner’s blog post, Breast feeding versus formula feeding: a rant. A lot of the discussion revolves around shame, guilt and judgment, and I feel the need to comment.
I recently blogged about debating and in this post I blame our “bizarre fixation with caring what every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks about us,” for why so many debates turn emotional and vicious, where women “feel guilty” because someone they’ve never even met has judged them online.
As I say in that blog post, I believe the problem at the root of discussions about breastfeeding, co-sleeping and other issues is that we’re obsessed with having everyone in our sphere of influence approve of our every choice. When we encounter people who think we’re wrong, misguided or complete idiots, we’re devastated.
People are going to judge you. They will decide whether you’ve made the right choices or wrong ones. And sometimes they will be very, very vocal about their judgment.
But aren’t you teaching your kids that it doesn’t matter what other people think of them? That if people judge them on their race, sexuality, religion or choice of clothing that they should not feel bad or guilty?
I own my feelings. They are mine. And guilt is a feeling of which I am in total and utter control.
I feel guilty about not working out enough because I choose to watch television for three hours instead. I don’t feel guilty when I skip a workout because the day went sideways and I chose to spend my only free half hour unwinding in the tub.
I feel guilty about spending money eating out because I played on Facebook the night before instead of preparing a lunch.
I feel guilty about not drinking enough water because the damn water cooler is right outside my office door and I still don’t drink enough water.
I have what Meagan Francis calls “true guilt.” In her blog post, Is “mom guilt” false guilt? she writes, “According to the dictionary definition, guilt is an emotion of remorse or regret you feel in response to a wrongdoing, whether real or perceived. So the emotion you’re experiencing can only be true guilt if you really think you did something wrong.”
Guilt is a healthy feeling when it is true guilt and inspires us to change. If I feel guilty, I examine that feeling and decide what changes I need to make in my life to not feel that feeling again.
In her blog post Is shame a barrier to social change, PhD in Parenting blogger Annie writes, “While I do think a lot of guilt comes from within, I also know that societal norms and expectations are contributors to feelings of guilt and shame.”
We have GOT to GET OVER THIS! We need to be critical of those societal norms and expectations and review how they will fit into our lives and value. We can hear about what is “best” for us and choose another path and still love ourselves. We can hear other women very specifically tell us we’re shitty mothers because we work/don’t work, eat junk food/eat vegan, etc., and not internalize that criticism into feelings of guilt.
In another one of her posts, this one titled, Do inspiring blogs make you feel bad about yourself? Francis writes, “I have to own not just my choices, but the values that lead me to those choices. And I need to not just accept, but embrace my limits, and allow my priorities—my priorities, not anyone else’s—to guide the decisions I make.”
I would like to live in a world that isn’t so vicious and judgmental. I will strive to make this world less of these things.
But until that day, I CAN control how I react to it. I will not learn about the best way to do things and feel guilty because that’s not how I’m doing things. I refuse to feel guilty because someone who still wants to judge and shame has gone out of their way to judge me and call me names.
The next time you feel guilty about something, think on it a little more. If it’s not true guilt, let it go. You don’t have to take it on.